By Amanda Crangle
Think about the last thing you purchased that was of higher value than a simple consumable. Do you remember why you chose that product, brand, feature, or benefit? Do you recall how often you saw ads or were contacted by the company selling the item you purchased?
Odds are, you likely don’t remember all the touchpoints. However, you likely remember that there was messaging consistency leading up to your decision to purchase.
According to recent data, response rates rise with each outreach or “touchpoint” until you hit eight. From there, further touchpoints see a diminishing rate of return. Touchpoints can include phone calls, text messages, emails, direct mail pieces, remarketing using social media or display advertising, or an in-person visit when appropriate.
This begs the question: How consistently are you touching base with your prospects and customers to further the relationship, provide added value to their lives, and grow your company?
Let’s discuss five ways we can use email marketing as an effective communication source, inspiring those we can help to act now. Email marketing is still one of the most potent forms of advertising. However, it must be implemented in the right way.
What is the right way? Glad you asked!
Each step in your marketing process requires a different message and call-to-action to nurture your prospects. Asking people to buy right when they first hear about you is like asking a person you’ve never met to marry you. Identifying your prospects’ needs and guiding them along with value is a sure-fire way to build trust and get them to say, “I do.”
1. Website Visitor Opt-In
Just because someone visits your website doesn’t mean they’re ready to contact you. An opt-in can capture the person who hangs in the balance between not yet interested and ready to buy. They need more information without the pressure of human interaction, and they want to do their research and consume whatever information you feed them.
Creating an opt-in on your site can help cut through the clutter of misinformation on the web and clearly explain your process for providing them precisely what they need when they need it.
Whether you’re a water treatment dealer, a supplier, an OEM, or a consultant, you can use this opt-in to “drip” relevant information to your subscribers. This can help educate them on your value proposition and any relevant water quality issues, unique product differentiators, or industry information.
The beauty of email opt-ins is that you can then upload your email subscriber list to Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, Google, and other online platforms so you can “remarket” to them. Retargeting allows you to have omnipresence and provide consistent branding and value while also asking them to take the next step with your company.
2. New Web Form Leads
When someone submits a form on your website to learn more about you, your products, or your services, this is considered a “lead.”
Putting yourself in your prospective customer’s shoes can help you identify ways to use email to provide valuable information that inspires them to call you or book an appointment.
Email marketing platforms like MailChimp, ActiveCampaign, or HubSpot allow you to segment your campaigns to fit the type of audience to which you’re speaking. For example, if you have an option on your website form for a person to select if they are an existing or past customer, you can send them a different email series. If they do not choose that option, you’ll know with relative certainty that they are a new prospect and can benefit from an email nurture sequence.
I suggest you use email marketing at this level to provide educational information with a solid call to action. Using promotional discounts and loud emails with fake scarcity may work in the short haul but can devalue your brand and cause distrust in the long run. That being said, there is a time and place for promotions as long as they are sincere and communicated in a way that adds value instead of decreasing value.
3. Sales Appointment Booked
What better way to differentiate yourself from your competitors than by sending a short series of automated emails to your prospective customer with information and videos letting them know exactly what to expect during their appointment?
Adding a video from the salesperson they’ll meet that covers FAQs and any relevant educational information will be appreciated by the prospect. Especially if you’ll be entering someone’s home to test their water, helping them get to know you through video can go a long way to building trust long before you set foot in their house.
Very few businesses use email in this way to build trust. In doing so, you’ll be setting yourself apart from the other companies they’re evaluating while creating an exceptional customer experience that will build long-term brand equity.
4. Unresponsive Leads
“Do you hate me?” I’ve actually received emails with this subject line or something similar that guilts me into opening the email and responding to the person on the other side of the ether. This last-ditch effort may result in clicks; however, like spammy promotions, consider the long-term effect on your brand’s reputation.
Every company that relies on leads for growth has experienced being ghosted by a formerly hot-to-trot prospect. Automated email campaigns can help you understand why people are not moving forward so that you can continue optimizing your marketing efforts for those who are more serious and improve your marketing process to enhance the customer journey.
Here are a few ways you can use email to help better understand why people are falling out of your marketing and sales system while also building value to get a few of them back on track.
