Top Ten Topics In Franchise Lead Generation

By: Michael Alston for Franchise Insights

December 28, 2023 – From a review of web traffic to content viewed over the past year, we developed a “Top Ten” list of the most popular topics among our insights in 2023 based on the readership of articles by category. 

There were many changes this year from our 2022 Top Ten Topics in Franchise Lead Generation, though some key categories remain. Last year, there was great interest in Apple’s mail privacy and app tracking changes  and their impact on Meta’s performance, along with Google’s plan for the end of 3rd party cookies and removal of search keyword data from its analytics product

These topics gave way in 2023 to a return to the basics – what are inquirers looking for, and how do franchise development teams best reach and nurture them into solid sales prospects. On the other hand, the growing impact of artificial intelligence on franchise lead generation attracted lots of interest given its impact on search marketing.

Along with each topic, ranked top-down by popularity, here are the most popular articles that address each particular subject.

1. Top Motivations for Business Ownership

This perennial favorite rose from third place last year. On the FranchiseVentures platform, we continuously poll prospects about their motivations for wanting to own  franchise businesses, and receive thousands of respondents each month. The most important drivers for business ownership remain remarkably consistent over time though there was consolidation at the top in 2023. These are useful to know during the franchise sales process, as candidates will prioritize them based on their own needs and desires. Also, prospects still prefer franchises over buying an existing business.

2. How Franchise Brands Get Discovered and Considered by Buyers

With all the social media clutter and increased time spent on video streaming, it is evermore important to be where folks with the specific intent to research franchises are, as evidenced by the continuing popularity of our articles on how your franchise gets discovered and considered by potential buyers, which vaulted to 2nd from 8th place in 2022.

3. A Secret Source of Referrals to Franchise Development Websites

Up from 5th place last year, more data on the quantification of referral value of franchise directory sites (portals) led to further discovery about just why lead submitters tend to visit franchise development sites after requesting information. Now that we know that 65-70% of portal lead submitters go on to further research at the franchise development website out of a desire to learn more before speaking to anyone, and about a quarter of those submit a lead at the franchisor site, the referral value is unquestionable.

4. Best Channels for Initial Prospect Contact (and more Apple changes)

Rising from 6th place last year, one of the most read of our best practices articles addresses the best channels for initial sales contact. Preferences shifted back during the pandemic, but initial contact by email is prospects’ universal favorite, though skillful use of texting and info in the email to set up the subsequent phone call will increase contact rates by getting past Apple’s “silence unknown callers” feature. The September release of  Apple’s “Live Voicemail” feature also may be making a difference, as evidence by reported initial contact rates increasing in October. Not on the “top ten” list were our articles pointing out the high cost of low initial contact ratesand the shocking percentage of leads who report no follow up by the franchises they inquired to, a great opportunity for those who use best practices.

5. Feedback From Prospects on Improving the Sales Process

In a new topic this year, we learned that prospects engaging with franchise sales teams were largely satisfied with their experiences, and only a minority were “unsatisfied.” But further, our surveys yielded franchise prospects’ own suggestions for improving the sales process, which dovetail with best practices recommendations above.

6. Considering the Lifetime Value of a Franchise Prospect

This year, we refined our approach to quantifying the potential in the lifetime value of franchise leads along with some distilled best practices for capturing that value. These basic return-on-investment concepts, as evidenced by their continued high readership, are essential to understanding the value and ROI of third party sites.

7. How Artificial Intelligence Changes Franchise Lead Generation

Starting with our first Kim Kardashian reference in an article, AI and ChatGPT have captured reader interest. Despite the initial and continuing enthusiasm about the potential impact, thus far little has changed in search market share. But look for articles coming soon about consumer and advertiser reactions to AI-powered search results, and how the new options are working – there is a lot to unpack.

8. Prospects Quickly Narrow Their Focus

While we have observed many changes in franchise buyer behavior in the three years since the global pandemic began, one aspect changed very little. Despite the thousands of offerings among dozens of categories in the franchise directories at FranchiseVentures online brands, most prospects still narrow their focus to a single concept on a visit to request further information about franchises.

In looking at data for thousands of franchise inquiries during the month of July 2023, 39.3% selected a single franchise opportunity for follow up. An additional 15.7% inquired about a second franchise, and 9.8% requested follow-up from a third concept. 

9. Geographic Migration of Franchise Interest

The pandemic-induced out-migration from cities was compounded by migration between states. While the media continue to ponder political and regulatory reasons for migration among states, and their repercussions, analysis of lead submissions revealed  a shift in the states’ relative share of franchise inquiries. We saw first a northward and eastward migration, and then in the past year, some partial reversal. We look forward to an updated view of this trend in early 2024.

10. Key Strengths of Aspiring Franchisees

Since December 2022, we’ve been reporting on prospects’ own views of the strengths they bring to franchise ownership. Team leadership experience, “grit”, willingness to follow a proven system, and team leadership experience are most cited by franchise seekers, and those three personal traits consolidated their prominence in 2023. 

Small Business Startup Sentiment

In aggregate, the monthly small business startup trends reports had the most readership of all, given its frequency. With a finger on the pulse of prospect flow, these summaries provided some of the highlights of our insights into startup timeframes, perceptions of current and future business conditions, and views on how macroeconomic factors impact startup readiness. conducts a monthly “mystery shopping survey” as well as the Small Business Startup Sentiment Index™ (SSI) of individuals who have recently inquired about businesses and franchises for sale at one of the FranchiseVentures lead generation brands. In their fifth year running, these surveys provide insights into prospect behaviors, psychographics and demographics, as well as franchise lead generation best practices and franchise development benchmarking to help franchisors match them with opportunities where all will succeed.

FranchiseVentures is the leading franchise lead-generation platform for potential franchisees to thousands of growing franchise systems in the United States and Canada. Its franchise lead generation brands include, Franchise Solutions, Franchise Gator, Franchise Opportunities, Franchise For Sale, and, and together they provide the largest aggregation of prospective franchise buyers in the U.S.

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Contact FranchiseVentures to get your share of today’s aspiring franchise owners.


Published on Wednesday, December 27th, 2023.

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