Jan 29, 2021

Effective Email Marketing for Franchise Development Success

Written by Keith Gerson

As record numbers of people look to the proven systems of franchising for their next opportunity, it's time to be bold and authentic with your franchise sales. Don't let the buzz over chatbots, paid search, and social media algorithms distract you from striking up high-conversion conversations through good old fashion email. 

 

Why email? For starters, ask yourself how many times you've checked your own email today. Franchise email marketing remains the most powerful and cost-effective recruitment tool at a time when email is being relied on more than ever. Open and read rates are up nearly 20 percent from 2019 as folks turn to their inboxes for information and education during the ongoing pandemic. 

 

Email marketing is an inexpensive tool that pays off. It costs roughly $200 to send out 10,000 targeted emails. The average ROI for email is consistently more than double that of other digital channels. Remember, we are talking about a captive audience that has trusted you with their email address. These prospects want and expect to hear from you to learn more about your brand.

 

The problem: Most franchisors lack effective lead nurturing programs for sales development. 

Our 2020 Franchise Sales Index Report analyzing franchise sales data from more than 600 brands found about 1% of all leads turned into sales. Of those leads, 85% that became deals were reached by a recruiter within 4 HOURS of their initial inquiry — but only 16.5% of leads are reached that quickly. Even more mind-boggling, candidates are never called by 74% of franchise recruiters. 

 

At a time when franchisors are struggling to do more with less, your franchise recruitment must work harder and smarter with speed to the lead. 

 

The solution: Fortunately, there are digital tools to help automatically initiate contact and support ongoing recruitment efforts. Targeted email marketing, mobile-ready email templates, SMS text capability, and autoresponders connect your prospects to the right content at the right time.

 

Winning franchise emails are timely, relevant, and targeted. Here's what effective franchise email strategies have in common:

 

Deliver relevant content at every step of the sales process.

Our findings indicate that too few franchisors run email or text campaigning beyond one to two initial drips in the "new lead" status. Communication is key to nurture leads through what can often be a long process. Through email, you can confirm, follow up, and engage with leads using an automated process to simplify and support the journey every step of the way. 

 

FranConnect's email templates and workflow automation allows you to dispatch relevant messaging by stage, lead origin, and the frequency and messaging you'd like candidates to receive. 

 

Use content that genuinely creates forward momentum.

Avoid the hard sell. Think about ways to use emails to build trust, educate, and inform. The initial welcoming contact is the single most important moment of truth. Automating an email delivery with a contact name and phone number lets the candidate know they have entered your lead process and, in return, provides an avenue for a message of thanks, a few brand details, and an invitation to talk. As the lead moves forward, the content does too. Provide wide-ranging value with topics like "How to read an FDD," "Questions to Ask on Discovery Day," or validation stage-related video vignettes of highly satisfied franchisees.

 

Engage with prospects. Share your brand story, showcase company leadership, and expertise, and deliver content that provides value, such as outlining trends, analyzing marketplace shifts, and highlighting innovation through case studies.

 

Make the subject line and Call to Action (CTA) count.

Subject lines should be short, sweet, and relevant; the Call to Action (CTA), easy to spot and singular, should clearly tell the reader what you want them to do next. Emails with a single CTA can increase click rates by 371% and sales by 1617% (Wordstream). 

 

Measure success beyond opens and clicks.

A/B testing emails will help you fine-tune your content and conversion rates. Test emails by time, day, subject line, call-to-action, links, frequency, email content length, and personalization. The results you get from these can be analyzed, optimized, and improved for better conversion. FranConnect can measure and track performance in real-time, segment your audiences, and measure specific data points. 

 

Identify your lead source.

Lead attribution scoring can help you rank the value of your candidates. FranConnect uses heat meter technology that assigns numeric values to engagements and interaction. This info allows you to starve the things that don't work, so you can feed the things that do.  

 

Effectively nurture the leads.

All of your hard work to attract great leads are for naught if you don't have an effective program in place to nurture those candidates through the sales process. Don't give up. Our research shows that only 25% of franchisors have established campaigns for new leads. Franchise marketing and sales teams need to use a mix of personal and automated outreach before abandoning a lead. High-performing sales development teams typically aim for a minimum of 7 to 12 touchpoints (The Rule of Seven).

 

Effective automated e-mail and lead nurturing is multi-channel.

It's important to have different ways to communicate with a franchise prospect. Ensure your email and lead nurturing tactics include text messaging, which is quickly becoming the gold standard for lead generation. 

  • 91% of Americans keep their mobile devices within arm's length at all times.
  • 90% of all text messages are read within 3 minutes of being sent.
  • Text messages are open and read and read almost 138% more than email. 

Managing an email marketing campaign requires a robust CRM that allows you to map out workflows and receive insights into your sales funnel through a dashboard or "command center.”

 

Effective lead nurturing through automated and personalized emails keeps your brand top of mind as prospects move through the buying process on the road to becoming new franchisees. We are seeing franchisors knock it out of the park during the pandemic by revving up their email marketing and reactivating database leads with timely, well-written, and well-presented communications.

 

You can too.

 

Learn more about FranConnect’s Marketing CRM, including email lead nurturing.

About the author

Keith Gerson

Keith Gerson, CFE is the President of Franchise Operations at FranConnect. Keith brings 40+ years of executive level expertise as a passionate and driven Franchisor and Franchisee with a proven track-record in building rapid-growth, and highly profitable franchise organizations. For nearly the past decade, Keith has worked closely with numerous Executive Boards and Leadership Teams that are part of FranConnect’s portfolio of 800+ brands and 150,000 locations. His focus is on helping franchisors to get to their desired future state in sales, operations, and marketing. Recognized in franchising circles for his extensive leadership experience, and ability to drive execution, Keith is a highly rated keynote speaker and author. He has had the rare opportunity to create several leading franchise systems from inception through launch and sustained growth into successful enterprise level brands.

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