By Nick Keyko, Senior Director, Marketing at Jobber
You’ve toyed with the idea of using email marketing for your plumbing business but decided against it because you’re worried customers will complain that your emails are spam or that you’re sending too many.
The truth? In today’s digital world, this is a preferred method of communication. When done right, customers may even thank you for sending messages to remind them about your services, new packages, or upcoming specials. Email marketing is one of, if not the most, effective marketing channels for small businesses in 2022. Some businesses have even shown a return of $50 for every $1 spent on emails.
Email marketing is one of the best marketing channels for plumbing business owners because it complements the human and personal nature of running a small business. You can say a lot more in an email than you can fit into an 80-character tweet.
The following are considerations and tips for getting the most out of email marketing.
Build Your List from Day One
Use sign-up forms to collect emails asking customers to join your mailing list. When asking, emphasize the value they’re getting when signing up, whether it’s tips and best practices or service specials you offer. Make sure they know that they can unsubscribe at any time. Being upfront about the type of content that is coming their way is key to making sure you and your company are viewed as a resource and not a nuisance.
Automate the Process
Today, most email marketing is done using automation software. Instead of writing one email at a time and manually selecting who to send it to, you can group customers into audiences and send automated email campaigns to multiple emails at once. Make sure your email software can properly segment customers by what you want, e.g., last service date, last service done, etc. Avoid sending blanket emails that target all your email contacts. The chances are they won’t make sense to most of your readers and you’ll risk lots of people unsubscribing.
The software you choose should allow you to personalize each message, so it will never come across as robotic or spam. You can also schedule emails ahead of time and send different emails to your customers based on their behavior (for example, whether they book a service or not).
The beauty of marketing automation is that you can set it up in a few hours and let it run on its own over the course of a season or even a whole year. You can also use email campaigns to encourage customers to book work in advance so you can work on building up cash flow all year round.
Once you choose an email marketing automation software, you need to spend some time figuring out what you would like to communicate with your customers.
What does someone who signs up for your emails gain? Will you offer them helpful tips and reminders? Monthly coupons? A discount on their next purchase?
Most people are hesitant to give out their email address, so give them a good reason to hand it over. Outline what benefits they’ll receive in the registration form/box.
Just remember not to promise readers anything that you can’t deliver. Taking the time to figure out what you’ll be communicating will give you a good idea of how often you’ll be sending out emails. Quarterly or seasonal updates might make sense, or if you have lots to say and share that’s valuable to your customers you may send out emails more often.
Be creative and put yourself in your customers’ shoes as you develop your emails.
Make Sign Up Easy
Make sure that the process to sign up for your emails is easy. If you can make it so people can register with a single click—that’s golden. Make the link obvious and easy to see on your website. The best locations on your website for the email registration box are: • Above the fold, the part of a web page that does not require scrolling; • The top right of the sidebar; • At the bottom of an article;; • The footer; • The top of a home page
Catch Their Eye
How many emails do you receive in your inbox every day? Probably a couple dozen you’ll never open. If a subject line is boring and doesn’t spark your curiosity, you’ll move on to an email that does catch your eye. That’s exactly why the subject line is the most important part of a marketing email.
Make sure that every subject you use in your marketing emails is well thought out. Here are some things you can do to draw people in with your subject lines.
Use Humor: Using humor helps your subject line to stick out in a list of boring emails. It helps to know your customers well, so that you don’t offend them when creating fun subject lines. Some examples of how humor is used by some other industries:
• Groupon: There are no deals in this email
• Baby Bump: Yes, I’m Pregnant. You Can Stop Staring At My Belly Now.
• BuzzFeed: How’d You Get So Weird?
Simple: Shorter subject lines always perform better than long ones. If you’re caught in between making your subject line simple vs. funny, simple is always the way to go. According to a study by AWeber Communications, clear subject lines receive 541% more clicks than clever ones.
Use Numbers: People like numbers, that’s why top 10 and 5 lists for subject lines and blog posts perform well. Numbers help our brains process information easily and can spark curiosity.
Use Symbols and Punctuation: Play around with punctuation to catch the eyes of your readers. Although exclamations are used a lot in subject lines (probably a little too much) you can try experimenting with symbols and punctuation.
Make it Easy on the Eyes: Most people will only spend a couple seconds reading an email, so it’s important to make your text easy to read and scan. Steer clear of long paragraphs and aim for short and sweet.
Consider Other Devices
Before you send out a marketing campaign to your customers, you should always send a test email to yourself. 60% of email campaigns are opened on mobile devices, so it’s important that your email doesn’t just look good on desktop but on other devices as well (especially mobile).
With the right software, once you hit send you’ll know exactly who opened which email, and if the email resulted in a sale. Over just 3-4 emails, you can already start to see which emails are working and change the ones that aren’t. With flyers, word of mouth, or direct mail, it can take months to track down responses.
It’s important to not get caught in a routine. There are a lot of email marketing platforms that provide useful data that can show you what is performing well and allows you to A/B test your subject lines (send two different versions to see which performs better), manage contact lists, measure engagement, etc.
Some great email marketing solutions include:
● Campaign Monitor
When launching an email campaign, the basic marketing metrics you want to track are:
● Open-rate: The percentage of people who open your emails. Open rates vary depending on industry, but your email marketing software can provide reports and data that lets you compare your business against the industry average. You can improve open rates with better subject lines.
● Clicks: The number of readers who click a link in your email. If people don’t click, it may be because the email is irrelevant to them. To make it more relevant, check that your content matches the customer categories you created in your email platform.
● Sales: How many emails resulted in work orders. The end goal of email marketing is to drive sales. To track the number of sales a single email generates, include a link customers need to click when booking a job. Every time a customer books your service through that link, you know the sale comes from the email.
These tips are a good framework on how to get started with an email marketing program, but make sure to personalize the content to the brand and messaging of your plumbing business and the intended audience. The content of the emails should be engaging and personalized to get the highest ROI and more leads.
Nick Keyko is the Senior Director of Marketing at Jobber, the leading provider of business management software that has helped small businesses deliver more than $15B in services, and growing, to over 12 million households. Nick is responsible for driving growth and building brand awareness for Jobber through organic and brand channels