Importance of email marketing in service-based businesses

As many innovative and engaging channels of communication continue to emerge, marketers are often finding it challenging to choose the right mix of channels for their campaigns. While social media platforms and other digital media sources have proven to be highly successful for brands across the globe, email marketing has remained a steady and constant choice for marketing professionals even with changing times. The global e-mail marketing market, as per research, was valued at $7.5 billion in 2020 and is projected to increase to $17.9 billion by 2027. While most retailers and brands opt to communicate and drive sales through eCommerce platforms, service businesses must innovate to ensure similar results. Since a “Buy now” button with a shipping option is not an option for services, how can these forms leverage email communication? Here’s how email marketing can benefit service-based businesses:

  1. Custom communication

Marketing emails often tend to be thrown into the trash folder unopened. Customers expect email communications to be personal and addressed to the receiver. This means marketing emails lose engagement opportunities when they generalize the communication. Whether it’s an offer or an upcoming launch of new services, if the customer does not find the email addressing their specific needs or expectations, it would not make the required impact. Customizing communication for customers is the solution. 

This is especially true for the service industry, which relies heavily on customer relationships and loyalty, customers expect the brand to showcase similar relationships when communicating via emails. But, sending personally written emails to every customer is not an effective use of time and rather counter-productive. Automated customer tagging and segmentation can mitigate this manual time and labor, allowing you to focus on growing your business. Tagging customer lists as per their characteristics, gender, income, geographic location, or even preferences, helps build multiple customer segments which can then be targeted with a custom communication. Is this effort even worth it though? Yes! Marketers who used segmented campaigns noted as much as a 760% increase in revenue. What’s more, easy-to-use applications such as Customer Tags & Segments help segment and tag customer lists and automate email marketing workflows in a jiffy.

  1. Customer engagement

Most customers today have an email account and regularly check the same for communication. The channel's flexibility to be available on the go such as on mobile phones and tablets, it is also one of the channels that engage with customers on a real-time basis. Here’s a stat to highlight mobile-optimized email marketing: nearly 55% of global website traffic is generated from mobile devices and mobile responsive email designs can increase unique mobile clicks by 15%.

As a service-based business, customers often tend to build relationships and trust with the service provider rather than the business itself. Customers often tend to remember their hairdressers and prefer booking appointments with them. This can be utilized to help segment the customer list as per their preferred provider and send personalised emails from the provider’s desk. A simple but effective marketing tactic that would help cement the brand’s thoughtfulness about the customer’s preferences while also maintaining a relationship. Another customer engagement idea that can be executed through a newsletter would be to run integrated offline and online marketing campaigns. A free consultation day at the mechanic, communicated through an email campaign, is bound to have customers taking advantage of the offer. The campaign would require segmentation of the customer list by the last visit at the mechanic or those due for a maintenance and send across personalized emails that allow customers to book free consultation appointments through scheduling applications such as Appointo.

  1. ROI

Another reason why email marketing takes the cake is the return and value gained from the marketing channel. While online advertisements and paid social media campaigns promise results, the cost of running the campaigns ultimately affects the bottom line. Email marketing on the other hand, is an extremely affordable option. Email generates an ROI of $36 for every $1 spent. For the service industry, it is of utmost importance that marketing spends generate higher returns. Services cannot be “stored” and managed in the same way as tangible products making it a costly affair to manage operations with varying demand. Hence, marketing campaigns that help manage demand-supply and improve resource utilization are most welcome.

As mentioned before, the best way to utilize the potential of marketing campaigns for services would be through customer tagging and segmentation. Bucketing customers to personalize email communications and improving conversions, ensuring service appointments and reminders are communicated through emails and messages to avoid no-shows can all be achieved through an automated email marketing workflow. While individual tools are helpful in achieving this, a seamlessly integrated solution of applications such as Customer Tags & Segments and Appointo allows businesses to maximize their ROI.

  1. Call-to-action

Every email marketing communication is aimed at one thing – to influence the reader into taking an action. The call-to-action button or the CTA button is the element in the email that directs the reader to the desired destination – which could be the website homepage, the product page, or the customer’s account. The email must be structured to naturally let the reader understand and take interest in what is being communicated. The content needs to be relevant, interesting, and compelling enough for the reader to click that CTA button. 

Here’s an example of what goes into creating a successful email marketing campaign. If one was to take a cleaning service for this example, their customer lists would be segmented into businesses and homes. These then could be further tagged and segmented based on their last cleaning service. Setting up an automated workflow that sends emails to all customers who have availed the service a month prior reminding them that cleaning is in order would be highly effective. The customer not only appreciates the reminder but also finds it easier to book an appointment right away. Take a look at ShopCircle and SidePanda’s applications that integrate seamlessly to help build similar customer workflows.

Email marketing continues to reign as a preferred channel among marketers. In a globally conducted research, 4 out of 5 marketers agreed they’d rather give up social media than email marketing. Stay tuned for more tips and tricks to help grow your business.

Tarang Agarwal

Designer by degree and developer by profession, a front end wizard who likes to keep things neat and clean for the clients