Lead Nurturing 101 And Why Your Franchise Needs It
Great effort and time are often placed on franchise lead generation. However, a lack of focus can make the aforementioned effort worthless.
That is why lead nurturing is so important.
With the right type of lead nurturing, you can demonstrate that your franchise offers a proven track record of success, proper and insightful training, and anything else that is worth communicating with potential buyers.
How do you generate leads? That's where we come in.
Franchise Direct is the leading global portal for quality lead generation.
We're spread across all habitable continents and have 15 different web portals covering the major franchising regions.
Our experts can build your profile into a lead-generating machine, and we are constantly looking to build upon our 25 years of expertise in this area.
However, there's very little point in putting all that effort into lead generation if there is no follow-through, is there?
Which brings us to...
What is lead nurturing?
Different websites give different definitions of 'lead nurturing,' and they usually involve buzz terms such as 'sales funnels' and 'sales cycles.'
However, at its simplest, for franchisors, lead nurturing is the process of building a relationship with your lead at every stage of their journey to becoming a franchisee.
What problems can lead nurturing solve? According to research done by HubSpot and Marketo, 74 percent of companies say converting leads into customers is their top priority, while over 95 percent of visitors who come to your website aren't ready to buy yet.
Lead nurturing offers a way to close the gap between these figures. When leads fill in their details to be contacted, they are stating that they are happy to receive further information about what your brand can offer. The right type of content and communication can inspire these people to invest in your business.
Lead nurturing has been described as the bridge between marketing and sales and is a process that requires effort, but effort which is ultimately rewarded.
Why is nurturing important?
Research from Harvard revealed that the most effective time to reach out to sales leads is within an hour of receiving the query. However, as you have probably already guessed, this is not and should not be where the nurturing process ends.
According to research by Ascend2, almost half of businesses say their leads require "long cycle" nurturing, with many influences. Research done by HubSpot also showed that it usually takes around 10 nurturing steps to convert a paying customer, and for franchises, this may even be more.
At this stage, you are probably thinking to yourself that 'this lead nurturing stuff sounds like hard work.'
Obviously, you are right, but the alternative is worse.
Research done by Marketo shows that the 'best companies at lead nurturing produce 50 percent more sales-ready leads, at a third of the usual cost'.
If you don't nurture your leads, you are leaving a huge amount of sales behind.
What are the stages of the lead nurturing process?
Everything becomes clearer when broken down into stages, and lead nurturing is no different.
For franchises, this process can be put into four separate blocks. It can be remembered by the mnemonic 'FIND' (Focus, Interest, Nurture, Deal).
After all, this is what you'll need to do – find and nurture new leads!
Stage One – Focus
The first thing you have to do is focus on your ideal franchisee and use the right tools to find them.
This can be done by advertising on the right channels, becoming an information leader on these channels, and identifying what other franchise businesses do and don't do well during the sales process.
Stage Two– Interest
When the potential franchisee is aware of you and has given you their contact details, it is important to follow up on this interest carefully. Of course, you need to reach out to the prospective investor briskly, but it is important not to bombard them with messaging.
Email marketing campaigns can and should be used, but the message and content within these need to be useful and not just correspondence for the heck of it.
This sales opportunity can and will go to waste if the communication is not right. The content that is used should be both useful and practical, with the likes of short videos, blog posts, and online discovery days all useful examples.
As part of the email marketing process, drip campaigns can be used effectively in the nurturing process. Automated emails can be sent out over a period of time (rather than all at once). These emails are designed to educate and engage leads gradually, providing them with relevant information and moving them closer to making a purchase decision.
Both personalised phone calls and text follow-ups can be used to address specific needs, answer any questions the investor may have, and provide additional information to help them move forward in the buying process.
Consider actively engaging with your leads on social media channels. Make sure to share relevant content that is tailored to their needs. Building relationships on social media can help foster trust and keep your business and message at the forefront of their minds.
In conjunction with social media targeting, retargeting ads can be deployed to reach out to leads who have previously visited your website. Display targeted ads on other websites or social media platforms to remind them of your offerings and encourage them to revisit your website.
Stage Three – Nurture
This is where the lead is interested in hearing more and potentially coming on board as part of your franchise system. During this stage, you can get personal with content, develop a one-on-one dialogue, and schedule further contact down the line.
This is where the sales and marketing teams combine to understand the needs of the leads and to try to satisfy them and close the deal.
One-on-one conversations are a key component of this stage, with franchisor-franchisee meetings, follow-ups, and discussions of potential return on investments.
Stage Four – Deal
This is the stage where the franchisee has decided to come on board. You want to sustain that existing relationship to ensure it is fruitful for both parties and that it potentially extends beyond the initial franchise agreement.
A welcoming gesture, as well as personalized help and franchise privileges, are key here.
Through word of mouth, the hard work that's done during this stage will send more leads directly to the second stage of the process.
Where do we go from here?
According to the IFA Franchise Sales Index, franchisors are only closing on average 1.2 percent of deals that enter their sales funnel.
There are many reasons for this, but a lack of focus on lead nurturing is clearly a big part of the problem. Too many leads are disappearing because of a lack of time being spent in this area, along with a lack of focus on the communication and content required during the process.
Obviously, not every franchise prospect will become a buyer, but a lack of lead nurturing will ensure that fewer and fewer of them end up on that journey.
Franchise Direct can help you, from getting leads to nurturing them, to ensuring more of them become buyers. Contact us today to hear more about how we can work together.
[Updated on June 28, 2023]