HVAC Contractors are great at attraction-stage marketing, right? Billboards, painted trucks, yellow pages, direct mail, pay-per-click ads, search engine optimization and even blogging. For the most part, contractors understand how to get people in the top of the funnel.
Contractors are also really good at finalist-stage content as well. We have lots of testimonials, offers, and coupons ready to go.
But once the sale has happened, then what? Crickets.
In the era of “flat growth is the new up”, keeping customers loyal is more important than ever. According to Ron Smith, “a residential service-agreement customer, properly cared for and marketed to, can provide an annual average of over $700 in revenues with little if any price sensitivity and with a minimum of marketing cost, as well as an ongoing source of new customer referrals.”
Ron is correct in that we can have loyal customers through a much smaller percentage of marketing spend. The problem is, most contractors spend the absolute minimum (that is, zero) on marketing to current customers.
An Actionable Loyalty Marketing Plan
It doesn’t take much actually, but we have to think about how to market to our current customers without spending large amounts of time and resources.
Over the past few months, we’ve been working with a few contractors on repurposing and repackaging their blog content to serve as the center for a loyalty program. Let me give you an example.
All of our HVAC customers have blogs. What that means is that they post valuable, compelling, and helpful “how-to” oriented content to attract customers, twice per week. This content is great for the attraction stage, but more challenging to use in the loyalty stage.
Here’s the fix:
Step 1: In all your current marketing, offer customers the opportunity to sign up for your bi-weekly (every other week) newsletter on home comfort tips. Put sign up forms on your site. Spiff your technicians to get email names for the newsletter.
Step 2: Take the blog content and repurpose this content into an enewsletter. You can use Constant Contact, MailChimp or any other email provider with easy-to-use templates. Each newsletter can highlight four or so of your blog posts and articles each time you send it.
Step 3: Well, that’s it.
What you’ve just done is taken the blog content you’ve already invested in and created another marketing touch point to fill your loyalty-marketing gap. Now you have something of value to send to customers on a consistent basis and can “touch” them more often, without any offers or sales pitches. It positions you as the trusted home comfort expert, and you’ve only expended the time to put together the process to create the list, and send the newsletters.
This type of program should be integrated into any program where you are driving service maintenance agreements. Put this line above the spot for your customer’s email addresses to ensure that you’re not “selling” them something: “Our valued customers receive our complimentary enewsletter on how to save energy and provide the best comfort for your family.”
Joe Pulizzi is CEO of SocialTract , a blogging/social media service for HVACR contractors. Joe is also co-author of Get Content Get Customers, which details how companies can publish content to drive revenues. SocialTract is a division of Z Squared Media, LLC . Joe can be reached at [email protected] . For speaking needs - http://joepulizzi.com.