Sometimes I don’t sleep well. Maybe this is a business owner’s curse — or blessing.

Ideas come in the night, then they grow vocal cords and chide you with “Why not, you dummy?” and before you know it, you’re in your den with coffee at an hour when the owls have called it a night.

Happened again last night. So, in case you were wondering, here is my latest thought:

The TV infomercial business is absolutely booming. The industry has moved from cheap and overpromised products to billion-dollar respected enterprises, used by top-tier companies and even high-dollar political fundraisers.

And at an average of $165,000 per hour, they must extract every known grain of sales volume. The top-performing direct-response models are as instructional as they are effective.

These performers have successfully shifted from their old unidirectional media flow that went from TV to phone into a multipronged integrated approach which has multiplied sales. The great thing is the pattern is nearly identical to what we’re recommending for contractors now:

Top direct-response marketing campaigns now strategically direct prospects from TV to:

•          Phone (still accounting for nearly 70 percent of sales)

•          Smartphone/text for mobile compatibility and discounts

•          Social media (Twitter, Facebook, YouTube)

•          Separate promotion-only website landing pages

•          Websites with separate discount codes

You will notice the proliferation of the digital market component. Among HVAC contractors, this causes inconsistency, confusion — and opportunity.

See, contractor marketing had previously mostly relied on going advertising — commonly in the Yellow Pages — to phone. Yet, many are slow or very behind in integrated multimedia.

 

Inconsistencies

However, far too many are inconsistent. Any nonintegrated plan today is begging for brand and lead dilution. A company has a nice website, which bears no resemblance to their manufacturer-supplied print ads, and is incongruent with its “Buy now!” radio ads.

In today’s fractured media world, inconsistent messages kill results.

Instead, pick one theme, one look and for each promotion, one message. Pound that in across the media and watch the results.

Contractors and much of small-business America are understandably confused by continually changing media choices. The infomercial world has created a billion dollar-strong path to follow, but yours need only be a minor imitation.

The problem with contractor marketing is that every time somebody says they “should” be in this or that media, they pile on different messages instead of thinking strategically.

Today’s marketing is too complex and my constant bleating about strategy is becoming a must-do instead of a nice-to-have.

Advised: Start simply, instead of trying to do everything at once. So, let’s look at today’s hottest topics in order:

1. Web content

2. Social media

3. Customer reviews

 

Confusion

Those three topics cause more confusion than nearly all traditional media combined, yet are so ripe for the taking that it’s mind boggling. (Why? Because others are confused.)

If these three are not being done well and integrated with offline media, do not buy or even look at another online marketing opportunity. Get these three right first. If they confuse you, you’re not alone.

The opportunity is huge, largely because of the former two items. If you create a less confusing, consistent marketing message across traditional and Internet media, you will be miles ahead of the competition. How? Start simply.

Repurpose your best offline promotions into your online promotions. They should have the same theme, voice, message and offer, if any. No confusion for you, phone representatives, technicians or customers.

Integrate print promotions with online by using quick-response codes that become coupons or deeper offers. (These are simple to do and make you look instantly more relevant.)

Invite your website visitor to receive your offline newsletter, which is an instant lead-capture. And the inverse is also true.

Make your newsletter point to your website with multipart articles, more advice and valuable promotions.

Add a “Click to call” box on your website. (Don’t install an instant chat messaging service unless you have the staff to constantly monitor it.) If for some reason your phone number and contact email is not on every page of your site, change that today.

Let your social page be 70 percent entertaining, 30 percent promotional. Social sites should have the same theme, messaging, look and voice of your main website.

Use the proven model from billion-dollar marketers. Rethink your marketing path from “ad to phone” to the entire world of integrated messages. This will drive traffic, calls and profits right past the competition straight to you.

Adams Hudson is president of Hudson, Ink, a creative marketing firm for contractors. Snips readers can get the free report, “Five Steps to Seven Figures,” by emailing their request to FreeSNIPSstuff@hudsonink.com or faxing to (334)-262-1115. See other marketing reports at www.hudsonink.com or call (800) 489-9099.