May 14, 2020 | 2 minute read

If you are not currently using email to maintain communication with your franchise leads, the time has come. With many franchise development teams experiencing a reduction in resources, email marketing is a simple, low-cost option to nurture your leads and keep applications flowing in from serious investors and entrepreneurs. While certain areas of the country are relaxing lockdown rules, a large percentage of the population is still in isolation. But with many investors making plans for when the pandemic ends, email is the most economical way to maintain awareness of your franchise opportunity with those who’ve expressed interest. With the right technology, it is an easy way to strengthen your leads’ relationship with your brand during the crisis.

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If you’re already using email to nurture your franchise leads, you’re ahead of the game. Keep it up but utilize this medium wisely. Here, I’ve compiled 7 tips on how to execute franchise development email marketing like a pro during the crisis.

1. Be empathetic.

It’s likely that your leads have been negatively affected by the pandemic in some way. Be mindful of this when crafting your messaging. Exercise your brand’s emotional intelligence and showcase it. Portray the best company image possible by telling a story about how your brand is helping bridge the gap for your franchisees, staff, customers, vendors and partners during this crisis.

2. Be educational.

While your leads might not be ready to buy this quarter, there’s a good chance they are preparing themselves for when they are. Equip them with the information they need to make an informed decision. Educate them on the support you provide. Has your brand been innovative during the pandemic? Talk about it. How will your product or service be relevant to the marketplace as we enter the “new normal”?

3. Be creative.

Don’t copy what other brands are saying. Be different and make your messaging unique. Guide your leads to the next step in your process in an unexpected way. Inboxes are a crowded place right now. If you have the good fortune of getting your email opened and read, make sure your lead is looking at something creative and relevant. Challenge your writers and designers to stand out from the crowd.

4. Don’t overcommunicate.

Be mindful of how often you are sending. Daily or weekly emails may be too much. You’ve invested a lot to generate your leads and your email list is valuable. It’s not worth risking the unsubscribes. Communicate often enough to nurture and maintain awareness but avoid a frequency that will badger and annoy. It is very easy for your lead to click “unsubscribe” or “mark as spam”.

5. Segment your list.

Personalization is not about your lead’s first name. It’s about useful, timely, and relevant content. Segment your list intelligently. Don’t mass blast your entire list with the same messaging on the same frequency. Send information tailored to what you know about each segment of your list and deploy on a frequency appropriate for how hot or cold your lead is.

6. Audit your automated emails.

If you’re utilizing marketing automation, don’t assume your pre-built campaigns can carry on as usual. Review the content in your automated emails. Examine every message and image to ensure sensitivity to the COVID-19 pandemic and how your operations have changed because of it. Do your best to craft new automated messaging with a focus on relevancy, tone, usefulness and empathy.

Evaluate the timing of your email sends. People’s schedules have drastically changed as they are social distancing. Optimal send times may have changed as we are all missing our daily commutes and time at the workplace. Take a close look at when you’ve timed your deployments and adjust accordingly.

7. Silo your engagement metrics.

Don’t assume the email engagement metrics you’re gathering now will be applicable after the pandemic. Treat the data you’ve acquired during this time differently. Lead behavior and email engagement is unique right now. Keep this data separate and don’t make the mistake of using it to form your email strategy after the pandemic ends. 

While it may feel like an end to the COVID-19 pandemic is near, a definitive finish line is still not within sight. You may still be uncertain as to when your brand will gain access to a fully functional development team and marketing budget. In the meantime, make sure you’re properly utilizing email to nurture your leads…for as long as it takes.

Corey Nicholson

Vice President, Business Development
AXIS Integrated

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