4 Steps to an Ideal Winterization Service Marketing

Originally published
Originally published: 9/1/2013

Promoting your business during Fall months can generate wintetime sales and revenue

During the fall months, HVAC businesses have a huge opportunity to build their brands, gain more clients and bring in more revenue. The approach of winter creates a need for HVAC services, and all you have to do is create the right marketing campaign to turn those needs into leads, which you can then turn into revenue.

There are four basic steps for creating the optimal HVAC Winterization Marketing Campaign. It all begins with direct mail using specific targeting strategies. You then utilize the latest marketing technology to build off of the leads your direct mail campaigns generate and turn them into new customers. Follow this four-step plan and you’re sure to enjoy a busy — and profitable — winter season.

Step 1: Direct Mail

First and foremost, direct mail should be your go-to lead-generating tool. It’s an effective, time-tested resource for building brand awareness and showing prospects that you can meet their HVAC needs. Direct mail is effective because it operates on the golden principles of marketing that have been around – and getting results – for years. Those principles are: 1) stressing the benefits of your services; 2) creating repeated exposure to your brand; and 3) targeting the right prospects.

For a specific service like winterization, you’ll need to really know what you’re doing to get your postcards into the hands of the right prospects. Here are three strategies I’ve had success with in the past with my HVAC clients:

  1. The 10-Year Rule — As you know, HVAC units usually have to be replaced approximately every 10 years. Using this information, you can target prospects who have owned their homes for more than 10 years. These prospects will likely be ready for a unit change and your postcards will give them a reason to choose your company to replace it.

  2. Special Offers — Special offers are always a great way to get prospects’ attention. Try mailing to a list like the one above, but use a special offer tied to the upcoming season. This can be a discount on a furnace precision tune-up before the winter cold comes (or an AC precision tuneup before the summer heat comes). Make sure to use seasonal headlines to grab readers’ attention right away and make your postcard relevant to them.

    Other special offer ideas include:
    • $10-$25 off winter precision tune-up
    • Full inspection and winter tune-up/cleaning for $89
    • $50 off any service visit
    • $200 off heating and cooling efficiency upgrade
    • $25-$50 off any repair
    • 20 percent off repairs
    • Free HVAC energy/efficiency audit

  3. Reactivate Past Customers — Another great strategy for HVAC businesses is targeting past customers. For this strategy, your probably needs to be at least 8-10 years old. It’s a very effective tactic. You simply mail reminder cards to customers whose units you replaced, or installed, over eight years ago to warn them that their unit may be in need of replacement. These people have already chosen your company once and, hopefully, had a great experience. That means they are much easier to reactivate as customers.

    Once your postcards are sent out, you can use a great tool called Remarketing to get automatic follow-up with those prospects. (See more on Remarketing below.)


Step 2: Mail Tracking

The thing about business growth is it does you no good if you aren’t prepared to handle it. A great tool like mail tracking can help you prepare your operation for the influx of new customers and reactivations your postcards will yield. If you don’t know when your postcards are arriving, you won’t know when to schedule
more technicians or an extra employee to help field calls. You don’t want to bring in extra help blindly because it isn’t cost-effective to increase labor expenses if your postcards aren’t even in mailboxes yet. Mail tracking allows you to prepare to handle the results your marketing campaign generates.

Mail tracking can be implemented by adding a barcode to all mail pieces. The USPS scans the barcodes as they go through the mailing process and indicates where they are.

Step 3: Remarketing

Remarketing is an incredible tool that makes your direct mail even more powerful. When your prospects receive your postcard, about 90 percent of them will go to your website before they call you. If they visit your website but don’t decide to call you, you would ordinarily lose that lead forever. With Remarketing, you can continue the marketing conversation, even if they don’t decide to call right away.

Remarketing automatically follows up with online leads and is simple to set up. All you have to do is incorporate a tiny bit of code into your website. If you don’t know anything about computers, this is something a programmer can handle in a couple of minutes. Once in place, this code tracks the behavior of every website visitor you get. If the visitor doesn’t fill out one of your contact forms, or make an appointment, Remarketing will show them targeted ads to draw them back to your site. These ads will appear on any of the millions of sites within the Google Display Network once the prospect leaves your site. The ads continue to appear to prospects until they return to your site and take the action you want them to, such as filling out a contact form or making an appointment.

Step 4: Call Tracking and Analytics

This last step helps you continually improve your marketing results. Using call-tracking technology, you can measure the response of each postcard campaign to see how it performed and to compare campaigns. You can then decide if you want to make any adjustments to potentially increase your responses. By testing different tactics, you can optimize the results of your direct mail campaigns.

Call tracking works by using a unique phone number on each new campaign. This number routes calls to your office, but also tracks how many are coming in for that phone number (in other words, for that campaign). This means you can experiment with new designs or message strategies and see exactly how your prospects respond to various campaigns. The power to improve your marketing results is in your hands because you can see what works and what doesn’t. This tool also records your phone responses so you can listen to them and evaluate your reception and sales strategies.

Mail Tracking, Remarketing and Call Tracking are all services marketing companies provide. Costs can be monthly or per mailed piece or a combination of both. Monthly call tracking pricing usually starts at about $49 per month. Mail tracking and remarketing costs are generally about 3 to 10 cents per piece mailed. Costs vary by company and by which services are included.

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