Email can be so annoying and many contractors assume that because they personally hate spam emails that all emails sent from a business are unwanted.
This is not true. The key is to attract and show people the value of your email content and ask those people to opt in to your email communications.
The secret to success is to make sure your emails are wanted. To make sure people actually want to receive your emails you need to create something they will value and anticipate seeing.
Email is inexpensive, and provides a very high ROI when done with the customer's needs in mind.
Tools for managing email campaigns
One of the most popular email marketing sites is MailChimp. With it's user-friendly interface and sleek design tools, MailChimp is a favorite among small business owners. The site allows users to create personalized campaigns, schedule automated communications, and target a client base of like minded people, ensuring your campaigns are sufficiently relevant and effective.
Constant Contact is popular and has been around a long time. The easy to use email designer is helpful, with native integrations for social media, eCommerce, and more. Overall, it is easy to use for email marketing, competitively priced , and is a very solid tool to manage your email contacts and campaigns.
SendGrid is another useful email marketing tool. The website offers solutions for crafting and automating both transactional and newsletter emails, making it easy to implement these processes into your marketing strategy. It's been incorporated by such well-known companies as Pinterest, Foursquare, and Spotify, and it's a great option for contractors, too.
How to build a list of contacts
1. Build an opt in list
An email opt-in list is a list of emails that prospects and customers have willingly shared with you with the expectation that you will send them helpful information on a regular basis. This is the ubiquitous e-newsletter sign-up as well as a blog subscription.
Instead of building your own opt-in list, some contractors think they can take a shortcut and and buy a list of contacts with emails. But just because lists are available for purchase doesn't mean it's a great idea. First, purchasing a list of contacts can be expensive. And secondly, it may not be the best idea. Do you like receiving unsolicited emails? Of course not. So why would you do the same to your prospects?
A better approach is to earn the right to send emails to your prospects and clients by attracting them to your website and offering valuable content worthy of them signing up to receive it.
To get started building an opt-in list, add email sign up forms on your website and on your social media accounts. Promote the content topics you will talk about and make it enticing for visitors to sign up.
Once they sign up segment the contacts into prospects, customers, and partners as well as into groups that have indicated a particular topic of interest. The more specific the better the email content will be received.
How to create emails people will open
Using one of the tools previously mentioned you should follow these steps to create emails your contacts will actually want to receive:
- Use a nice looking template for your emails, not too graphic-heavy but clean and easy to read
- Personalize the email using names and details about their topic of interest
- Use a real person in the from/reply to fields, do not use noreply@ - this is not very human, no one wants to receive automated emails
- Add social share options so your contacts can easily share your email content with their connections
- Optimize the content and template for mobile usage - 46%+ of email opens are on a mobile device
How to create emails people love
Create unique content that is about them and their issues. Sounds easy right!
A great place to start is to document the questions your customers ask.
What are the things your customers typically want to know, or don't know? By answering simple questions and using your knowledge of your industry, you can create emails that will be viewed as useful information, and not just another boring spammy email.
Ask your sales, service, and installation teams to write down every question they hear for a week. You could also brainstorm with our teams for an hour and come up with at least 20 questions they get on a regular basis. Write articles and shoot videos answering these questions. Share this content on your website and use it to build your emails.
Other types of content for your emails include:
- Product and service updates
- Specials and offers
- Links to articles, blog posts, helpful tips
- Local news stories
- Success stories and testimonials
Your goal is to share 90% helpful info and you will then earn the right to spend the remaining 10% talking about your company.
Analyze and adjust your email campaigns
Let's define a few terms relating to analyzing email campaigns.
Email opens - email open rate is the percentage of people who received an email that opening it. A healthy open rate is between 20-40%
Clicks - or email click through rate is the percent of people who received an email that click on a link or an image within the email. A good open rate is above 2.5%.
Unsubscribe - this occurs when a person who receives an email decides to stop receiving the email. Once a person unsubscribes you are legally required to stop sending them marketing emails.
Bounces - a bounce happens when an email cannot be successfully delivered. There are two types of bounces. Hard bounces are email addresses that are rejected completely. Maybe the person is not longer using that email and closed the account. Soft bounces happen when there is a temporary reason for the email to be rejected including the inbox being full. Future email sends will go through if the reason for the soft bounce is fixed.
When should you send emails?
First, it's been shown that emails sent during the middle of the week -- on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays -- are most successful in achieving the desired results. Mondays tend to be hectic, and people are often too busy getting settled in after the weekend. Similarly, Fridays are typically blocked off for meetings and vacation time, so the response rate for Friday emails isn't always ideal.
Researchers have also proven that marketing emails and newsletters are most likely to be opened if they're sent around lunch time -- somewhere around noon to 1 pm. Conversely, early-morning emails are proven to have the lowest open rates.
The key to successful contractor marketing using email is to make sure your emails are based on customer needs and that they actually want to see an email from you. Email is a high ROI activity but it takes some time and a consistent commitment to asking people to opt in and then making it worth their trust when they see emails from you.
Since 1963, McElroy Metal has served the construction industry with quality products and excellent customer service. The employee-owned components manufacturer is headquartered in Bossier City, La., and has 14 manufacturing facilities across the United States. Quality, service and performance have been the cornerstone of McElroy Metal’s business philosophy and have contributed to the success of the company through the years. As a preferred service provider, these values will continue to be at the forefront of McElroy Metal’s model along with a strong focus on the customer.