I've got a confession to make.
One of my weird hobbies is signing up to email lists and seeing what happens next.
No intention of buying a franchise, no intention of booking a “discovery day"…just a curiosity to answer one question:
What will you do AFTER I give you permission to contact me?
And the answers to this question range from “nothing" to “not a lot"…all the way to disastrous ones along the lines of:
I've not heard back from you. Clearly you're not a serious candidate for our franchise. Get in touch now or I will delete you from our list forever.
To some people, this last response may appear to be the work of an uncaring, self-centred impatient person.
But after spending the last four years interviewing hundreds of folk for my podcast, franchising surveys and ebooks…not to mention signing up for countless franchising lists…I actually empathise with the franchise behind this email.
I empathise because, more often than not, they're being completely misrepresented by an old email template that somebody ‘just doing their job’ decided to fire off without caring enough to review it.
So in order to be part of the solution, I decided to write up this quick guide on how to solve this problem forever.
The solution: allowing potential franchisees’ actions to direct your email communication
And the way you do this is using five simple steps:
1. Create detailed prospect profiles built around their WHY
Customer profiles and buyer personas are nothing new to write about. And hopefully you've documented yours and studied them inside and out.
But have you identified the four different types of prospects who interact with your franchise?
These are extremely important.
Because while not all prospects become customers…every prospect could lead to your next customer, if you engage with them the right way.
And the key to doing this is understand the ‘why’ behind their engagement with you.
Why are they interested in you?
Using myself as an example, my ‘why’ behind signing up for your email list as James Doubleoseven from Sydney, Australia…is simply to audit your follow up process because I'm an email marketing geek.
This seems to have nothing to do with your franchise sales goals for this quarter. So it is understandable that you would feel like ignoring me and branding me a tyre kicker who isn't worth your time.
But imagine you had an automated email marketing campaign setup for engaging with tyre kickers and window shoppers…compelling email subject lines, personal stories from your niche, easier-to-read-than-not-read copy…
All of a sudden, I start to look forward to your weekly emails. I'm marvelling at your consistency of follow-up. I'm excited by the passion you have for changing people's lives. I'm clicking on the links to the videos you've shared. I'm starting to trust you.
And guess what?
By analysing my behaviour (open rates, click through rates, response rates to specific email sequences)…you'd have discovered that I actually fit subtype of the influencer prospect…which would let you know how to engage with me in order to empower me to bring you your next paying franchisee.
Without having a specific email marketing campaign setup for automatically dealing with my particular prospect type, you'd never have discovered this.
You'd also have missed out on an opportunity to tap into the network of people who email me each week to ask for a franchise recommendation…simply because they listened to an episode of my Off The Cuff Franchising podcast (something you didn't know about me when I filled in your opt-in form).
The point is that each of the prospects on your list has at least something relevant that you don't know about them.
Maybe they're the mother-in-law of your ideal prospect, or the sister or the board member or the local councillor of the territory you're expanding into.
For this reason, you need to be aware of the different types of prospective franchisees who will be engaging with your franchise…understand the WHY behind their engagement with you…and design an automated email marketing sequence based on this.
2. Map out a customer journey for each prospect profile
Speaking of design, the next step is designing a customer journey for each type of prospect profile.
And you do this by answering a simple question:
What are the steps your prospect needs to take to become (or bring you) a customer?
Knowing the four different prospect profiles who engage with your franchise, you can use these to intentionally design an automated email marketing sequence that leads them step by step to this outcome.
3. Design a GWH email sequence for each prospect profile
GWH stands for ‘good will hunting’.
And the idea is to design an email sequence that enables you to continuously build good will with the prospect while also setting you creating multiple opportunities to ‘buy’.
This is incredibly important, because it allows you to automatically get into sync with your prospect’s actual buying cycle, instead of trying to force the sale to happen within your timeframe.
In other words, the prospect is engaging with your content on her schedule…meaning you don't waste any time trying to talk to force a sale or a response when she's not ready.
Even better, your automated email marketing sequences are continuously building good will, trust and a positive experience with your prospect.
So when the time is right for her to buy (a month, a year, five years from now)…you are the obvious no-questions asked choice.
Simply because you cared enough to invest in creating an automated GWH email sequence of content that would engage her interest and provide value all the while that she wasn't yet ready to take the next step.
4. Setup and test your automated email marketing system
This is where the magic happens.
Because once you're clear on your prospect profiles, the UX pathway for each one, and you've created your GWH email sequences…
"Setup and test" is the point where you can almost “set it and forget it". (I'll explain why in a minute)
Once you've created all the content, you can setup your email marketing system to trigger specific email sequences in particular situations.
So for example, if an influencer prospect has clicked on an explorer link to find out more about becoming a franchisee.but hasn't watched the video that is on the page, then this action triggers a reminder email campaign that focuses on getting them to take the action they said they wanted to take.
If a prospective franchisee has opened a critical stage email but not clicked on the link, then this action will trigger a nudge sequence that focuses on empowering them to take the action of clicking on the link.
These are all built on if/then scenarios that are part of the user experience pathway that you designed for the prospect.
And the best part is that once you've set these systems in place, you can leave them to run automatically.
5. Ready, fire, aim
This is where the fun begins, because you finally get to see what happens when the system you designed makes first contact with your list of prospects.
You get to see a list of dead leads begin to flicker to life because you're finally speaking to them the right way.
You get to learn more about the specific ‘whys’ of your potential franchisees, and hone in on the aspects of your franchise most relevant to them.
You get to use your automated email marketing system as a tool for making a difference in the lives of your prospects…and also winning a few fanatical franchise owners along the way.
All because you dared to pull the trigger and see what happened.
Isn't this a lot of work?
For the few franchisors who are focused on the short game, viewing prospects as pawns to achieve their own business goals, all of this might seem like a lot of work and not worth the cost.
But for the rest of the franchising community who are working tirelessly to create win-win outcomes for both the franchise and the franchise buyer, this is an absolute bargain.
Because when you realise that you're investing in developing a scalable automated system…at a mere fraction of the long-term value of all the franchisees you'll win over time…it's really a no-brainer.
But far greater than the financial gains, is the opportunity for you to understand the different types of Prospects who are signing up to learn more about your franchise…and automatically being able to deliver tremendous value to them.
And in return, finding that these prospect become – or bring you – your next fanatical franchise owner.