The first rule of thumb when marketing anything to anyone is to know your buyer. Just as franchise owners differ from start-up business owners, multi-unit franchisees are different than single-unit franchise owners. Those looking to invest in multi-unit franchises typically have more capital, and more resources, they are less hands-on in daily operations within the franchise, and their future goals are likely on more expansion versus the specific growth of one location 

The Advantages of Multi-Unit Franchise Ownership

A franchisor with a network of multi-unit franchisees may have to be a bit savvier with his marketing, but the benefits for both franchisor and franchisee may be worth the effort.  

 Multiple unit franchisees can experience greater growth potential, greater sales volume, and create a larger footprint for brand recognition.   

 If they have signed an area development franchise agreement, then they have a designated area or scheduled number of units to open within a given timeframe. All of which is of huge benefit to the franchisor. So where does one find these more sophisticated buyers? Here are a few places to begin.  

Public Relations Tell the Story

An effective PR campaign is tougher to measure but resonates all the same. PR campaigns, media placements, and brand story features let those in your designated target market know exactly what your franchise opportunity is, and who you are looking to attract to your franchise system.  

 Public Relations positions stories around successful franchisees to share their back story with your brand to the media. They give potential candidates an inside look at the leadership, the expansion potential, the support they will receive, and in some cases, the discount they can expect when they are awarded more than one unit.  

 The value and benefit of PR is that it can help increase the visibility of your franchise development brand website to your target audience with powerful tier 1 and tier 2 backlinks. In a more general sense, good PR lets you in on public conversations where potential franchisees may be present. A topic being discussed in the press, on social media, or in the blogosphere, whether controversial or less candid, gives you the opportunity to demonstrate your expertise and speak to your brand. Such occasions are great for making introductions so that further conversations can be had.  

Trade Shows for a More Sophisticated Buyer

Franchise trade shows, specifically designed and presented for multi-unit franchise stakeholders, are a great place to meet potential franchisees, as well as network with other franchisors.  

 An event like the Multi-Unit Franchise Conference attracts more than 2,000 people looking for the next concept to fill out their professional portfolio. This is an excellent opportunity to showcase your concept and expertise and to find out whether there is a rapport. Potential multi-unit franchisees attend these shows because they are in the market for an opportunity. You should be there making sure yours stands out! 

SEO and Influencer Marketing

Finally, let’s get back to really knowing your buyer. Where would you find them online? This is the time to sharpen up your digital marketing skills or find an agency that can do it for you. Who are your ideal franchisees influenced by? What are they reading, or who do they subscribe to? By utilizing SEO and knowing where to look, it will be much easier to capture leads. The sooner you do that, the sooner you can start a conversation.  

 Driven, enthusiastic, and experienced multi-unit franchise buyers can lead to exponential growth for franchisors. They may be different than single-unit owner-operators, but they can be just as easy to find if you know where to look, and what tools to use.  

 About the Author


Matthew Jonas is president and co-founder of TopFire Media. As TopFire Media’s brand steward, he defines high-impact digital PR and marketing strategies for an impressive cache of consumer and franchise-based clientele.

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