Email is one of the absolute best ways to market your construction, home maintenance, or outdoor services business. Why?
- It’s nearly 40x more effective than Facebook and Twitter combined for acquiring new customers.
- 91% of US consumers use email daily.
- Email is 3x more likely to prompt purchases than social media.
You started your company because you have incredible skills and are passionate about your work. While it may sometimes seem that the excellence of what you do should speak for itself – even the best services need marketing. The more people know you and trust you, the more calls you’ll get for jobs.
Many of our Invoice2go, a Bill.com company members have recently asked us about email marketing. To support your business now more than ever during these uncertain times, we’ve put together a free email masterclass with tons of straightforward information to help you succeed.
This info reviews and expands on our first-ever webinar, Getting Started with Email Marketing, where Invoice2go’s email guru, Jell Khongkraphan, shares her six years of email marketing expertise.
Your time and resources are valuable. That’s why this guide will quickly and easily show you vital benefits email marketing can bring to your business. It will also show the best service providers, explain best practices, and help you avoid common mistakes.
Whether you’re just starting to venture into your customers’ mailboxes or want new tips to increase open rates, you’ll find useful information. Let’s dive in:
What are the benefits of email marketing for small businesses?
When it comes to marketing, email is often the lowest hanging fruit to help improve business. With it you can:
- Strengthen customers relationships
- Quickly generate more leads and boost sales
- Start for free – it’s the lowest cost and highest value option
Because of these fantastic benefits, taking advantage is a no-brainer. Every small business should do at least some email marketing.
Here’s something important you need to know: What people fundamentally want from a company is a personal, human connection. If you can engage your audience with relevant, personalized messaging, you’ll have a massive advantage over your competition.
Also, while new social media platforms and business marketing tools emerge each year, email consistently outperforms them. Not everyone is on social media, but nearly everyone has email – and you don’t have to worry about ever-changing algorithms to stand out.
With so much to gain and so little to lose, why not give it a shot? Here’s how to get set up:
What are the best email service providers?
This next tip is essential: don’t use your personal Gmail or iCloud to send your business email. Not only are personal addresses unequipped for bulk messaging (sending email to many recipients), they don’t have an unsubscribe option. This means you could be breaking CAN-SPAM regulations.
If you’ve never heard of CAN-SPAM, we highly recommend reading this information to ensure you don’t break the law.
Now, let’s check out the 3 best business email platforms for your construction, home maintenance, or outdoor services company.
The best choice for you depends on your budget, needs, and size of your list. If you’re not sure what to pick, we recommend just trying one out. You can easily add additional services or change to a more basic plan later. Also, all 3 options have free trials, so you can get comfortable before making any financial commitment.
- SendinBlue – Offers a free email marketing plan that lets you send up to 300 emails per day. Paid plans include SMS and start at $25 per month. This is an excellent option for businesses that send a ton of email. Pricing depends on volume, not contact list size.
- Constant Contact – One of the largest, fastest-growing, and most beginner-friendly email marketing services. You can easily manage your email lists, contacts, templates, calendar, and more. Constant Contact has a 60-day free trial (no credit card required), and pricing starts at $20 per month.
- Mailchimp – Has a forever free plan which allows you to send 12,000 emails to up to 2,000 subscribers. It comes with an easy-to-use email builder, autoresponders, segmentation, and analytics. It also lets you segment your list based customer location.
Remember: You can’t go wrong with any of these options. Because it’s so easy to change your plan later, it’s best to just get started and learn as you go.
What are the features of a perfect email?
Before you start crafting great emails and sending them to your customers, you want to make sure that:
- It’s sent to a high-quality list. Quality beats quantity. Take the time to go through your list to correct typos. If you send out an email to 100 people, but 20 addresses are incorrectly written, you’re missing out on potential customers. Also, never purchase a list of subscribers.
- It uses double opt-ins. When a customer opt-in to receive your emails, welcome them with a message that lets them know what kind of content they receive in the future. This gives them a chance to confirm their interest in your company and means they’ll likely open future messages. Also, this ensures your company stays compliant with the law.
It arrives in your customers’ inbox
More than 20% of marketing emails never make it to inboxes. For that reason, the best marketing emails are ones that actually arrive in your customers’ inboxes. How do you do this?
