The ins-and-outs of email marketing for labor contracting business bwners. Learn if, why, when and how to send an email newsletter.
Should I send out an email newsletter? Is it really that important?
An email newsletter is a good chance for you to communicate directly with your customers. It's an opportunity for you to show off your industry expertise and share with your readers valuable tips and bits of information.
Like any new marketing endeavor though, it is going to take time and energy to execute properly, so you'll have to ask yourself if you have the time available to make such a commitment (and it's definitely a commitment). Keep on reading to find out exactly what sending a newsletter entails.
It's safe to say, if you're a one-man show working long hours, publishing an online newsletter should not be a top priority. Though once your company grows, an email newsletter will be a higher priority and a recommended marketing tool.
It's also worth noting, that while there are many websites (see below for specifics) that simplify sending an online newsletter, you'll still need to be familiar with the computer and internet. So if the computer is not your thing, you might want to pass for now.
Even if you're not going to send out that newsletter yet, there are easy steps you can take now that will greatly benefit you in the future when the you're ready. So keep on reading!
How often should I send an email newsletter?
You first want to figure out the purpose of your newsletter and then make sure you're sending it often enough to accomplish that goal.
Depending on your industry, you might want to consider a seasonal newsletter. So if you plow snow, try sending out a newsletter every November before the snow falls. If you're an HVAC contractor, you'll definitely want to send out a newsletter once in the spring and again in the fall.
If you do work all year round, then you should aim for at least a quarterly newsletter and slowly build up to a monthly publication.
How long should my newsletter be and what should it include?
Include information about your business and industry that is relevant and valuable to your readers.
So again, if you plow snow, share tips with your readers on how they can help keep their driveways clear of snow and how they can prevent black ice from forming. If your business is HVAC repair, then talk to your readers about ways they can save money when heating and cooling their homes. If you're a plumber, share with your customers how they can prevent their pipes from freezing in the winter and tips on keeping water costs down.
Keep in mind that your readers are most likely very busy so you'll want to send them content that is right to the point. Try to publish short bits of information that is on target and easy to act upon.
In terms of design, most email marketing platforms (see below) have really great templates to choose from so you won't need to worry about that too much.
Consider also offering special discounts strictly for your newsletter subscribers. Your customers will certainly appreciate it and look forward to receiving your newsletter again and again.
How do I actually send a newsletter?
There are plenty of online platforms that not only make email marketing simple but also offer free plans. For example:
a. MailChimp (www.mailchimp.com). The free plan lets you send 12,000 emails to up to 2,000 subscribers.
b. Aweber (www.aweber.com). First month costs only $1 and they had a 30 day money back guarantee.
c. Mad Mimi (www.madmimi.com). The free plan lets you send up to 12,500 emails to 2,500 subscribers.
d. Vertical Response (www.verticalresponse.com).
e. Constant Contact (www.constantcontact.com).
Who do I send my newsletter to?
Your newsletter is geared for your current client base and others who could benefit from it. The better you know your audience, the more relevant and engaging your newsletter will be!
This gets us to a very touchy subject called spam! Not only is spam mail very annoying, and in certain instances is illegal, it can also be very damaging. Each time someone clicks "report as spam" on your email, this damages the reputation of your website and email address in the eyes of the email giants (Gmail, Yahoo, Aol, etc.) and the next time you send any email it may end up in your recipients' spam folder. Therefore, make sure you're only sending your newsletter to people who have actually signed up. Here is a more detailed compliance guide for the CAN-SPAM act:
I'm not sending out an email newsletter yet but want to. What's the best place to start?
This tip right here is relevant to every single small business owner whether or not they are sending out a newsletter: Start building up your email list! As you get emails, simply add them to an excel spreadsheet for organized keeping.
That means, when you finish a job for a customer, ask them for their email. When a potential customer calls for an estimate, ask them for their email. If you have a website, Facebook page or blog, add a subscribe box to your site. The easier it is to subscribe, the more emails you'll collect! You might also want to consider offering an incentive, such as a discount or a company promotional item (pen, magnet, tshirt, etc.) in exchange for an email address.
I am already sending out an email newsletter? Can you share a tip or two on ways I can improve it?
You should start looking at the effectiveness of your email. Most email marketing platforms (such as the ones we list above) will share with you a wealth of statistics about your email newsletter. For example, you can see how many opened the email, how many read it and how many clicked on the links. Begin to review this information, look for patterns and see where you can improve. Don't be afraid to test new things like catchier subject lines, titles, more pictures, etc, to see if it affects your numbers.
The day and time when you send your newsletter is also very important. Studies show that newsletters sent on Monday or Friday are less successful than ones sent on Sunday or Thursday. As for the time, you either want to send the newsletter early in the morning (before 10 AM) or later on in the evening but a newsletter sent at 1 PM in the middle of a hectic work day may just be deleted. All of this can change based on your user base so experiment a bit and see which day and time yields the most opens and clicks.
Have questions or comments about this post? We'd love to hear them! Send them directly to firstname.lastname@example.org and we'll get back to you as soon as possible.