(Ambrosio’s note: I’m happy to welcome our new guest blogger, MaKenzie Birchell of Bluewater Direct, who will be contributing blog posts on her area of expertise, which is marketing for franchises. She will be sharing a lot of useful tips on direct marketing and social media marketing, with the unique situation of franchisees in mind. Welcome aboard, MaKenzie! Looking forward to your guest blog posts.
But before anything else, let’s get to know MaKenzie and Bluewater a bit better. )
MaKenzie Birchell is a blogger, community manager, and the Client Marketing Representative for Bluewater. MaKenzie has extensive experience in the creation, implementation, and execution of direct marketing campaigns at the franchise level.
Absolutely! Bluewater provides software and services for national brands with local direct marketing needs. We’re most widely known for developing customized, branded online solutions that act as a primary resource to franchisees for direct marketing campaigns.
Working with business owners, especially franchisees, is something I’m very passionate about. As Bluewater’s Client Marketing Representative, I provide education and resources to our individual franchisee clientele to help them make the most of their direct marketing investment.
I come from a franchise background myself. I managed franchised locations such as Curves and Anytime Fitness clubs for over 6 years. I understand what it’s like to be busy with day-to-day operations and serving valued customers — while at the end of that same day having to worry about marketing and what you’re going to do to get even more of those customers!
2. Can you talk about some of the franchise companies whose franchisees you’ve worked with over the years?
Sure! We’ve worked on direct marketing solutions for quite a few leaders in the franchise community, like Great Clips, Car-X, Anytime Fitness, Tuffy, and even some larger corporate entities such as Nestle-Purina, just to name a few.
3. Why does Bluewater work so closely with a corporate office before serving franchisees on an individual basis?
It’s more important than you might think. I tell franchisees to look at it this way: You’ve invested in a franchise because it’s a proven business model, with a powerful brand that helps you earn the majority of your revenue. Maintaining the brand’s integrity is vital to franchise marketing, so it’s important for us to work with your corporate office first.
This way, we plan your customized program down to every detail, making sure it stays true to the brand and its business guidelines — that’s what ensures optimum success. After all, your corporate office started it all, so they know what works!
4. Why should a franchisee choose Bluewater versus a vendor with a more general customer base?
Of course, I think there are lots of reasons, so I’ll give you my top picks:
- We show you results. We don’t leave you guessing how your campaign performed because we have an array of technologies and resources that calculate response rates and ROI (Return on Investment) to measure your campaign’s effectiveness.
- Also, our clients find us very time and cost effective. The customized programs make it fast and easy to create and proof your marketing material. Our lettershop and in-house postal center mean printing and postage cost less. Plus, a lot of clients appreciate our data technologies that most outside vendors don’t have — like customer list suppression. If you keep a database, we can make sure you don’t have to spend money on mailing to current customers if you prefer to target only new ones.
- We do more than just that “special annual promotion” direct mail. There’s more than one way to get more revenue and it’s not always through your average acquisition campaigns. The more successful campaigns we run for our clients are specifically targeted, such as New Movers or special promotions for a client database to keep current customers coming back for more!
5. What kind of campaign would you suggest to a franchisee who has never done direct marketing before?
First and foremost, we always advise new franchisees to work with their corporate franchise consultant or marketing manager to help create a promotion that’s right for their specific market and location.
Nearly all franchisees do some sort of Grand Opening campaign when they first arrive in their market. From there, we typically recommend running monthly New Mover campaigns, along with timely promotions to your current customers once you’ve built a good base of clientele.
6. Do you also offer social media or Internet marketing services in conjunction with direct mail?
We really touch just about every area — we have to! Today, more franchises and other business models are moving more towards an “integrated direct marketing” approach, meaning they’re not using just one tactic like direct mail. A single promotional campaign can also involve e-mail, text messages, social media, and much more.
We work with each franchise on a case-by-case basis to help determine what tactics are right for their business model and the best way to execute them. We also provide extra insight by covering topics such as social media tips for franchises in our educational material and blog.
7. Can you share some best practices or success stories of clients you’ve helped?
I’m proud to say we’ve had a lot of success stories but the most recent one was the implementation of a robust analytics feature for a select number of our programs. Because their POS systems are connected to their Online Direct Marketing Programs, these clients can now run analytic reports right within the program, showing immediate results such as response rates, the average purchase amount of each responder, and total ROI for each campaign.
The analytics have shown us that these particular clients receive an average campaign ROI of 2,800%. It’s so satisfying for us to know that our clients have achieved these levels of success, and that we’ve helped play a role!
For more marketing tips and tricks, check out MaKenzie’s work on the Bluewater Blog.