When you take on a franchise, you are likely to be provided with a range of resources that enable you to get up and running more quickly than a standard start up. The business package that you have bought into may include various means of marketing your services. As a few examples, you may have business cards and a website, through to a branded vehicle or shop fascias.
Undoubtedly, these marketing tools are a great way to promote local awareness of your brand. The challenge is that they are often generic. Every franchisee will for example use the same website. They may have a page on which they can add a personal profile and details of the geographical area they are covering, but there often isn’t a great deal of scope to promote offers, news, case studies and other local marketing.
Alternative Online Marketing Options
At times the restrictions can be a little frustrating, but if you are a franchisee, you simply need to look at other means of communicating with existing and prospective customers. Two of the most popular options are social media and email marketing.
Social Media and email marketing are both accessible to franchisees because they are an affordable means of regularly communicating with the contacts that they have and others who might be interested in their services. They both provide an immediate means of sharing information with others and the success of both can be monitored.
Of the two, email marketing offers the best opportunity to communicate directly with the people that you want to build a business relationship with. So how can you make it work for your franchise?
Make an Email Marketing Plan
The first step is to consider your industry and how often there are new, relevant and useful things to share. Consider each month for the coming year; when might you introduce a new range, a fresh menu, a sale, an event? What seasonal tips would be of value to customers through each month of the year? What related industry events are scheduled for each month that you can comment on? When might you run a competition, get involved in a community event, donate time to charity or have other CSR activities to share?
If you are struggling to think of 2-3 potential subjects for each month, you may opt for a quarterly email. If the ideas are flooding in and you work in an ever changing industry, then weekly emails could be appropriate. In addition to helping you work out the schedule, this plan can be a very useful resource to refer to when you are preparing content through the year.
Encourage Sign Up
You should avoid sending email marketing to anyone who hasn’t agreed to it. Firstly, people are understandably suspicious of emails from unknown sources, so your content could be viewed as spam before it is even read. Secondly, email marketing should be viewed as a means of building relationships, so both parties should want to engage.
You can invite people that you meet at networking and other business events by simply asking if they would be interested in receiving your weekly/monthly/quarterly email. You might also be able to add a sign up form onto your website page, with something to incentivise visitors to do so. Maybe everyone who signs up is entered into a free monthly draw?
Initially your email list might be quite small, but it will grow if you are actively marketing your franchise. To ensure that your messages remain relevant and of interest to the recipient, it can be wise to group them. Groups might be based on geographical location, buying habits, gender or other relevant categories.
What Do People Want to Know About?
Overt sales messages are to be avoided at all costs. Email marketing is an opportunity to put your company at the forefront of people’s minds and you want to be there for all the right reasons! Always consider what will be of genuine interest to your recipients, how you can engage with them and how you can share your expertise. Try to consider you content from their perspective to help stay on the right track.
Need a Little Help?
If you need a little help with ideas, how about product reviews, style ideas, comments on topical issues, before and after pictures and special offers to reward their loyalty?
If you would like a higher level of support in attracting interest, managing your contacts, emailing and reviewing, LeadsFlow is a franchise email marketing tool which could help. For further information on LeadsFlow.