Get The Right Franchisees: 6 Franchise-Marketing Strategies

How To Find The ‘Right’ Franchisees With Marketing

Finding franchisees that are a good match to your business can be the difference between success and failure for your expanding brand. In this blog post, we explain 6 marketing strategies to catch the eye of quality franchisees.

At Balihoo, we pride ourselves on being the leader in multi-location marketing, helping franchise businesses market their products and services to potential customers. But before a franchise business can attract customers, they need to attract franchisees — and a good marketing strategy can be just as important for this phase as what comes later.

In this blog post, we unveil 6 ways to use marketing to snare the best possible franchisees for your growing enterprise:

Table of Contents

Identify Your Ideal Franchisee

This is a no-brainer: when you’re marketing your products and services, you’ve got to target your ideal customer. But when your franchise is the product, you’ve got to target your ideal franchisee. That means working up a profile.

Some common types of franchisee include:

  • The Expert: This is one of the rarer types, and that makes them all the more valuable when they do come along. An expert franchisee is someone who has worked in the industry for years, but wants the extra support and safety net of working with an established brand rather than setting out on their own. This could be an established cook looking to open a franchise restaurant, an experienced mechanic nervous about the business side of things, or a medical professional looking for the immediate name recognition that comes with being part of a chain of clinics. Joining a franchise operation can be a way of running their own business while still being able to focus on the core work that interested them in the first place.

  • The Entrepreneur: This is, unsurprisingly, your largest group, and the sort of person the franchise life most appeals to. These are folks who want to be their own boss, own their own business, and are willing to front the cash necessary for a chance at accumulating real wealth. But just because you’ve got the funds and drive to start your own business doesn’t mean you’ve got a good idea for a business. These folks may come from a completely different industry, and are willing to entertain a lot of different types of businesses while looking for the one that’s a good match. They could open a dog groomer, a hair salon, or an oil change place — what’s important to them isn’t the type of business so much as which business presents them the best ROI with the least amount of hassle.

  • The Opportunist: These are similar to the Entrepreneur, in that they’ve got the funds and the willingness, but where they differ is that they aren’t actively playing the field looking for a franchise opportunity: they’re going to wait for the right opportunity to come to them. If they see a good opening or hear about a good opportunity, they’re willing to hear more, but they’re also going to take some more convincing that your franchise is the right fit for them, and they may need more hand-holding to shepherd them through the process.

These are only three broad types — some franchisees don’t fit into any of these categories, and others may fit into more than one. The trick is identifying what the ideal franchisee is for your business at this point in your growth. Does your business skew any particular demographic directions? Gender, geography, education level? Which groups are likely to be interested in your business, and which ones will have the funds and know-how to pull off a successful franchise? 

Use Your Existing Franchisees

If you’re running a successful franchise business, then your franchisees should be some of your biggest cheerleaders. Building strong relationships and lines of communication with your franchisees means you’ve got a great word-of-mouth network, evangelizing on behalf of your brand to their peers inside the same demographics where you found your star players. Happy, successful franchisees sell the business for you, if you know how to capitalize on it.

Making sure your door is open to new referrals — and possibly crafting referral gifts or bonuses to franchisees who bring you a good lead — can land you more winners than you thought possible.

Treat Customers Like Prospective Franchisees

Sometimes, today’s top customer becomes tomorrow’s star franchisee. They start off as a new customer, become a frequent flyer with your business, and if they like it enough, they might decide to make your business their business, too. Having signage that promotes franchise opportunities, pamphlets with more information behind the counter, and employees trained to answer a few basic questions and point them in the right direction are all low-intensity strategies to net future franchisees.

Obviously, this works better in some market verticals than others: there’s a lower barrier to entry on retail and restaurant establishments than ones that require special licensing or even specialized degrees. But even in the more niche industries, your next star franchisee might be someone you’ve been seeing regularly for years.

Expand Your Network

Your franchisees, your customers, and your neighbors are all going to be a front line of attack when on the hunt for new franchisees. But that doesn’t mean you should stop there. Just like any other business, networking is key.

One important way to expand your network is by attending conferences and trade shows for your industry, and for franchise operations in general. If, say, your franchise specializes in optometry, you should be attending optometry conferences — but also conferences for franchise businesses, like the International Franchise Association. Conferences are a hotbed of activity for people looking for new opportunities, new partnerships, and new connections. At Balihoo, we have people out to trade shows from Las Vegas to Australia every year, because networking works.

Optimize Your Web Presence

In almost every blog we write, we have a bullet point somewhere about optimizing your web presence. That’s because keeping your website clean is just as foundational to your business and marketing efforts as keeping your brick-and-mortar locations clean and organized is.

Improving your Core Web Vitals is one key to making sure your website is a clean, pleasant experience for any potential visitors, not to mention it helps ensure your site has a respectable position in search engine results. Once that’s squared away, though, you want to take a look at how your website plays not just to potential customers, but to potential franchisees as well. Do you have a tab or section on your website for franchise opportunities? 

Launch Your Ad Campaign

When you’ve got your network primed and your website cleaned up, consider launching an ad campaign just for franchise opportunities. You’ve established who your ideal franchisee is: target them directly, with a solid landing page, a locally-targeted ad campaign, a social media campaign, and more. This targeted approach to marketing to your ideal audience works for your products, and it can work for securing franchisees as well. 

Keeping in mind of course that building out a new location of an entire business is a lot more expensive and a much bigger commitment than buying a product or service in one of your locations, so the costs-per-lead will be different, and progress and success will be measured by different metrics. But with time, patience, and optimizations, a campaign like this can be the cherry on top of all the other steps you’ve taken.

Final Thoughts

In conclusion, marketing to franchisees isn’t all that different from marketing to customers. It’s all about working up an accurate profile of who you’re trying to reach, making a plan to reach them, and then getting your messaging in front of them. 

If you’re a franchisor looking to land fresh franchisees for your multi-location business, Balihoo is a solution that demands a look. You can get started today by reaching out to our team. With a full suite of local-marketing tools, paid search and social ad campaigns, and even CTV/DOOH capabilities, Balihoo is the leading solution in the ever-shifting world of franchise marketing.


Written by
Sean Kelly, Senior Content Writer

Sean Kelly is a Senior Content Specialist, St. Louis-based engagement expert with 20 years of experience in content writing, and 8 years in adtech.

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