I've got good news for wholesalers everywhere. Or to put it more precisely, for their contractor customers.
Jan. 10, 2007 is National Cut Your Energy Costs Day. It is duly and officially recognized by Chase's Calendar of Events (the Blue Book, if you will, of designating official and unofficial holidays), and its goal is to “educate people on ways they can stay warm in the winter and cool in the summer while saving money on their energy bills.”
The idea of conserving energy and saving money isn't new. But the idea of having a special day for this concept is relatively fresh — it only became an “unofficial” holiday in 2005.
This is good for the HVACR business because you can latch on to it for your marketing or PR efforts and urge your contractors to use it as a way to promote their expertise, experience and quality of their services.
When your contractors look for some extra media attention, one of the fundamental questions you must answer to the editor or news producer is: Why should I care now? Why is this topic timely? You and your customers should link your efforts to this holiday because of the timeliness issue. And timeliness is always important in obtaining media coverage.
Tying your promotions to nationally recognized events can turn into a media and PR windfall. During the month of March, which is Colorectal Cancer Month, the number of people who make appointments for a colonoscopy increases tremendously. In part, this is due to former Today Show host (now CBS anchor) Katie Couric championing the cause after her husband died of colon cancer. Indeed, scientists refer to it as the Couric effect.
How many women do you suppose caught the early stages of breast cancer because they made an appointment for a mammogram during October, National Breast Cancer Awareness Month?
There is also the silly, too, when it comes to holidays. We have (I swear this is true): I Love My Dentist Day (June 2) and also Vinegar Day (June 17, a day “set aside to celebrate the virtues of vinegar”). There are hundreds more.
You can promote National Cut Your Energy Costs Day with a simple press release that you can get by simply sending an e-mail to [email protected]. Just put press release in the subject heading, and you'll get a boilerplate form that you can use no matter where you live. Use it as a painless way to subscribe to a good idea, helping the public and conserving our resources while helping your business's visibility. I see all those goals neatly aligned.
There are many other days related to energy and the environment. You can find them listed in Chase's. (A copy costs about $59, but EVERY public library has one at the reference desk. It makes for fascinating reading.)
You can also create your own nationally recognized day, which I explain in my book, Wacky Days (which is why I chose the title). All you have to do is obtain a form (located in the back of Chase's Calendar of Events). They accept photocopies of the form. Then mail it in. There is no fee for this registration.
You can choose a day, month or year. If you find this appealing, create a holiday that lasts for a week. That way, you can pummel the media for a week about why they should cover a heating or air conditioning story in the newspaper or on their broadcasts.
Just remember the deadlines when dealing with the media. Three to four months ahead if it's a monthly magazine, one to two weeks before if it's a weekly newspaper. One or two days before if it's a daily newspaper. You can contact broadcast media the week before or the week of your energy-saving week. Give them a reason to contact you by offering solid, low-cost energy tips when you send out your press release. Explain who you are, what you do and why this is an important time to cover the story. And make sure they spell your name correctly.
Full Disclosure: I know the person who created National Cut Your Energy Costs Day. You might know him too. It was I.