There’s a simple explanation as to why companies send you so many emails: email marketing works. Even in the age of social media, email marketing has the highest ROI of any marketing medium.
Email marketing is unrivaled both in its effectiveness and efficiency. Not only is the return high, it is relatively low cost and affordable to begin with. If you do not practice email marketing you are missing out on a marketing opportunity like no other.
How to Build an Email List
A strong email list is the foundation to any good email marketing plan. When cultivating your list, you want to be sure that you include previous and current customers, and fold in prospective leads. Here a few ways to cultivate a list of engaged subscribers:
- Install a pop-up and create an opt-in form for email signups on your website. Visitors to your website make good leads as they likely were searching for a business like yours. Make it easy for them to get connected with a homepage pop up and forms at the bottom of blogs.
- Give something away, such as a free quote or ebook, in exchange for an email address. Find fun ways to incentivize people to join your email list. Maybe even start a raffle for people who enter their email address.
- Make your emails easy to share and include interesting information so that your customers want to share them. Some email services even allow you to track how many forwards your campaign receives.
- Include an opt into emails box on contracts and quotes. If you have ever purchased anything online, you have likely seen the little check box after typing in your contact, shipping, and billing information. Implement a similar system in your own business. While gathering information on your clients, take the opportunity to ask them to join your email list.
- If you have a brick and mortar location or you host events, have cards or paper forms for people to fill out to get added to your email list. In instances like these, the people are probably invested in your business so it is wise to find a way to stay connected to these leads
Choosing an Email Marketing Service
A word document or spreadsheet with your list of client emails might work at first, however, as the list grows larger, it is wise to invest in an email marketing service. They can keep you organized and, at times, make your job a little easier. Here is an overview of the most popular platforms to help you determine which might be best for you:
- Constant Contact: One of the largest email marketing services, Constant Contact is one of the most simple, beginner-friendly services on the market. Managing email lists, templates, and statistics is straightforward and easy. Constant contact offers a 60 free trial for new users and two plans, email and email plus, that can be purchased after the trial. Like most other platforms, the fee is based on the numbers of subscribers on the list.
- Mailchimp: Another good platform for beginners is Mailchimp. Its user interface is clear and simple, but the service lacks some of the advanced features available elsewhere. However, Mailchimp does offer a forever free plan, which allows users to send up to 12,000 emails to up to 2,000 subscribers. Its premium plans have more features and increase by the number of customers.
- SendinBlue: For the tech savvy, SendinBlue is the platform for you. It has extensive backend development capabilities and comprehensive analytics tools, which allow for fully automated email marketing. While they also offer simple drag and drop email editor options, using the platform to its fullest requires some technical skill. With respect to pricing, they have both a free and paid plan that increases with subscribers.
- GetResponse: GetResponse offers both simplicity and advanced smart campaigns all in one. Designing emails and sending them to specific groups is easy. What sets this platform apart from others is its horizontal thoroughness. It helps with website design and funneling to the email campaign as well as the email campaign itself.
- Drip: Considerably more expensive than the other services is Drip. It boasts of a wide range of advanced tools that automate the email marketing process but is still simple and easy to use. With Drip you can segment your lists in a smart way and automate
Email Campaign Ideas for Contractors
A hurricane destroyed someone’s home, a family has been saving up for their dream kitchen for years, first time homeowners want some help making their home their own — as a contractor, you deal with customers in moments of extreme emotion. For this reason it is especially important to build strong relationships with your clients and prospects.
By now, you know that email marketing is a low-cost, simple way to build rapport with current customers and prospects, but you might be asking yourself what to say. Here are some ideas for your next email campaign to get you started.
Share a Success Story: Have a renovation you are particularly proud of? Ask your client for permission to show it off with pictures and an email/blog post. Explain what the customer wanted and how you met, hopefully even exceeded, those needs. If possible, include a testimonial from the client.
Pass Along Home Maintenance Tips: While these do not directly promote your business, they build trust and are of interest to homeowners. You want your customers to read and share the material you send out, and providing them with tips and tricks for keeping up their home is a great way to do that. Examples of content you might want to send out include: preventing frozen pipes, how to clean out gutters, preparing your home for winter, etc.
Compile Market Trend Reports: Yet another way to show your industry expertise is by expressing your industry knowledge and passion. If you are already up to date on the current trends — paint colors, countertops, cabinets, etc — write something up and share. If you are not, do some research. The internet is full of information and trade associations might also have information from which you can draw inspiration.
The Newsletter: A newsletter does not need to be complicated. Choose how often you want to send one out and stick to that schedule. The content does not need to be specially created for the newsletter either. Take content from your blog and social media, and combine it into a newsletter. Include information that your list would find compelling and make sure to have a nice variety. You can also opt to send out a personalized letter on a regular basis updating customers on yourself and your business.
Crafting the Perfect Email
Regardless of the type of email, there are certain things you want to consider before pressing send:
- Know Your Audience: Understanding your audience is the key to any successful communication. Subscribers will interact most with content that is valuable to them so provide them with material of relevance and of interest to them. Consider segmenting your email list and sending out specialized to each group. If your email service allows, consider personalizing emails with customer/prospect names.
- Readability! Readability! Readability: Not only do you want your content to be simple and understandable, you want the visual structure to be as well. Avoid long lengthy paragraphs and instead break text into small pieces with ample space, headings, graphics, and bullet points when appropriate.
- Variety Is the Spice of Life: While you should be consistently sending out emails — about once or twice a month — try to switch up the type of messages you send. Refrain from being overly salesy and share helpful info that customers would want to read, such as industry trends, company updates, blog posts, etc. Keep things fresh and try not to repeat content.
- Keep It Concise and Clear: The ultimate goal of an email is that subscribers read and act on the message, not just open it. Emails are best short and sweet. Get to the point fast and avoid being overly verbose. You don’t want to leave readers confused or annoyed.
- Subject Lines Should Make You Want to Read More: The subject line is what makes people decide whether to archive or click on an email. You want it to reflect the content of the email but you also want it to grab people’s attention. Consider adding in humor or whatever personality works for your company in order to draw readers in.