Email marketing can be a powerful tool for franchisees looking to better serve existing customers and attract new ones. However, crafting effective email campaigns takes strategy and know-how.
In this article, we provide 13 highly actionable tips to help franchisees of all sizes make the most of email marketing.
Whether you’re looking to segment your list, improve deliverability, write better subject lines, or boost engagement – these best practices will set you on the path to email success. I also recommend using email marketing platforms as they can make the entire process easier and quicker.
Significance of Email Marketing for Franchisees
Email marketing delivers unparalleled returns for franchise brands. Studies show that for every $1 spent on email marketing, businesses see an average return of $42. That’s a 4,200% return!
Beyond impressive ROI, email enables more personalized and targeted outreach to customers than other marketing channels. This leads to higher engagement and conversion rates.
For franchisees juggling many responsibilities, email also provides efficiency and automation. Campaigns can be scheduled ahead of time, freeing up precious bandwidth. With the ability to track detailed analytics, email marketing provides vital data and insights to refine efforts as you go.
For all these reasons, dedicating resources to email marketing pays dividends for franchise growth and customer retention over the long term.
1. Offer Discounts for Signing Up for Email Communications
Collecting customer email addresses should be a top priority for franchisees, but getting contacts to willingly share this data can prove tricky. An excellent incentive to encourage sign-ups is to offer an immediate discount or promotional offer in exchange for their email.
For example, when customers pay at the counter or checkout online, let them know that by sharing their email they can receive 10% off their current purchase.
Be transparent that by providing their email address, they are consenting to receive future communications from you. Assure new subscribers that they will gain access to exclusive discounts and promotions not released publicly.
Once you’ve begun collecting emails, you can nurture these new contacts by sending customized welcome messages.
Share links to social media channels, and online reviews and provide opt-ins to receive SMS text alerts. Gradually educate contacts on the breadth of value your franchise offers.
This cultivation from the first email lays the foundation for higher engagement and conversion down the road. Remember, an email address is only as useful as the relationship built after capturing it! Make sure you send marketing emails at the right time to increase your chances of getting the desired response.
2. Share Tips and Industry Knowledge from the Franchisor
As a franchisee, you have access to a wealth of industry knowledge and best practices from your parent company. Tapping into these assets for email content is a missed opportunity for many owners. Alongside promotions and product updates, share bite-sized tips originally supplied by your franchisor.
For example, a salon brand could include quick tricks for protecting hair in the summer or properly washing for your hair type. A pet store franchise may share tips on affordable toys to keep dogs stimulated. These small yet mighty tips showcase your expertise and helpfulness just as much as large discounts do.
Repurposing this type of brand-approved advice and education enables you to provide subscribers value beyond sales. By establishing your location as an authoritative voice, customers develop loyalty leading to repeat business.
When weaving in tips from the franchisor, be sure to customize with your local voice while retaining messaging alignment. Adding a personal touch keeps content feeling authentic and community-oriented.
3. Promote Limited-Time Offers and Sales
Email marketing allows franchisees to rapidly inform customers of limited-time promotions and offers. This builds urgency and excitement to visit your location among subscribers. Unlike static print ads or billboards, you can deploy flash sales and quickly test their results via email.
For example, if you operate a frozen yogurt shop, you could promote a 48-hour weekend special of buy-one-get-one-free on all toppings.
Or if you own a massage studio, you may offer 20% off 60-minute massages every Friday morning for the first 5 customers who book using a unique promo code. When running limited-time offers, include tangible details like exact dates, times, and locations so customers can immediately act.
Use countdown timers on your email templates, like the one in the example below:
Follow up each promotion with insights gathered on which emails drove the most redemptions. Over time, you will uncover the types of deals and messaging styles that resonate best with your audience.
Align future limited-time email campaigns around these wins to maximize response. With testing and refinement, your redemption and sales rates will continue climbing over time.
4. Segment Lists by Customer Preferences
One of the most effective ways to boost email engagement is by segmenting your contact list based on customer preferences and attributes. For example, you may create VIP segments comprised of high-value customers who spend over a set threshold per month.
Or segment by factors like geography, demographics, purchase history, or items previously expressed interest in.
