The Ultimate Guide To Email Marketing for Home Service Businesses

Email marketing is one of the most popular and effective marketing tools available. It’s easy to use, cost-effective, and can deliver serious results when used correctly. That’s why it’s the perfect fit for home service businesses.

In an industry where trust and reliability are the keys to success, home service businesses like HVAC companies use email marketing to build customer relationships, increase revenue, and solidify their position as industry leaders. This comprehensive guide offers a closer look at email marketing capabilities for home service businesses with insights to unlock their full potential.

Understanding the Importance of Email Marketing for Home Service Businesses

Building Customer Relationships

Email marketing is one of the most personal methods to communicate with your customers. That’s because email marketing is sent directly to their inbox and, more importantly, because your customers choose to “opt-in” to these messages. The fact that your customers have chosen to receive these messages means they’re open to building a relationship with your business, which tees you up for marketing success. They’re already interested, so all you need to do is stick to the landing. 

Of course, building relationships means much more than sending coupons and reminders of your services. To really connect with your customers, you need to provide them with a reason to continue receiving your emails and not scroll down to find the “Unsubscribe” button. How do you do that? By providing continual value.

Contrary to popular belief, marketing isn’t about you or your business. It’s about your customers, and your email marketing efforts need to reflect that. Put yourself in their shoes. People are blasted with emails day in and day out, many of them automated and impersonal, and their inboxes are quickly filling up. What would they want to hear from you that makes your email a blessing rather than a burden? Is it educational content about weather-proofing your home? Is it unique discounts for new homeowners? Consider what value you offer your customers and share it with them.

Because this audience chose to hear from you, you’re more likely to already know a few things about them. You likely know their name, but you may also know other demographic information (age, location, etc) about them that you can use to further personalize their email marketing experience. Use this to your mutual advantage with segmentation. Segmentation can help you target the right people with the information they will find most useful to them, which makes your emails feel more personal and improves your chances for marketing success. The more you can personalize your email marketing and custom-tailor communication to specific audience segments, the more value they will likely find in your emails and ultimately choose to stay connected.

Establishing Authority and Expertise

Trust and expertise are deciding factors for how people choose home services businesses. They want to know they are hiring someone who knows their trade and can do it exceptionally well. Email marketing can help you establish that authority and expertise with educational content, industry trends, and other relevant content. By delivering these useful insights directly to their inboxes, you can regularly demonstrate what you know and become a trusted resource that your customers can rely on. 

Building trust isn’t something you can do overnight. It takes time, so your email marketing needs to be consistent. If you’re only emailing your customers once a quarter with your latest promotions, you won’t see the same success as your competitors, who are emailing consistently and continuing to demonstrate how their knowledge and expertise can make a difference in the customers’ daily lives.

Increase Revenue and Conversions

Of course, at the end of the day, you’re still in the home services business and want to see your efforts lead to an increase in conversions and revenue. No marketing tactic is successful without results, and email marketing can deliver those results when it’s done strategically. 

In fact, email marketing has been shown to deliver $32 for every $1 spent. That is a lot of bang for your buck, and that ROI is why email marketing is considered one of the most cost-effective ways of marketing your business. 

Getting Started with Email Marketing

Building Your Email List

Now that we’ve established some reasons you should use email marketing, let’s discuss how to get started. First and foremost, you need to build your email list. Without an email list, you have no one to talk to, which is a sad and lonely spot for a business. Here are a few ways to start collecting email addresses and building your first email list.

Website Opt-In Forms: If you have a website—and you really should have a website—this is a great place to start collecting email addresses. Since your website is an owned media channel, you can feel more confident that those visiting it are interested in engaging with your business and learning more about what you offer.

Find a prominent place to include an opt-in form. While the footer of your website is a common place to put one of these forms, be strategic about it! Think about where your customers are on their journey and locate other places on your website where it would make sense to invite them to sign up.

Service Sign-Up Forms: What better time to invite your customers to sign up for your email marketing than when they’ve booked a service or made a purchase? They’ve shown interest in your home services and have gone so far as to engage. This is a great time to invite them to continue building that relationship with your business. You can include this form on a Thank You page or as a link in a confirmation email. 

In-Person Sign-Ups: If you interact with customers in person, such as during service visits, train your team to be your best advocates. Bring a tablet or sign-up sheet to service visits and encourage satisfied customers to stay in touch. You’ll never have a better opportunity than when you’re face-to-face, so explain to them the value they can expect to get from your email marketing, whether it be service reminders, special offers, or helpful tips and tricks to help them save time and money. 

