- THE MAGAZINE
You may be ignoring or under-using a very powerful marketing tool. E-mail marketing is not only cheap, but it’s effective. E-mail newsletters are something all cleaning companies should be doing. I’ll show you how to properly set up and use e-mail newsletters in your cleaning business.
First, I want to say that e-mail newsletters are not a replacement for good, old-fashioned snail-mail newsletters. Truth is, e-mail marketing is cheap, but some of your clients and prospects aren’t responsive to e-mail. It’s a good supplement to your marketing plan, but it should never replace sending postcards or newsletters to your clients in the mail. Your clients are too valuable to ignore. Send e-mail newsletter and snail-mail newsletters monthly. Keeping in touch with your clients is your best advertising investment.
Here are some of the great things e-mail marketing can do for you:
For little to no money, you can keep in touch with your clients and prospects so they don’t forget you. I’ll give you some free options, but even the paid options are very inexpensive for the benefits you can receive.
Your website visitors can automatically sign up for your e-mail newsletter. All you or your webmaster needs to do is add a short line of code on your website. Once this is set up, there’s no manual work to get them into your e-mail system. This makes it easier for you and your prospects.
You can send e-mails to your entire e-mail list. These are called broadcast e-mails. You’ll want to send broadcast e-mails that engage your prospects with special offers, coupons, cleaning tips and company news.
Your prospects and clients can get an auto-generated series of e-mail messages. These messages are called auto-responders. Once the user signs up, he/she gets a series of messages that you have previously loaded. For example, a prospect can sign up on your website and automatically get a series of e-mails every other day for the next three weeks, telling them about the benefits of hiring your company. You can also set these up to automatically remind clients, via e-mail, that they need to schedule their next cleaning appointment. The ability to do this varies upon which service you choose. Auto-responders are a very powerful marketing tool and well worth the investment.
What options do you have for your email newsletters? Here’s a look:
You can send e-mails yourself. This is the free way to do it. If you use Outlook, Gmail, or most others, you have the ability to send multiple broadcast e-mails. Usually you can send around 100 e-mails at one time. Any more than 100 may put your e-mail at risk for getting red-flagged for sending spam. The downfall is that you can’t provide an automatic sign-up form on your website and users don’t have a way to automatically get off your newsletter list. And of course, there are no auto-responder messages that can be sent automatically. This is my least recommended option.
Free e-mail services like www.mailchimp.com and www.benchmarkemail.com offer free e-mail broadcast services. As you may expect, these services are limited and their goal is to upgrade you to a paid status. Some have the ability to place a sign-up form on your website for automatic sign up. However, many of the free services have a high rate of e-mails getting undelivered. Also, ads are often present in the e-mails and none of them allow auto-responder messages to be sent.
Paid e-mail services like www.aweber.com, www.icontact.com and www.constantcontact.com offer broadcast e-mail services. Their rate of deliverability is usually higher than the free options. Additionally, these paid services allow for auto-responder messages to be sent automatically when a user signs up for your e-newsletter. Check with the individual provider because the specifics vary. For example, Aweber allows for unlimited auto-responder messages, while Icontact only allows for six messages. If you plan on using auto-responder messages (I would if I were you), check around before you sign up for a service.
Finally, here are some words of caution about e-mail newsletters:
Don’t buy e-mail lists. Sending e-mails to 20,000 people in your city that don’t want them will do nothing to get you clients. Plus, it’s illegal to send mass e-mails to people who didn’t ask to get the e-mails or who didn’t recently contact you for information. Instead, market to them by getting their permission. Ask current clients for their e-mail address. Simply ask for their e-mail address and tell them you’d like to send them an appointment confirmation along with some tips on how to get ready for the cleaning. Place all your clients into your e-mail newsletter list.
Entice website visitors to join your e-newsletter. Offer them something for signing up, like a free report, $25 off their next cleaning or professional spot removal tips. If you use an e-mail service, your sign ups will automatically get your e-mail newsletter broadcasts and your auto-responder e-mails.
How often should you send your e-mail newsletters? Typically, I recommend sending a broadcast e-mail to your entire client base once every one to two weeks. A broadcast e-mail goes out to everyone on your e-mail newsletter list. The best times to send e-mail broadcasts are first thing in the morning on Tuesday, Wednesday or Friday. For your auto-responder e-mails, I’d suggest you send one the day the user signs up, followed by a series of e-mails every few days for the next three weeks. Since these auto-responder e-mails go out only to new users, you’ll be re-marketing to prospects who are hot on hiring a cleaning company.
E-mail marketing is an easy and cheap way to stay in touch with your prospects and clients. Spend a few hours setting this up in your business. You’ll convert more prospects and keep more clients.