According to a national survey conducted by AT&T, 41 percent of small businesses are using email marketing to reach their customers. It’s all for good reason: By allowing you to get directly in front of your customers and keep their attention, email marketing can assist in driving conversions and increasing return on investment (ROI).

In part one of this two-part series, I explained the importance of email marketing and what contractors and business owners in the heating and cooling industry need to do to effectively set up email accounts. Now that we have covered those points, let’s take a deeper dive into creating and launching a successful email marketing campaign.

Gather Your Content

Once you’ve determined the group you’re targeting, you need to determine the best content to provide. When putting this together, there are a few things you need to keep in mind:

• Keep it brief — Within the body of the email, stay away from clutter. Know exactly what your desired call to action is, and make it bold and easy to act on. Adding a button or large phone number to call will make it clear to your readers what they should do once they open the email.

• Focus on one product or service — Although you may provide a number of different services or products, each email should focus on selling one of them. Your focus will likely be based on things like time of the year and promotions you’re running.

• Show your personality — Be yourself. Determine the tone and personality of your brand. Then, get your reader’s attention by adding images and content that resonates with this

• Encourage feedback — Provide buttons and direct links to email addresses or landing pages on your website where readers can immediately provide feedback.

• Review, review, review — There’s nothing worse than sending out an email filled with typos and grammatical errors. If your customer opens up an email and sees mistakes, they will be turned off by it and you could lose his or her readership altogether.

• Utilize your segments — Customer segments can be set up within your email service provider (ESP) database to ensure you are reaching the right customers at the right time. Categorizing each customer allows you to target your messages, like communicating with someone about the benefits of replacing an older unit once the system reaches a certain age, or re-engaging clients who haven’t worked with you for a certain number of months.

Finalize Your Email

After you’ve determined the content in the email, you have to come up with a great subject line. The subject line should be brief and include captivating words to get the attention of your customers and give them an idea of what’s inside without actually telling what’s inside. Once you get to the design and layout of your email, keep it simple and straightforward. This will allow your call to action to remain front and center without distracting side elements. To do this, you can use a template provided by your ESP, or create your own with the help of a designer who has experience designing and coding HTML emails.

Consider using one or two appealing images — one will complement the header of your email and the other will support the body. It’s important these images are clean and attractive or else they will not serve to retain your audience’s attention. Also, using big, bold text with short and concise content can help to draw the eye exactly where you want it to go. When you’re finished creating your email, you will need to schedule it to go out. This allows you to send an email without being there to hit the send button and gives you the flexibility to create an email far in advance and release it during the best time.

Measure Your Efforts Based on Goals

All of your marketing efforts should be measured in order to know if they’re helping your bottom line. This doesn’t have to be anything super fancy or confusing. In fact, keeping it simple is the best advice I can provide to you. In my personal experience, measuring within email marketing is one of the easier parts of the process to understand.

It begins by determining what success means for your email. If it’s conversions, how are you defining that? Is it a phone call, a click-through to your website, or a submitted contact form? All it takes is a simple line of script on the backend of your website to help you track this. Additionally, your ESP will help you measure and analyze details of each email that goes out.

Some of the more important things to look at include:

• How many emails were sent versus how many email were actually delivered?

• What the open rate and click-throughs are for each link?

• How many successful conversions you had?

• How many people unsubscribed?

Using this information, you can continue to improve upon your email strategy. If there are a lot of bounce-backs, you know you have to pay more attention to the input of your emails. If you’re not seeing high click-through and conversion rates, review your call to action. Getting directly in front of your customers is a powerful way to build your business. Investing time and money into email marketing will help you do that. Follow the tips in this series to get started and you’ll be on your way to building an email marketing program that efficiently helps you build your business.

Publication date: 1/12/2015

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