By Graham Chapman, 919 Marketing Company


Data. You probably have a pile of it and no idea how to use it. This is a common situation for franchisors, and to be blunt, you probably need better data anyway to really understand what your target audiences (and your competitors) are doing online. Here’s what you need to know about data and how to make it work for you via franchise marketing analytics.

Understanding Data 101

Data analytics capture how people use the internet to find you or your competitor. People are not straight-line thinkers; they use a variety of ways to locate franchise opportunities and decide which ones to pursue. This means you can’t just be “on the internet” to be successful. You have to be “on the internet” in ways that help future franchisees find you when they are searching for answers to critical questions.

Every online click generates data, but not all data is relevant to attracting franchisees. Knowing why someone clicked is the key to focusing your marketing on the type of person who could be a potential franchisee. You need data to tell you what people are thinking while they’re thinking it.

Can you really have these insights? We know you can because it’s our secret sauce at 919 Marketing. In fact, we have a team (our 919 Insights team) that is entirely dedicated to this work.

Data Before Insights

The data you currently have is information about what people did in the past (i.e. Google Analytics data). It tells you what pages of your website were most popular and what platforms were most successful in generating traffic/ conversions. When you make marketing decisions using this data, you’re constantly reacting to past behavior, and hoping that people find you online. Reacting and hoping is not much of a marketing strategy; there is so much more you can do.

Knowing why someone clicked is the key to focusing your marketing on the type of person who could be a potential franchisee.

Data With Insights

When you have insights SUPPORTED by data, you’re in the driver’s seat of marketing. You don’t have to wait for prospects to find you — you find the prospects. You learn what people are doing in real time and what they’re thinking at the very moment they’re researching business opportunities. When the goal is to sell franchises, you want to be front and center with prospects when they’re online and interested. Having data insights gets you ahead of the game (and ahead of your competitors, too).

Here are some examples to think about:

Keyword searching. People don’t search the internet in the same way; there are different words and phrases they search to find a franchise opportunity. When you know those keywords, you can start building online content (web pages, social media posts, infographics etc.) that boosts specific rankings, so people are more likely to click on your links. You can also focus on conversions rather than traffic. Having more website visits is great for building brand awareness, but conversions are, of course, the most important KPI for franchise development teams.

Leveraging keywords across your marketing. When you know the keywords and questions people are typing into search engines, you can leverage that in all areas of marketing. Keywords generate topics for blog posts and CEO thought leadership opportunities with prominent publications that can boost your trust factor with future franchisees. Social media accounts, and even printed materials, can benefit from the same content. Offering real-time answers to those same questions in your meetings with potential franchisees can further solidify that your brand is exactly what someone is looking for in a business ownership investment.

Having data insights gets you ahead of the game (and ahead of your competitors, too).

Capture people who don’t know you exist. For most franchisors, the brand is not the influencing factor that prompts a person to investigate a franchise opportunity. Often, prospects will have never even heard of you. But when your brand continues to pop up in their searches, they start to become interested and make that first click. Now, this person who never knew you existed is interested in joining your franchise family. Now you do have influence as they continue their journey with you.

Marketing becomes more effective. Data insights allow you to become laser-focused on how to present yourself to future franchisees. Suddenly, your marketing efforts are targeted, which eliminates spending on things that don’t work. When you redirect your marketing dollars in a more effective way, you get more return on your investment. Some of those returns might be:

  • More qualified sales leads (marketing qualified leads AND sales qualified leads)
  • Increased website domain authority (meaning higher overall ranking potential for all content) First page rankings (top 5, top 3, and even snippet rankings) for critical search terms

Why This Matters to Franchisors

If you do have a pile of data on your desk or on your desktop, throw it out. You cannot base real-time marketing on months-old information to any sustainable value. One of the benefits of today’s online world is that you can find information immediately — and reacting to what someone did three months ago isn’t going to help you much. After three months, that particular prospect has likely landed in a different sales funnel.

When you know what people are doing online while they’re doing it, you have a game-changing asset in marketing. You no longer have to guess whether what you’re doing is working — you’ll already know what works and can simply position yourself there. That’s a much more proactive position for attracting franchisees. And if you’re not doing it, you can bet your competition is — and there will be plenty of data on that!


Graham Chapman is EVP, Account Services at 919 Marketing Company. For more information about IFA supplier member 919 Marketing Company, please visit franchise.org/suppliers/919- marketing-company.