Getting even more advanced, you can dynamically group contacts by real-time behaviors like email opens, clicks, and website page views. Regardless of how you slice your list, sending ultra-targeted emails to each subgroup increases relevance.
This means higher open and click-through rates as customers receive personalized messaging tailored to their demonstrated behaviors and preferences.
While blasting your entire list with mass emails seems easier, statistics show response rates plummet without email list segmentation. Create customized campaigns for each subscriber group and watch overall email metrics rise.
5. Automate Post-Purchase Follow-Up Campaigns
Capitalizing on the critical window immediately following a customer purchase is easy with email automation. Set up a post-purchase drip campaign to deliver a series of 3-5 emails over several weeks.
Begin by thanking customers for their orders and providing resources with order updates or shipping confirmations. Upcoming messages can share warranty information, tips on proper use and care, accessories, or add-ons to consider.
The final email invites happy customers to share their experiences on online review sites. This not only collects social proof to display as testimonials but enables proactive monitoring of mentions.
Any less-than-stellar reviews can then be immediately addressed to de-escalate issues. Post-purchase nurturing builds loyalty while heading off dissatisfaction.
Just don’t forget the “Preference Center” opt-out on every email to retain subscriber trust. The more value provided after the sale, the higher the lifetime customer worth becomes.
6. Cross-Sell Related Products and Services
Opportunities abound to increase order sizes by cross-selling complementary products or services to current customers. Think of what add-ons align with purchases customers already make.
A retail franchise presents extended warranty options when a shopper adds an appliance to their online cart or makes an in-store transaction. Or recommend accessories like cases, cables, or memory cards when electronics are purchased. A restaurant could upsell drinks, desserts, or side dishes as patrons place entree orders with their server.
The easiest route is having staff cross-sell during the checkout experience. But the benefit of email is being able to nurture more considered purchases beyond a quick impulse buy. Follow up recent transactions with tailored product recommendations perfect for that customer’s demonstrated needs.
Whether via email or other touchpoints, cross-selling should steer clear of overly promotional language. Focus messaging on simplifying customers’ lives versus making another quick sale. This consultative approach builds trust to sustainably grow the share of the wallet over the long term.
7. Send Customer Satisfaction Surveys
Checking in on how customers feel about your franchise should happen regularly, not just when there are complaints. Surveying satisfaction provides quantifiable data to inform improvements across the business. It also demonstrates to patrons that their voice holds weight in shaping their experience.
Email marketing enables sending post-purchase surveys in a fast, personalized manner. For example, 3 days after an oil change, ask customers to rate their visit on a 5-point scale. Include open-ended feedback for suggested upgrades like more comfortable waiting areas or faster service turnaround. Offer an instant coupon to incentivize sharing constructive criticism.
Analyze survey results to uncover what your franchise is doing well alongside priority areas needing attention. Then close the loop by following up with changes implemented because of subscriber input.
Highlight customer-inspired updates in future communications to spotlight their VIP status as partners in bettering business practices. Their continued loyalty rewards your brand for valuing their voice.
8. Encourage Customers to Leave Online Reviews
Positive online reviews are social proof that sways prospective customers’ research. Yet, most happy patrons don’t think to leave feedback unless prompted. Email presents a perfect channel to directly request and collect reviews from your subscriber list.
After a patient visit, send a polite ask to pleased customers pointing them to sites like Yelp, Facebook, and Google. To spur quick action, give an incentive like a discount on their next purchase in return for receiving confirmation of their posted review.
To streamline gathering feedback at scale, use review generation platforms like Podium or Birdeye. These tools allow sending review request emails while capturing responses directly on your website or social pages.
Help customers help your business by overcoming review platform friction with automated review solicitation. Monitoring what patrons post also lets you address any outlier negative commentary before it spirals. Proactively managing your reputation ultimately serves to showcase all the reasons new shoppers should give your franchise a try.
9. Spotlight Customer Testimonials
Satisfied customers can become powerful brand advocates if given the microphone. An impactful way to leverage their voices is by featuring subscriber testimonials in email campaigns.
For example, when launching a new spa service, include a customer quote detailing their transformative experience receiving a seaweed detox wrap. Or promote pet grooming upgrades by spotlighting Fido’s gleaming coat thanks to the premium shampoo package. Use data from reviews showing common satisfiers to identify ideal testimonial commentary.
