Email marketing remains a powerful online marketing tool when properly executed. Most professional services firms are using email marketing to communicate with clients and prospects, but many aren’t necessarily seeing the results they’d like to and could use a boost.
Does you’re A/E/C firm suffer from low open and click-through rates for your email “blasts”? Do you receive a high number of unsubscribes with every email you send out, even emails sent specifically to clients? If so, you’re not alone! The good news is, by following some simple best practices you’ll see unsubscribes go down and your click-through rates go up. Best of all, your emails will have much more impact on clients and prospects alike. Here are 4 tips to consider.
1. Match content to contact
Many A/E/C firms send their entire list of contacts the same email “blast,” often in the form of a company eNewsletter or press release. The problem with this practice is that it’s highly unlikely that the content of the newsletter is relevant to the whole list. And if your emails are consistently irrelevant to your contacts, they’re likely to grow accustomed to ignoring your emails altogether.
This can be easily remedied by segmenting your lists by category (clients, partners, prospects), vertical (Healthcare, Commercial, Higher Ed, Municipal, Defense, etc.), service (landscape architecture, interior design, site/civil, wastewater, etc.) and ideally a combination of all three.
For each segment, create a series of email campaigns that speaks directly to them, educates them on a new trend, regulatory issue or best practice and provides them with value. The idea is to make your messages highly relevant to the specific audience receiving it and make it not only worth their time, but something they actually enjoy reading.
2. Rethink your company eNewsletter
A/E/C email marketing primarily consists of sending out monthly or quarterly company eNewsletters. The problem with many company eNewsletters is they talk way too much about you, your accomplishments, your employees and your other clients! While this may be of interest to some, it’s likely not interesting to most, especially considering the busyness of business.
Thought leadership is so important in the A/E/C industry, so your eNewsletter should be more focused on educating and informing your clients and positioning your firm as subject-matter experts in your field. Ask yourself, what are the issues, concerns, pain points and information gaps your clients and prospects have? What kind of information would they find helpful and valuable? This is the kind of content that will make a client stop what they’re doing in their busy day and read your emails!
And considering the need to segment your lists and be highly targeted with your messages, it might be best to move past the eNewsletter altogether and send shorter, more frequent, more targeted emails to your various segments focused on one specific, relevant topic instead of the longer and less frequent eNewsletter.
3. Design read-worthy emails
Your clients and prospects receive a ton of email every day (probably many from other A/E/C firms like yours) and so you have just mere seconds to persuade them to open and read your email. Needless to say, email design—everything from the subject line, to the graphics and the text—plays a big role in making or preventing that from happening.
Here are some best practices to consider when creating your emails:
• Craft a compelling subject line that gets your emails opened
• Stick to your brand standards
• Limit email width to 600px wide and use only basic HTML
• Keep your design clean, simple and uncluttered
• Less is more, don’t overwhelm with text
• Put key information at the top
• Include a call-to-action in every email
• Test your email in various platforms and proofread thoroughly
• Make sure your email is mobile-friendly
4. Upgrade your email marketing solution
The use of entry-level email marketing solutions like Constant Contact is pervasive across the A/E/C industry. While these programs offer decent features and an affordable price tag, they’re geared towards small businesses and their capabilities fall short for firms that want to get serious about email marketing. So perhaps the time has come for you to graduate to a more powerful email marketing solution and consider adopting a marketing automation platform such as Act-On.
Marketing automation software brings all your digital marketing tools—email marketing, social media monitoring, landing pages, web forms, lead management, conversion optimization, analytics, SEO and more—into one integrated platform. And it can greatly impact your A/E/C email marketing efforts by providing advanced features and tools not found in basic email solutions that help you easily create, test, optimize, deploy and measure your email campaigns. Some of these features include:
• List segmentation and management
• A/B testing
• Advanced analytics and measurement
• Nurturing drip programs
• Triggered email programs
• Subscription management
• Forms and landing page integration
• Dynamic content
The reality is, there is a lot more that A/E/C firms can do to leverage the power of email marketing. While certainly not an exhaustive list, these 4 tips should provide you with some ideas to start improving your email marketing efforts today.