Social Media: Remember that you can use one channel to promote another! You’re allowed to do that, and you almost certainly should. If you already have a loyal audience on Facebook, Instagram, or another social media platform, promote your email list as another way for your customers to stay connected. Of course, people won’t stay subscribed to all of your marketing channels if you repeat the same content across every channel, so differentiate what value your audience will get through email marketing from what they may get from following you on social media. 

Events or Workshops: Do you attend home service trade shows, participate in community events, or host workshops? Break out your tablet and start talking to attendees about your email marketing. Figure out what they could benefit from by having a relationship with your home services business and tie that back to the value of your email marketing list. 

Contests or Giveaways: Running a contest or giveaway on your website or social media platforms can be another great way of capturing emails for future marketing. Of course, make sure the prize is relevant to your target audience (e.g., a free service visit rather than an iPad), or you may end up collecting poor-quality leads. You’ll also want to disclose that you plan to use these emails for marketing purposes; otherwise, this approach could be more trouble than it’s worth.

Email Signature: Do you communicate with prospects and customers via email? Include a call to subscribe to your email list in your signature. This will turn every email you send into a possible conversion. 

Customer Surveys or Feedback Forms: A one-time happy customer can easily become a long-time customer if you engage with them early and often. When soliciting customer feedback, include an option for them to opt-in to your email list if they want to receive expert tips or special offers from your business.

Choosing the Right Email Marketing Platform

Ease of Use: As important as consistency is for email marketing, don’t make things harder on yourself with a platform that has a high learning curve. Look for an email marketing platform that is intuitive and easy to use, especially if you or your team are new to it. Many platforms offer drag-and-drop editors, customizable templates, and an easy-to-navigate interface, saving you time and effort.

Features and Tools: This is one of the most important things you can consider when choosing the right platform. Consider which features and tools will help you accomplish your goals rather than choosing new and exciting ones. For instance, will it matter that the platform has AI features if it won’t easily integrate with your website? 

Common features include list segmentation, automation workflows, A/B testing, analytics, and integration with other tools or platforms you use, such as CRM software or e-commerce platforms. Identify which you need most before making a decision. 

Scalability: As your home services business grows, you’ll want an email marketing platform to grow with you. Look for flexible pricing plans to accommodate your growing list size and email marketing needs, so you’re only paying for the tools you need right now with the ability to add on as you grow. 

Deliverability and Compliance: This is critical for email marketing. If the email marketing platform you choose has a bad reputation for deliverability or doesn’t comply with email marketing regulations, your emails will go straight to Junk and never be seen. You don’t want that to happen, so look into the reputation of each platform and make sure they comply with GDPR, CAN-SPAM, or any other rules and regulations that may apply. You may wish to use double opt-in confirmation and built-in compliance tools for a greater chance of success.

Price: Compare pricing plans and pricing structures to find an email marketing platform that fits your budget. Look for platforms offering transparent pricing with no hidden fees and consider whether the features and tools in each plan align with your business’s needs and goals.

Trial Period or Free Plan: Still not sure which platform is right for you? Test one out using their trial period or free plan. These may come with limited features but can give you a good idea of how the platform works and whether it’s well suited for your needs. 

While there are many different things to consider when choosing an email marketing platform, don’t overthink it. Remember that “a poor workman blames his tools” and that you’re more likely to be successful with a solid strategy and quality content than with whatever extra bells and whistles you’ll get with the newest email marketing platform.

Designing Engaging Emails

A marketing email is only as successful as it is engaging, so when designing it, you’ll want to be as creative as you are strategic. 

Write Clear and Compelling Subject Lines: The subject line is the first thing people will see, so it’s important to get it right. They need to be relevant to what you do and be attention-grabbing to entice your customers to open them. 

It’s not enough to say, “Summer Tips for HVAC Maintenance.” 

Instead, put a little spin on it by saying, “Hot Tips to Stay Cool and Save Money.” 

Subject lines should create intrigue while still connecting to how your customers can benefit from your services – such as saving money, protecting the investment of their home, and reducing stress.

Include Compelling Visuals: If your email is just a wall of text, people will quickly lose interest. Include attention-grabbing visuals, such as images, graphics, and informational videos, to break up content and make your emails more visually appealing. This is also a great way to show a little of your brand’s personality and stand out from your competitors. 

Don’t forget: the graphics or videos you use should be high-quality and optimized for both desktop and mobile devices. There’s nothing worse than a blurry image or a graphic that takes forever to load.