- In an email, link to a survey asking them a few simple questions to understand better why they’ve not been in touch. For an example of this type of survey, visit https://lamplightdigitalmedia.com/example-prospect-survey/.
- Use email to share written and video testimonials to build trust and help prospects feel confident that others have had a great experience with your team.
- Provide educational content that differentiates you from your competitors. Consider using videos embedded in your email that humanizes your business by showing team members answering frequently asked questions.
Based on how people interact with the survey and these emails, you’re likely to discover ideas to improve your internal processes for marketing and sales.
5. Current Customer Campaigns
An overwhelming amount of data shows why increasing customer retention and loyalty is one of the best business decisions you can make to improve profitability and longevity. Over the past five years, overall new customer acquisition costs have risen more than 60%.
However, very few companies have successful systems and processes to make this a regular part of everyday business. The great news is that if you can work to improve this area of your organization, it will help you gain and retain market share.
Email marketing is a simple and highly effective tool you can use to make current customer communication a reality. With some up-front planning, automated and third-party managed campaigns can create lasting revenue and goodwill.
Email Marketing Ideas
Here are a few ways you can use email to benefit your customers and your business:
- Cross-marketing opportunities. Many companies in the water treatment industry have complementary products. Big blue filters go well before a softener, and reverse osmosis systems go great with a softener for point-of-use. Why not use email marketing to help educate customers who have one but not the other on the benefits?
- New product/feature launches. Many of our clients are starting to sell alkaline or remineralization filters. Email marketing provides a cost-effective way to communicate the launch of these new products and provide education to customers on water quality, water treatment, and the benefits of the new feature or product.
- The seven-year ache. Do your customers have old or outdated products? Do you have a newer, more efficient, or productive option for them? Cure the seven-year ache and educate customers on how they can save time and money by upgrading. If they haven’t heard from you in a while and things aren’t working, you can bet your bottom dollar they’re shopping around.
- Nip post-purchase depression in the bud. Have you ever purchased something only to feel disappointed days after? Post-installation follow-ups can help educate the customer that the system is doing its job and to answer any questions. You can also use email combined with video to educate customers on the product(s) they’ve purchased and answer frequently asked questions.
- Newsletters. Customers enjoy doing business with people who are not constantly asking them to buy. Use newsletters monthly or quarterly to keep in touch with your customers without asking them for anything. Introducing team members, showcasing your involvement in community or industry events, and educating them on important issues can be effective ways to build relationships without asking them to fork out more money.
- Review and referral gathering. What better way to grow your business than to have your existing happy customers share their experiences? Email can be a great way to elicit customer feedback, drive reviews, and ask for referrals. The best part is this can be completely automated.
A few final things to consider when implementing email marketing:
- Privacy is critical. Be sure to review legislation regarding data privacy and ensure your campaigns comply. Every email should have a very clear “opt-out” so that people can choose how and if they want to receive emails from you.
- Avoid overuse of email. Just like ad blindness is a real thing, so is email blindness. Make sure your emails are not overwhelming to your prospects and customers.
- Personalization is best. The more you can personalize your message to meet your audience’s individual needs, the better your emails will perform. Ask your marketing partner what is feasible for your business based on audience size and segmentation options.
- Test, test, test. Email marketing platforms offer a variety of testing options. From testing audience segments to subject lines to email content, be sure to establish key performance metrics, set up the processes to measure them, and then test away.
Email is far from dead and can be a great tool in the marketer’s toolbox when appropriately used and effectively tracked. We hope these five email marketing strategies will help you grow revenue, profits, and brand value going forward.
- Hubspot, The Ultimate Guide to Prospecting. https://blog.hubspot.com/sales/the-ultimate-guide-to-prospecting-how-many-touchpoints-when-and-what-type
- Hubspot, The Hard Truth About Acquisition Costs. https://blog.hubspot.com/service/customer-acquisition-study
About the author
Amanda Crangle and the team at Lamplight Digital Media help residential and commercial water treatment companies profitably grow their dealerships using digital marketing. They have worked with over 100 water treatment dealerships spanning North America, managed millions of dollars in ad spend and performed over 1,000 scientific website split tests. Crangle intimately knows the water industry, having worked in a dealership as a sales rep and as a general manager. She and her team are passionate about expanding consumer awareness of water quality issues and providing education on final barrier solutions.