As a franchise owner, email marketing is an easy way to communicate with your current customers. Not only is it less expensive than many other types of advertising, email marketing can have a quick turn around and generally a great response rate – if done properly.

Here are eleven steps to follow when putting together your email marketing campaign:

1. Message

Before your craft your email message, clearly define what you want to achieve with your email. Do you want people to register for an event? Do you want to promote a new product? Maybe you want to promote a sale or send a coupon. Whichever promotion you choose, keep the message clear with a simple way for customers to reach your objective.

2. From Name

Your email From Name should be something that your recipients recognize either your franchise name or your first and last name. Who the email is from is the top reason an email is opened.

3. Subject Line

No matter how well an email message is crafted or how great the promotion, if you have a weak subject line, no one will open your email. Put forth as much effort into writing your subject line as your email.

The subject line should clearly tell your reader what the email is about in 50 characters or less. Place your most important words towards the beginning since email inboxes will truncate the subject line to fit on various screens and devices.

4. Preheader

The preheader is the text that’s above the header image. It’s the first bit of text that’s viewable, especially on smartphones. Instead of it saying “To view this email in your browser…”, have it say something that supports your email and makes the recipient want to read more. You may also want to try testing a clickable call to action.

5. Headline

On average, 8 out of 10 people will read headline copy, but only 2 out of 10 will read the rest. (http://www.copyblogger.com/magnetic-headlines/).

The email headline is the next important element after the From Name and Subject Line. You can be creative with your headline as long as it quickly explains your message and encourage recipients to continue reading.

6. Personalization

Merging your recipient’s name into the email adds a personal touch. Most email marketing services allow you to do this. Just make sure that you check your list before importing to make sure that you have everyone’s name is correct and in the right place. There’s nothing as impersonal as receiving an email that has your name completely misspelled or is in the wrong order.

7. Images

Make your emails more interesting by adding images. Images help break up text and add a visual of your product or service. But keep in mind to not have your image do all the talking. Use the 80/20 rule: 80% text and 20% image. Also, pay attention to file size of the image. If the image is too big, it may take too long to load or not load at all.

For those who don’t turn images on, ensure that your images have a descriptive text alt tag that acts as a call to action. For example, if there is an image of a girl’s yellow dress and you are having a 20% off spring dress sale, a possible alt tag to the image would be “20% off dresses” not “yellow dress image”.

If possible, have the images in your email link to your website where recipients can read more information about your product or service.

8. Call-To-Action (CTA)

Every email should include a Call-to-Action (CTA). Your CTA should quickly tell your customers what you want them to do. “Get 20% Off”, “Sign Up Today”, “Buy Now” are examples of strong calls to action.

9. Social Badges

Including links to your social media networks within your email is a great way to promote your Facebook page, Twitter feed or Pinterest pinboard.

10. Clean Lists

A clean list is a happy list. Remove any customer emails that have opted out as well as bounces or unsubscribes. You don’t want to pay to send an email to an invalid address. Plus, if you send emails to those who have opted-out, your email IP address may become blacklisted for not being CAN-SPAM compliant.

11. Timing

As a general rule, if you are emailing a business, send between the hours of 11:00 am to 3:00 pm on Tuesdays thru Thursdays. However, if you are trying to reach consumers, some recommend sending weeknights between 5:00 pm and 8:00 pm when most people get home or Friday thru Sunday. However, each business is different. Finding the best time to send your email may take some testing to see what works best for you and your franchise.

There are many email marketing services out there. To make sure you choose the right one for you and your franchise, look for a service that has a private IP address, customer support and training, good reporting, customizable templates, CAN SPAM compliance, list segmentation, free trails and no term contracts.

At BaseCamp Franchising, we provide all our franchise owners with their own email marketing account through our custom email marketing service. For franchise owners who have registered for our BaseCamp Marketing Service (BMS), we offer full service and support for all email campaigns.