Email Marketing–Part 1

email marketingWe’ve all received them. Those emails from a well-intentioned person who sends something out to everyone in their address book and you see all 150 email addresses. As a business person, this is like the kiss of death if you are trying to build business. Don’t be “that guy” (or “gal”).

Email marketing is a very useful tool if used correctly. It can build confidence for your business, maintain valuable connections with your customers, and help make you the “expert” they turn to—even for things about their structure other than their chimney. The result will be a strong, long-term relationship with your customers, who will in turn give referrals to their friends, which will bring you even more business. The bottom line: People deal with those they know and trust. This cannot be emphasized more in a business that involves the safety of a person’s home.

In this two-part series we’re going to examine Email Marketing, and give you some ideas of how to implement “best practices” to make your efforts productive.

Use an email service provider
First and foremost, it is wise to use an email service provider. We use and recommend Constant Contact. There are others, and no doubt you can locate them on line. Yes, you’ll pay a small monthly fee, but it’s well worth it. Most have templates that are professional and easy to use. You can insert pictures, your company logo, etc., with ease. Content is as easy as click and type. When you’re done, it will be professionally formatted, eye-catching, and will speak well about you.
Additionally, such services usually provide reporting that will show you who opened your emails, what they clicked on, and also which addresses bounced. They will also provide a certain amount of CRM (customer relationship management) capability so you can record some brief notes on each customer based on your recent contacts with them.

If you would like a FREE 60-day trial of Constant Contact, click here. No credit card is required, just your name, email address, phone number and a password. It will allow you to load up to 100 contacts and use it free for 60 days. All courtesy of your friends at Royal Chimney Supply!

Build your contact list: Get permission
How can you obtain contacts for your list? ASK! Most people, especially customers or prospects, will gladly give you their email address. If you ask, they most likely will also give you their phone number. Promise that you will never sell this information, nor will you give it out to others. You also need to promise you will NOT inundate them with email, but will only send them things that are useful and relevant to them.

If you’ve set up a trial account with Constant Contact, you can type these directly into a database when you log in. Alternatively, if you are using software for accounting or a program such as ACT, you can export your contacts as an Excel spreadsheet, then upload it directly into Constant Contact.
Why do you need permission? First, because it’s the right thing to do. No one appreciates unsolicited, unwanted email. Second, with permission you are now in compliance with Federal law. And third, your “open” rates will be phenomenal because people who like you, know you, and trust you will gladly open your emails because you are brilliantly informative and a great company to deal with. More about that later!

Now, Later, Never
If you’re like most people, when you receive a bunch of emails, you probably quickly scan the column “From” to see who they’re from. Then you’ll look at Subject. It’s in these few seconds that you will decide “Now, Later, Never”. You will either immediately open it, decide to save it for later when you have time, or immediately delete it. As a business trying to gain attention, you must be aware of this process and make sure you’re taking the steps that will get your email opened and read.

Who Are You?
Make sure that the “From” in your email shows clearly who you are. If you customers know you as XYZ Chimney Service, that should be in your “From” line. If they know you by first and last name, then use that. People will be more inclined to open an email from you if they recognize you as the sender. Using an email service provider allows you to specify the “From” line each time you set up an email.

In email marketing, you must be aware of the “rule of the 2’s”. You have 2 seconds, to use 2 words, to get a response 2-day (today). In those critical two seconds, if your subject line uses phrases that kill interest, you’ve lost the battle.

So, don’t use: “July Newsletter”. Instead, use “Protect the Safety of Your Home”. Don’t use: “Free Offer”. Instead, use “Ten Homeowners Needed”. You get the point: Be somewhat creative and ask yourself “If I were receiving this, what would interest me enough to open it?”

Always remember as you plan your email, that people are generally more interested in themselves than they are interested in you. If you detect that your email is straying into “this is all about me” territory, then start rewriting. As you develop a style that tells your recipients that you are interested in THEM, and what’s good for THEM, they will keep notching up their confidence in you.

In the next newsletter: The other parts of effective email marketing
We’re going to share with you information on content creating, how important “click-throughs” are to you, why it matters when you send your emails, and how to monitor your results.