Last year, Forrester Research cited that 838 billion email marketing messages were sent over the course of 2013. That’s an amazingly big number of messages being sent directly to consumers.
So why is this?
We live in the age where billions of people spend unbelievable amounts of time on Facebook, sometimes checking their news feeds multiple times each day. So the question is why are so many companies investing time and effort in email?
As it turns out, there’s good reason.
According to long-standing email marketing service provider ExactTarget, 91% of consumers check their email daily. For every $1 spent on email marketing efforts, $44.25 is the average return on investment. It’s not surprising then that about 56% of businesses say they plan to increase their use of email marketing in 2014.
As a new or existing franchisee, you have Facebook and email as two marketing tools in your toolbox. Using them in conjunction with each other can give you a competitive advantage, especially when you are first trying to build a customer base around your new franchise location.
In this post, I’ll share a simple three-step process, as well as some affordable tools to help you take advantage of Facebook’s vast advertising network, while also converting customers to your email list where they are much more likely to convert on promotions and bounce back offers.
Step 1: Integrate email capture forms as a Facebook page application tab
Every Facebook business page has the same general layout. It’s important to go through and complete each section of the page, filling out copy about your business and also implementing the creative.
Facebook likes to change things frequently, but to save you and your graphic designer some time, you can download an infographic cheat sheet on the most recent Facebook page specifications for 2014.
Once you are through your initial set up, your next step is to position your application tab for email capture. In the old days, this meant working with a developer versed in whatever coding language Facebook decided to use that week to build a completely custom application. It was expensive and time-consuming, and more often that not, Facebook would change the rules just about the time your project was complete leaving you high, dry and with a hefty development bill.
Today, multiple software who specialize in Facebook application development and integration have sprouted up, saving general franchisees the heavy lifting. This in return, can allow you to focus on your business.
One of these companies (and my personal weapon of choice) is Tabsite.
Based in Indianapolis, Tabsite develops a variety of Engagement Apps, which provide business owners with fully functional Facebook applications that have the capability to be branded with graphic uploads and set up within a few hours, all from an easy-to-use dashboard.
You can purchase a license to use any or all of their apps on your Facebook page for a reasonable budget of $30 per month. These apps include options for resizing any webpage and fitting it into a Facebook tab, apps that will allow your customers to share deals with their friends and many more.
Each app also comes with an option for placing an email capture form as well as the ability to use like gating, a technique where you ask non-fans to ‘Like’ your page before you reveal hidden or ‘gated’ content.
Tabsite also provides mobile-friendly URL’s to each tab, which can be used in content or in Facebook advertisements. Check out the next section for more information on this.
Step 2: Leverage Facebook advertising to drive your target audience to your Facebook tab
We could spend an entire eBook talking about how Facebook Advertising works. There’s been plenty written on the subject and I’ll share some additional resources below.
The reality is this – Facebook is a business that is supported by advertising revenue. With growing pressure from Wall Street to reverse downward trends in shareholder value, the social networking giant has been slowly turning the dials to reduce the reach of organic content, or in non-geek terms, the updates that you put on your page but don’t pay money to promote.
With that said, Facebook offers advertisers more ability to micro-target audiences more than any other platform that has come before it. With a small budget, you can effectively reach new customers who are within the same zip code, city or county of your franchise location.
When you do, make sure to use the mobile-friendly URL from Tabsite as the click-through destination for all your ads. This will direct them back to where they can subscribe to your email marketing list.
For more information on how to go about setting up Facebook Ad campaigns, try these resources:
- 6 Tips to Improve Your Facebook Advertising Results
- Facebook Ads Product Guide (This one is produced and updated by the folks at Facebook)
Step 3: Set-up your email autoresponders to welcome customers into database
Once you have this all setup and your Facebook ad campaigns are running strong, you will begin to see new users added to your email list, either through direct integration or by downloading a CSV file with the new subscribers and then importing it to you email marketing software.
Your ability to directly integrate with Tabsite will depend on what email marketing software you use, but whether it’s automatic or manual uploads, it’s a good practice to welcome your new subscribers to the list and thank them in some way for giving you their permission.
There are two ways to do this.
- Automatic: If your email marketing software does integrate with Tabsite and the subscribers are automatically added to your list, you can then set up what is called an email autoresponder. This is simply an application that sends an automatic pre-configured message to new subscribers. Autoresponders can be set up to send immediately after subscription or delayed for an interval of time.
- Manual: If your email marketing software does not integrate with Tabsite, you can always set a date (perhaps each Friday) to download all the new subscribers via .CSV file, and then upload them as a new segment to your email program. These new subscribers can be sent a welcome message in the same way.
One last tip — if you are a retail or restaurant franchise, it’s a good idea to tie your autoresponders to an offer that is designed to get the customer to visit the location. Simply offering a small discount can motivate the customer to take offline action after they have interacted with your franchise online.
Nate Riggs is an integrated marketing strategist with a track record of success in advertising, consulting and the corporate/brand side of the business. Nate has contributed to business publications that include FastCasual.com, QSR.com and PizzaMarketPlace.com, USA Today, WSJ, Business First, CCO Magazine, the Content Marketing Institute and a variety of others. Nate’s blog, nateriggs.com, is recognized for being among the top 100 most influential blogs on social media for business. Nate also produces and hosts the Social Restaurant Podcast, a weekly talk show for restaurant marketers.