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Understand Email Best Practices

Email Marketing for Franchises

Your professionally executed email marketing campaign will bear positive effects on every aspect of your operations. Your prospects may not currently be aware of your full range of products and services. They may only know about your location by passing by your signage, and they may not know you are offering exactly the type of product or service they seek. In order for your email campaign to help prospects find their perfect match, consider the following factors:
Email marketing is different from the conventional forms of print or broadcast advertising. One of the key critical differences is the legal criterion that applies to email marketing, as it is much more strictly regulated than in other media forms.
Every franchise business has a customer data collection process, whether it is a business card fishbowl, a guestbook or consumer registration forms. Once data is collected, email marketing operation standards require that clear, full and unequivocal permission is granted by the customer before any of their personal information is placed on your email list.
CAN-SPAM Violations Have Severe Consequences
In the USA, regulations on email marketing are incorporated into the CAN-SPAM Act, which describes how any type of business must conduct their email marketing processes. The legislation is known as an "opt-out," as it is based on the assurance that any subscriber can notify the email sender and be removed from the subscription list immediately. Violation of these federal regulations is a crime and can lead to hefty fines and imprisonment.
Facilitate Unsubscriptions
Federal law stipulates that you must provide subscribers with an easy and immediate channel to be deleted from your list. Failure to act upon a request from a subscriber to be removed from your list violates the CAN-SPAM Act. Every single one of your emails must contain a visible and effective unsubscribe link.
Manage Bouncing Emails
There are three possible results when you send an email:

Successful delivery
Delivery delayed indefinitely due to your recipient's overly full inbox, network problems or other aspects outside of your control; this is called a soft bounce. It is considered good email practice to attempt to contact the customer via alternate means and bring the issue to their attention.
Delivery unsuccessful and returned as a non-existent or blocked email; this is called a hard bounce. Once you receive the Mailer Daemon notification that your email has bounced hard, any attempts to resend to that email address will indicate to the traffic routing ISPs that you are not paying any attention to your list contents - one of the leading characteristics a of spammer. You may be blacklisted and unable to send future emails.
Privacy Policy
Some franchise business owners simply visit the website of a competitor, copy a privacy policy and paste it to their own site. This act creates duplicate content warranting penalty by search engines; it also creates serious legal liability. Your privacy policy should be drafted by a franchise business attorney and be specific to your business' online activities.
Segment Your List
Segmentation is the preferred and recommended method of focusing your marketing strategies on the demographic, geographic and behavioral features of subscribers. By applying segmentation techniques (known as targeted email marketing), you can produce newsletter content that precisely fits the varying characteristics of your consumer base in order to provide each category with the information that interests them the most.
Test Your Ongoing Content
Experienced email marketers understand the importance in conducting continual testing on their email campaign content. One of the most popular ways to test content is known as an A/B split. In this test, identical newsletters are sent to a specific segment of the contact list with only a single element modified, such as the position of a link, the content of a paragraph or the name on the "From" line. By comparing the turnout of these two different sends, you'll learn how your franchise business customers are responding and be able to further refine your marketing strategies.
Capture Your Customer's Personal Data
Demographic information is necessary for segmenting your email subscription list, but many of your customers may be uncomfortable contributing personal information. Online surveys are a successful way to obtain this data, as are sign up sheets near the checkout counter. Incentives work wonders in increasing the percentage of customers who participate in this form of polling.
Analyze Your Customer's Behavior
The primary method of analyzing success rates for your franchise business' email marketing is through a comprehensive understanding of the open and click-through rates. Through this form of analysis, it will become clear that there are basically three different types of subscribers:

The ones who do not open your email, and thus should be dropped from your list.
The ones who read but don't click through on your emails. These prospects are best kept on the list as they often choose to avail themselves of your franchise business' services in other ways.
The ones who habitually open and click on your emails. These prospects are the preferred type for analysis, as they respond to your calls to action in a readily measurable way.

Creating specific content to suit these categories of prospects provides yet another opportunity for segmentation. You may find that it is a wise strategy to incentivize your clicks for the second group while providing VIP and other elite services for the third group.
Good Email Practice
In order to maximize efficiency, your email marketing campaigns should adhere to best email practices. Doing so will minimize customer complaints, increase efficiency and have a positive result on your franchise business' bottom line. "From" lines, subject lines and preheaders should be meticulously crafted; mobile and PC browser display abilities must be facilitated in your email template; and you must provide a number of different landing pages that contain specifically targeted content suited for your segmentation and A/B split testing efforts.