How is Email Marketing Different For Single & Multi-Location Businesses?

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We live in a day and age where folks around the world are growing increasingly more attached to their mobile and desktop devices. We are constantly finding new ways to keep in touch with one another, whether it is via direct messaging, video calls, or cutting-edge business communication apps.

Try as it might, the tech industry has failed in its attempts to phase out the old, trusty email. It still remains the go-to communication method in the business world. More importantly, its vitality to your company from a marketing standpoint is stronger than ever.

Email marketing is a surefire way to tap into a goldmine of new customers, while also helping to retain the ones you already have. When executed improperly, a company’s email will hit the junk pile about as quickly as you hit the send button. However, with a strong campaign and a valuable message, your business will thrive.

It doesn’t matter if you run a pharmaceutical business with 500 locations, a burgeoning online retail company with 20 locations, or a single, quaint pizza parlor. There is money to be made in email marketing so long as you tailor the campaign to your target audience.

The tricky part is adapting your campaign to your type of business. Let’s continue to run with our three previous businesses – the pharma giant, the retail company and the pizza parlor – for the sake of reference, and explore how your marketing campaign differs depending on the size of your company.

Get Personal

One of the advantages of having a small, single-location business is that it’s easier to develop a rapport with specific customers. You become familiar with people in your area and have a fairly easy time tracking the metrics and catering your campaign to your one location.

Have you thought about applying similar methods to a multi-location business?

The aforementioned pizza parlor likely runs into the same customers on a weekly basis. The owner probably even knows a lot of them by name. It’s easy for them to connect and send them promotional offers via email because they’ve already gained their trust. For the pharma giant, this is not as easy, but it’s still doable.

The pharma giant would be wise to create a large database of clients and potential customers. Cara Olson of Marketing Land does a great job outlining ways for franchisors to build their database, pointing out the importance of capturing email addresses via websites, utilizing point of sale systems, and using social media to your advantage.

“As soon as you begin to collect email addresses, you need to send to your database on a consistent schedule,” said Olson. “Begin by immediately triggering a welcome email or series to set expectations with your subscribers, and to reward them with any offer they may be expecting for signing up.”

Olson raises a great point when she touches on welcome emails with rewards. Due to having multiple locations, it won’t be as simple to cultivate that trustworthy, small business relationship with your customers. Customers love rewards and free giveaways, so you can’t go wrong by implementing this right away.

So, how do we get from Point A (first email) to Point B (loyal customer)? We get personal.

Naturally, consumers are more likely to open emails from their favorite companies. According to Experian, personalized promotional mailings have 29% higher unique open rates. The 2014 Science of Email Marketing backed up this statistic, showing that emails that included the recipient’s first name had much higher click-through rates than those without it.

Email personalization response rate

Note the above graph from Marketing Charts. Personalized subject lines work, particularly if you target the right industry.

You can also incorporate names in future emails, such as a “Happy Birthday, John!” You can also present a subject line such as, “John, will you help us connect with your friends in New York?” The email could include some sort of referral deal where the customer gets a reward for getting friends to sign up with the company or service. This is a way of utilizing your database and creating ways for it to expand on its own.

The possibilities are endless. So much can come from the simple inclusion of a first name! That pizza parlor owner might be able to say hello when his customers walk through the door, but the pharma giant owner says hi via email.

Same thing, right?

Don’t Spread Yourself Too Thin

A benefit to running the marketing campaigns at the small pizza parlor is that the owner knows his business inside and out. The owner knows his or her niche market, the customers, and is generally in touch with what products and campaigns are working better than others.

This can be a location-specific benefit, and one that the owners of the pharma giant and the burgeoning online retail business are unable to keep up with, to no fault of their own. If a business owner has hundreds of locations, it’s not possible to be as involved in the day-to-day email marketing as the pizza parlor owner is.

The owner of the pharma giant must find a way to tiptoe this line between being actively involved without spreading himself too thin.

Communication is pivotal in executing effective email marketing across the board at all locations. Regional managers and the corporate marketing team must be on the same page at all times. Customers in New York will surely respond differently than those in Los Angeles, so campaigns must be unique while also maintaining the voice of the company and properly representing the brand.

Business communication apps such as Slack, Yammer, Basecamp, or any other would be worth its while in this scenario to make sure regional managers utilize geospecific campaigns without straying too far from the company’s values.

FireDrum Email Marketing explained it perfectly in this piece, saying, “The key is to empower your franchisees with the tools they need while still having control of what is sent, when it is sent, and why.”

If an owner is on the same page with all regional managers, brand-level messages can have a sizeable impact. Did you know that according to EmailExpert, for every one dollar your business spends on email marketing, the average return on investment is $44.25?

If you are tracking your engagement and crunching numbers to ensure each specific location is meeting its goals, brand-level emails will essentially act as massive location-specific promotions. You are taking the same personalization tactics the pizza parlor owner applies when he reaches out to connect with his few thousand customers and applying it to millions across the country.

Mass customization will improve your campaigns’ performances, which will make your business a ton of money alongside such a sizeable increase in volume. Better yet, the business owner doesn’t have to stress because all his analytics and databases are in one place, and each of his business locations is on the same wavelength.

Don’t Get Complacent

It’s hard enough for the pizza parlor owner to keep up with what his customers are receptive to. It’s impossible for the pharma giant owner or the retail company owner to be hip to what is trending in their respective industries.

This is simply human nature. We all love our smartphones, and we love the newest, coolest thing. One week we are taking pictures at that pizza parlor and posting them all over Instagram to get a free slice, and the next week we couldn’t care less about pizza because we are all busy running around outside trying to catch Pokemon.

Speaking of Pokemon, go find a way to work THAT into your marketing campaign!

It’s the way the world works. What is successful today might fall flat tomorrow. Collecting a huge database and a massive amount of loyal customers is not where the road ends. Once you have them, you must do everything possible to keep them, because people do get bored.

There is always something new to implement. Are SMS text messages starting to gain traction? Work them into your campaign. Is a new social media platform picking up steam? Get on it, and work it into your emails!

Multi-location businesses don’t have the luxury of possibly nailing down a customer base in one spot. There are too many variables to keep track of, and the only way to get ahead of the curve is to constantly push the envelope and measure what works and what doesn’t.

Analytics and data are your friends. They will tell you exactly what your customers want.

Multi-location and single-location email marketing share a lot of similarities, and the ultimate goal is to implement the best of both worlds to maximize profits. With many locations, owners are required to cast a much wider net and wear many different hats. With just one location, an owner is tasked with simply mastering a smaller amount of tactics.

Each side has something to learn from the other, but the end goal is always the same: acquire and retain lots of customers and keep them happy.

What are some targeted emails you’ve received recently that have stuck out to you? Did you or did you not open them? Let us know in the comment section.