As a contractor, it’s important to both foster your connections with existing clients and bring in new customers that need your service. The ideal for any contracting business is to have a steady stream of jobs, without seasonal dips or low months.
Email marketing is a great way to let both potential and existing clients know what you’ve been working on, provide them with any specials you may be offering, and help you establish yourself as an expert in the industry. As most peoples’ primary form of business (and sometimes personal) communication, a well-executed email marketing plan can help you reach new leads while giving you total control over who your message goes to. Unlike social media, which doesn’t always show all of your posts to all of your followers, you know that your emails are going to everyone on your list.
With the right tools and dedication, you can create an email list and marketing plan that will generate new leads, ensure you stay in touch with existing customers, and give you a leg up on your competition. Let’s go through some of the most important parts of creating a professional, useful, and functional email marketing plan.
Building a Contact List
There are a variety of ways to build a mailing list. From including a “Request a free quote” button on your website that has a potential client input their contact information to asking your existing client to provide an email for future communications, building a list revolves around strategically providing things that both existing and potential clients might be interested in.
In the above picture, you can see one of the ways that Contractor Dynamics gets people to provide their email. As a contractor, learning 21 ways to get more leads from your website is a valuable tool; by providing their email, contractors get something useful to them in return. You can do the same thing – offer clients an industry report on home renovation prices, provide them with a case study on the benefits of working with a design-build team, etc. By providing them something of value for free, you can then get their email address and begin communicating with them.
If you’re in your off-season, another good way to potentially collect the email and contact information for new clients is by providing a pop-up offer to them. Give them $100 off any renovation worth $1000 or more! Offer return customers a % off if they choose you for a new renovation project! Then require them to provide you with their email to receive the coupon. Customers love a good deal, so it’s entirely likely you’ll get a job and contact information out of it, just for offering a discount.
However, there is such a thing as too many lead magnets – ways to collect your client’s information. If you’re going to use any of these methods, we suggest choosing one or two. Don’t use every single one and overwhelm your potential customers! You may annoy them and drive them away before getting any information from them at all, and you definitely don’t want that.
Now that you’ve gotten an idea of how to establish a mailing list, we’ll talk about how to communicate with that list.
Using the Proper Tools
You may think that you can just create a contact list in Gmail and have that be good enough, but to really make the most of your email marketing plan you need to think on a bigger scale. Using a marketing aid like MailChimp (see the screenshot below) lets you create professional-looking emails with their templates, separate your mailing list into categories of clients, and see what’s working and what isn’t by figuring out which emails people are opening, reading, and clicking through on.
While you can go very advanced with your email marketing, the best thing about programs like MailChimp is that they have a free option for people just starting out. You can even create signup forms that can then be embedded on your website so that when people submit their contact information it gets added directly to your contact list.You may be thinking “why do I need to use a fancy email manager to send emails to my customers? Why can’t I just send them myself?” And, technically, you could – but an email manager makes creating, scheduling, and sending emails so much easier. Plus, an email manager will let you test different styles of
You may be thinking “why do I need to use a fancy email manager to send emails to my customers? Why can’t I just send them myself?” And, technically, you could – but an email manager makes creating, scheduling, and sending emails so much easier. Plus, an email manager will let you test different styles of subject, arrangements of your actual email, and link placement to find the most effective way to reach out to your existing and potential clients. Whether you’re sending a general newsletter, an email offer, or industry information, an email manager lets you create and curate easily – even if you’ve never done this type of marketing before. Don’t make things harder and more time-consuming than they have to be! Using the high-quality, affordable tools that are available to you will make you a savvy marketer and free your time up so that you can more effectively manage your business.
Best Practices for Email Marketing
So you’ve started building a list, and you’ve chosen an email marketing program to help you keep track of your email lists, design your campaigns, and analyze their effectiveness. All of that is great, but you’re still not going to get the results that you want – namely, more leads, more work, and steady project generation – without putting some thought into your emails. There are a few things you need to keep in mind when designing your campaign and deciding what your emails are going to look like, and we’re going to outline them here.
1: Make sure your content is relevant
People aren’t going to read something that isn’t relevant to their interests – if they signed up to receive a newsletter or blog update from you, they’re going to expect information relevant to your work and their interest in home renovation. If all you send them is pushy sales content, they’re going to unsubscribe, and you’re going to lose that connection and potential for a job.
Instead of focusing on selling yourself, focus on creating content that people will love. People love lists – create a list of the most cost-effective home renovations. Tell people how they can maximize their home’s potential on a budget. Give them information about how installing new, energy-efficient windows could save them money on their heating and AC bills. Then provide them with a link to your website, so that once their interest is piqued they have an easy way to connect with you and request more information. Which leads into our second point:
2: Use your emails to drive traffic to your website
The main reason you’re developing an email marketing campaign is to entice both existing and potential clients to explore the services you have to offer and consider hiring you, which requires them to go to your website. Placing direct links to your website in your emails helps your customers avoid confusion, allows them to have easy access to more information about you, and makes it simple for them to contact you if they want to use your services.
Plus, including your website link directly in your emails makes sure your competitors can’t get between you and your marketing efforts by preventing mistyped URLs and customers finding the wrong business if they just do a random web search. Keep your customers coming to you with strategic website links to your contact page, project gallery, or service page – if you’re highlighting a specific type of work that you do, you can link to that page on your website, for example. Make it as easy as possible for customers to find your information and get in touch with you, and more people will contact you!
3: Be consistent
Be consistent in your tone, your voice, and the time you send your emails. Establish yourself as a professional, knowledgeable business by becoming a consistent part of your customers’ lives. If you always send your emails at noon on Fridays, make sure to stick with that pattern (unless, of course, you choose to do some sort of flash sale, special, or holiday-related deal). If customers expect your email, they’re more likely to read it, and more likely to take advantage of any promotions or special offers you may choose to include.
As with any marketing practice, email marketing is most effective when it’s aligned with a more comprehensive business marketing strategy. It needs to be consistent and valuable for your target audience, not just 100% offers or sales pitches. You need to test your subject lines and content to see what resonates more (called A/B testing) so that you can make sure your emails are as effective as possible.