HVACR Business

SEP 2017

Help hvacr contractors master the critical components of business management.

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24 HVACR BUSINESS SEPTEMBER 2017 www. hvacrbusiness .com Effective Email Marketing E mail marketing can be an incred- ibly effective tool for contractors. Unfortunately, most contractors do a really bad job with it. I don't say that lightly; for several years, I've looked at email marketing from HVACR contractors and much of it is unattractive, poorly conceived and inefficient. Get Your Email Opened When you send email to a prospect or a customer, what do you want them to do with it? Open it, of course! Email recipients mostly use two pieces of information to determine if they will open the email: 1) Who it's from (the sender) and 2) What it's about (the subject). Unfortunately, many contractors use a "no reply" sender email address. What does "no reply" tell the recipient? It's like a "talk to the hand" signal. It hardly inspires a dialogue. Your "sender" should be a real person at your company email address — not Gmail, Yahoo or any other third-party address. If you have a company icon, spokesperson or face of the company, use that name. e subject line is precious real estate. You have only a small space to deliver a compelling reason to open the email. Don't waste that space with extraneous words. What's compelling ? People open email that is useful and interesting to THEM — not what is useful and interesting to YOU. Many HVACR contractors email tech- nical subjects to their customers. Sure, you like that information and I like that infor- mation, but most homeowners aren't that interested. Use subjects and subject lines that are interesting and valuable to your customer. "Your Latest (company name) HVAC Newsletter" — Really Bad "Perfect Places For Ductless Heating and Cooling" — Bad "Stop Fighting Over the ermostat!" — Better "Inexpensive Ways To Make Your Home Healthier" — Good "4 Home Safety Tips You Should Know" — Excellent e subject doesn't need to be about HVACR. Position yourself as a company interested in the well-being of its customers. at frees you from needing to find HVACR-related subjects. Humor is also good. People want to be entertained. Humor can backfire, however, so be careful with it and keep it family-friendly. In choosing your subjects and subject lines, consider your recipients — 60-70 percent of HVACR purchase decisions are made by women. It's likely that a similar percentage of your email list is women. LQ Hunter, the Service Nation email guru says the lists he manages for HVACR contractors are 56 percent women. Make your email subjects and subject lines women-centric and family-friendly. Don't send your email too oen. Once every two weeks or once a month is about right. Once a week is the max. More oen will cause your email to be ignored. Timing of the email is oen overlooked. "Timing is just as important as your subject line," Hunter says. "Your open rates will suffer if both aren't well thought out. Schedule your email to arrive Monday through ursday before noon." Design for Preview Panes Some people use a "preview pane" to look at the first part of an email. What they see in the preview pane helps them determine whether they will open and read the rest of the email. Knowing this, you want the first part of your email (the part displayed in the preview pane) to be interesting and enticing. Don't fill this part with boring, uninteresting factoids such as the date it was sent, information about you and your company or boring headlines. If you're sending a newsletter with multiple articles, it may be good to organize your newsletter so the table of contents is displayed in the preview pane, assuming the table of contents has interesting topics written in an attention- grabbing headline style. Mobile Friendly More than half of all email is opened on a mobile device, so your email must be mobile friendly. Limit the size of the images, and make the email effective with no images because some mobile email clients will stop images or make them optional (this includes your call to action). Design for a narrow email window, approximately 25-30 characters wide. Be succinct (that's a good rule for all email platforms). Don't force the reader to click through to read your email — that's extra slow and tedious on a mobile device. Use an Email Marketing System A few of the contractor emails I collected were sent out using massive "BCC" lists. Don't do that. Your deliverability rates will drop and you'll probably damage your email reputation. Use a good email marketing system. ere are many to choose from: Constant Contact, MailChimp and AWeber are just a few examples. ese systems will improve your deliverability rate and provide useful key performance indicators (KPIs). While we're on the subject of KPIs, email systems generate a lot of data and KPIs. Some are useful and some are not. "Pay attention to open rates, click through rates, number of bounce backs, unsubscribes and spam designations," Email marketing is a great tool and a great opportunity — as long as it's done right ... use subjects and subject lines that are interesting and valuable to your customer. BY DAVID HEIMER MARKETING continued on page 26

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