Although there are lots of ways for businesses to digitally interact with consumers, email remains the powerhouse among them. In fact, half of consumers prefer email over direct mail, phone, text, and social media when engaging with brands.

Unfortunately, if you’re a services business wanting an email marketing plan for 2019, you might feel a bit left out in the cold. Sure, there’s great advice online about how small businesses can use it to their advantage. But if it only targets retail and product-centered businesses, it does you no good.

So where does that leave services businesses?

We’ll let you in on a little secret: Engaging your customers with emails means communicating with them in other ways besides offering sales pitches. We’ve got some clever ways to engage customers with services business email marketing.

Email service reminders and promotions to your customers.

There are still many services businesses that rely on direct mail to alert customers about needed maintenance or new services. But customers can lose or overlook mailers.

Instead, start emailing your clients their service reminders. You’ll pocket the postage you’d normally spend on direct mail, which is cost-effective.

We live in an on-the-go world. That sometimes means customers don’t stay on top of personal or home maintenance needs. From haircuts to car tuneups, customers need reminders every now and then to help them keep up.

This is where your convenient (and oh-so-helpful) emails come in. Your customers shouldn’t have to worry about forgetting when they’re due for their eye exam or dental cleaning. Make it easy for them to remember by sending a reminder email.

Your reminder emails should include the following:
  • The dates of your customers’ last appointments, in case they forgot
  • Reminders that it’s time for their next appointments
  • Ways for them to schedule appointments (Link to an online scheduling software to book more appointments effectively.)

Additionally, if you recently started offering a brand new service, send customers an email and tell them about it. If your pest control business now removes nuisance wildlife as well as insect pests, let your customers know. Then they won’t be calling your competitors to take care of the fluffy-tailed squirrels living in their attics.

Communicate with customers about scheduled appointments via email.

Do you confirm or remind your customers of their scheduled appointments a day or two prior? If not, you may be opening the door for them to forget their appointments. And that can result in costly no shows.

But with a busy schedule, how do you find time to call customers about their upcoming appointments? The task is probably even more overwhelming if you’re a one-man or one-woman show and don’t have staff to help you.

Try this on for size: Services business email marketing gives you an easier way to communicate with customers about their appointments.

Two types of appointment emails you should send customers:
  • Confirmation requests, which ask customers to reply and indicate if they plan to keep their scheduled appointments.
  • Appointment reminders, which remind customers about scheduled appointments and don’t require replies

Draft a simple template you can use when sending appointment-related emails. For both reminders and confirmation requests, your template should include:

  • An email subject line like, “Your upcoming appointment March 1” (so the customer doesn’t ignore it)
  • Your business’s name
  • The date and time of the appointment
  • The staff member the customer is seeing (if applicable)
  • The location of the appointment
  • A call-back number or email link so the customer can contact you to reschedule if needed

For confirmation emails, add a short request for customers to reply and let you know if they’re keeping their appointments.

Pro Tip: If you’ve got an appointment scheduling software like Thryv, you can even automate confirmation and reminder emails. Check your scheduler settings, and choose how often and how far in advance you want to send those emails. Your software can then send them out for you.

Use services business email marketing to facilitate customer payments.

Services businesses often need to provide clients with estimates, invoices or both. But the traditional paper-centric approach to providing them can take a sizable chunk of money out of your budget. With printer toner, paper and postage, the costs can add up quickly.

Plus, paper isn’t always easy to keep track of. For example, let’s say you’re waiting to get paid for a service, but your customer lost the invoice. (Ugh.) Now you’ll have to print another one and get it to them as quickly as possible. And you’ll also have to wait longer for payment. Major bummer.

Ditch the paper, and use email to send estimates and invoices to customers. This helps them communicate with you more easily if they have questions. And more importantly, you’ll get paid faster.

Save customers (and yourself) time by emailing forms and contracts.

Picture this: You offer personal training services, and you’re waiting for a first-time client. You’ve asked her to arrive early to fill out an intake form. But she calls you just before the appointment to say she’s running 15 minutes late.

When she arrives, you wait another 15 minutes while she hurriedly fills out her form. When she finishes, it’s 30 minutes past her appointment time. So she decides to reschedule. (Argh!)

You can avoid frustrations like this by emailing your customers their intake forms ahead of their appointment times. This allows them time to complete those forms when it’s more convenient for them, especially if the forms are lengthy.

If your business involves service contracts, email those to your customers as well. Service contracts require plenty of time to read and understand thoroughly. Give your customers a chance to review them carefully before they sign on the dotted line.

Make it a habit of sending important documents to your customers via email. Even though you’re not actually selling something, you’re still representing your business. Anything you can do to ease communication with your customers will earn you their loyalty and their future patronage.

Run email campaigns to direct more traffic to your website.

Is your business website getting much love from your customers? If not, use services business email marketing to run campaigns that drive more customer traffic to it.

The most important thing to remember with email campaigns is they need to provide value. If your email says little more than, “Hey, check out our website,” your customers will likely ignore it or send it to their trash folders. So you need to tell them why they should take action.

Some easy ways to add value to your emails:
  • Upload a tutorial video to your website, and link to it in your emails.
  • Start a helpful advice blog or newsletter. Ask customers in person or over the phone if they want to subscribe.
  • Run a contest or raffle drawing for a credit or gift certificate toward a service. Email your customers, and point them to a form on your website where they can enter to win.

Sending your clients emails to generate website traffic also gives your search engine optimization (SEO) a lift. The more people visit your website and interact with it, the higher it will generally show in online searches. Win-win!