Create Concise and Scannable Content: Your emails shouldn’t be a chore to read. They should be concise and easy for someone to skim for the parts that may be relevant to them. Use short paragraphs, bullet points, and subheadings to break up the text and make it easier for your customers to digest information quickly.

Don’t Forget a Call-to-Action (CTA): If you want your email marketing efforts to convert into increased revenue, you must include a clear and prominent CTA. Whether you want your customers to request a quote, make a purchase, or schedule an appointment, a CTA will guide them toward that action. Make sure that you use easy-to-understand language and that your CTA stands out from the rest of the email. 

Personalization: Most email marketing platforms include personalization tools that use recipient data, such as their name, location, or past interactions with your business, to customize your marketing emails and make them feel more bespoke. When these emails feel more personal, such as using a customer’s name, they will be more likely to engage with your email rather than moving it straight to the trash.

Mobile Optimization: Many people check their emails using their mobile devices, whether a phone or a tablet. That’s why it’s essential to ensure that your emails are optimized for mobile responsiveness. Many email marketing platforms include built-in mobile optimization features, so you’re able to see what your email will look like on both desktop and mobile. Of course, these are typically emulators and may not fully reflect how your email will look on mobile. We recommend you send a test email and open it on your phone or tablet for the most accurate test of how your email will look on mobile. 

A/B Testing: A/B testing is a great way to learn what content or designs will work best with your customers. They allow you to experiment with different elements of your email campaigns, such as subject lines, visuals, CTAs, and send times, to determine what may be the most successful. Many platforms offer built-in A/B testing features to help you optimize your campaigns, so this may be something to consider when selecting which platform is right for your business.

Crafting Effective Email Campaigns

Welcome Emails

Once you’ve chosen your email marketing platform and set it up, it’s time to create your first campaign. A great place to begin is with a welcome email. This email will go out to all new subscribers and thank them for signing up. The welcome email serves as a first impression, previewing what they can expect from these marketing communications. 

Think about what information will be most useful to new subscribers and show them that you’re grateful to have their business. You may want to

  • Include a thank you message from your CEO or owner to add a personal touch
  • Include links to helpful articles from your blog
  • Offer a free quote or promotion for signing up

These emails should be short and sweet but they can still be impactful when crafted correctly. 

Promotional and Special Offer Emails

With your email marketing efforts up and running, it’s time to create an offer that will entice customers and encourage them to convert. 

What counts as a conversion for your home services business will depend on your exact service, but sales, scheduled visits, and quote requests are a few examples. Signing up for your email list could also be considered a type of conversion, but we’ll assume that if you’re sending them a promotional email, they’ve already converted” in this particular way. 

If you don’t have an offer that you could include, consider creating one. Your offer could be a discounted service or value-add, but it could also be something else, like a free quote or consultation. Consider what would interest your customers in scheduling services or at least starting a conversation with your team. 

Of course, promotions often work best when there is a sense of urgency. A great option for home services is to align your promotions to specific seasons or times of the year. For instance, a company that provides roofing or gutter cleaning services might create a promotion centered around storm season. A landscaping or tree service company might create a promotion encouraging people to give their yards a refresh for spring. Your options are only limited by your creativity, but seasonal promotions work well because they can align your business with natural cycles of customer demand. 

Educational Content and Tips

As discussed earlier in this article, email marketing is a great tool for establishing yourself as an authority in your industry. While your work will speak for itself, email marketing can increase your chances of working with new customers and keeping your business in mind for returning customers. 

Educational content, such as pro tips and tricks, is a great way to do this. Think about what insights you and your team have to offer your customers in addition to your services. It should be relevant to your business and provide them with added value for subscribing.

Content related to maintaining their home is a great option, whether the goal is to help customers save money or avoid future headaches. For a plumbing business, one could be, “Can I flush it? Five things that are safe to flush—and three things you definitely shouldn’t.” This content could center around things that are safe to dispose of in the toilet versus those that could lead to costly plumbing bills later. This type of email content is useful to your customers and establishes you as an authority in your field while also helping to keep your name in mind for when something goes wrong with their plumbing. 

Not sure of what type of insights your customers might benefit from? Ask! You could ask followers on social media, include a question in a customer survey, or –– you guessed it –– include a poll in one of your email marketing campaigns. 

