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By Pica9 on February 22, 2018

Expert Tips for Email Marketing Compliance From Local Affiliate Brands

Think about the last time you visited your favorite fast food franchise. What about the experience was particularly memorable? Were you greeted with a warm and friendly smile? Did you have a pleasant conversation with the cashier? Was that hamburger as flavorful and juicy as you remember it?

For distributed brands, it's important to create and continually recreate excellent experiences for their customers. When consumers interact with brands repeatedly, they expect the brand to look, feel and deliver on the same promises from one location to the next. Unfortunately, when local partners execute non-compliant marketing, the brand is seriously compromised in that effort.

Remember, local partners aren't marketing experts. They might not know what marketing compliance actually looks like. Even if they did, they simply don't have the marketing expertise needed to navigate complex design tools. As a result, many of the world's top distributed brands have invested in scalable solutions to maximize local marketing results from those store operators and franchisees. So when it comes to the medium that gave us CAN-SPAM, unsubscribes and mandatory business disclosures, you can bet these brands are looking to achieve the same level of brand compliance as they expect everywhere else.

How to Ensure Local Email Marketing Compliance

Now think again about what drove you to visit your favorite fast food restaurant. Was it the brand's flashy advertising on that roadside billboard? Maybe you spotted a coupon in your local newspaper? Or perhaps you got a special buy-one-get-one-free offer in your email. The most effective marketers are masters at running cross-channel marketing campaigns to activate their audiences.

It's no different for brands with lots of locations. But some channels are more versatile, or more engaging, to get in front of the customer and not many can eclipse email in that respect. That's why so many multi-location companies still make email a lynchpin in their marketing mix.

A well-designed and brand-compliant email not only has the power to turn passive consumers into active customers. Email can also bolster the brand's unique customer experience and, in turn, boost brand equity. Building brand equity — your customer's perception of your brand — is one of the most important parts of any distributed organization's marketing.

That's why localized email marketing is often so critical. If email marketing done by franchisees and sales agents is on-brand, it can make the register ring and increase brand recognition at the same time. The key, though, is to make sure those local marketing emails are brand-compliant.

Download the 5 Step Roadmap to Brand Consistency

Why Design Matters in Email Marketing

When it comes to delivering a highly engaging email marketing campaign, design is key. The best email marketing campaigns are exciting and interesting to look at. While poor design is never intentional, poorly executed email marketing campaigns from your brand's local affiliates might be sending your target audience the wrong signal.

If the customer gets an email message with a design that doesn't resonate with them or and doesn't clearly represent the brand they know and love, the consumer will immediately associate that poor experience with your brand.

Inversely, well-designed emails show the consumer that your brand is trustworthy. You've built your emails using unique imagery, added interesting details or design elements, created a clear hierarchy within the layout and used messaging that syncs up with the overall design.

With this kind of design expertise you're showing the recipient that they're valued and you're actually giving them a taste of that brand experience they love right in their inbox. It's a surefire way to promote positive customer experiences, and over time, create loyal customers. But can your brand's local affiliates achieve all of this with the email marketing they need to do?

In order to build a well-designed local email marketing campaign, corporate teams must first help their local affiliates understand what they're responsible for. Is the local affiliate given a set of options to choose from when they sit down to create an email? Do they have control over how the email should look, or will the corporate design team shoulder all of the design responsibilities?

Secondly, corporate should help their local affiliates define reasonable standards for their emails. For example, every piece of local email marketing should include an address and phone number in the footer, along with a means for customers to unsubscribe.

Finally, corporate marketing teams need to prepare for any knowledge gaps. Help your local affiliates understand how a well-designed piece of email is so effective by guiding them on how to adjust when they go off-standards.

Download the Local Marketing Playbook

Examples of Compliant Local Affiliate Email Marketing

Ready to launch your own local email marketing campaign? For some quick inspiration, consider these top email marketing campaigns from some great brands:

  • Club Fondue by The Melting Pot: Celebrate your birthday or anniversary in style at The Melting Pot. By becoming a Club Fondue member, recipients receive special birthday vouchers and other features and promotions from their favorite Melting Pot location.
  • Sign Up & Save with Midas: When was the last time you changed the oil in your car? With Midas' local email marketing program, customers can receive the latest news and service reminders from their Midas location so they can stay on the road longer.
  • Fan Food, Not Fast Food by Dairy Queen: Join the millions of "fans" that enjoy Dairy Queen's irresistibly sweet treats. By signing up, members are granted with one buy-one-get-one-free Blizzard coupon via email. Additionally, members are able to stay on top of local offers and incentives redeemable at their favorite Dairy Queen locations.

Tips to Improve Email Marketing Compliance

We know what good email marketing design looks like and why it matters. Now, let's think about compliance. If your brand introduces a four-part email marketing campaign, a franchisee who fails to send the emails in the right order or forgets to include the brand's logo in the email header is jeopardizing the brand's overall image. Slip-ups like these, which are all too common, end up diminishing the customer's perception of the brand.

To support the goals of the parent brand and deliver on its unique values and promises, local affiliates should have access to the following:

  • Brand Standards & Guidelines: Does your brand have resources like a brand standards guide or operations handbook? Giving your affiliates access to this type of documentation can be helpful in a pinch. But even better is being able to predefine those standards into the email templates that your affiliates will use. That way local affiliates are empowered to use standardized designs and messaging within their email marketing, and they don't have to learn a whole bunch of rules that don't make sense to them in the first place.
  • Repository of Branded Assets: Are your local affiliates using relevant graphics, imagery and messaging in their emails? Partners should be able to integrate these branded assets into their email marketing campaigns. Given the importance of standing out in the inbox, the last thing you need your affiliates to do is to end up looking like they've reused some cookie-cutter design from a freebie site.
  • Email Marketing Templates: Make compliance easy by giving your local affiliates pre-approved marketing templates with specially configured rules and restrictions built right in. These should be specific to your brand and control things like colors, fonts and even how content that can be used in different ways.
  • Resources and Training: Are you local partners equipped with best-use strategies to build, deploy, and manage local email marketing? Give them examples of highly engaging email marketing campaigns. Help them to identify the benefit of email marketing and why compliance is so important

Amplify Local Email Marketing Results with Local Marketing Automation

To guarantee local email marketing compliance, along with brand compliance across all kinds of local marketing, enterprises are increasingly choosing to invest in Local Marketing Automation (LMA) solutions. Why? Today's LMA systems are configured to address the biggest challenges that brands face, both in email marketing compliance and throughout the local marketing process. With an LMA solution like CampaignDrive, local affiliates are empowered to create highly effective, personalized and compliant marketing pieces that activate and engage consumers.

How is Local Marketing Automation better suited for local email marketing than your standard email sending tools? First, LMA allows corporate marketing teams to oversee local email marketing activity. With full design flexibility, corporate marketers can "lock" certain design features to prevent non-compliance and relinquish control in other areas to allow local customizations to their emails.

Secondly, LMA accounts for a variety of marketing formats and channels, not just email, which means franchisees or dealers don't have to remember how to log into five different tools just to do marketing. Finally, local marketers can monitor email marketing performance metrics that they can understand, not complex reports that they wouldn't know how to interpret. All of that means they can amp up their email marketing campaigns and improve their business results with less hassle.

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EMT Playbook Cover-1

For many industry-leading brands, Enterprise Marketing Technology (EMT) tools enable teams to track, plan, and execute marketing. Check out this blueprint from the experts at Forrester to help your multi-located brand create an enterprise marketing strategy like no other.

Published by Pica9 February 22, 2018