Newsletter Marketing for Contractors: More Referrals, Repeat Business and Better Review Management
Let me ask you.
Are you guilty of abandoning your customers?
You go in change out the hot water heater (Plumbers), you replaced a roof (Roofers) or you cut down the last tree in the yard (Tree Services) got the invoice paid and off you go. Never to be heard from again. Hey, it’s not like they are going to need your services again for 12-15 years for the water heater, 25+ years on the roof and there isn’t any more trees to cut.
So, why bother talking to this customer again?
“Wham, Bam, thank you Madam”. Is this you?
Well if you are a “Hit It and Get It” kind of business, you are leaving large amounts of money on the table. And if you are a contractor that has reoccurring services or offers many services and not doing this, you’re crazy.
I am going to show you, a method to stop forgetting past customers and losing money today.
We all love getting new customers. It means the business is growing, new money coming in. Yet, like a pirate you get on with the new customer and reaping the bounty. Forgetting about the last customer, unless you get the dreaded “Call Back”.
Here is the thing. You have done well enough a job to sell your existing customers. They know you, they like you enough to have done business with you and to some point they trust you. So why are you leaving repeat business, referrals, reviews and word of mouth marketing up to chance. All these things are hidden ROI (Return on Investment).
No matter how you got this customer, you paid a price in time, effort and money. Don’t let that go to waste.
This method reduces your marketing costs, it’s the dividends of the money you invested in your marketing and advertising.
When I start working with a client, one of the first things as a marketing consultant and agency, I ask is how much does it cost you to buy a customer? Normally, 9 times out of 10, the client does not know.
So, let’s say a customer costs you $100 in marketing, advertising and time. What can you do to make that $100 go as far as it can? What if by staying in contact they became a repeat customer? How much is a referral worth? How many other people decide to buy your services, because of a Google review this customer gave you?
What is all that worth? If you paid $100 for this customer and they referred you or did more business with you, wouldn’t that lower the cost of acquiring a customer? Basically, cutting it in half?
The easiest way to get more referrals, repeat business and reviews is by using a company newsletter to past customers. Back in the days before the internet this was expensive, with printing cost and delivery. Not so much today, with email service providers, templates and your website.
Newsletter are an inexpensive marketing tool.
Using newsletters to get repeat business.
- When you add a service to your existing services, no one is better to let know than your list of past customers. You already did a project, so you know what the next thing is that would compliment the project you sold.
- Have you ever had a customer say, “I didn’t know you did that service?”
- Your service may be a reoccurring service. Once a year, once every month, etc. You need to keep them in the loop. You don’t want to leave your business card as the only stronghold on reservicing them. Do they even have the card now?
- Newsletters keep you top of mind. How many of us have had a customer say to us at the end of the job, I am going to be calling you when I am ready to do “X”. A newsletter keeps you, subtly in their mind.
- Newsletters are your way of upselling. Would you like fries with that? Meaning, would you like to add a firepit or pergola to that paver patio we did last year? It’s been 3-5 years are you ready to prune those pine trees? Have you changed out your AC filters?
Using newsletters to get referrals.
- We all know word of mouth is a great way to grow a business. But, leaving word of mouth to chance is risky business. With newsletters, you can in a way, force word of mouth. Think about how a customer refers you. Is it at work? A family gathering? Or is it a Facebook recommendation? As time goes on, people forget about you. With a newsletter you stay in their heads for a while longer and the content of your newsletter can spike a flurry of good ole word of mouth. Plus, a newsletter is easy to forward to a friend via email. Better than saying, “Look them up!”
- Incentives to refer you. I have tried this method with good results with many clients. Offering a $50 gift card to Home Depot, Bed, Bath and Beyond, etc. is a great way to get referrals. I mean who couldn’t use an Amazon card. We only use this when the schedule is thin.
- Plain old asking for them. In newsletters, I have used the ASK method. People by nature want to help people, they like feeling like a community. So why not in a newsletter ask them to support local business and refer you to a friend, family member or a friend at work.
Using newsletters to get reviews.
- How do you get reviews? If you are like most businesses, you simply ask them, “Hey do you mind giving us a review on Google or Facebook?” Well, think about what they have to do. They have to look you up on their phone or computer. Wait for it to load and navigate to where they leave you a review. Well, with newsletters I put a link right in the email, so all they have to do is click it. It goes right to the review page on your Google My Business or Facebook. No friction, no remembering to leave you a review. Being a digital marketer plugged into all my client’s digital footprints, I notice the notifications that reviews are being left. There is always a spike in reviews within a day or two after the newsletter goes out. Some are customers my clients did work for months ago and they just forgot to leave a review, until they see the link in the newsletter.
- You ask for feedback. Feedback is one of the greatest things a business could have. It helps you improve. Every person makes mistakes or has a bad job, so don’t let this stop you from asking for feedback. Bad reviews are good for business, but that is another article to write. I use them often to help my clients. Bill Gates has a good take on feedback. Bill Gates on Customer Feedback.
- You can add in a new review you received as social proofing and as a reminder to your customer to leave a review.
- You control where the review goes. Ever have a bad damn review on Yelp and it is killing you? Well you link to your reviews on Yelp and send them to customers that will leave you a good review. Thus, bring up the rating there. You control where the review gets left by the link in your newsletter and it doesn’t break any rules. Facebook, Google, Bing and Yelp are the top review sites. Spread around your reviews around or fix a lower rating. (Tips: Aim for 4-4.9 rating. I have seen 5 stars ratings hurt a business. People aren’t dumb, they know people have bad days and no one is perfect. Your response to a bad review is what matters.)
Now that you can see how newsletters can help your business in the many ways above, I want to add this in closing.
My clients are seeing 10-15% increases just from using newsletters in their marketing. One client is getting 50% of his business from newsletters alone.
Many times, newsletters have helped or saved my clients businesses from bad situations. One example comes to mind.
A painting client of mine had a large three-week painting project scheduled. Well, the project got pushed back and none of the other projects on his schedule were willing to move up in the schedule. Have you ever scrambled to fill three weeks in a schedule in a few days?
What we did is put up small offers, with incentives to do it now in a newsletter. The newsletter went out the same day the problem arose. It worked and he was able to fill the void at no extra marketing or ad costs.
We could have tried to fill the schedule with other marketing tactics, but all of them would cost large amounts of money. Your past customer list is a well you tap as need, but you need to be consistent with your newsletters. You can’t send one only when you need something.
22 Reasons Newsletters are Great for Contractors
Check back next week and I will show you how to go about making a newsletter that gets opened, read and gets strategically planned results.
One more thing, don’t go out and make a newsletter that is promotional email. It won’t work and your customers will block you out, mark you as spam or unsubscribe. None of these things do you want.
If newsletter marketing is something you want to do, but don’t have the time or knowledge. We offer a $199 contractor newsletter service. Guaranteed results.
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