An email newsletter program is a smart, effective way to stay in touch with prospects and past customers. Not only is it an easy and cost-effective marketing tactic, but it is also one that builds trust.
Trust is an important aspect of any email newsletter program, and the people on your list have trusted you with their email address. With each issue you publish, you’ll want to take steps to ensure that you are continuing to build their trust.
1. Get permission before sending your Email Newsletter
You can’t email your newsletter to everyone in your contact list. It’s a bad business practice and will quickly ensure that the recipients distrust you. You must follow the rules and comply with the CAN-SPAM Act.
These are the general guidelines for determining who you can include in your initial email newsletter list. After reading this list, you’ll notice that the key phrase to consider when developing your email list is “willingly provided.”
- Are the customers or prospects who have willingly provided you with their email address? If yes, you can include them.
- Are the prospects that you’ve spoken with at Home Shows, Parades of Homes or other events and who have willingly provided you with their email address? If yes, you can include them.
- Are the emails that you’ve collected as a result of a drawing, and did you note in the drawing that emails will be included in your email marketing? If yes, you can include them. If you did not specify that message, you may not use those email addresses without first asking their permission.
If you obtained email addresses by combing association directories, for instance, and the recipients would be surprised to receive your email, you cannot legally include them in your list without first obtaining their permission.
The best practice is to personally email those who you think would be a good fit for receiving your email newsletter, tell them you are starting a new email newsletter program and ask them if you can include them. Yes, this takes effort, but then you are 1) in compliance with the Anti-Spam laws and 2) you are creating goodwill with prospects and past customers.
Small email list? Not an issue.
Many of my contractor clients actually begin their email newsletter program with a small list – usually under 250 names. This is not a bad thing. Keep this in mind: A list of 100 people who are happy to hear from you is much more effective than a list of 1,000 who don’t know you, don’t remember you or are annoyed that you are contacting them.
I’ve seen great success from remodelers who have started with a list of under 150 recipients who have grown it from there. It isn’t the quantity that matters; it is all about the quality of your subscriber list.
the Done-For-You Newsletter
2. With Email Marketing, Don’t be all about the sale.
As a contractor, you shouldn’t distribute your email newsletter for only sales and promotion. Save that for the retail industry, please. For more on this topic, read my “Email and the Bear” article.
The most effective email newsletter programs are the ones that offer your readers something of value – information and inspiration. This is how you build trust and stronger relationships with your subscribers.
What to write to build trust?
For remodelers, there are tons of great article ideas, such as the pros and cons of popular kitchen countertops, or how to inspect your home for air leaks/insulation fails before the winter.
Don’t be afraid to give your readers tips on how to do some of the items themselves. This is the type of information you’d provide a friend; write your articles in a similar tone.
While you’ll not want every issue to be a sales piece, there are times when you’ll want to send out a special offer. For example, after a rather damaging hailstorm moved through one Midwest client’s area, he sent out a special edition of his e-newsletter. It provided tips on to how to identify hailstorm damage to their home and served as a reminder that his company could help them work with their insurance company to make repairs.
3. Keep your email newsletter program on a consistent schedule.
Perhaps the biggest hurdle with email newsletters is keeping to a consistent schedule. Most contractors only email their list when things are slow, and they are looking for work. This is the absolute wrong approach. Not only does it not build trust, but it also feels desperate.
How often should you publish your newsletter?
Determining the right email frequency depends on the industry, and there are hundreds of digital marketing gurus who will tell you weekly, bi-weekly, or monthly is best. They aren’t incorrect.
Here’s the question I always ask my clients: What can you stick to? What feels right for your audience?
Most tell me that an every-other-month (bimonthly) schedule to work well for them. It isn’t too frequent that they are overwhelming their readers and constantly creating content, yet it is often enough that their subscribers don’t forget about them.
Furthermore, if you outsource your email newsletter program, like with the Newsletter Program for Remodelers, six times a year doesn’t break the budget, either.
Always remember that your email marketing program is about connecting with people – and building a stronger relationship with them. By keeping these 3 trustworthy traits in mind, over time you will see consistent results and greater success from your email newsletter program.
I help remodeling contractors and other building industry professional with their newsletter and other marketing efforts. If you need help, let’s talk.