Whether you collect customer emails on paper as part of your invoicing process, or you have their information stored in your business’ CRM system (Customer Relationship Management), it’s time to put them to good use with some email marketing.
Why Email Marketing Is Important
When done right, email marketing can better connect business owners and operators to their customers, and enable companies to build a loyal base of regular clientele.
At Tradie Web Guys, our own client base has shown us that email marketing can do the following for tradies and contractors:
- Maximise marketing opportunities
- Generate job leads from old and new clients
- Attract high-quality customers and contracts
- Create a more professional company image
- Improve communication and brand awareness
How Email Marketing Works
The concept of email marketing is pretty simple. You send an email to a past customer to directly or indirectly promote parts of your business. This consistent and professional communication then builds trust and invites new job leads.
It’s the actual design of your company’s email marketing process, however, that can take some time.
1. Decide what kind of emails you want to send customers
There are a few different types of emails that you can send your customers:
- Random, one-off emails – usually used to promote new services or discounts
- Email Campaigns – a set number of emails designed with a specific goal in mind
- Regular, Ongoing Emails – these are newsletters, quarterly round-ups, etc
You don’t just have to select one type of email style either – a combination of two, or all three works best. The most popular combination for businesses that we see is a mix of one-off promotional emails and newsletters.
2. Plan out a schedule for sending emails
Once you know what kind of email you want to send, you should decide when you want to send them.
Random, one-off emails are most commonly used as an announcement system to your customer base. You can use these to promote a new service you’ve just added to your business or to let customers know if you’re closing for the holidays.
Email Campaigns are sent over a set period of time. For example, an Australian plumber might send four emails to his customers over four weeks that share hot tips on how to care for a plumbing system during the harsh summer.
Regular, ongoing emails have a recurring distribution date. A monthly or quarterly newsletter will have set dates throughout the year that you send them on – like on the 15th of every month, or at the start of January, April, July and October.
3. Design the content of your emails
The type of content that you include in your emails is going to change depending on what type they are and when you’re going to send them.
The structure of announcement emails will vary, while email campaigns and newsletters can get away with a set template.
As a rule of thumb though, here are some things to remember when designing your email marketing content:
- Keep subject lines short and attention-grabbing – a customer won’t open an email if it doesn’t look worth their time.
- Use casual language – Text that’s too salesy, cliched or tries too hard can be an instant turn-off for readers.
- Try not to make emails too long – we recommend keeping it to 200 words or less.
- Include photos or gifs – don’t use stock images. Hire a graphic designer or use Canva to create some original imagery.
- Add links where you can – these can redirect customers back to your website, which could help you get new leads.
- Get an email signature – this makes your contact information easily accessible for customers.
4. Use email marketing software to automate sending and analyse data
Email marketing software is the ultimate tool to use to communicating with your customers. Not only is it an organised and secure location to store customer contact information, it also has a range of tools you can use to design, send and review emails.
Here are some of our favourite features you’ll find (and need!) in email marketing software:
- Scheduling – you can set a time and date for emails to automatically be sent out
- Lists – these enable you to segment your customer contact information into groups
- Email Designer – this tool is used to create your email content and prepare it for sending
- Reports – there is a range of data, like open, click-through and unsubscribe rates, that measure email success
At Tradie Web Guys, we use ActiveCampaign. It’s a comprehensive, one-stop shop system for email marketing, and saves us time and money when it comes to planning, sending, designing, scheduling and analysing our emails.
5. Rinse and repeat
Rome wasn’t built in a day, just like your email marketing strategy isn’t going to be a success from the get-go.
You need to regularly review your process to identify pain points and make the necessary changes to resolve them.
The key to doing this, is analysing the data that an email marketing software system can record about your customers and their engagement with what you send them.
An email marketing system can tell you whether or not your emails are being opened, what links in your emails are being clicked, if recipients are unsubscribing from your emails, when your emails are bouncing due to incorrect information and more.
Here are some questions to help guide you in using data to reflect on, and evolve, your business’ email marketing process:
- Are customers engaging with the types of emails I’m sending? Are they opening them? Or, are they unsubscribing and blocking my emails?
- Is there a particular time and day of the week or month when sending emails that I see better engagement rates like opens and click-throughs from customers?
- How are customers responding to longer emails? Do the click through rates for links in the email drop off at certain point, indicating customers click away?
- What features or parts of my emails are customers engaging with the most? Are they clicking on images or certain links? are they always opening emails that are about a certain topic, or have a specific subject line style?
Where can I find email marketing templates?
So maybe you’re keen to get started on emails, but you just can’t find the time to structure out a proper template for a newsletter or announcement email. Don’t worry, we’ve got you covered.
Here are some links to email templates from some of our favourite email marketing software providers and industry leaders;
- Hubspot’s ’19 Examples of Brilliant Email Marketing Campaigns [Template]’
- Influencer Marketing Hub’s ’11 of the Best Email Marketing Templates for 2021′
- EConsultancy’s ’12 free email marketing templates for small businesses’
An email marketing strategy glossary
While we’ve definitely given you the basics of what you should know to implement email marketing into your business, there are some key words and phrases we think you should know.
Understanding these terms can help you better identify, understand and resolve the pain points in your email marketing strategy.
Open Rate – The percentage of recipients that opened your email.
CTR (Click-Through Rate) – The percentage of email recipients that click on URLs in your email content.
Conversion Rate – The percentage of recipients who respond to your call-to-action in an email campaign or promotion.
Call-To-Action – The part of your email that tells your customers what they should be doing, e.g. ‘Call us today!’
Bounce rate – The rate at which your emails are not delivered.
Hard Bounce – A permanent reason preventing email delivery like an incorrect or blocked email address.
Soft Bounce – A temporary issue preventing email delivery like a full mailbox or an unavailable server.
Email Personalization – Customised email content based on the email recipient’s data, e.g. first name, date of birth, etc.
List Segmentation – A target audience or group of individuals for that you send a specific email or email campaign too.
A/B Split Test – A comparison of features of 2 different emails with similar content to determine what has a bigger impact.