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Managing Email Marketing Across Multi-Location Restaurants with Fishbowl’s Local Store Marketing

Real estate agents may have coined the phrase “location, location, location,” but it’s the restaurant business that truly embodies it. Whether your brand has ten locations or 10,000, each store must successfully navigate a unique set of circumstances to keep the customers coming. Here are five of the most significant challenges associated with email marketing across a multi-unit organization, and how Fishbowl’s Local Store Marketing (LSM) solution can help you solve them.

Empower Each and Every Location

The defining characteristic of a successful email marketing program is relevance. In fact, 55% of consumers do not open and read messages regularly because of lack of relevance. Enterprise-level messaging has its place, but to truly resonate with customers, the email club must also cater to local tastes and preferences. Brand messages are a perfect medium for coupons or new product announcements, while higher engagement activities — including event marketing, word-of-mouth promotion and community relations — are all a local affair.

Much like social media, location-specific messaging does not scale well. It can, however, be efficiently delegated. Fishbowl’s LSM provides staff members at each location the means necessary to create and distribute professional email campaigns. The online software eliminates the need for any technical knowledge and requires only minutes to execute compelling, graphic-rich messages.  Plus, email templates and graphics can be developed at the brand level and made available to all locations.

Effectively Communicate Across the Team

A major challenge of multi-location management is effective top-down and cross-team communications. This is such a rampant problem that it has sparked an entire software category: tools like Yammer, Basecamp, and dozens of others have flooded the marketplace, trying to simplify virtual management and collaboration.

Fishbowl has built a number of team communication features into the LSM product. The system’s review process allows for one-to-few communication between brand managers and location staff. LSM’s sharing functionality adds a social element to the platform. Successful local-level campaigns can be shared with the larger group by any user. These featured mailings can be discussed, rated and even re-implemented by other members. The software’s announcement feature lets corporate managers communicate with the entire team simultaneously. Lastly, the communal calendar ensures that all locations are aware of black-out and enterprise-level distribution dates.

Maximize the Performance of Brand-Level Messages

While location-specific messages deliver an extremely high level of relevance, the average list size is around 3,000 members — not the volume necessary to justify the incremental benefits of segmentation and dynamic content. Brand-level messages, in contrast, are distributed to lists often north of 1 million members. At this volume, the 10-15% performance improvement that regularly accompany this “mass customization” can pay significant dividends. For instance, a restaurant with a list of one million members and a $40 check average gains an additional $400,000 in revenue for a mere 1% increase in redemption.

The challenge lies in applying dynamic content to your restaurant’s email messages. It requires powerful database management and sophisticated HTML development to execute. Fortunately, Fishbowl’s LSM makes the process quite simple. Managing more than 60 million guest records on behalf of our restaurant clients, the Fishbowl database is infinitely flexible. Applying this customer data within your restaurant’s messages is even easier, with our plain-language merge codes. All of a sudden, your brand’s mass emails include the customer’s name, artwork relevant to her individual preferences, and the contact information of her preferred location.

Protect Your Restaurant’s Brand

Much of traditional marketing theory has been turned on its head with the rise of online technologies and all the new ways in which we communicate. Yet, one staple concept of the “Mad Men” era remains exceedingly relevant. Restaurants must ferociously protect their brand. In an age where over 71% of online Americans have a Facebook account, businesses no longer dictate the flow of information. The perception of your restaurant is at the mercy of its customers and their 600 million electronic friends. Now more than ever, it is vital that all communications released into the marketplace are consistent and convey the brand’s essence.

While Fishbowl’s LSM transfers much of the communication responsibilities to the staff at your individual restaurant locations, it does not neglect the importance of brand oversight. The system allows corporate managers to retain as much control as suits their business process. Any number of standards can be mandated in the templates used for location-level emails, including layout, graphics, copy or text styles. Each element can be customized with various user permissions. In addition, LSM’s review process may require that each local message receive corporate approval prior to distribution.

Measure Performance Down to the Store Level

Because each restaurant’s circumstances are unique, one-size-fits-all performance metrics are an ineffective yardstick. Your restaurant in downtown Albuquerque probably isn’t expected to keep pace with your location in Times Square. Most multi-unit restaurants have adopted sophisticated financial reporting methods that measure the success of individual locations and various store segments, in addition to the standard brand-wide report card. Yet, few brand managers have access to that same insight regarding marketing metrics.

Fishbowl’s LSM makes it possible to monitor and analyze the performance of your email marketing performance down to the store level. Gauge monthly member growth of a single store, monitor click-through rates by regional segment, or analyze the performance of campaign A to campaign B across the entire brand. Take it one step further, and compare your restaurant’s results to other brands in your industry segment, thanks to Fishbowl’s exclusive Restaurant Industry Index.