How to market your franchise to millennials

How to market your franchise to millennials

If there’s one generation you need to focus on in your marketing campaign, it’s millennials, says Tamara Smith

Born between the mid-1980s to 2000s, millennials are a hot topic in every industry these days. Growing up in the age of the internet, they have a unique experience and perspective. With a mindset that is different from any former generation thanks to their sudden access to information technology, millennials have high expectations for what their career will deliver and much is expected of them.

Never before has a generation had access to such a vast amount of information. With the internet at their fingertips for their entire life, they think differently. Millennials have different goals from former generations both in work and life. Immediate access to information, pictures, videos and anything else has created an on-demand mindset.

What does this mean to the world of franchising?

With the traditional job market fluctuating, many millennials are frustrated that current conditions often make it difficult for them to secure a stable work position. But this makes them prime candidates to become franchise owners.

Having had the ability to control their own destiny with the click of a button, they are attracted to the idea of taking control of their future and by the fact that franchises provide the systems and tools to support their success. Millennials can make great franchisees, but require a different type of approach than other generations.

Marketing to millennials

Marketing to millennials means meeting them where they’re at. Franchisors must consider who their ideal millennial franchisee is and how they operate to target them accordingly. As an online generation, targeted advertising can be very effective if done correctly. This involves understanding your ideal candidates’ unique likes, interests, and involvement. Groups can be a good starting point. Narrow targeting is more effective than casting a wide net and will save your franchise development team’s time, as well as your budget.

Job boards can be effective, yet risky. Many sites are against selling businesses, especially franchise opportunities. It’s also impossible to properly target ideal candidates and franchisors may throw back more fish than they keep. More and more millennials are also attending franchise events. Think ‘out of the box’ to grab their attention. Typical leave behinds will not make the same impact with this generation.

Targeted events can also be very successful. Hosting a ‘Discovery Event’ at a university or shared workspace can help to attract ideal millennial candidates and allows you to target your presentation accordingly to their demographic.

Finding your millennial ‘unicorn’

With minimal workforce experience, not every millenial is cut out to run a franchise. Although millennials are the most entrepreneurial generation to date, that does not mean that everyone is a fit for your franchise model. Franchisors need to be sure to qualify millennials in a different way than other generations. At the end of the day, franchising is about revenue - not the initial sale.

Buying a franchise is not a magic fix for career struggles and the millennial franchisee must have the right traits to make the business a success. Typically, qualification is based on background experience and financial information. With millennials this information is scarce, if it exists at all. Franchisors need to understand the right questions to ask to qualify millennial candidates.

Consider creating a program specifically targeted at millenials. Include pre-qualification questions to weed out anyone who isn’t a fit. Train your sales team on how to have a different conversation with them. Remember the difference with this generation.

But how do they finance their franchise?

Millennials come with baggage. Student loans, credit cards, minimal savings and it continues… But that doesn’t mean the right candidate won’t be a fit. Financial considerations are always key and there are many options available.  Your franchise brand likely has a number that are offered already. There are also options tailored specifically for this demographic through banks and loans.  

Some franchisors have opted to create programs specifically for this demographic to help subsidize the cost.  Remember, the right franchisee will bring in a lot of revenue in the long term as well as be a face for your brand to utilize and promote to attract new franchisees.  The long term benefits outweigh financial subsidies.

If all else fails, parents, friends and family often help. Being the most entrepreneurial generation, the right candidates will find a way.

Joseph Folwell: A millennial case study

Meet Joseph Folwell - millenial and multi-territory franchise owner.   

After growing tired of working for someone else he decided to go out on his own and purchase a franchise. He was attracted to the proven lead generation philosophy behind the franchise and the strong brand presence. To finance his investment he worked as much overtime as possible to save up for his franchise fees. The franchisor also offered a scholarship program and after scoring so highly on the qualification and matching tests, he was approved. He quickly scaled his business and ended up purchasing three territories. 2019 was his first year running his franchise full time and sales have exceeded £160,000 so far.  His business continues to grow and he looks to purchase additional territories in the near future. Joseph is proof that the right millennial franchisees will deliver results for your brand. His results have exceeded those of many more senior and seasoned franchisees.

The bottom line

Millennials provide a huge new opportunity for franchisors.  With the right marketing, targeting, qualification, and financing in place, franchisors can take advantage of this emerging market.  Millennials tendency to act quickly may also result in deals closing faster if done correctly.


Tamara Smith is CEO and Marketing Strategist at Just Franchise Marketing.

Want to find out more about recruiting millennials to your franchise? Download the latest Wire millennial special report for free here.

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