You know what I’m a fan of? Fried chicken. But also, I love working smarter, not harder. And that’s exactly what today’s topic — marketing automation for contractors — makes possible.

In this post, you’ll learn:

  • What marketing automation is
  • How marketing automation works
  • Creative ideas to leverage email marketing automation to nurture leads

Ready to find more leads and get expert home & building business marketing advice, all in one place?

What is marketing automation?

For some reason, marketing automation has gained a reputation for being an advanced-level technique. There’s no doubt it can be complex, but the basic idea is actually pretty simple — and you can have great success just sticking to the basics!

Here’s the gist of marketing automation for construction and contractors:

  1. Someone takes an action on your website — like clicking a button, downloading a free resource or completing a form. 
  2. That action, called a trigger, sets into motion a specific communication process you’ve set up ahead of time. The process happens automatically, behind the scenes, without you having to think about it or do anything. 

Marketing automation allows you to get and nurture more leads without investing more time on an ongoing basis. 

See? Smarter, not harder.

How to use email automation to nurture leads

The most common marketing automation technique leverages email to deliver the right messages to the right customers at the right time. 

One of the simplest email marketing automations to set up is an email welcome series. I covered this in Email Marketing for Contractors, Home Services, and Construction Companies, but let’s do a quick recap:

  1. Post a free resource or coupon on your website, and ask site visitors to give up their email address to access it. (This is a simple and perfectly legitimate way to grow your email list — which will grow your business.)
  2. Send a welcome email the moment they provide their address. (Fun fact: Welcome emails have a 50 % open rate, compared to the typical 16%!)
  3. Send a second email a few days later, inviting people to connect with you on social media.

OK, Ryan, but what if they enter their email address at 2:47 am? And what if I’m on vacation when I’m supposed to send the second email? 

Great questions. Remember, the whole point of email automation is the automation part. Once you set it up, your email system will send out emails for you. No matter what time it is, or where you are. Automagically. 

OK, OK, Ryan, but does this welcome-series thing even work? 

Yep. Studies show people who receive a welcome message are 33% more likely to stick around for the long-haul, and when businesses like yours use email automation, they’re rewarded with conversion rates as high as 50%. What’s that mean? It means when you send an email to 10 prospects, five of them could become paying customers. 

Constant Contact includes tools to help you automate your marketing

More email automation ideas for contractors

An automated welcome series is only the beginning! You can also:

  • Automate birthday and anniversary messages. It may seem silly, but customers take notice when businesses remember important dates! Make these messages short and sweet, and consider including a discount or freebie.
  • Resend emails to people who didn’t open them the first time. You can even automatically swap out the subject line on the second send. 
  • Divide, or segment, your email list into groups, so you can target them with relevant content. For example, you might send one email series to commercial customers and a completely different email series to homeowners.
  • Get creative! For example, if you’re a plumber, you could send an automated, three-part series on winterizing your home just before the weather turns.
  • Repurpose content you’ve already created. Choose a handful of your most-read blog posts, and package them into an automated nurture series.
  • Create a series triggered by clicks inside emails. For example, let’s say you sent a newsletter with some kitchen remodeling ideas, and you discover several people clicked on a particular link. Those are hot prospects! Set up an automated series about the topic of interest, and send it to that specific group of prospects.

Start small and simple

Marketing automation can feel overwhelming when you try to do too much, too soon. So start small.

If email automation has you feeling intimidated, start by scheduling social media posts ahead of time, instead. When you’re feeling a little more confident, set up your welcome email series. Then, add another automated series — maybe one to reconnect with customers you haven’t served in a long while. 

Don’t feel pressure to develop massively complicated, multi-trigger, overlapping automations. But don’t leave money on the table by skipping automation altogether, either. You can do it. Constant Contact makes it easy.

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