Email marketing best practices for franchise marketers: 8 essential steps

By 2023, it is estimated that half the world’s population, nearly 4.3 billion people, will be email users. Email marketing is still the number-one marketing tool for more than 81 percent of marketers, who make up part of the 293 billion emails that are sent and received each day.

Those are some pretty staggering numbers. According to the Data & Marketing Association, the reason behind such a colossal superhighway is because for every dollar spent on email marketing, a company can expect an average return of $42. Sending a great email to a franchise prospect is second only to getting them on the phone. Sometimes, when done correctly, it can be even better. Like anything, however, there is a right way and a wrong way. Here are eight guidelines to follow when utilizing email marketing to convert your next great franchise prospect.

Know your buyer profile

This may seem elementary, but when it comes to sending email, it isn’t enough to know the likes and dislikes of your prospect, you should understand how they behave. Their behavior will dictate the time you should send the email (even if it goes against the tried and true Tuesday or Thursday morning at 10am) and dictate the style or format of the content. A prospect for a medical franchise might work midnights, someone targeted for a home services concept may not be available to check their personal email until 8pm.

Give them what they want

Once a franchise prospect has opened your email, make sure you give them what they want, whether that’s information, emotive storytelling, or something interactive like a quiz or survey. The key is to offer a value proposition they can’t refuse. Figure out what will entice them, then follow through and deliver what you promise.

Track and measure

The greatest thing about digital marketing is the ability to adjust on the fly. Marketing analytics will track and measure your email campaign from the moment you hit send. Find out who is opening the emails, what the click-through rate is, how much time they are spending on the landing page you sent them to, and ultimately whether they convert. You can A/B test everything from the subject line to the color of the graphic. You can also learn whether you should segment your audience into two groups like active owner operators and investors only. Track. Adjust. Repeat.

Subject lines matter 

An email that doesn’t get opened does you no good. Imagine your email sitting in a list of dozens, or likely hundreds of other emails in your prospect’s inbox. The subject line is the only thing that will set yours apart from the others, so it needs to be good. It should be short, optimized and to the point. Next level subject lines can be personalized, ask a question, or even include emojis. A report from BusinessWire showed increased open rates for subject lines that contain emojis, especially near holidays. They certainly stand out in an inbox, increase your open rate by nearly 4.2 percent, and can keep your email from landing in the spam folder. Fair warning, emojis aren’t appropriate for all brands, or all recipients. Again, a subtle reminder to know your target market.

Visual elements win clicks

It is what it is. According to, content that includes visual elements increases user engagement by 650 percent. GIFs, striking images, infographics, video. Use them all.

Drip campaigns drive leads

Drip campaigns let you keep trying without having to manually keep track of every prospect communication you send. Thanks to an immense number of marketing tools, software, digital content calendars and more, consistent messaging and follow through can be automated, doing the work for you while you work other leads along the franchise pipeline.

Email marketing housekeeping

A good email isn’t easy to write, so make sure your efforts aren’t thrown out on a technicality. Avoid excess coding, don’t use a “no reply” return address, always send to yourself first to proofread and test links, optimize for mobile users, remove bouncers and clean your list often.

Clarify your CTA

We’ve talked about the importance of knowing exactly what type of email your prospective franchisee wants to receive, but it’s equally important not to take your eye off the prize. The reason we utilize email marketing in franchise marketing is to convert leads. Getting them to open is great, but without a close, the entire process is for naught. It is critical to make sure your call to action is crystal clear. Make it easy for prospects to do what you want them to do.

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Matthew Jonas is president and co-founder of TopFire Media. As TopFire Media’s brand steward, he defines high-impact digital PR and marketing strategies for an impressive cache of consumer and franchise-based clientele.
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