Franchise Development

The secrets to driving leads through authentic video storytelling.

By Trevor Rappleye, Franchise Filming

Due to the impact of COVID-19, franchisors are hungrier for leads than ever before, and are seeking out new ways to enhance their franchise development strategies as they map out their post-pandemic bounce backs. But where do they turn? One of the most undervalued lead gen strategies comes in the form of owned content — video marketing. Video marketing has become mainstream and franchisors that recognize this and adapt with the trends are finding proven results with increased leads, engagement and revenue. In fact, according to a recent study by OptinMonster, video marketers get 66 percent more qualified leads per year.

The below tips offer three ways franchisors can leverage video as a lead gen strategy in 2021.

1. Video Has the Power to Evoke an Emotional Connection in Your Ideal Franchise Candidate

In today’s socially distant and virtual COVID-world, connection is more important than ever. Without trade shows, in-person discovery days and more, many franchisors are looking for creative solutions to connect with potential franchise candidates and make an impact in a virtual setting. Thanks to video storytelling, franchise brands can overcome the challenges of connecting with potential leads during the ongoing pandemic.

…video marketers get 66 percent more qualified leads per year."

But how do you evoke an emotional connection via video content? Th e first order of business is finding the right story you want to tell prospective franchisees — the story angle is what will make or break their ability to emotionally connect with your brand. Whether it’s a leadership feature or franchisee profile, finding the right story means not scripting anything. Some of the best stories derive from simply asking the right questions. When it comes to preparing trigger questions, think about questions that don’t rely on yes or no answers — being able to easily expand on a question through a story or anecdote will lead to the rich content you’re seeking for a powerful video. To be able to ask a company CEO if they are doing what they love or ask a franchisee how much their life has changed since joining the franchise system, and for them to get emotional on camera because the brand has made their life better, is exactly the type of relatable and authentic content that resonates with prospects. By allowing emotion into the franchise sales strategy, prospects are able to connect with the brand and validate their decision to inquire about the franchise opportunity. Impact reports that adding testimonials can increase conversions on sales pages by 34 percent. Video helps showcase the real-life components of the business and the people in it — helping prospects visualize what it would mean to become a franchisee.

"Thanks to video storytelling, franchise brands can overcome the challenges of connecting with potential leads during the ongoing pandemic.”

2. Leverage Video to Humanize Your Brand

Gone are the days that logos, talking heads and long-form written content sell franchises. With over 4,000 franchise brands in the United States, franchisors have to find new ways to differentiate and compete. While digital marketing reigns supreme, video provides the perfect platform to help humanize franchise brands.

With the impact of COVID-19, prospects have a new level of expectation for brands to be even more authentic, transparent and relatable than ever. For franchise sales professionals, this requires a holistic understanding of the franchise candidate — the lives they lead and the experiences they want in a franchise partner, and less about pulling data and trying to target market them based on what Google suggests. It is a fuller understanding and subsequent marketing that gets to the “why” and doesn’t lean completely on the “what.” The best brand experiences are always going to be personal and evoke a real connection between brand and prospect that creates relationships and connections beyond your products, services, business model and average unit volume.

While digital marketing reigns supreme, video provides the perfect platform to help humanize franchise brands.”

Today’s prospects want to see the CEO address the system from his or her home offi ce in casual clothes, they want to hear from the franchisee who was grateful to have control of his or her own business while many friends unfortunately lost their jobs due to the pandemic. Many times, it is these real, emotional angles that are the key to generating more leads. Why? Because you’re able to humanize the brand and make it more relatable to a prospect.

3. Visually Tell Your COVID Success Story

Just because we’re in the middle of a global pandemic, doesn’t mean businesses should be deterred from creating video content of their brand stories and their successes. COVID-19 brought on significant challenges and has impacted the entire franchise industry — but how did your brand prevail, how did it show resilience, how did it innovate and adapt, how did it support franchisees with best-in-class resources? Tell your pandemic success story and bring the narrative to life through video content. This could include team members operating with PPE, executive leadership meetings via Zoom, community giveback initiatives, new products and services — you name it. Seize the opportunity to highlight how you were able to navigate the pandemic, come out on top and the direction you’re heading in the future.

In the past year, and especially after the COVID-19 crisis, video marketing has emerged as an eff ective way to share more quality information about franchise opportunities and increase franchise candidate confi dence. It has become the tool your brand needs to grow in the post-pandemic era. Remember, people work with people, not logos, so take the time to tell the story of the people behind your brand to attract like-minded candidates and expand your franchise footprint. 

Trevor Rappleye is the founder, CEO & storyteller of Franchise Filming, a leading full-service video production provider that helps franchisors and suppliers across the country drive leads and win more clients with monthly videos via a VIP membership model. For more information about International Franchise Association (IFA) supplier member Franchise Filming, visit