Whether you’re a fitness coach, a dentist, run a plumbing company or a computer repair business, as a service-based business, your email marketing needs and desired outcomes may not exactly fit that of a retailer. We’re here to help our service-based clients with a little email inspiration. To get your creative juices flowing, include these four emails in your marketing efforts.


Send an email that promotes a social media contest. Contests offer low-cost opportunities to attract customers to your business, increase “likes” on Facebook and help you solicit testimonials.

For example, Jorgensen Orthodontics ran a pumpkin carving contest on its Instagram page. One of the categories participants could enter was “best pumpkin with braces.”

According to DentalEconomics.com, a 2012 study by Sesame Communications found contests like this example have a high success rate. Results from the study include:

  • An average of 194 “likes” per practice, per campaign
  • Four appointment requests
  • An average of 17 recommendations on Facebook


People love DIY tips and how-to tutorials, and although they might not need a plumber, dentist, personal trainer or mechanic today, they’re much more likely to call you if you’ve helped them solve a problem, or save time and money in the past.

While videos shot on your phone or tablet can work, you risk audio and video quality. However, if you want to do it yourself, check out these production tips.

Once you’ve created your video, send an email including a screenshot of the video linking back to the video on your YouTube or Vimeo channel, or the video embedded on your blog or website.


There are several reasons newsletters outweigh traditional advertising in terms of marketing success.

First, according to Ideal Marketing Company, newsletters have four times the readership of traditional ads or brochures. This is largely due to the fact that they can be easily shared by forwarding an email or sharing a link on social media. In addition, according to CompanyNewsletters.com, newsletters have a longer shelf life than advertisements.

Johnny Shelby, VerticalResponse customer and endurance and multi-sport specialist for Third Coast Training says newsletters have especially helped his business grow. “Though I have a reach into most of my clients socially, it doesn’t mean they’re connected. Their inbox allows me to occasionally drop in with an event. Without the newsletter campaign I’ve done over the years, I would not have had the 10% to 15% growth year over year.”

Here are a few content topics for your next newsletter:

Seasonal and periodic reminders. This reminder for a tune-up is an effective reminder with a call to action to drive in soon.

  • Industry news and trends. For example, an insurance agency could include information about changing state policies.
  • Educational information. The tips below to winterize your home could be included in a newsletter.

  • Announcements. Invite subscribers to a seminar, upcoming workshop or open house.
  • Before and after shots. An interior designer could include before and after shots.

Discounts and promotions

Everybody loves a deal, and they’re not just for retailers! Plus, what better place to promote it than in a shareable email?

According to a survey by Blue Kangaroo, 35% of people said they made use of a coupon or discount from a marketing email within the last week, and 33% used one from a marketing email within the last month.

Joe Alberto of Joe’s Body Shop says he gets results by emailing discounts, referral specials and instant rebates to his clients.

“After being in integrative healing and massage for 17 years, I’ve built up a wonderful group of loyal clients,” says Alberto.

“I’m amazed at how many regulars I have and how many of them have been with me for so many years! I like to reward their loyalty with pre-paid discounts, quarterly discounts and instant rebates. I also get the majority of new clients from referrals, so everyone benefits when I offer referral specials.”

Give one or more of these emails a try and your service-based business will be on its way to attracting customers. You can send emails, newsletters, offers and invitations for free with VerticalResponse.

Wendy Burt-Thomas is a full-time freelance writer with four books and thousands of published articles to her credit. Contact Wendy at WendyBurt@aol.com.

© 2014, Contributing Author. All rights reserved.