A quick peek in the crystal ball shows a very clear picture: A huge amount of money will be changing hands soon. Yep, someone around here is about to be a part of the spending extravaganza that the National Retail Federation predicts will take place this year — otherwise known as “Season of Holiday Sales.”

So, now, the question is: In what ways can your HVAC company capitalize on this “consumers consuming” culture?

For the heating/cooling trades, it takes a little more creativity than it does for those decorating storefronts with scenes from Santa’s workshop. But, the goal is the same: stand out from your competition and connect with customers.

Be bold and exploit your unique edge. Look for ways to get your name in front of your customers. And do it for less.

Here are just a few ways how…

Cash In on the Holidays

Create a holiday-themed offer. People are expecting year-end, holiday-related discounts. Get in on the act and package a service or product with a holiday offer. Deferring payments, for example, works well. Your customers are no doubt feeling the spending crunch the holidays bring. Look for what you can offer — trade-ins, deferred payments, no interest, etc. — to reduce the pain of purchase.

Be Santa’s helper. Who says you can’t sell gift certificates for contractor services or make a particular upgrade giftable? Give gifts for referrals. Sponsor local holiday events. Offer a freebie as a drawing prize.

Say thank you. Express gratitude and appreciation to your customers with a heartwarming holiday card. This is your way to let customers know you care and that they mean more to you than the amount on their invoice. Send them to your entire database, but do not use a sales message or the effect is ruined. These are the No. 1 customer retention pieces during the holidays. However, spending $1-$2 each is a poor investment return if you’ve got thousands of customers. Check out our alternative low-cost Holiday Cards at www.contractorholidaycards.com.

Be public relations-savvy. The media don’t take the holidays off, and news outlets are looking for stories. Get your ideas into their hands and position yourself as an expert in your industry.

Decorate your website. How about topping your logo with Santa’s hat or adding a wreath? Ask a graphic designer to create modifications you can use during the holidays. Decorate your Twitter and Facebook page, too.

Create a video holiday greeting for your site. Be warm and personable, as you always would, and maybe stand in front of your Christmas tree.

Get “mobilized.” More transactions, communications, and Web searches are being conducted via hand-held Web-connected devices this holiday season. A mobile-optimized site will help your customers and prospects find what they’re looking for from you.

Be active on Facebook. Facebook is the No. 1 traffic generator outside of search engines, and your services and products need to be there. Include a Facebook “Like” button on your site to encourage social interaction.

Red and green streamer tape in 2-inch width can visibly distinguish your service vehicles from Thanksgiving forward. For less than $4 per vehicle, you can be a standout in traffic. The tech with the best-decorated truck should get a little gift from Santa.

Your on-hold message should reflect the season and mood: Have a Thanksgiving message, a Christmas message, and another for New Year’s. You must speak to customers in the language of the season.

Your phone greeting can also change at no cost. Use “Merry Christmas” or “Happy Holidays” instead of the standard. Be consistent in your greeting message or you sound unprofessional.

New Year’s calendars can be a good idea, but limit them to only the top-purchasing customers in your database. Customers get many calendars each year, so only the most attractive will make it to the wall, which means only the costliest. Be careful here.

Coupons for a free pie or turkey are another option for top purchasing customers. Or, if they’ve been really “good” this year, send them a holiday poinsettia.

Use bags of red and green Hershey Kisses to give to all customers during the holidays. For about 4 cents a customer, you bring a smile and greater reception to your message.

Not many contractors will make these timely adjustments and create low-cost opportunities. But, the ones who do will stand apart from the competition. And, they’ll be the ones who are remembered and referred all year long. Isn’t this what your marketing should do anyway?

Publication date: 12/15/2014

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