Don’t be fooled by all things new and shiny: email marketing is still one of the best tools out there for AV integrators to connect with a valuable audience.
The data shows it – just check out these 70 ridiculous email marketing stats. In fact, the majority of B2B marketers view email marketing as the most effective means of generating revenue. The ROI on it is huge.
For AV integrators, there are a ton of possibilities here. Email is a great way to get in touch with potential leads and push them toward the next step in your sales funnel. It’s a great way to expand your referral system to the digital world and boost your sales leads. It’s a great way to establish you integration expertise, or to feature time-specific promotions.
So, how can you get started? Let’s walk through an email marketing campaign in five simple steps.
1. Build the Email List
The most important thing to have for an email campaign, of course, is an actual audience. You need an email list of people to send to that’ll be interested in what you have to say.
There are two main approaches to this: organic list building and buying an email list. Almost all of the time, organically-built lists are the better choice – they perform better, they’re in context for recipients, and they’ll keep you firmly on the right side of compliance issues. When you buy an email list, your audience is not a willing participant and is probably not as interested in what you have to say.
Why buy a list?
There are two benefits to bought lists, though. First, they’re fast (whereas organic lists take time to build). Second, they can allow you easy access to new audiences when you want to penetrate a market – so, if you want to reach as many houses of worship in your state as possible, buying a list might be worth considering.
One final note on buying: this method is evolving past the point of “lists;” most of the best providers now offer subscriptions to a software platform that’s legally compliant and frequently updated (as opposed to a static sheet of emails).
Tactical steps to build a list:
The most important thing to consider as you build an email list is whether or not you’re creating an interested and willing audience that wants to hear what you have to say. Here’s what you’ll need:
An email signup form on your website. This should ideally be a one-line form with a sign-up button that’s present on almost all pages (either in the header, footer, or some other common page element).
List integration with your contact forms. When people contact you, have an option that adds them to your email list (a box that’s checked for updates, for example). Make sure to clarify the lists they’ll be added to.
A lead magnet. Create a piece of content that people will exchange their email for. More on this in a second.
Once you have a collection of emails from your sign up form, you have your email list. However, this method will take some time. Remember, a 3% conversion rate on a site is pretty good. So if you’re getting 1,000 visitors a month, you can expect to add 30 people to your list each month.
That good thing is that the majority of those people should be highly interested in what you’ve got to say.
2. Create a Lead Magnet
Okay, let’s dive into the lead magnet piece of list building in more detail – it’s worth it, because this should be a major driver for your signups.
Your lead magnet should be an enticing offer that draws your audience into your sign up form. There are many forms of lead magnets, including whitepaper downloads, e-books, special offers, free webinars, or assessments. The idea is that your potential lead gives you their email and they get something that they’re interested in in return.
A few tips:
A good lead magnet needs to be easily digestible. Your audience doesn’t want to download a 500-page ebook that they have to spend hours sifting through or take a three hour long exam. Lead magnets should be short and sweet with value up front that they can apply to their business or life.
Err on the side of more helpful info, not less. There’s a common fear that disclosing processes or thought-leadership will devalue service (as in, “If they know how to install a conference room AV setup, they’ll do it themselves.”) We’ve found that it’s almost always better to disclose value upfront because it builds credibility and trust. When readers see that you know what you’re talking about, they’ll want to work with you.
Create multiple lead magnets to meet multiple informational needs. Here’s a good flow to follow: create a general lead magnet (“6 Biggest AV Integration Mistakes to Avoid”). Then, create a lead magnet for each industry you serve (“The Worship Leader’s Guide to Choosing an AV System”). Then, create a lead magnet for each service you provide. Then, create a lead magnet for each stage of the buying funnel (general awareness like “The Top 10 Best Security Cameras” to buying intent, like “Guide to the 10-Step Process of Security Camera Integration”).
3. Optimize Website Forms for Conversion
Your conversion forms should be optimized to give you the most information about your audience with the least amount of effort on the part of the visitor. Remember, the length of your form needs to be synonymous with the perceived value of the lead magnet.
If you’re offering your visitors a comprehensive guide to selecting, installing, and using a commercial security camera system, then you may be able to include multiple form fields like Company Name, Position Title, Company Website, etc. But if you’re only offering visitors a 10-point checklist on AV maintenance, you may want to keep your form on the shorter side and ask for only an email and a name.
Regardless, the key is to test and optimize.
It may take a couple tries to find the right form. While you need to ask basic information such as name and email address, try to include information that tells you more about them. But, keep in mind: people may not be willing to give out information such as salary or job title for a three-page whitepaper. The value of your offer is tied directly to the value of the information they’re willing to give.
The key to email marketing for AV integrators is balancing the value of your offer and your visitor’s willingness to give out information.
4. Create Content and Send
Okay, you’ve got a list and it’s building steadily on the strength of your lead magnet(s). Now, it’s time to put it to use. There are plenty of options here, but some of the most common are:
A Welcome Email
Welcome your signups to your list, and let them know what kind of content they can expect.
A Blog-Driven Newsletter
Send out one (or a few) relevant blog article(s) each month, with links back to the post on the site and a call-to-action included in the newsletter.
Is a certain brand having a limited-time sale? Are you offering any promotions? Be sure to let your list know.
5. Segment Your Email List
This is where things start to get really good. Segmentation is one of the most impactful ways to increase the value of your email campaigns. But you can only do it when you’ve built your list to a size that makes sense; if you’ve under 200 emails, it may not be worthwhile.
What is segmentation?
Email list segmentation is when you break down your email list into smaller groups based on specific criteria in order to send them more personalized content.
For example, if you are able to get job title input on your opt-in form, you can send emails regarding conference AV integration to the C-suite executives, but emails about church AV systems to religious leaders. This way you get the right product or service to the person with the authority to implement it.
Personalizing your email marketing can boost your click rates and reduce your unsubscribe rates. You can even use email segmentation to reward those who open your emails the most with special offers.
Work with a Professional
When it comes to email marketing for AV integrators, you may be too busy to really dig in to all the work that needs to be done to create, maintain, and refine an email marketing campaign. Most AV integrators specialize in implementing systems—not in email marketing.
Email marketing is the most effective channel we have today, and companies not using it effectively are not going to win. If you are competing in the marketplace, you need to be using email marketing effectively to grow your business. Customers expect email. They respond to email. That’s why it’s your biggest opportunity for engagement.