When sharing emails, ensure supporters are granted permission for public use.
- Keep integrity by pulling verbatim language from verified review sites like Facebook and Google.
- Rotate multiple testimonials over time rather than overusing a single power user.
- Watch open and click-through rates rise as recipients emotionally connect with the personal journeys and triumphs of customers just like them.
10. Send Location-Specific Event Announcements
Email enables franchisees to inform subscribers of local events and happenings unique to each community. Instead of relying solely on the national marketing calendar from franchisor HQ, make sure to spotlight proprietary store activities.
For example, independently owned ice cream parlors may host special sundae socials when schools let out for the summer.
Or a regional deli franchise could promote sangria nights featuring wines from local vineyards when patio weather arrives. Even if corporate suggests broader themes, customize messaging to resonate in the neighborhoods surrounding each franchise outpost.
Location-based event emails give owners an organic way to stand apart from national branding. They reinforce community orbit and remind residents why your store is the go-to gathering place year after year.
Here’s an example of a template from MyEmma that you might use:
When highlighting happenings, give clear details like dates, times, and what new elements patrons can expect. This builds buzz while educating customers on reasons to keep returning all season long.
11. Add Email Signup Forms In-Store
While online signups grow your subscriber list, in-store email collection should not be overlooked. Directly asking patrons to join while paying provides another touchpoint to capture the contact info of walk-in customers.
Have staff offer an instant, meaningful perk like 10% off their transaction for sharing their email at checkout. Provide tablet or kiosk signup forms near exits where customers wait like queues or pickup counters. When not rushed, they can more readily consume value propositions of what joining will mean for them.
Compared to street teams outside harassing shoppers on their way in, in-store forms lead to higher quality signups of proven paying customers. Synchronize all in-store and online capture methods with your central CRM database to avoid siloed, incomplete contact records across channels.
Though occasional mentions may mildly annoy some, the lifetime value of an engaged email subscriber is well worth the ask. Just be transparent upfront, polite, and ready to reward new contacts!
12. Track Campaign Analytics to Identify Areas for Optimization
The best way for franchisees to improve email performance over time is by closely monitoring campaign analytics. Go beyond vanity metrics like open and click rates to uncover deeper insights into subscriber behavior.
For example, track factors like the optimal send times that drive most activity. Identify top-clicked links and offers to feature more prominently in the future. See if subject lines with urgency outperform informational ones. Many email service providers surface easy-to-digest reports highlighting areas to test and refine.
Regularly comb through these analytics to pinpoint new opportunities. Then apply learnings in upcoming campaigns while continually experimenting with messaging variations. Over time, your emails will grow exponentially more tailored to what uniquely motivates your audience to take action.
The ultimate key is getting scientific with response data rather than guessing what works. Quantifiable optimization is what evolves good emailers into great ones.
13. Provide Ongoing Relevant Value to Subscribers
The worst thing franchises can do is let email subscribers languish once acquired. Unless you continue providing compelling reasons for contacts to stick around, they will eventually tune out your messages entirely. Commit to an always-on approach for nurturing customer relationships over the long haul.
This means consistently delivering value beyond salesy promotions. Share helpful lifestyle articles that enrich readers’ lives like recipe ideas from your restaurant or self-care tips from your hair salon.
Weave in surprise and delight offers like gift cards just for being a valued email member. Send birthday coupons to build goodwill and emotional connections with supporters.
When subscribers receive perks nowhere else, you become their indispensable brand pen pal. This prevents inbox fatigue and unsubscribes down the road.
By always mixing industry know-how, access to exclusive deals plus reciprocity for their ongoing loyalty, customers feel respected rather than marketed to. Just remember, the privilege to engage someone’s inbox carries a responsibility to make it count.
Implementing even a handful of these email marketing tips positions franchisees for growth. Whether looking to better segment contacts, offer more value, or optimize campaigns – small investments compound over time.
As your subscriber list and engagement increases, so too does your competitive advantage in the market. Lean into email’s unmatched ROI but also don’t lose sight of the loyal community built message by message, send by send.