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Industry Discussion

Email Marketing for Franchises

Some franchise business owners and managers have found it more difficult to conduct business in recent years, due to the economic slowdown and severe credit restrictions from lenders. Thriving franchise owners have committed to long term, extensive marketing techniques - realizing that t is paramount to draw the greatest benefits possible from the smallest promotional expenditure. This is why more franchise business owners and managers are turning to email and social media marketing. Statistics show email marketing returns approximately fifty dollars for every one dollar invested, making the cost of any franchise business' email marketing the best promotional or advertising expense, and dwarfing older conventional media such as television, radio, newspapers, magazines and Yellow Page listings.

Successful approaches focus on how aspects of operations appeal to specific demographic, geographic or behavior-based categories within segmentation groups. An optimal plan for online franchise marketing would balance the appeal of a nationally recognized corporate chain with the local connection to an individual franchisee and their community/consumer base in the immediate region. The marketing strategy emphasizing the "we are your neighbors" aspect of the local franchisee, while expressing pride in the impeccable standards practiced by the national chain franchisor, has been implemented with great success by many franchisees in their email newsletter campaigns.

The application of a corporate email template consistent with the franchisor's logos, mascots, leitmotifs and color scheme allows the consumer to identify the company image they know so well and still feel an upsurge of familiarity when they recognize a missive was issued by their local outlet. By inserting local information – like promotions, discounts, retail hours, special offers and events right in the community – the business owner draws in regional residents.

Your regional customers will react strongly to offers promising rewards and incentives. VIP clubs that earn discounts on goods or outright free purchases are just some of the many incentive approaches proven to work in a franchise successfully; offering your subscribers a mix of educational and informational content tied to your brand is also a beneficial method. How-to guides, timely reports, Q&A or FAQ sheets - and even short e-books dealing with topics of interest to your audience - can impact the performance metrics of your campaign.

In order to keep the email marketing campaign expanding after initial success, the franchise business marketer must work at consistently growing the subscription list. Franchise businesses find the email address collection process can be achieved through these methods:

At community events
At franchise sponsored events
At sports events
At the checkout counter via business card collection
At the franchise location through bulletin board signups
By sponsoring little league and other local teams
From collaborative local businesses such as suppliers and partners
In the guest area through a guestbook
Via their website signup page

Your subscription list is one of the most powerful assets for ensuring online presence and impact. Although the costs of email marketing campaigns are minimal in comparison to advertising through regional print or broadcast mediums, conventional contractual franchise structures allow online expenditures to be rolled into a local ad fund - just like placing a display ad in the newspaper or a run of schedule on a local radio station.

In many franchise systems, the franchisee is required to contribute a sum of money, known as the advertising fee, to regional and national advertising. Collective pooling of promotional marketing funds allows numerous franchisees to create a larger advertising impact by promoting the overall brand rather than the individual locations. Advertising fees are generally calculated on a percentage of your gross sales and collected monthly; these amounts vary from fractions of a percent to five percent or more, depending on the franchise. Some franchisors do not collect an advertising fee at all, while others levy a flat fee.

In addition to the national and regional advertising funds, the franchisor expects franchisees to invest in local promotions not included in primary advertising fees. Local marketing drives business to a specific location, and the majority of franchise agreements clearly state the franchisee is responsible for the costs of implementing local territory marketing each month. Franchisees may also be expected to participate in a series of local co-ops with neighboring franchisees. Some franchisees may not know their franchise contracts clearly state local territory marketing funds may be utilized for online promotional purposes. Email and social media marketing is generally acknowledged by all major franchisors as a valid advertising expense.