E-newsletters for renovators: Five keys to success
Newsletter marketing is a great way for renovation contractors to add new customers.
By Steve Payne
Email newsletters should be an integral part of your marketing strategy. People love to read timely information on topics that are of interest to them.
A newsletter campaign will serve to keep your name firmly “top-of-mind” with your customers and is a great way to solidify your remodeling company as an industry leader. Here are 5 key points to consider when running your email program.
Studies have shown that there is no maximum number of newsletters you should be sending–as long as the content is relevant and compelling. I’m subscribed to hundreds of newsletters and there are a few I get twice a day. Don’t be afraid that you will annoy subscribers!
Of course, without a full-time copywriter on staff, 40 monthly newsletters will be daunting (to say the least). To start you should plan on sending one or two newsletters per week; but certainly no less than two per month. Why? Because it works! It works because you never know when prospects will buy, so you have to keep plugging away.
Newsletters are advertising; and as with all advertising, repetition is key. It’s through repetition that you will establish credibility, brand familiarity and ultimately become the first thought when the need for your products or services arises.
Quantity, layout and content
Newsletters should be clean, easy to read and ultra-specific. If you’re just starting out, stick to one article per issue. There is much debate on this point, but I would urge you to consider your own tendencies before jumping on the “more is better” bandwagon. Especially if you’re just starting out and are concerned about frequency. If topic ideas are at a premium, you’re better off not blowing through them all in one mailing.
This format also allows for a more compelling subject line —which is arguably the most important part of the email (assuming you want it to be read). Another benefit to sending one topic per issue is the potential for forwarding. Subscribers are more likely to become your evangelists if the newsletter is a clear and specific. You want the opportunity for a subscriber to think, “Hey, John would love this,” and that will result in more subscribers and ultimately more customers.
Tone, personality and the missed opportunity
“You” is the most powerful word in advertising. In my experience, the most effective Newsletters speak to you, not at you. It should answer the “what’s in it for me” question each and every issue.
Ultimately, the newsletter is an opportunity to cultivate a relationship—not make a sale. The goal is to befriend the subscribers and maintain the impression that it’s a one-to-one communication. This lets them know that you’re not a company, you’re a person.
Most newsletters miss this one completely. They try to sound like big corporate machines. Writing in the first person will make the reader feel like you are speaking directly to her. This will make your newsletter a more personal and more effective communication.
As I said earlier, the subject line is most important element in getting your newsletter opened and read. It should be compelling and less than 50 characters. Compelling is “6 tips to making your home more energy efficient.” As far as subject lines go, I think you’ll agree that this is highly more likely to be opened than “ABC Remodeling Newsletter – March Issue”.
And, since you’ve taken my advice and decided to write in the first person, you’re certainly going to want the “from” email to be a person. Consider this: are you more apt to open an email from email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org?
Opt Out language
I said earlier you can never send out too many newsletters. Well, it should be noted that a recent study showed people who unsubscribe from good-quality newsletters cite the primary reason for leaving as delivery frequency. But don’t panic! This can be easily remedied by directly addressing the “high volume” objection on the opt-out page.
Consider this: someone wants to unsubscribe because you’re sending too many emails. They click the unsubscribe link and are directed to the following opt out page:
Please select your delivery frequency:
[ x ] I would like to lower my delivery frequency to one email per month.
[ ] I no longer wish to receive the coupons, tips and insights your newsletter offers at this time. Please unsubscribe me.
Assuming the only reason for leaving your otherwise insightful and entertaining content is the volume of emails, this option will save you from losing a loyal reader (and future customer). So as I said, don’t be afraid of over-mailing. The upside to high-volume newsletter delivery far out-weighs the downside.
Mark Harari is the marketing director at Remodelers Advantage (www.RemodelersAdvantage.com), an organization in Maryland that helps contractors and renovators in the USA and Canada to run better businesses.