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A Step-By-Step Marketing Plan to Gain and Keep Franchise Clients

When you think about franchisees, do you imagine them working in and managing their business on a day-to-day basis? If so, you may only be thinking about a portion of the industry. In some case, they may own the franchise, but not actually work in ...


When you think about franchisees, do you imagine them working in and managing their business on a day-to-day basis? If so, you may only be thinking about a portion of the industry. In some case, they may own the franchise, but not actually work in the location at all.

What’s an accounting firm to do in order to market their services to franchisee’s if only a portion of them are at their physical locations?

First, millennials are a hot franchise commodity, according to Franchise Direct.[1] If you want to engage with this audience, you’ll need to speak with them wherever they “hang out.” That means social media, video, and events.

Second, multi-unit franchise owners are also on the rise; predicting the new markets they will be in will be paramount to your firm’s ability to scale within a geographic area.

Third, they may not have access to a computer all day; reaching them where they work may require physical interaction, such as in-person visits, events, webinars, and more.

Fourth, research the franchise industry you wish to focus on and their pain points. Addressing those pain points should be the pillars to your marketing strategy.

Finally, develop a plan of action that will put your firm’s team in front of franchisee’s in a way the makes them stop and listen. Addressing pain points is a big way to get attention. If you know your target market’s pain points and how you can solve them, shout it from the rooftops. The quieter you are about your capabilities, the less likely they will hear you.


Your firm has a strategic initiative to increase its restaurant franchise clients by 10 percent over the next eighteen months. Those restaurants will be located in the New York tristate area (New York, Connecticut, and New Jersey). Your main focus is on fast-food restaurants and the food-truck industry.

What should your marketing plan look like?

  1. Research. Use big data sources to find your niche, including how many, their size, location, turnover, revenue, profits, etc. From that data, create a top-10, mid-20, and bottom-30 list of franchisee owners you’d like to convert into clients. From that list, identify how many in each category you need to reach your goal.
  2. Identify a team leader and champion for this group, often a partner, who can approve content and make decision quickly when needed.
  3. Construct a team that is interested in the fast-food and restaurant businesses. They will already have an understanding of the terms used that will draw clients toward your firm. They also possess a passion for the industry, which will make them more likely to be productive, engaged, and excited to work with those types of clients.
  4. Create a multi-pronged marketing approach, including direct mail, social media, email, and more advanced methods, such as webinars, whitepaper development, and event planning to reach prospects.
  5. Research terminology and hashtags for the industry to help put your brand and people “in front” of the prospects. That includes keywords terms for search engine optimization on your website, keywords for print and online media, plus hashtags related to the industry.
  6. Develop content development and event planning schedules that focus on pain point management, such as employee turnover, misclassification of employees, investing, exit planning, start-up costs, business planning, and more. Plan out several months ahead to allow for development and marketing.
  7. Produce and share content from blog articles, podcasts, interviews, images, video scripts and images, whitepapers, reports, and guides to more advanced pieces like webinars, demos, trials, testimonials, and newsletters.
  8. Isolate key performance indicators to help define success metrics.
  9. Build a monthly (or weekly) reporting schedule to determine what’s working and not working early on so you may make adjustments.


Once you’ve secured the clients, continue to keep them in mind as you develop content and host events. Consider what the business owner needs to know as their business matures, including multi-franchise ownership, multi-state business taxes, employee benefits, retirement plans, investing structures, having children working in the business, exit planning, and more.

The key to working with franchisee owners is to know they help the need and how you can be their solution provider.


See inside December 2017

2018 IT Predictions for Tax and Accounting Firms

University professor John M. Richardson summed up his view of the future by stating: “When it comes to the future, there are three kinds of people: those who let it happen, those who make it happen, and those who wonder what happened.”