In our recently released Green Industry Benchmark Report, we found that only 61% of green businesses surveyed use email to market to their prospects and customers. Honestly, we thought that was a little low. Email is a great, inexpensive way to touch multiple people quickly and easily. At HindSite, we use it extensively to interact with customers and prospects. We do everything from sending monthly newsletters to keep our customers aware of what’s happening at HindSite, to sending very targeted emails to leads in specific industries with very specific messages.
We’ve had a lot of success with email. And we want your green industry business to have that same level of success. So I brought this up to some of our customers, and found one of the reasons email use is relatively low is because many green businesses just don’t have emails in their database. green businesses surveyed use email to market to their prospects and customers. Honestly, we thought that was a little low. Email is a great, inexpensive way to touch multiple people quickly and easily. At HindSite, we use it extensively to interact with customers and prospects. We do everything from sending monthly newsletters to keep our customers aware of what’s happening at HindSite, to sending very targeted emails to leads in specific industries with very specific messages.
To address that issue, here are 7 simple ways to gather email addresses from prospects and customers:
- Make Email Convenient – If you’re like me, you hate getting bills in the mail. Why? Because I’ve automated most of my recurring bills and the stuff I get in the mail typically gets lost. I’m no longer in the habit of paying paper bills because I’ve gone electronic, for the most part.
So instead of sending your customers a paper bill in the mail, offer to send email invoices. Simply create a web site with a form that captures their email address, drop a link to that address on their paper invoice, and ask them to give you their email address and in the future, you’ll send them an invoice by email. Who knows, you may even get paid faster because email is instantaneous when compared to mail, especially with the post office eliminating Saturday delivery.
- Have Your Techs Ask Customers – OK, so this one is obvious: Train your techs to ask customers for an email address. I’ve heard of irrigation businesses that do this: Every time they finish a job, they have their techs talk to the customer and walk them through the work that was completed. As part of that customer conversation, they have the tech ask for an email address if they don’t have one, and then send them an email reiterating the work done. It’s not only a great way to ensure you get a customer email address, but it also ensures your customers know precisely what work was done.
- Send them an Email Confirmation – I recently scheduled an appointment with the dentist and the optometrist. A day before my appointment, my dentist sent me a reminder indicating what time my appointment was and what to expect. I got nothing from my optometrist and arrived late because I’d written down the wrong time. A simple email – like the one the dentist sent – would have saved me from being late.
Offer to do the same for your customers. If they schedule an appointment, send them a reminder email a day or two in advance of the appointment. This gives you a great excuse to ask for their email address when they schedule the appointment.
- Create Content They’ll Love – If you’re not familiar with the term Inbound Marketing, get used to hearing it. Sometimes referred to as Content Marketing, it’s what more and more marketers are doing to generate leads. Basically, they’re creating free content – like infographics, white papers, eBooks, webinars, blogs, videos and more – that help their customers solve common problems.
In return for your great content (like 7 Tips to Keeping a Lush Green Lawn in the Middle of a Drought or 5 Ways to Reduce Your Water Usage), you can collect email addresses that you can use to send very targeted messages to your prospects (and customers). Simply create a form on your website that serves as a gateway to your great content and make giving you an email address part of the content download.
We’ve been doing it at HindSite for about a year and we’ve dramatically increased the number of leads – and email addresses – that we were able to generate using traditional marketing tactics like attending trade shows and advertising in print publications.
- Refer a Friend – Put a “Refer a Friend” form on your website that asks for the referring person and their friend to give you their email address. Then, leverage that form by linking to it on invoices, put it in your email signature, add a link to it from your website, print referral cards and do whatever you can to get the word out there. You’ll get a customer’s email address as well as a new lead.
- Offer Email Instead of Direct Mail – If you’re sending out direct mail pieces, why not throw a link on there that says something like “Want to get this offer by email? Click here.” That way, you can still send the offer out, only next time by email. If you’re looking to cut costs, this is a great option. Keep in mind, though, that many contractors say direct mail has a higher rate of return than email.
- Make Them An Offer They Can’t Refuse – This applies to virtually all of the tactics previously discussed – make than an offer they can’t refuse. If you’re sending a direct mail piece, give them 5% off if they register for the offer and give you an email address. Give referrers and their friend a discount. People are busy, and usually need some incentive in order to act. So provide that incentive. Having an email address to promote your services is well worth a 5% discount.
These are just a few suggestions that can help you get customer email addresses so you can start leveraging the power of email marketing. What have you done to get an email address? Share your knowledge in the comments!