Advertising 101: Three Rules for Successful Advertising

April 2, 2007
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Do you know how to effectively advertise your heating and cooling business? Advertising can be a powerful tool for increasing your customer base, product sales, and revenue. However, it must be implemented in a strategic way to benefit your bottom line.

Here are three rules for a launching a successful advertising campaign:

Rule #1: Plan Ahead

The basic rule of successful advertising is to “know your customers.” Start by defining the 5 W’s: who, what, when, where, and why.

• Who is the audience you are trying to reach? Decide if you want to target the general public to increase your customer base or if you will market new HVAC products to previous customers. Industry research shows consumers either use the same dealer, or ask friends or family for referrals when looking for someone new. Advertising to your current customers, with items like postcards and referral cards, builds loyalty and increases word-of-mouth customer messaging, both important components of an advertising campaign.

• What do you want to sell to your customers? Determine which brands you will promote and highlight special features, like a warranty or a six-month promotion. Find out if your manufacturer offers a program to assist with advertising efforts such as Maytag’s co-op advertising program, which offers distributors pre-made and branded advertisements, direct mail pieces, and other marketing materials. Maytag provides a 50 percent reimbursement on materials when purchased through the manufacturer’s approved vendor

• When will your customers see an advertisement? Think about when consumers notice advertising. For example, people are commonly on the Internet throughout the day, but might only listen to the radio during the morning and evening commute. In addition, monitor sales trends for heating and cooling equipment. If product sales increase in March and September, then plan to advertise directly before or during the key months.

• Where will the ads run? Where are your customers located during the day? What do they observe and what do they read? Be sure to advertise in those areas. This could include local newspapers, radio stations, television stations, and billboards. Or you could mail information directly to their homes to ensure they see the advertisement.

• Why will customers want to purchase the equipment you are selling? Your messaging will be completely different for homeowners who are replacing broken units and homeowners who desire total home comfort through improving existing HVAC equipment. You can advertise to both audiences but not in one advertisement. Use separate messages in different ads for the two consumer groups.

Rule #2: The Message is Key

Keep advertising messages simple. Don’t use technical jargon like SEER, scroll compressors, or variable speed as the average homeowner will not understand the messaging. Instead, use a consumer “buzz word” like “high efficiency.” Try to use a short slogan that will be easy for consumers to remember, and always include your company brand and logo.

Certain messages are more effective than others because they catch the consumer’s attention. This messaging may apply to their current heating and cooling situation or personal preferences and/or emotions. This type of advertising promotes the brand name of the product, its level of efficiency, and the value the consumer will receive for their money rather than just the decreased price. Promoting warranties, service guarantees, and additional features further demonstrates a product’s value.

It’s also important to establish a good reputation for your company. This can be accomplished by branding your uniforms, vehicles, business cards, and invoices with your company name and logo. Be sure to back up the messaging with quality service that your customers can connect to your brand name.

Rule #3: Know Your Limits

There are many ways to reach current and potential heating and cooling customers, and using a variety of advertising tools may be the best approach. Advertising is not free of charge, so be certain the form of advertising you use reaches your intended audience. Know your limits with advertising, both with finances and time. Consider the time it will take to launch your advertising campaign and track the results. You can monitor if your sales increase while advertisements are running, or you can ask customers to fill out a short survey that asks how they heard about your company. This way, you will know which ads are reaching potential and current customers.

Nordyne has been designing and manufacturing heating and cooling products for more than 80 years. A trusted name in the industry, it focuses on using proven technology to build reliable residential Maytag products. Nordyne is headquartered in O’Fallon, Mo., with manufacturing plants located in the central U.S. For more information about Nordyne and its product offerings, visit www.nordyne.com.

Maytag is a registered trademark of the Maytag Corporation.

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