Email Tips for Construction Industry Lead Nurture Programs

Parker Stoner Headshot
Parker Stoner
Senior Vice President/Director of Database Marketing

Studies have shown that when marketing to audiences in the construction industry, emails used for a lead nurture program are typically some of the best performing and most effective emails a company can develop. However, creating emails that get those kinds of results requires a great deal of thought, understanding about your audience, strong creativity, and knowledge about email marketing best practices.

At Swanson Russell, we’ve been helping clients in the construction industry generate and nurture leads using email for years. So, here are 10 tips we’ve learned from our experiences that can help strengthen your lead nurture email results.

Construction professionals open emails because they are promised something of value or benefit.

1. Information is important, but it becomes more valuable when made tangible and presented in appealing formats. Articles and blog posts may contain useful information, but that information can attract more interest if offered in visually interesting ways. Videos, checklist, tip sheet, guide, comparison chart — these items are perceived as having greater utility and packaged in formats that tend to appeal more to construction professionals.

2. Emails linking to video content usually generate more clicks than emails that do not. For most construction emails, we have found that clicks are maximized by presenting both a thumbnail image of a screen from the video with a play icon plus a “Watch Video” button. The combination nearly always yields clicks from more recipients than when only showing one or the other.

JLG website mockup display.

3. For key calls-to-action, create "Bulletproof Buttons," clickable text on a button-shaped background, instead of developing buttons as images. The reason being is that images are not visible to the many recipients who open emails without loading images and are not accessible by screen readers. Creating bulletproof buttons ensures your key calls-to-action are visible/accessible to all recipients.

4. Use the pre-header area or preview text feature on all your emails. While not all recipients will see this text in their inboxes, this space will allow you to increase the probability of opening your message among those who do see it. Do not allow unintelligible code, “View in Browser” messages or other meaningless content to appear in the valuable pre-header text area due to inaction.

Use pre-headers to increase open rates.

5. Frontload subject lines and pre-headers with the most important content to the recipient, not to you. Even though email clients display varying numbers of characters, the total length of your subject line or pre-header is not as critical as having the most important words or phrase in the first 20 to 40 characters. Also keep in mind, proper sentence structure is less important than recipients quickly seeing if your email contains something of interest to them.

6. When sending general broadcast emails to a large list of construction professionals, we recommend they be short with minimal details. Present highlights or nuggets of information with appropriate visuals, then encourage interested recipients to click through for details. The strategy for lead nurture emails should be different because the audience has demonstrated an interest in the specific product or topic. Nurture emails can provide more details, however that does not mean you should have long blocks of text and dull layouts. You should still follow best practices for effective design and continue to encourage respondents to click to take other actions.

7. Highlight assets, offers, benefits and news in subject lines rather than branding messages, claims or campaign themes. Construction professionals open emails because they are promised something of value or benefit to them, not to hear your marketing message or claim.

8. Ensure that your lead nurturing emails emphasize informational or educational value to recipients rather than focusing on the selling of your product, service or brand. Delivering valuable, helpful content ensures they will continue to look for and engage with your emails rather than unsubscribing or ignoring them. Do not send a continuous string of “order/buy now” or “schedule an appointment or demo” focused emails unless you know a lead is at the point in the journey where they are ready to take that action. A better strategy is to continue to send relevant educational-focused messages, but with a secondary or tertiary offer to buy, meet or take other committed actions. This approach helps keep leads engaged while also giving them a convenient way to fast track the journey if they are ready to do so.

9. “New” and “free” are great words to use in subject lines and pre-headers (assuming you are being truthful rather than misleading). The warnings that those and other words will trigger spam filters is out of date. Today, whether your emails are delivered to recipients’ primary inboxes or junk folders is mostly due to your audience’s engagement history with your emails, your sender reputation and/or the IT department policies regarding email at some corporations.

“New” and “free” are great words to use in subject lines and pre-headers.

10. Repeating the same message over and over to an audience works well with many types of advertising, but not with email marketing. Some recipients will consider you to be spamming them. If you are resending the same email to the same audience within a few weeks or months, make some simple, but critical adjustments to the second distribution like:

  • Change the subject line and pre-header to highlight different assets or benefits
  • Modify key images including video screenshots
  • Shift content in the layout so recipients perceive the second email to be different from the first

Email is the foundation of a carefully executed lead nurture program, but there's much more you can build on to earn a stable of new customers and establish your brand as a reliable source your audience can trust.

If you're interested in learning how to construct a successful lead nurture program, get our step-by-step report now.