7 Multi-Location Digital Marketing Tactics for Franchise CMOs

As a franchise CMO, you probably are already using digital marketing to reach customers through email and your company's social media presence on Facebook and Twitter. But these activities only scratch the surface of what is possible using today's digital marketing tools, which can facilitate better integration of marketing initiatives and greater customer engagement. Here are seven ways you can roll out relevant, targeted communications more efficiently and cost-effectively using digital media.

  1. Migrate to a cross-channel approach. Today's digital marketing tools allow you to conduct all of your digital marketing - including email, social media, and even SMS communications - from a single platform. Doing this will enable you to simplify campaign rollout across all digital media and to automatically collect data from every campaign element in one place. It will also allow you to establish a consistent workflow across channels to make scheduling and sending messages easier, and to implement a reliable approval process for communications at the corporate, regional, franchisee, and store levels.
  2. Add SMS to your digital marketing playbook. Text marketing still isn't used by many franchisors, but it should be. SMS is unparalleled in its ability to reach your most dedicated customers anywhere in real time. Eighty-three percent of texts are read within one hour, and mobile has three to five times the reported click-through rate of other media. SMS is particularly ideal for driving traffic for same-day offers and weekend sales. To retain and grow your subscription base, keep your SMS communications focused on enticing offers - and avoid overdoing it. One text a week or less is a good starting point.
  3. Build your email and SMS lists using social media. Liking or following you on social media is a light commitment for customers, compared with opting in to your email or SMS marketing lists. By acquiring social followers and offering them deals they appreciate, you can help them see the value of joining your lists. Create a permanent tab on your Facebook account to a web form that people complete to join your email or SMS lists; and tweet a link to your form on Twitter. Also, give people an incentive to join. A digital sweepstakes or promotion is one proven way to build awareness for a new product and drive list subscriptions at the same time by requiring opt-in to your SMS and email lists as the price of entry.
  4. Reward fans, followers, and subscribers with added value. Use your social media accounts and subscription lists to offer fans and followers deals they won't find anywhere else. One study found that 37 percent of Facebook users "like" fan pages just to receive coupons and deals. Emphasizing giveaways and discounts will keep your followers interested in your tweets and ensure that your posts remain highlighted on your fans' news feeds. Also, focus heavily on giving customers special offers through email and SMS so they see the value in receiving your communications and continue to open the messages.
  5. Build a universal profile of your customers. By connecting with your customers through social media, email, and SMS you will eventually be able to develop a universal profile of them across all digital channels. By analyzing their responses to your communications, you'll be able to see what kinds of deals each likes, and whether they respond more favorably to an afternoon tweet, an early-morning email, or a mid-day text.
  6. Create more relevant, personalized offers. By gathering all of your customer information in a single database, you can be sure to send the right message to the right person using the right means of communication based on each customer's demographics, store location, behavior, and communication preferences. You also can automatically trigger messages to customers on holidays, birthdays, and their anniversary date of joining your lists using their preferred communication medium.
  7. Track your success. As you try different approaches and promotions, track the effectiveness of each campaign. Learn which ads or promotions led to new subscribers and which led people to unsubscribe. Measure how much it cost per campaign to add a subscriber, and which communications had the best click-through and open rates. See which had the best redemption rates by store, and whether those deal redemptions facilitated additional store purchases.

Over time, you will get a better sense of which offers work best and can put more focus on those approaches, while still continually trying new tactics to foster ongoing improvement in your digital marketing. Following these steps, you can use digital marketing to create increasingly targeted, relevant communications that foster greater customer loyalty and add real value for your franchisees.

Over time, you will get a better sense of which offers work best and can put more focus on those approaches, while still continually trying new tactics to foster ongoing improvement in your digital marketing. Following these steps, you can use digital marketing to create increasingly targeted, relevant communications that foster greater customer loyalty and add real value for your franchisees.

Chris Watland is co-founder and president of Signal, a Chicago-based provider of digital marketing technology recently named #108 on the 2011 Inc. 500 List. You can reach him at chris@signalhq.com.

Published: January 18th, 2012

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