Email marketing is a low-cost, easy way to reach many of your customers at once. While other marketing channels, like radio, billboards, and a TV spot are great lead generation tactics, the easiest customers to win back or keep are your existing ones! It's important to nurture existing customers so they turn into repeat customers.
Email service providers
The very first step when implementing email marketing is to select an email service provider (ESP). An ESP is crucial for several reasons. First off, you will be able to design a professional, nice-looking, mobile friendly email template with an easy-to-use editor. There's no need to hire a web developer for this type of work - I promise you can do it! Secondly, an ESP makes it easy to mass send emails, keep track of your email/customer lists, and create different email experiences for different types of customers. Say you want to email only your maintenance agreement customers - easy! Or you want to email previous customers who haven't called you back in two years - do it!
While an ESP sounds like it might come with a hefty price tag, it's not entirely true. For more cost-effective programs, check out Mail Chimp, iContact, or Constant Contact. They range anywhere from FREE (yes free) to around $50/month.
Who to email
Email marketing can be used as lead generation by collecting email addresses on your website through an inquiry or quote form, but it's wiser to begin the initiative with your existing customers. Make it a priority to capture every customer's email address when on a service call. While phone numbers are useful, emails are a more instant way to communicate. Technicians can enter email addresses in your mobile work order management app or software. [Shameless Coolfront plug: Coolfront allows you to easily capture and store your customer's emails in the field!!]
Once you have email addresses, you can import them into your ESP and segment them into different lists based on their service history, customer type, or anything else.
What to market
Well, you're marketing your company and your services of course! But it's important to work up compelling messaging, and a good email cadence or frequency. Email marketing can be used to increase your repeat business. So, for instance, why not send an email to every customer a few days after they received service from you? The email can solicit their customer experience feedback, and ask them to keep you in mind next time they need servicing. Or, perhaps it includes a coupon for their next service or tune-up.
These are the types of marketing tactics that will help you stand out from low-bid Joe down the street. While some customers do price shop, most value a good customer experience, and email marketing can help you provide that.