Newsletter strategy for a biz with 4 separate shops

Here at my new job, we’re going to start doing some email marketing for our electrical supply business - we have 4 supply houses, all separate entities, under one ownership umbrella, which essentially all sell the same types of products. Each shop has its own location, shop name, contact info, employees, website, logo, etc. To the customer, they are completely separate businesses, and most don’t even realize that all four are owned by one company.

As we start looking towards an email newsletter strategy, we haven’t figured out the best plan of attack. Should each newsletter have a distinct look and feel? Should the content be totally different? Should the promotions be different? Should we use one template or completely different ones?

Obviously, if they are different it makes it more complicated to manage for us, as we’ll have to come up with a lot more content and promo material to send out, which also means that each shop won’t get to reap the benefits of a really good promotion - that’s our biggest concern. We will be running similar programs and promotions across all sites, but how do you market that without diminishing each shop’s brand? We don’t know if it’s wise to let the world know that buying from one shop is basically the same as buying from any of the other three. We feel there’s value in having people view them as separate competing businesses - it allows us to cast a wide net. If people realize these are all one company, we think they’ll choose one and ignore the other three. Or, maybe they’ll see us as a large company and have more trust… not sure.

Thoughts on how to market?

If the customers see them as separate, and the businesses act separate, I’d say tread them as such. But, maybe in the footer, make a note or link to the parent or sibling organizations that they are related in some way.

On the other hand, if you plan on restructuring the businesses so that they operate more like satellite offices, rather than individual businesses, then one newsletter for all of them might be more appropriate.

Do your product offerings all match up from store to store? Are there other ways you could look at the customers [like individual buyer, larger enterprise, or certain types of products, etc]?

Yes, the product offering is the same. We even share inventory between the shops when necessary. The only real way we have to distinguish between customers in the database is what type of customer they are - contractor, liquidator, residential, etc. We have the email lists broken up by that already for each shop. So we are going to have the ability to send different messages to specific groups. But not necessarily different size organizations or product type-specific orgs.