We work with over 3,000 contractors a year and the No. 1 problem we help solve is “marketing control.” You’re a contractor. You control job flow, costs, time, design and personnel — but you often have no control of the marketing that generates the leads and sales.
Take control means getting more customers in less time and at a lower cost. Higher income and less stress are the natural results. Use these monthly tips to guide your marketing in the year to come.
Coming off a Christmas lull, buyers can be hard to shake. Yet your New Year’s resolutions should be to never let a marketing opportunity pass. Your marketing plan and budgets should be in place, spending around 4-6 percent of projected sales on marketing depending on your marketing personality profile. The weather should be bringing you enough service leads, but no need to wait around. Send letters/emails or make calls to “nonclosed sales” from the last 90 days offering added incentives. Send postcards to larger groups touting your service benefits with a New Year’s discount. About $20 off offers the best combination of incentive and profitability. Post the discount opportunity to your Facebook page, with the link pointing to your main site.
Winter’s chill is lessened in warmer states; it’s still frozen in cooler ones. For warmer climates, prepare an end-of-season direct-response replacement offer. In colder states, continue building a customer database. All states can consider a “Buy a new system at last year’s price” offer to stir reluctant replacement callers.
Accessory/add-on sales can include a direct-response thermostat replacement, furnace upgrade offer or humidifier. Use social media sites to post benefits of each accessory. Don’t “sell” but use social media to “educate.” Use your main website to sell.
The strategy during February is to gather more names for your hottest prospect list. All calls should be on your list to mail for your customer retention push coming in March.
March is the beginning of your customer retention push. This means sending newsletters to your active customer base (activity within the last 48 months). Pre-season tuneups and preventive maintenance offers can begin in warmer climates. Cooler climates need their “End of season” or other direct-response promos out. Final call for getting winter’s “nonclosed” sales to respond. Make your offer compelling, with the primary benefit stated in the headline.
April is big for indoor air quality and a continuation of tuneup plus maintenance agreement sales. Better to cast a broad net for tuneups than go for maintenance agreements in one step. The only place you can sell an agreement effectively in one step is in your newsletter. Use ads and postcards to spread the message.
Facebook posts should educate followers about the benefits of IAQ and service agreements. Many are tempted to “sell” on social sites, but the 70 percent education and 30 percent sales ratio of advice to selling is far more appealing for long-term gain.
According to plan, your newsletters went out last month, right? May begins another prospect acquisition phase that should continue through summer.
May is also beginning of the vacation and warm-weather season. Capitalize on this with massive pre-season replacement offers and last-minute tuneup or preventive maintenance offers.
This is the time to snatch leads and sales from competitors who are waiting on the weather. If you miss sales now, the customers are likely out of the market for a long time. Be very aggressive. Use your hardest direct-response ads now.
Use a two-step process for web-based leads. First step is to post a very strong, very persuasive promotional offer on your site. Second step is to send a short email to your entire target list with a link to that page. The next adjustment to that offer is a short post on social sites with a link to the landing page. Our recorded results for this method have generated four times the traffic in 14 days.
June has hit us with the distraction of vacations, outdoor activities and hopefully some hot weather. Your HVAC technicians are the key to more replacement and HVAC upgrade leads. Train them that repairs costing more than $400 or repairs on 8-year-old systems should be replacement prospects. Many consumers will be interested in financing offers or incentives, so make sure your techs are well-versed. Do not let “Declined repair” customers go without hearing from your salesperson to close the deal post-visit.
High-image marketing helps support high-margin replacements. All service calls should be offered a maintenance agreement.
It’s up to you to make this your best year ever.
Adams Hudson is president of Hudson, Ink, a national marketing firm for contractors. Snips readers can get a free report, “Five Things That Drive Your Customers Crazy,” by emailing to freeSNIPSstuff@hudsonink.com. You can also call Hudson, Ink at (800) 489-9099 for help or visit www.hudsonink.com for other free marketing articles and reports.