Franchise Marketing Solutions That Don’t Stink
Let’s be honest. There are a lot of bad Franchise Marketing Solutions out there. Even some of the most highly touted franchise marketing solutions out there in actuality aren’t that great at all.
Let’s have a candid conversation about the “State Of Franchise Marketing” including what’s working in the industry, what doesn’t work, and what you should do about it.
Most industries have CRM solutions that are built specifically to solve the needs of that industry. Examples would be Service Titan for home services or Keap (formerly Infusionsoft) for information marketers.
Within the franchising industry, the most well-known and used industry-specific franchise CRM is going to be Fran Connect. I think the problem here begins with the fact that while there is a massive amount of money that flows through the franchising industry as a whole and lots of money that’s moved around as people pay franchise fees and become franchisees… there really aren’t that many franchise brands out there.
I’ve heard a number of somewhere between 4,000 and 5,000 franchisors in the entirety of the United States. To put that into perspective, Subway alone has 36,500+ franchised units. That means that 1 franchise brand alone has 10X as many potential users as the entire franchising space. You’re better off designing a business plan that seeks to sell a CRM to Subway franchisees than to sell a franchise development CRM to franchisors, just based off of the size of the market alone.
This lack of a marketplace for franchise software trickles down to what we see with FranConnect. At the end of the day, it has no API endpoints that you can query or use web hooks to even send leads directly to (it still requires some type of an Email2DB type of email parsing process to even get leads into it). You’re basically buying a suped up virtual brochure with a Pipedrive style opportunity management system.
To be fair to FranConnect though, they have achieved an incredible amount of market penetration with 1,500+ brands using their software. And, as they continue to develop out their stack to help individual franchisees operate their franchises, they are moving into a realm that has a huge potential upside as many franchisors have thousands of franchisees that they can help onboard as their tool becomes more robust.
Outside of FranConnect, we’re seeing more and more franchisors use HubSpot or a Salesforce / HubSpot combination. Internally here at Lead PPC, we use Salesforce and we love it. And HubSpot for all intents and purposes is probably the defacto best marketing tool out there and has even surpassed Marketo in many ways. The issue with Salesforce is that it’s going to run you about $100 / mo. paid annually per seat. If you can get away with a couple of seats, then it can make sense. But, if you have a lot of people who need separate licenses, then it can add up quickly. Marketo is likewise expensive at $800 – $3,600 / mo.
A great middle tier solution that we’re seeing more of is people choosing to use Zoho, which is only $20-$50 / mo. The backend of Zoho is comparable to Salesforce and it truly is a CRM. Additionally, if you’re completely out of cash as an emerging franchisor who just needs something to work, then a combination of Google Sheets along with Zapier can probably get you most of what you need to manage a successful franchise development pipeline.
To simplify things, we’re going to talk about franchise marketing agencies that don’t stink. Most agencies have no clue what their doing with franchise development marketing or local franchisee marketing.
On the franchise development marketing side of things, I can’t really suggest anyone else besides ourselves. There really just aren’t any great agencies out there that handle even 1/4 of the brands that we do here at Lead PPC. If I had to choose a 2nd place for franchise development marketing agencies, I would have to go with probably Scorpion since they purchased Wheat Creative who I have a lot of respect for.
After that, for local franchise marketing agencies, it’s a tough call. I still like us here at Lead PPC best, but I also have some respect for 9th Root. They do a good job with SEO and Google My Business listings at scale. Other than that, it’s hard for me to highly recommend any groups on the local side of things either.
Franchise Sales Organizations (FSOs)
This continues to move around some. But, I would go with Franchise Evolution, REP’M, and Rain Tree as my personal favorites. Some people also like Rhino 7 and United Franchise Group.
The FSO space is gaining more and more traction, and I hope it continues to do so. Many franchisors would benefit greatly by abandoning their underperforming in-house franchise sales team and hiring an FSO that knows what they are doing.
Part of this is because FSOs are nearly immediately going to force you to engage with multiple Franchise Broker Networks as well as team up with a franchise marketing agency like us here at Lead PPC to help on the Google Ads and Meta Ads side of things. They’re going to push you to drive more leads.
These would be my top recommendations if you’re looking for franchise marketing solutions. I’ve written more articles in the past on our site that dive into each of these subjects in more detail, but suffice it to say that you definitely want to think through some of these recommendations and even if you don’t sign up with an FSO, an agency, or a CRM solution… at least understanding the value that each of them bring can be important.
If you would like to speak with us about potentially having us help drive quality franchise leads for your franchise please fill out our Contact Us form.
Entrepreneur with a focus on Lead Generation, Google Adwords, Bing Ads, and Conversion.