How to Start Email Marketing for Franchisors

The world of franchising is changing, and fast. With each new generation coming into their own and establishing new practices and behaviors, the way we do business is evolving. One area that is changing is marketing. In the past, marketing departments worked in silos, focusing on traditional campaigns such as TV ads and print magazine spreads. Today, marketing departments have to work across platforms, engaging with customers through multiple interactions – from social media to email.

As a franchisor, you may be tempted to opt out of traditional forms of marketing and rely solely on social media and digital marketing to grow your business. While social media is an essential part of any marketing department, email marketing can play a crucial role as well. The right email marketing strategy can drive traffic to your website, lead to interest in your products, and help build your brand – not to mention the potential to get customers to opt in to receive further information from you (i.e. to create a list). And did we mention that you can also use email marketing to send important notifications, such as the expiration of a coupon or the arrival of a new product?

So how does one go about creating an effective email marketing strategy for a franchisor? What should you include in your content schedule? How can you measure the effectiveness of your email marketing efforts?

Create A Vision Statement

The first step towards creating an effective email marketing plan is to set some SMART (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic, and Timely) goals. A good vision statement will lay the foundation for your email marketing strategy and help you stay focused throughout the process. It should be concise and easy to understand, yet compelling enough to get people to want to read it. A 20-year study of Fortune 500 companies from the Forbes Inc. magazine found that companies that developed strong vision statements were more than 4x as likely to outperform peers in terms of profit growth, asset value, and market share.

Take time to think of the type of person/business you’d like to attract to your franchise. Perhaps you’re looking to attract Millennial consumers, or you’re curious about entering the Brazilian market – these are all examples of a vision statement that you can use to guide your email marketing strategy. The important thing is that it should be concise and easy to understand, yet compelling enough to get people to want to read it. Having a clear vision statement in place will also help you measure the success of your email marketing campaign.

Establish Credibility

Marketing credibility is important in every industry – it is definitely even more crucial in the world of franchising. When a consumer chooses to support a brand or company, they are doing so because they perceive that the brand or company they are dealing with is, in fact, legitimate. When a customer or potential customer has faith in your product or service, they are more likely to be persuaded to try it out or buy it – even if it’s not what they initially expected. This is why establishing credibility is so crucial to the success of any business.

You can do this in a variety of ways. You can offer compelling product or service benefits, you can provide testimonials from previous customers, or you can establish a partnership with respected industry bodies such as the Better Business Bureau or the BBB Accredited Businesses Awards. Doing any of these things will go a long way towards proving to customers that you are a trustworthy company that they can engage with.

Create A Theme For Your Campaign

An email marketing campaign that is poorly unified across platforms risks losing potential customers and drawing complaints from those on social media who are experiencing a disjointed marketing approach. Keeping things simple and uncluttered will make it much easier for readers to understand and remember what you’re trying to promote, which in turn, can lead to more effective ROI (Return on Investment).

As a general rule of thumb, it is best to keep your messages concise and to the point. This will help ensure that your emails get opened and read – not buried in a mass of useless fluff.

For example, if you are promoting a new brand of beer or wine, you might want to send an email with the following subject line: “New Brand of Beer/Wine Available For Purchase Online.” Then, you could include a few brief paragraphs that describe the quality of the product and the reasons why you think customers should try it out. If you’d like, you could also include a call-to-action button that encourages people to click through to your website to read more.

As another example, let’s say your company is a clothing brand called Anna Molle, and you’ve noticed that a lot of your customers are tweeting about a discount code that is no longer valid. In this scenario, you could send an email to past customers with the subject line: “Help! I Used To Work Here And The Code Expired!” Then, you could include a couple of sentences that briefly describe what happened and a call-to-action button that encourages people to visit your website to see if the code is still active. In this case, you are providing value by filling in a customer service need and encouraging them to visit your website for more information.

Determine How You’ll Measure The Success Of Your Campaign

As a rule of thumb, it is important to set a goal and a time frame for your email marketing campaign. When you do this, you will find it much easier to track the results of your efforts and know whether you’ve been successful in your endeavor. Setting a goal and a time frame allows you to track the results of your campaign in a way that suits your needs. This will help ensure that you always know what to measure and that you’re only measuring the right things.

So, for example, if you’re trying to grow your email list and you determine that the best way to do this is by encouraging people to sign up for your mailing list, you can measure the effectiveness of your effort by comparing the size of your list pre- and post-campaign to see if you’ve succeeded in getting more subscribers.

Determining how you’ll measure the success of your email marketing campaign is very important for establishing a solid foundation for your strategy. It is also important to establish a clear cut-off point for when you will evaluate the success of your campaign. Without a clear end date, you may be tempted to continue measuring the success of your campaign year after year – which can lead to you overestimating its value or even taking on board the wrong metrics. For example, if your goal is to gain a certain number of new subscribers, but you’re measuring the results of your campaign based on the number of click-throughs to a particular webpage, you may find that your campaign has been a failure even though your goal has been accomplished.

To avoid this, set a cut-off date several months or a year from now. This should be determined based on when you expect to see the most significant results from your campaign. For example, if you’re launching a new product line and you determine that the best time to do this is via social media, you might decide to limit your efforts to drive social media engagement and brand awareness to thirty days before and thirty days after the launch date. After this thirty-day window, you can decide whether or not to continue the campaign based on the amount of traction that you’re seeing on social media and how much interest you’re igniting through your various content.

Determine The Timing Of Your Campaign

Timing is everything in digital marketing, and it is just as important in email marketing. One good rule of thumb is to avoid sending email marketing messages too close to or exactly at the same time as other forms of marketing. This is important because, as we’ve established, marketing credibility is crucial in the world of franchising. In the case where your target audience is already aware of your company and your products through other platforms (such as social media), it may not be necessary to engage with them via email. However, if you have something new and different to offer that they haven’t heard about yet, then by all means, let’s talk.

For example, say you are a car manufacturer and you want to encourage people to purchase your vehicles. You might want to try a marketing campaign that features a famous athlete driving one of your cars. Or, you could send an email to your customers with the subject line: “Win a BMW!” Then you could include some compelling content about the car along with a picture of the athlete driving it. In this case, you’re not providing any value-addition aside from the fact that your product is new and different, so the timing of your email campaign is fairly open. You can send it out as soon as you’ve got the content and the image ready, or you can hold off for a few days until you’ve gotten some form of response – positive or negative – from your previous social media efforts.

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