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Six Easy Ways to Increase Marketing Profitability

Originally published: 10.01.16 by Ruth King

If you want to waste marketing dollars, then just burn the leads that marketing generates.

You invest thousands of marketing dollars to produce those leads. Keep them productive. Keep them profitable.

If the person answering the telephone, or a sales person, doesn’t take care of the customer or worse, doesn’t know what the customer is talking about when she calls after receiving a postcard, going to your website, etc., then you’ve just wasted your precious marketing dollars.

Whenever your company sends a marketing piece, whether through social or trditional media, everyone who answers the telephone or has customer contact must know about it and be able to respond to it.

That’s the first way to increase marketing profitability. Here are five additional ways.

Calculate Break Even

Do this for each marketing activity. For example, if you invest $1,000 sending postcards, divide $1,000 by your gross margin to get the needed break-even revenues.

Assume that your gross margin is 40 percent. Your break even is $2,500. Assuming you are marketing for fall inspections at $97 each, you need to generate 26 inspections.

Is this possible? If you are marketing fall system replacements you probably need one replacement sale. Is this possible?

Gut Reaction Doesn’t Count

A client sent out a series of blue postcards offering a fall inspection to prospective customers. The owner, who didn’t track the results, thought the postcards didn’t work.

He happened to mention it during a service meeting. The technicians told him that almost every call they went on during the past few weeks was a result of that postcard. Since no one had tracked the results, he erroneously thought that he had wasted money on the postcards.

You must track and measure. How many leads have come in? Where did they come from? Record the numbers. If you don’t track then you have no idea whether a specific marketing activity is working. You want to repeat the activities that are working and stop doing the activities that aren’t.

When a prospective customer calls, during the conversation, ask how they heard about you and record the answer.

Many software programs can track your leads automatically by assigning a specific phone number to a specific marketing activity. These programs can also report missed telephone calls and record the conversations so that they can be used for training purposes.

Once is a Waste

Doing a specific marketing activity only once is usually a waste of money. With the advertising clutter in today’s world, it takes as many as six to 10 messages to the same potential customer for your message to get through.

Plan at least one to two years of marketing to the same group. You will probably start seeing good results in the second year. Keep the faith through the first year and continue according to your marketing plan.

Keep it Seasonal

Market to potential customers when they are looking for heating or cooling. Sending a cooling message when it is 65F will be wasted. People aren’t looking for cooling and they won’t pay attention. Sending a cooling message when it is 90F is likely to get attention. People need air conditioning when it is hot.

This is counter intuitive. Why would you market when it’s hot? After all, you supposedly have all of the business that you need. If you have a large maintenance base, these systems are not going to break when it gets hot. You will have the time to take care of new customers.

Sell Professionally

Don’t let your potential customers go in to the “Witness Protection Program.” This suggestion helps keep sales people from burning marketing leads.

It was given to me by Larry Van Sant (, a former client who sold his business. He was looking for something to do since he, like most of us, goes crazy when he has nothing to do.

Sales was always Larry’s strength so he decided to teach contractors and others to sell. After all, he grew his business from $750,000 to more than $15 million, managed sales people and sold himself. He’s heard all of the excuses and usually put up with none of them.

One of Larry’s famous lines is that prospects go into the Witness Protection Program after you’ve met with them. They disappear. They don’t return multiple phone calls. They don’t respond to emails. They HIDE.

How do keep your prospects out of the Witness Protection Program? By bringing everything out up front. By letting them know that “no” is okay. By learning how to sell professionally.


Ruth King is president of HVAC Channel TV and holds a Class II (unrestricted) contractors license in Georgia. She has more than 25 years of experience in the HVACR industry, working with contractors, distributors and manufacturers to help grow their companies and make them profitable. Contact her at or call 770-729-0258.


About Ruth King

Ruth King

Ruth King has over 25 years of experience in the hvacr industry and has worked with contractors, distributors, and manufacturers to help grow their companies and become more profitable. She is president of HVAC Channel TV and holds a Class II (unrestricted) contractors license in Georgia. Ruth has written two books: The Ugly Truth About Small Business and The Ugly Truth About Managing People. Contact Ruth at or 770.729.0258.

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