Episode 16: Email Marketing for HVAC Businesses

Podcast episode 16


0:53 – Create lists

2:11 – Sub Headlines

3:20 – Body of the email

4:37 – Strategy

5:26 – Deliverability

9:20 – Tip of the week

Hello everybody! Welcome to the HVAC Business Growth podcast. I’m your host Nick Bielawski. We’ve got another great show lined up for you today. The topic for today is Email Marketing. Email Marketing is used frequently by most businesses but without strategy and without thought. So today, what we’re going to cover in this podcast are list type, subject lines, the body of the email, the strategy and the deliverability. All of these topics are really important so let’s get stuck into the show.

List types

We’re going to talk about lists to start off. I think the most important thing that you can do is use a homegrown list as much as you can. You need to avoid the bulk list that you get from various list brokers because the most important thing is you have some sort of relationship with the list. Ideally they may have bought a previous product of yours or they may have got a heating and cooling service from you. At the very least you need to have a referral or a recommendation to use the list just like in Endorsed Mailing. If you have a cold emailing list and they don’t know why you’re emailing them, more than likely it’s just going to go in the spam folder. It’s going to be delivered but it’s not going to be opened. So, it’s almost a waste of money purchasing that list in the first place.

If we get into the specifics of the list, ideally you have their full names and email address—this is part of the list as well. That helps you to be able to personalize the email. So instead of “Dear Friend” or “Dear Neighbor”, it can be “Dear Bob” or “Dear their Full Name”. Adding a personal element in emails is a great way to increase email open rates and email responses as well.

Sub Headlines

The next topic that we need to talk about is Sub Headlines. Subject line is really the headline.  A headline, just like in the newspapers, is critically important in getting the email opened.

So what do you think is going to have a better open rate? Newsletter No. 4 or is something with benefits, criteria and maybe even some controversy going to make people open your email. It could be Newsletter No. 4 or it could be 7 Steps to Getting Your Heating and Cooling System Serviced. So that is obviously a lot catchier and longer. It’s catchier with the benefits involved there. It sets people’s buying criteria as well. The subject line is critically important.

And if your email software is good enough, you can do a split test on different subject lines and you can see what gets opened more. Does the catchier and more controversial subject line gets opened more than just a Newsletter No. 4 type of headline?

Body of the email

The next topic that we need to talk about is the body of the email. There are 2 strategies and both can be done successfully. You just need to think what suits your business and what you’re going to achieve out of it.

The first one is going with a content strategy. Basically, whatever you have to say gets put into the email. The email is going to be a little bit longer since you’ve got more to say. The other option is to use a teaser type of email with links. The teaser email might be 1 sentence or 2-3 sentences but there will be links inside of the email which means the person is going to click the link if they’re going to visit your website or landing page where the rest of the information is available.

So, if you’re looking to try and increase the traffic to the website and get people engaged a little bit more with your site, the teaser approach is going to be a lot better.

Quite often, particularly if you’re using video or audio, it’s a lot easier to safely embed video onto a web page and then send people the link. A lot of the videos or mp3 files can’t be placed in your emails.


So now we’re going to talk about the strategy side of things. So, when we talk about strategy, it’s about how the email fit into your overall marketing campaign. Is it just a particular step in a long process or does it stand alone on its own?

You also need to think about what the next step is after the email. With every email you send out, the rule of thumb is that the person must be better off receiving the email and reading it than what they were before. So you really need to think about what the next step is. Do you want the people to visit the website and register for something? Do you want a phone call? Do you want just a return email? So you need to decide on what the strategy is for this email or the sequence and how it fits in the overall marketing campaign.


The next topic is deliverability. I feel that this is really important and it’s what people come up quite sure.  You need to do a couple of things here. First you need to avoid spamming them with emails. Things like using different-colored texts, capitalizing, email shouting are massive problems that I see that tend to make your emails go to the spam folder. Also, things like putting in the first name versus just putting in “Dear Friend” or not putting an address on it at all are things that hurt the deliverability. So you need to avoid doing those spammy types of tactics. Also avoid using a self-hosted solution as well. Some people look at the email marketing solutions that are out there and they might cost, say, $20 per month starting at the base level. Some are even free. And they’ll go, I’d rather host my own email solution because I don’t like the idea of having people’s information on a stored secured database.

But if you do that, usually the deliverability of the email is quite a bit long. You see, major providers, such as AWeber, work with the major accounts—Gmail, Hotmail, Yahoo—to get better deliverability. I think you’ll find that a lot of the major companies like AWeber. They have very high deliverability and they’re actually considered the best in the industry. So when you’re paying for an email management service or an email newsletter service make sure you’re getting a centralized database with fantastic deliverability. Some of the options that are out in the marketplace such as AWeber start at around $19 a month. They are great email providers. A lot of top marketers use the AWeber service.

iContact is also very good. They have a great reputation in the market. I’ve never used iContact myself but like I said, they have a great reputation so it won’t hurt to try it out.

Mail Chimp does a great service as well. They actually have a free plan where you can send, I think, 6,000 emails per month to 2,000 people. Their interface is easy to use since it’s pretty simple. It’s a little bit quirky in a way but once you get in there, I think you’ll really enjoy doing it. Their email templates, they have the newsletter templates, I think are fantastic. You can make some good looking emails and some good newsletters.

Get response is another American-based company. They also have a good reputation. I haven’t used them as well.

Office Autopilot, it really is, in my opinion, the granddaddy of email marketing software because it integrates so many other things. It also has a CRM-based function to it as well. This is fantastic for storing more data regarding the relationships that you have with your customers. Another great thing is you can put some strong marketing sequences relative to your website. So, you could track and see when a particular person visits your website, how often they visit and what pages they visit on the site. From there, if you know that they’ve been looking at hydronicating then you can actually send them some targeted offers. Although Office Autopilot is a lot more offensive, the marketing capabilities for the software are amazing. You can also integrate postcards and direct mails. So, although it is a little bit more expensive, Office Autopilot is a bit of a no brainer.

So now it’s time for the HVAC Business Growth tip of the week. The tip that I’ve got for this week is to actually start an email newsletter. I think the best thing to do is to decide how often you’re going to do this newsletter. I advice a monthly approach. A month is just enough time in terms of you don’t have to be rushing to put content out all the time. Also it shouldn’t be 3 months or 6 months where people are going to forget about your business.

Start an email newsletter. Use a service like Mail Chimp or AWeber or any provider that you prefer. Start a newsletter and send it out to your database. Let the newsletter get shared around. Promote it on Facebook and Twitter and get some more people onto your database and then communicate with them using this newsletter. It’s a great tool.

You need to really mix the amount of selling that you’re doing versus educating. As much as you can try and educate people 80% of the time and sell 20% of the time. You’ll find that if you nurture people through the sales process and you’re taking a more education type of approach, you can have a lot more success in the long run. Ethically, it’s probably the better thing to do as opposed to heating people over the head with a sales hammer all the time.

Okay so that’s all we’ve got time for today’s show. Thanks for listening to the HVAC Business Growth podcast. If you have any questions or you’d like to comment, head over to the blog—hvacbusinessgrowth.com/blog—leave a comment on the post on email marketing or you can head to iTunes and leave your comments there.

Episode 16: Email Marketing for HVAC Businesses

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