Have your email campaigns hit rut? Have bad open rates? Poor click-throughs? Lots of unsubscribers?
Then it’s time to stop, analyze and improve the email practices in your field service business. The five tips below can help you get started improving your email game:
Religiously Collect Email Addresses
The first step to improving your email marketing is to gather email addresses. It’s hard to send emails without them.
There are a number of ways to collect email addresses but the easiest one is to simply ask for them. Your customers and prospects call you for service. Ask them for their email address when they do. Create a short one to two sentence script that your team can refer to that tells customers how you’ll use the emails and why it benefits them. If you use field service software, it's likely you can automatically popup an email collection box to remind your staff to collect email addresses.
For other ideas, read this great blog post with 7 tips to get customer email addresses.
Obsess Over the Subject
If you want a recipient to read your email, you need to focus on the subject more than any other piece of information. It’s a lesson I’ve learned the hard way. You spend an hour crafting what you think is the perfect marketing email, spend a minute half-assing a subject line, and when you review your results, you find that no one opened your email. All that effort spent crafting the email was wasted. Some quick tips:
- Make your subject line engaging. Humor sometimes works, though make sure it’s on brand. Humor might work for our software company, but it won’t work for something like a security business.
- Short subjects also tend to perform better. If you’ve read any of my blog posts, you know I have a hard time keeping things short. But short matters in subjects. Shoot for 50 characters or less.
- Think of ways to make your subject stand out. Use numbers/symbols and punctuation to catch the eye. Knowing your audience will help - what words will appeal to them?
- Clarity matters. Think Ernest Hemingway, not David Foster Wallace. Get to the point in your subject.
- Make sure you have subject/body alignment. If your subject doesn’t match the content of your email, you’re going to lose trust, and your open rates will decline.
Make Your Text Scannable
I have very little time. Between a 60 hour work week and playing with my two-year-old son, there just isn’t a lot of time to get things done. So when I receive emails, if the subject appeals to me, I open it. Then, I scan it, usually starting at the top and scrolling to the bottom to read the headers, bullet points and view the images. That typically delivers the information I need to determine if I should spend my time reading the full text.
If your email recipients are like me, they’re doing the same thing. So ensure your emails are scannable. Start with short, punchy headers. Make them bigger/bolder than the rest of the text - an easy way to do that is to use HTML header tags if it’s an HTML email.
Next, include some bullet points. When I write emails, I usually bold the text right after the bullet, and then add additional content in regular text afterward. By summarizing with a few words after the bullet, you make it easy for people to quickly scan your email and understand your key points.
Finally, include an image. A note of caution - many email clients like Outlook may block your image by default. So make sure you use alt text and never use graphics to express a key idea. Many of your recipients may never see them.
Design for Mobile
We use a tool called HubSpot to send our marketing emails. They recently added a feature that enables us to see what devices were used to open our emails and what devices were used to click on links in our emails. The results were surprising to me - most of our emails are opened on a mobile device, yet the majority of our clicks occurred on desktop computers.
It’s important that you design your emails for mobile devices because it’s likely your recipients are using their smartphones to read your emails. If they aren’t optimized for mobile, you’re likely to be less successful.
Need some tools to help? Litmus.com offers a tool to view your emails in multiple email clients and devices, though it’s not cheap, with plans starting at $80 a month.
Humans are self-centered beings. I remember watching a field service sales training video for cold calling where they recommended that you match the cadence and speaking style of the person you’re calling. People tend to like people who talk like them. Because they like themselves.
So personalize your content as much as possible. Include names in the subject or salutation. According to MailChimp research, including first and last names garnered the most opens. But personalize the body of the email as well. For example, our service business marketing add-on, HindSite Connect, enables customers to include just about any piece of data they store in our field service CRM. That includes any user defined fields. Our customers use this for anything from appointment reminders with appointment times, to contract renewal notifications with personalized pricing.
Customers have also personalized upsell emails to improve sales. For example, an irrigation business might track the controller each customer uses. Those with similar, dated, controllers may be sent a personalized email detailing the water savings between a new, modern controller and their outdated controller.
Wondering what emails to send? Check out our free eBook, The 15 Emails Your Service Business Must Send.