Email Marketing Best Practices For Home Improvement Firms

Email Marketing Best Practices for Home Improvement Firms

How to Use Email Marketing Effectively

For Architectural or Interior Design Firms

One of the most successful content marketing methods for selling architectural and interior design services is email marketing. Email is useful due to the nature of the built environmental business. First, home improvement services are high priced and not prone to impulse buying. The length of time, and nurturing required can be long, and consumer’s of built environmental services tend to do significant research before choosing a firm and making a commitment.

Email marketing is a perfect solution. Nurturing a client through the buying decision and keeping your firm top-of-mind, while structuring a narrative to educate prospects about your services can be accomplished through an ongoing email campaign. A Forrester Report found that 11% of all online transactions started with email contact.

Email campaigns have the potential to target consumer’s everywhere at any time, and they’re easily shared. Want proof? Next time you’re at your child’s little league game, or shopping at the mall look at the number of people staring at their phones. You simply can’t miss out on this powerful revenue generating marketing opportunity!

Four Best Practices

Before you run back to the office and start writing and sending marketing emails, first consider these four best practices.

• Don’t buy email lists. – They can get you blacklisted. Instead grow a mailing list using your existing inbound assets. Add a call to action button and form on your website for people to opt in. Remember, this is a long tail approach. Let prospects opt in and begin a targeted campaign.

• Create well-designed emails that stay true to your brand. – Build an email template that expresses your brand identity and stick with it. Repetition is the key to a successful marketing campaign and the best way to develop your brand and make it memorable. Keep fonts, colors, logos and the look and feel of images consistent with maximum impact.

• Create an RSS Feed and publish blog articles as emails. – By far this is the easiest way to keep your business top of mind. But you must post new articles regularly. Automatic posting can be accomplished by using services like MailChimp.

• Personalize Your Contact! – No one wants to read an anonymous email that looks like a sales piece. Include the recipient's name in the subject line and target emails based on their behavior on your website. If they are researching bathroom renovations on your site, don’t send them an article about creating an outdoor living space. Personalize and target your messages.

For many marketers, their biggest concern is growing and maintaining a subscriber base. The rule of thumb is that you will experience about 25% turnover in your list annually. Some companies will reduce their contact because they’re under the misperception that fewer emails will translate into fewer lost connections.

Research has shown this is false. There’s no correlation between email frequency and subscriber loss. Use best practices, let your customers know what to expect. Keep your information relevant and personalized and segment your lists into the prospects' interests.

Types Of Email Campaigns

There are several different approaches to email marketing. Each style offers advantages and disadvantages. For example, we've all see newsletters. Many interior designers and architects use them as a form of marketing that can consolidate previously published material; the intention is to increase brand awareness and drive traffic back to the firm's blog or a portfolio of images.

The problem with the newsletter format is that while the information may be useful, they require a lot of time and are difficult to design well and they are rarely client focused. Often a call to action can be difficult to see when hidden among content. Try to avoid creating “post and boast” newsletters. They're minimally competent and creating ego drive email newsletters that only discuss your current projects, or show off just your design work will soon lose their luster and be recognized as “sales” materials. Remember, readers are looking for information that offers solutions!

Another favorite email technique is using dedicated drip email campaigns. These marketing automation emails are should be dedicated to a particular service like "Kitchen Remodeling" and are emailed to an tagged and segmented group on your list. The contacts for this type of email should come through a “landing page” with the specific goal of converting readers into the sales funnel of that service. The problem with dedicated emails is that if not properly worded, they can come off as “spammy” and turn off your readers leading to a high number on unsubscribers.

Measuring Email Marketing Success

The beauty of inbound marketing is the ability to directly track results using analytics. You can know where your readers came from, how long they stayed and what content they engaged with and many other data points. Measuring the success of any email campaign can be measured using several metrics including:

• Bounce Rate – Bounce rate for emails is different than bounce rate for websites. Email bounce rate is a term used for emails that could not be delivered. There are two different types of bounces in email marketing, soft and hard.

A soft bounce happens when a mailbox is full, or there is a problem with their server. These types of emails can be sent again at a later date.

A hard bounce indicates an email address that no longer exists, or the recipient has blocked your emails from their inbox. Hard bounces can never be delivered, and these addresses should be removed from your list immediately.

• Click-Through Rate – Click through rate is the percentage of prospects who have clicked a link in your email. This shows marketers whether messages were relevant and resonated with recipients enough for them to take action and request further information.

• Open Rate – While a decent metric to check, open rate is not a critical parameter. It tends to be unreliable because, in order to register as opened, an email must include the images. Many email programs and servers do not load images unless the recipient requests them.

Additional Articles On Email Marketing

Recipients can still be enticed by an attractive subject, but in a few sentences in realize that it's not for them. This creates a statistical inaccuracy because while the email was technically opened, it may not have been thoroughly read. The open rate can be a good gauge of a subject lines but not overall email campaign effectiveness.

The bottom line, be concise and always keep the reader in mind. Create subject lines that entice your reader, but always make sure the content is relevant and lives up to the promise of the subject line. Also always create links to your website where the reader can learn more about the topic in your email. These click throughs back to your website can also provide valuable information.

Email marketing can be an incredibly powerful marketing tool for your architectural and interior design firm. However, many marketers are not using effective methods and poorly conceived ineffective email marketing campaigns. Keep up to date with email marketing best practices, landing pages, and list building, and you'll be able to attract clients consistently and efficiently with a proven return on your investment! If you have questions on how to implement an email marketing system that works to attract the right kind of clients, give us a call, we would be happy to help.

About Michael Conway

I'm the owner and strategist at Means-of-Production. My firm builds Squarespace websites, Houzz profiles, and content marketing and advertising solutions for architects, interior designers, design-build contractors and landscape design firms. Our all-in-one marketing tactics attract the right clients with exceptional architectural photography and brand messaging that sets you apart from the competition.