- Protect your sender reputation. Don’t send your emails from addresses like firstname.lastname@example.org. Use a friendly and trustworthy account name like email@example.com. Remember, your personal email address and will likely trigger spam filters.
- Take care to write great subject lines. Your customers are busy. Without a compelling subject line, your message can get quickly deleted. Keep in mind that most people these days check email on their phone, so make sure your message looks good on mobile. Also, be careful: 69% of email recipients report spam based on the subject line alone. Deceptive messaging can result in penalties of up to $41,484.
- Segment your list. Not all your customers have the same needs. A customer you finished a job for yesterday might need a different message than someone who hasn’t opened an email from you in months. For example, send follow-up surveys to recent customers or enticing offers to customers you haven’t heard from in a while.
- Keep your email list clean. As you learn more about email marketing, you’ll hear people mention bounce rates. Bounces are just emails that fail to reach subscribers, and you want to avoid them whenever possible. If your emails frequently get bounced or in spam, that hurts your sender reputation. Regularly check and clean your list.
How do I optimize my email marketing success?
After you send your email, you’re not done yet. Take the time to track and analyze your campaign engagement, which, thankfully, software makes easy to do. Continuously test new things and do more of what gets your positive results. Here’s what to look for:
- A/B test everything. Any of the services offered above provide this capability. For example, set up your campaign, so one half of your list gets one subject line, and the other half gets a different one. You can then see which types of messaging perform better. Champion testing takes this even further and ensures the highest performing content reaches your list.
- Analyze all your email results and take action. Did your 6 am email get a better response than your 8 am? Did including an image get you more clicks? Learn from your results and use them to send better future emails.
- Watch your open and opt-out rates. These are 2 of your most important metrics. Make sure people are getting your emails. If you notice people are marking you as spam or opting out, be sure to take action immediately.
How can you avoid common mistakes in email marketing?
While you’re well on your way to understanding the basics of email marketing, here are some other tips that can help you be more successful::
- Only send high-quality, relevant content. Sending messages that are annoying or irrelevant to lead to opt-outs and getting marked as spam. Always check for typos, broken links, and broken images. Use a service like Grammarly to make sure your writing is on point and always test your links and images work before sending out your message.
- Manage your unsubscribe list. Remember, it’s the law to include an unsubscribe link in business emails. If someone continues to get messages, they could get angry and harm your sender reputation. To avoid having customers opt-out entirely, segment your list. Maybe they don’t want to see promotions but still want to get your newsletter.
- Make your messages accessible. 285 million people in the US are blind or low vision. Some of these people could be your customers. Be sure to include a read-only version of your messages.
- Check for display issues. About 75% of Americans say they use their smartphones most often to check email. Before sending anything, make sure it looks great on both phones and computers.
What are other useful email marketing tips and tricks?
At the end of our live presentation, several viewers asked valuable questions. Here we’ve summarized and highlighted the essential details from the Q&A.
Segmenting your list is essential. Make sure your messages reach the right customers at the right time. Don’t spray and pray – be targeted and intentional.
Be careful of your language, especially in subject lines. Words like “Free” or anything blatantly sales-y or deceiving can violate CAN-SPAM and result in a penalty. Sending your messages from your company domain also keeps your messages out of spam.
Consistently communicate with your customers. Emailing your customers once a week is an excellent place to start. But keep in mind that consistency is more important than volume. Don’t email your customers three times in one month and then not at all the next. It’s ok to test days and times, but consistent communication is essential to your success. If your information is relevant, your customers will be happy to hear from you. Send newsletters, company updates, and content beyond just promotions.
You can export customer email addresses from the Invoice2go app. If you’re already an Invoice2go subscriber, you can easily export the email addresses of the customers you’ve already done business with. This is a great way to start or add to your email list.
You can always change your email service provider as your business grows and changes. Remember, as your needs change and your business grows, you may need more services or a different email provider. You’re not married to the service you choose initially, and it’s easy to change services later.
There you have it – you now know the basics of email marketing. We hope this information helps you improve business and gives you the success you deserve.
There’s still so much more to learn once you get set up and comfortable with the basics. We look forward to seeing you in part 2 of this masterclass for more useful tips and tricks.