Postcards: Service postcards should be in larger areas to attract fence-sitting service customers.
Radio: This media is still off considerably from post-Christmas highs. Trim back here, but continue to harp name recognition for selected service leads.
On-hold messages: Continue with maintenance agreement info, free newsletter offers, and other service benefits.
Yellow Pages: Fax me at 334-262-1115 for your free ad critique; change your results with a real Yellow Pages ad designed to pull leads.
All areas should consider a direct response offer (such as “Buy a New System at Last Year’s Price”) to stir reluctant replacement callers. You must put a deadline on the offer that is not more than 21 days out or you lose the effectiveness of the urgency. (By the way, an offer without a limit is not an offer.) Get with your manufacturer to dovetail their financing with this offer. Deferred payments still do well up until April.
The point during February is to gather more names for your targeted “high probability” list. As you’ll see throughout the course of the year, a healthy list is your most valuable business asset, by far. All calls — prospects, demand service, and quotes — should be on your list to mail and help determine affinity groups. (I’ll explain later.) As you track leads, watch for your zip code response penetration. (If you want an explanation of “9 Most Profitable HVAC Direct Mail Lists and How to Get Them,” e-mail or fax us with the request and it’s yours.)
This sage advice means that you must translate their needs, wants, and wishes into tangible desire that results in a phone call to you. I constantly preach to quit trying to stuff a $5,000 replacement sale into a postcard or other media. I promise, it’s much easier to sell the phone call. Why?
Well, your business is, in its simplest sense, only about sales. Sales come from leads. Leads come from marketing. So, if you’re lacking in sales during February, you’ve got to create leads by building desire in a direct response ad or letter. This is done by:
Your job is to raise value and lower risk. The farther these two are apart, the better the chance of the all-important phone call. Put in guarantees, free surveys, free IAQ checks, 100% Satisfaction or You Don’t Pay, long-term warranties, no money down, no payments, $100 Savings Bond if you buy a more valuable system or service, and on and on. There are dozens of these. I don’t have time to list them all here and you don’t have time to read them.
Be interesting and tantalizing while you’re selling. No “sameness” or dullness allowed. If you put in “For all your heating and cooling needs,” or some other such worn-out phrase, I’m calling the cops. Take a risk by being readable and you’ll sound like a real person instead of some distant HVAC zombie who “really appreciates your patronage.” Please.
Now, put a limit on your offer. Use a P.S. or “Bonus.” Place the ad in Section “A”, page 2, 3, or 5 of the newspaper. Or put it in a No. 10 envelope with a real stamp. Put it in front of good prospects. Plan a telephone follow-up that reiterates the risk-free nature of a free visit. And start ringing up sales. Still don’t have a clue? Send me your attempt for a free critique, via fax, to 334-262-1115 and I won’t be too hard on you. Or go to www.hudsonink.com to see other marketing tips for February. And stay busy.
Hudson is president of Hudson, Ink. He can be reached at 800-489-9099, 334-262-1115 (fax), or www.hudsonink.com.
Publication date: 02/10/2003