Over the past few years, franchisors have begun to see the inherent value of adding video marketing to their outreach efforts. Once thought too complicated, and possibly too expensive to boot, many brands are now discovering that tailored content targeted to achieve specific goals can have a positive impact on KPIs. Following the lead of their big parent companies, middle-market franchisors are primarily using video for a few key purposes. Training videos have helped revolutionize the onboarding process for new franchisees. Testimonials and “Day in the Life” video shorts have helped boost franchisee recruitment efforts. And above all, video content that reinforces the brand’s mission statement and value propositions allows them to position themselves for further growth and expansion – both internally and externally.

At its core, video content is about establishing social proof through storytelling. A means for franchisors to position themselves, not just in how they appear, but also in how they want to be seen. And that notion extends to both internal audiences (potential franchisees), as well as external audiences (consumers). Brand storytelling is a unique and powerful approach to marketing. It centers around using stories that feature real people, rather than simply emphasizing the product or service itself. And it allows us to tap into one of our most fundamental human needs – the need to connect with others visually through narrative. 

But ask any franchisor what they really hope to get out of video marketing and the answer is unanimous – a good return on their investment. There are several ways to create franchise development content that boosts growth and furthers sales efforts. Below are some specific areas where video can have the most impact on both.


FranDev Content That Moves the Needle

Franchise development is about growth and expansion – the critical need to recruit new franchisees into the system, thereby strengthening the brand’s market share. Video can be a powerful tool in accomplishing that goal – especially if franchisors pay attention to the type of video that’s capable of moving the needle. The calculus is simple – to get more franchisees, you have to tell great stories. Some of the best advice to go about it? Don’t just tell stories for telling stories’ sake. You have to evoke emotion and make people feel something. Simply filming a testimonial video with an existing franchisee, while a great start, isn’t enough. You have to capture the unscripted story. And most franchisors don’t know how to go about it. Jeff Gitomer is one of the premier authorities in sales and he has a famous quote: “People don’t like to be sold, but everyone likes to buy.” This meaningful statement sums up the power of video for franchise development efforts, and how to go about it effectively. Focus on the recruitment itself by utilizing testimonials that feature authenticity. Then, and only then, will you gain trust. Numerous studies and surveys have demonstrated that people buy what they trust – be it a car, backyard grill, or even a franchise opportunity.


Getting Testimonials Right

When it comes to showcasing an opportunity, product, or service, how long should a testimonial video be? Most franchisors believe it’s three to five minutes, but it’s actually much shorter than that – usually between 30 and 60 seconds. That’s because it’s short and engaging content that paints a picture and grabs the viewer. Any idea what the average attention span is of an adult human? It’s eight seconds. Studies also show you have less than four seconds to gain the viewer’s initial attention. And only two-thirds of people will watch a video for more than a minute at a time. While there’s no hard evidence of causation here, we might as well blame it all on Tik Tok (I kid, I kid). As for some additional advice and tips, make sure you don’t rely heavily on scripted content. Videos that do often seem too robotic and lack the real emotion you’re going after. Instead, focus on having a natural conversation with your subject. Content created with this in mind is almost always more engaging and authentic. Also, you can have your CEO be the star, but that won’t necessarily resonate with your preferred audience. If you really want to connect with your target market, make sure you feature real-deal franchisees. Someone who looks like them, acts like them, and has achieved business ownership – something the viewer should want for themselves. You also need to film in more than one location, and the perfect example is the “Day in the Life” videos of existing franchisees. Masterfully edited, they can take the viewer on an eight-hour tour in less than one minute. Real franchisees with a real story to tell are how you get the social proof you need to sell the next franchise opportunity.


Thoughts on B-Roll and Behind the Scenes Footage

For those who are unfamiliar, b-roll footage is supplemental or alternative video footage that’s interspersed with the subject or main subject footage. Done right, it keeps videos from being boring and monotonous. It adds context and depth to what you’re communicating and should illustrate your subject matter in a way that keeps viewers engaged. After professional edits, b-roll footage helps you tell a more complete story for your brand, product, or service – all by providing the visual cues necessary to tie everything together in one tight clip. Another clever tactic you should always employ is the use of behind-the-scenes support video, especially when you’re on location. Oftentimes, it can truly set the scene of what occurred during the shoot, continuing to humanize the franchisor’s message, personnel, and values. 

After you’ve made the decision to utilize video marketing and you have a final finished product, there’s one thing to remember. You have to use it – as much as possible and in as many places as you can think of! Add videos to your About Us page on your website. According to a video marketing report by the Aberdeen Group, websites that include videos generate 34% higher website conversion rates than websites without them. Showcase your videos on a loop in trade show booths at franchise conferences and conventions. Add links to your videos in your corporate email signature files. Show off your videos on Zoom calls. And lastly, plan on a heavy rotation of video across the board on your social media channels. Keep in mind that, since 2016, there are more eyeballs on smartphones than desktops or tablets.

Ultimately, whether you’re looking to increase sales conversions (external) or enhance engagement levels amongst potential franchisees (internal), incorporating video storytelling into your marketing campaign can be the meaningful social proof you need to create franchise development content that moves the needle for both efforts. And getting it right can make all the difference in the world.



Trevor Rappleye is the founder and CEO of FranchiseFilming, one of the leading video production companies in the franchising industry. He’s been an astute entrepreneur since 2003 – beginning his first company at age 13, converting VHS to DVD and filming family events, and remains obsessed with storytelling, leadership, video marketing and filming social proof for brands and franchisors. FranchiseFilming has done high-quality video production shoots for industry leading franchise clients such as Neighborly, CVS, Home Depot, ADP, and FASTSIGNS. Trevor can be reached at trevor@corporatefilming.com