Every marketer has to start somewhere. There's always a first email campaign, and each marketer hopes that it will lead to insight and best practices for future campaigns, as well as to customers. Advanced Wiring Solutions, a licensed low-voltage contractor that provides wiring and cabling services from Alsip, Ill., launched its maiden email voyage in April.
The program was conceived as a way for the company to keep itself top-of-mind and provide value to its customers, typically electrical and general contractors who work in a variety of commercial settings, said Michael Sanfratello, president of Advanced Wiring Solutions.
The effort wasn't undertaken lightly, especially since Sanfratello said he had doubts about the effectiveness of email marketing to his particular vertical. “I really wondered if it would be worth the investment; so, when we decided to start our email marketing program, we did marketing research, interviewing customers to find out why they did business with us,” he said. “All the answers we got back related to the technology and process. People, we found, wanted to learn more about our industry and how they could use that information, for instance, to create a safer job site.”
In April, the first e-newsletter went to about 700 contacts in Advanced Wiring Solutions' in-house database. It included case studies, a white paper and highlights of the company's offerings. “We had a white paper about the industry. We had "Ten tips to a successful installation.' We had a story about structured cabling,” Sanfratello said. Results of the campaign were impressive, yielding a 38.1% open rate and a 26.7% click-through rate. It also significantly increased traffic to Advanced Wiring Solutions' home page, Sanfratello said.
The company's second e-newsletter was sent in July. The list of contacts the email was sent to increased 17%. It also included a variety of content: a white paper referencing the company, an overview about choosing a specific type of system, another about ROI, a case study about a new project at Jolliet Junior College and a new-partner announcement. Advanced Wiring Solutions also added news-related items, including a mention about awards it had won. The first-day open rate was 26.1%and the first-day click-through rate was 18.1%. In the end, the company saw, on average, a 6% increase in the open rate and 6% increase in click-through rates.
Sanfratello expects to send the next e-newsletter in October. That issue, he said, will probably expand the company's reach as he is looking to purchase a list. Additionally, it will include a link or poll asking readers what would bring more value to them in future e-newsletters, he said.
Sanfratello said the results “far exceed” any of his original expectations. “The newsletter results clearly show that people are interested in what we are sending,” he said. “We're keeping the ongoing relationship showing them who we are and what we're capable of doing.”
Plus, the e-newsletter has already started opening doors, Sanfratello said. “People are reaching out to us,” he said. “It's definitely leading to additional sales opportunities.”