When you talk with small and sometimes medium-sized contractors about the need for a marketing plan, you can almost see eyes roll. Many such contractors got into business for themselves so they could be their own boss. The ones who successfully survive the startup years then often find themselves a victim of their own success. They find that their business is succeeding, often beyond their own expectations, yet they don’t want their role in the company to change. If profitability is to be maximized and further growth achieved however, their role must change. It must evolve from being a startup entrepreneur and knowledgeable technician to a business owner. In short, they must learn to work on the business as opposed to in the business.
Recently we published a blog about the need for having a marketing plan. Such a plan need not be long and complicated, as we will illustrate in this blog. Essentially, there are 3 elements of a marketing plan, and they are:
- Promotions Planning Calendar
- Marketing & Advertising Calendar
- Marketing & Advertising Budget
What are promotions? In short, promotions are offers that give your customers and potential customers a reason to contact and purchase from your firm. The stronger the offer, the more likely you will be contacted. Depending on the makeup of your operation, you want your promotions to address the following areas in your business. Residential Replacement Installations – IAQ Accessories – Demand Service Calls – Service/Maintenance Agreements.
There are a number of sources you can tap in order to develop your promotions. For example, equipment suppliers or manufacturers typically offer consumer financing or equipment rebates at various times of the year. The downside to these is that many contractors have access to the same or similar programs from competitive suppliers. Sometimes government entities and local utilities will run promotions for efficiency upgrades as well, but again these are available to everyone. Perhaps the best source for offers come from in-house promotions. While these may or may not have the opportunity to attract supplier or government money to help fund them, you have complete control over the type and timing of the promotion. The creativity for in-house promotions is limited only to what you can devise, and the advantage here is that no one else in the market will be offering what you are. The following table is a small example of the different types of in-house promotions you can develop – let this serve to fuel your own imagination!
The next blog in this series will discuss when and how many types of promotions you should run, along with how you make people aware of these offers.
|Product Related||Service Related||Other|
|Free Thermostat||Free 2nd Year Service Agreement||Free Gas Grill|
|Free Merv Filter/ Upgrade||Extended Warranties||Free Christmas Tree|
|Free CO/Smoke Detectors||Product Checkup Discount||Cause Marketing Offer|
|Free evaporator coil with AC purchase||Duct Leakage Analysis and Sealing||Event Tickets (i.e. ballgames, museums etc.)|
|Free Humidifier||Air Distribution Analysis||Getaway Vacation|
|Free Energy Analysis||Free Blower Door Test||Staycation Package|
|Free Duct Cleaning||Svce Agmt W/combo Pch||Free AC Cover|
|Free Attic Insulation||Total Performance Diagnostic Through Call Smart W/Service Call||Consumer Electronic Giveaway (i.e. TV, Tablets etc.)|
|Free Dehumidifier||Reduced Rate Service Calls For Certain Time Periods||Free American Flag & Mounting System|
|Free Grill/Register Upgrade||Free Evaluation for Generator W/Service Call||Free Thanksgiving Turkey|
Courtesy of The HVAC Business Dr.