The construction industry leaves too much on the table when it comes to email marketing, the modern alternative to direct mail. Some firms are creating informative campaigns that get results, but most use it to spew digital advertisements that make subscribers cringe.
In this Construction Marketing Straight Talker, we will lay out seven reasons that email marketing should be the lynchpin of your digital marketing strategy. It is also the keystone of successful content marketing for those forward-thinking construction firms that have chosen to develop new business by helping rather than selling.
1. EARN TRUST OVER TIME
Trust is the golden goose in the construction industry, and earning it is both crucial and difficult. Email marketing gives you the ability to influence your audience through your content over time.
Understanding that your subscribers can opt out at any time, the onus is on you to deliver value. If you blitz them with ads every two weeks, most will head for the exit. If you create an eNewsletter that delivers a nice mix of company news, how-to content, and subtle promotion, you may be able to build an engaged following that will eventually generate leads and new business.
2. GENERATE INBOUND LEADS
In the pragmatic construction industry, generating solid leads is where the tracks meet the dirt. Email marketing, when done right, gets results.
You will generate inbound leads assuming you have the following:
• Accurate, up-to-date list of relevant subscribers
• Aesthetic, reader-friendly design
• System to generate new subscribers over time
• High-quality written and visual content
• Content focused on company news and helpful information
• Absence of constant blatantly promotional material
• Effective methods of cross-distribution, i.e. social media, website, etc.
• Clear, well-designed, and effective calls to action
• Easy-to-find links to contact information
Email marketing keep you front of mind with the audience that matters. Whether they see a piece of content that triggers a response, or are reminded that they have unfinished business with your firm, there is no question this medium can generate inbound leads.
3. MEASURE THE RESULTS
Philadelphia-bred department store mogul John Wannamaker once said: “Half the money I spend on advertising is wasted; the trouble is, I don't know which half.” He was referring to the inability to measure the effectiveness of advertising, of course. You always knew eyeballs were seeing your ads, but you didn't know whom they belong to and how often they viewed your ad.
Among the many benefits of e-mail marketing is that you can measure results on every campaign through custom reports. That includes the ability to slice and dice opens, clicks, and more in many ways. While it is true that quantifying opens and clicks tells us nothing about the viewer's intent, it does give us the ability to make some educated guesses that we can be acted upon.
4. BUILD YOUR CONTENT HOUSE ON OWNED LAND
Joe Pulizzi of the Content Marketing Institute hit the nail on the head (no pun intended) when he said, “Don't build your content house on rented land.” His point is that firms should focus on publishing content on the properties you own, as opposed to social media and other websites and platforms that are owned by others.
The beauty of email marketing is that YOU own the subscriber list and the content. The only outside party required is the distribution platform, i.e. MailChimp, and they don't own your content or subscriber list.
5. ANOTHER WAY TO REACH YOUR CLIENTS
We are all hit with a deluge of content from multiple sources in today's world. Getting attention is like trying to demolish a bridge with a hand-held hammer.
Email marketing adds an arrow to the quiver when it comes to distributing your content. The construction industry also uses trade publication advertising, public relations, and print newsletters to reach the target market. Email marketing diversifies the approach with a digital component.
6. SAVE MONEY BY AVOIDING PRINTING COSTS
The digital world has harpooned the commercial printing industry. E-mail marketing is the tip of the spear.
There are subscribers that might choose to print one of your emails, but most will not. The counterargument is that tangible printed documents receive more attention and have a longer shelf-life. There is truth to this, especially for long-form content, but most forms of e-mail marketing don't include long-form content.
Your e-mails, whether promotions or eNewsletters, should focus on brevity. That certainly doesn't mean you can't link to long-form content, but the emails themselves should be brief and to the point.
7. DISTRIBUTION IS FREE…WITH SOME EXCEPTIONS
E-mailing your campaigns to subscribers is usually free depending on your list size. The leaders in this space, Constant Contact and MailChimp, each have different options for their free subscriptions based on subscriber count and number of e-mails sent per month.
Free distribution is an incredible benefit for those that know the history of marketing and advertising. The ability to reach thousands of relevant parties with your content, regardless of the vehicle, was once an unavoidable major expenditure.
THINK LIKE A PUBLISHER TO WIN WITH EMAIL MARKETING
Email marketing offers the construction industry an incredible opportunity with such untapped potential. It's a cost-effective way to target and engage with your clients and prospects.
While it eliminates the cost of printing and distribution, the cost of developing an effective strategy and creating solid content remains. Whether you choose to handle email marketing in-house or outsource to a consultant or agency, don't skimp on these two areas.
Even more importantly, you must think like a publisher. What types of information would your audience find interesting and helpful? What is their tolerance for frequency of delivery? Do this and you will create an email marketing machine that can crank out inbound leads over time.
Need help with email marketing? Click here here to learn more about Fraley Construction Marketing can help.