Analyzing and Optimizing Email Performance

Tracking Key Metrics

Once you’ve started creating campaigns and sending them to your customers, it’s time to figure out what’s working and what isn’t. That’s where analytics come into play. The goal is to understand which campaigns are the most successful so you can build on those efforts and reconsider the ideas that aren’t working. 

While there are many things that you can track, it’s important to define what key metrics matter most to your business. When it comes to email marketing, you may want to start with open rates, click-through rates, and conversions (as you define them), which you should be able to track using your email marketing platform. Make note of which emails tend to get the most attention from your audience (via the open rate) and what content they engage with most (via the click-through rate). 

While email marketing platforms can also help you track conversions, you may want to verify those numbers with other analytics tools tied to your website or landing pages. Email marketing platforms often support integrations with other tools and services to create a more holistic view of your marketing efforts.

A/B Testing and Optimization

Once you have a general idea of what is working and what isn’t, it’s time to refine and optimize your campaigns.

A/B testing is one way to experiment and see which ideas and content work best. Many platforms will allow you to run a campaign that will start by sending your A/B test to a sample of your audience, measure between campaigns A and B, determine which is performing better, and then send the better-performing campaign to most of your audience. The outcome of these tests can also inform your future campaigns and what you choose to include.

Optimization may also include segmentation. As you understand your audience and what they respond to, you may find that it’s better to segment them based on certain demographics to hyper-focus your content on specific groups of people. 

A part of the beauty of email marketing is its capacity for optimization and personalization, so don’t shy away from these features. 

Email Deliverability and Compliance

Ensuring Deliverability

Of course, every marketing tactic has its challenges. One of the greatest challenges with email marketing is deliverability. If you have an issue with deliverability, all your hard work can be for naught if your perfectly crafted email goes straight into someone’s Junk folder. 

Here are some things to consider to ensure this doesn’t happen to you.

Use Permission-Based Lists: Use audiences that have explicitly opted in to receive your emails. While it’s tempting to purchase email lists to save the time and effort of building them yourself, they can result in spam complaints that can hurt your sender reputation and make it harder for you to reach your target audience.

Authenticate Your Domain: Authenticate your domain using SPF (Sender Policy Framework), DKIM (DomainKeys Identified Mail), and DMARC (Domain-based Message Authentication, Reporting, and Conformance) to verify you are a legitimate business/sender. If you’re unfamiliar with how to do this, you may need to contact your IT company to ensure this is done correctly. 

Provide Clear Opt-Out Options: Make sure that it’s clear to your audience how they can unsubscribe from future communications. While it might seem advantageous to hide or remove the unsubscribe button, such as making it a difficult color to see, this will hurt you in the long run. It can break trust with your audience and, worse, it can lead to spam complaints that further damage your sender reputation. If someone no longer wishes to hear from you, it’s better to honor that request and help them unsubscribe.

Avoid Spam Trigger Words: Major email providers monitor for specific keywords that are common among spam and phishing attempts. Avoid using all caps, excessive punctuation, incorrect grammar, or words commonly associated with spam. A few examples of spam trigger keywords include

  • Compare rates
  • Money back
  • Save up to
  • F R E E
  • No hidden costs
  • Full refund
  • Check or money order

These words may be things you’d consider using in a promotional email, so be strategic and careful with how you craft your promos in order to avoid being flagged as spam.

Monitor Your Sender Reputation: Keep an eye on your email metrics related to spam complaints, bounce rates, and engagement levels – all of which are typically found in your campaign metrics. A healthy sender reputation is essential for email deliverability, so make sure you’re aware of any complaints or issues so that you can address them in future campaigns.

Compliance with Regulations

As is true with everything, there are bad actors who have abused email to spam and phish consumers. As a result, governments have passed legislation that regulates how email marketing should be conducted. The most prominent law for US-based businesses is CAN-SPAM, which sets the rules for commercial email, establishes requirements for commercial messages, gives recipients the right to have businesses stop emailing them, and outlines penalties for known violations.

CAN-SPAM requires clear opt-out options, accurate sender information, and subject lines that are truthful and not misleading.

Before sending your first campaign, it’s recommended that you familiarize yourself with the requirements outlined in CAN-SPAM and ensure that your campaigns are in compliance. 

Get Started with an Email Marketing Strategy from Timmermann Group

Not sure where to begin? Timmermann Group can create an email marketing strategy custom-tailored to your home services business. We have a proven track record for email marketing with campaigns designed with conversion in mind. 

Whether you need help optimizing an existing campaign or you’re starting from square one, it all starts with a conversation with one of our email marketing experts.