Email marketing is great way to keep in contact with your current customers. Unfortunately, most consumers just don't think about their HVAC system until it’s too late, even if your company originally serviced or replaced the unit. They may have even had a pleasant experience with your company, but there is a good chance that they may not remember and call someone else the next time. It’s much less expensive to maintain a relationship with a current customer than to acquire a new one. When email marketing campaigns are done correctly, they help retain customers and generate new sales. I plan to lay out a basic campaign for customer retention and top of mind awareness along with an “advanced” version. The “advanced” version requires more customer information and time, but it has the potential to generate much more revenue. In each I will address the when, how often, and type of content.
Today an email address is just about as important as our home mailbox, so when we are sending content to customers we need to keep this mind. Think why you are hesitant to give your email out to a company. You don’t want the “SEMI-ANNUAL BLOWOUT SALE” emails clogging up your inbox every two weeks. Don't be that guy. If the information that you keep on your customers is minimal, a quarterly or semiannual email newsletter seems to be appropriate for our industry. What your company sends, how often, and why depends on the information you collect on your customers.
HOW OFTEN (ADVANCED)
This depends on what type of data your company is keeping on its customers. Some information I would recommend keeping on customers is the type and age of system, what types of accessories they have (thermostat, UV lights, humidifier, filtration, etc.), pets, hardwood floors, and even birthdays or anniversaries. When you have this type of information, you can email your customer every three months or so. I wouldn't exceed this by very much. When you have more customer data, you can send material that is going to address a direct need for that particular customer.
For a semiannual touch it is important that we are not trolling the customer with some sales offer right off the bat. Chances are they haven’t thought about their system (assuming it's working), nor do they care about $500 off on a replacement. Sending an email like this is a great way to annoy customers and get potential prospects to unsubscribe from your email. When crafting this email think about something relevant that is happening in the community that your customers know about, aim to inform and provide value to the reader first. For example, maybe there is a cold front moving through your area — you could send customers tips on keeping warm air inside their home. This does not have to be completely HVAC related! Then tie in something about maintaining your furnace and a special offer on a tuneup at the end. People will realize they are being marketed to, but by approaching the email in this way, it will make them less likely to hit that unsubcribe button.
This is where we come into the money. With more customer data, the what of the email changes. This is a great tool to use for your semiannual maintenance customers. For example, they are due for routine maintenance and you're aware they do not have a smart thermostat. Then, the week before the appointment, they get an email on all the benefits of having a smart thermostat in their home. This sets the technician up for the sale, and because the service tech was already scheduled to come, it saves on company costs allowing the savings to be passed on to the customer. This strategy can be used for a variety of different upsell opportunities depending on the data your company has.
This strategy can also be used to obtain new annual service agreements. For example, let’s say you did a routine tuneup for a customer, but they do not a have service agreement with your company. If you are recording the age, type, and other system information, it provides the opportunity to obtain a service agreement in the future. By identifying a typical problem that persists with systems around that age, maybe six months down road they get an email from your company stating that systems like yours typically experience X problem and that by being a preferred maintenance customer, they avoid the risk of the costly repair of X problem for their system.
Email marketing is a great, inexpensive way to build that top of mind awareness and drive new sales. To recap, when sending email always aim to provide value first. People hate being sold, but they love to buy. Like everything this takes time and practice; use data from each email blast to see what's working and what's not, then adjust. Just like we’ve seen with companies that were quick to adjust to the online revolution, companies using email effectively will reap the rewards.
By collecting as much data as you can on your customers, you will be able maximize your relationship. This means more accessories sold, higher ticket values, and ultimately happier customers. In today’s hectic society, the smart, savvy consumer is always looking for the added value, not gimmicky sales. Either your company provides it, or someone else will.