For owners of independent HVACR companies, direct mail campaigns allow you to reach potential contractors you otherwise may have missed with your current marketing plan. Everything you send to your contractors must be clear and concise, visually appealing and influential in nature.

Direct mail remains the second largest advertising media vehicle outside of television. With the overwhelming majority of contractors opening almost all their mail and 79 percent of contractors acting immediately on direct mail versus 45 percent for emails, it’s clear that direct mail is a critical component of a local marketing plan.

Additionally, the revenue generated by the HVACR market in 2014 was reported to be $128.7 billion, growing at a CAGR of 7.6 percent from 2015 to 2020. With this growth undeniably comes increased competition. Keeping that in mind, creating an effective marketing strategy is crucial to successfully set yourself apart from your competitors.

Below are tips for increasing your direct mail ROI and reaching the final goal of attracting new business and maintaining lasting relationships with your contractors.

Keep it Short and Sweet

Each piece of marketing collateral you send out should cater to your contractors’ increasingly fast-paced, technology-driven lifestyle. It should look simplistic and sleek and be direct and to the point. A cluttered ad will garner low results, as contractors may associate it with the clichéd visual features of “junk mail.” By limiting the amount of copy and font types you use, you can avoid overcomplicating and overcrowding the restricted space you’re working with. Ads should feature no more than two to three font types, including a large, bold font to distinguish any promotion or special you’re offering. Pay extra attention to the headline – a captivating headline followed by concise sentences will keep contractors focused on the offer at hand and give your direct mail piece the highest potential of getting them in the door.

Be Color Conscious

When working on your direct mail piece, begin by choosing one or two main colors based on your business’s current branding, logo and target audience. Keep in mind that certain colors elicit different feelings to your contractors; orange and yellow are energizing, while cool colors like blue and green are refreshing. When you need to emphasize excitement in an ad, a couple of bright colors will do the trick.

Softer colors also can give off a more professional vibe than bolder ones. Some bold colors may come off as tacky, so play around with a mix of bright and soft tones to create an aesthetically pleasing mail piece.

Don’t Forget the Call to Action

Once you have your ad designed, it’s time to work on what you say. The content of every ad is just as important as the font and colors used in it. An enticing offer and a specific call to action, such as “$250 off any basic furnace or repair,” are what will give your neighbors a reason to call or visit you. Contractors are more likely to respond positively when the offer features a specific dollar amount in savings or includes the word “free” rather than an offer including a certain percentage off. Including an expiration date on your mailer will give contractors a reason to contact you sooner rather than later.

Actively Engage on Social Media

Revamping your social media platforms is another good way to appeal to younger contractors, especially if they are millennials. To successfully manage your social media presence, you must post engaging, personalized messages relevant to the contractors you want to reach. This includes a mix of promotional and educational posts revolving around the services you offer, as well as interaction with your followers. When planning your direct mail, be sure to include your social media handles on the offer to drive traffic from younger contractors.

Update Your Online Presence

If you do not already have a solid website or have not brought it into the year 2016, consider a web makeover. Be sure to consider making your website mobile-friendly as well. In many cases, this ends up being a minor additional cost with major benefits to the end user. Remember, the consumer perceptions and reactions to a well-designed website can make or break their decision to hire your company, especially for millennials. More than aesthetics, your website should have well-planned search terms embedded into it, from SEO optimization to the content on your site, to a blog, if you have one.

These direct mail guidelines, supplemented by an online and mobile marketing campaign, will allow your HVACR business to have direct and personal communication with potential contractors in the mail, on their mobile phones and online. DC