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Differentiate Your Company

Originally published
Originally published: 10/3/2017

Smart marketing tips and advertising strategies to increase customer engagement and ROI.


Today’s competitive landscape is as cutthroat as ever. With customers being constantly bombarded with ads on all media platforms, it’s easy for your message and marketing materials to get lost in the crowd. This is especially true in a bourgeoning niche service market.

The HVACR industry is expected to grow to $173.16B by 2022, an implication of the growing demand for related services with the recent rise of home ownership. With increased demand comes an increased need to differentiate your company from others in the market — this is where smart marketing becomes essential to your success.

When promoting your services, the specific marketing and advertising tactics you choose to employ will have a significant impact on your business. Strategically timed advertising campaigns and well-designed marketing materials are key to capturing the attention of new clients and turning them into loyal customers.

A healthy mix of digital and print assets will guarantee the greatest reach, but only if you’re pushing out the right message to resonate with your target audience.

When you’re creating a direct mail piece or a multi-media marketing campaign (direct mail and mobile ads work best when combined), the following should be taken into consideration before determining the right strategy for your market.

Understand Your Competition

Before mapping out your strategy, you need to have a comprehensive understanding of your competitors. Know where they’re advertising and what offers are being leveraged, as this will help you plan your own marketing efforts.

Understanding the pricing and special offers that your competition is advertising will allow you to determine how to create a more compelling proposition to drive traffic into your business. Additionally, this basic research will help you better understand if you’re underpriced or even overpriced.

For an even deeper grasp on your competitors’ relationship with local customers, check out their social media activity. Are they actively engaged with customers on their social channels? Do they respond to questions or concerns via social media in a timely fashion? Do they create original, educational content?

Knowing how other brands in your market interact with customers can provide insight on how you can best reach your target audience and appeal to their demands.

Once you have a firm understanding of your competitors and where you stand amongst them, a unique, multi-level marketing and advertising strategy can give you the necessary edge to grow your customer base.

Determine the Right Reach

For a direct mail advertisement, you’ll need to evaluate the number of households you’re seeking to touch. Home improvement brands typically need to target a larger number of households to effectively penetrate the market and garner the best response.

You should consider reaching the neighborhoods within a 10-25 mile radius of your location.

Also, it’s important to know whom you’re reaching — some direct mail providers mail to apartment complexes while others mail directly to homeowners. Someone who rents an apartment probably isn’t going to care too much about repairing their air conditioner or furnace. Homeowners who are responsible for repairs on their HVACR equipment, however, will care more about saving and be more likely to take advantage of an offer.

It’s also important to take the time to evaluate the average income for the surrounding areas and target neighborhoods that fit your customer demographic within those zones.

Communicate with Frequency

Determining the appropriate frequency for distributing direct mail advertisements is critical to the campaign’s success, since not every customer is ready, willing and able to buy at any specific point in time. By ensuring your message is consistently in front of them, you’ll be available to customers whenever they’re in need of your services.

An effective frequency for sending out a direct mail piece is once a month at minimum in order to remain top of mind for customers in your area.

Identify Your Best Offers

The strongest offers are those that are broad-based or tiered for different product lines or services. You want to make sure you appeal to multiple types of budgets so that you have a better chance for redemption. Here are some examples of attractive offers to consider:

  • $50 Off Annual Maintenance Agreement
  • $50 for $150 Worth of Services
  • Free Furnace Inspection with the Purchase of a Heat & AC Tune Up
  • $49 Air-Conditioning Tune Up

It’s possible to have the right reach and frequency, however, if you don’t give customers attractive offers that are designed to build trust and acquire new business, the result will be a small response rate and wasted advertising dollars.

Design an Effective Ad

The final element for effective ads are the graphics. Customers are exposed to so many messages each day that clear and concise communication of your offer is important.

Recipients should be able to quickly determine what you do, what you’re offering and how they can access your goods and/or services. Your illustration should be easily identifiable — within one or two seconds of looking at the ad.

Begin by choosing one or two main colors based on your current branding, logo and target audience. Keep in mind that certain colors elicit different feelings to your customers; orange and yellow are energizing, while cool coolers like blue and green are refreshing.

When you need to emphasize excitement in an ad, a couple of bright colors will do the trick.

Softer colors can also give off a more professional vibe than bolder ones. Some bold colors may come off as tacky, so play around with a mix of bright and soft tones to create an aesthetically pleasing mail piece.

Each piece of marketing collateral you send out should cater to your clientele’s fast-paced, technology-driven lifestyle. It should look simplistic and sleek and be direct and to the point.

A cluttered ad will garner low results, as customers may associate it with the clichéd visual features of “junk mail.” By limiting the amount of copy and font types you use, you can avoid over complicating and overcrowding the restricted space you’re working with.

Ads should feature no more than two to three font types, including a large, bold font to distinguish any promotion or special you’re offering. Put extra attention to the headline — a captivating headline followed by concise sentences will keep customers focused on the offer at hand and give your direct mail piece the highest potential of redemption.

Engage on Social Media

Revamping your social media platforms is another good way to appeal to new customers, especially younger millennial homeowners who may not be as familiar with their HVACR systems. To successfully manage your social media presence, you must post engaging, personalized messages relevant to the customers you want.

This includes a mix of promotional and educational posts revolving around the services you offer, as well as interaction with your followers. When planning your direct mail, be sure to include your social media handles on the offer to drive traffic from younger customers.

Update Your Online Presence

If you do not already have a solid website or have not brought it into the year 2017, consider a web makeover. Be sure to consider making your website mobile friendly as well. In many cases, this ends up being a minor additional cost with major benefits to the end user.

Remember, the consumer perceptions and reactions to a well-designed website can make or break their decision to hire your company, especially for Millennials. More than aesthetics, your website should have well-planned search terms embedded into it — from SEO optimization, to the content on your site, to a blog, if you have one.

These marketing and advertising guidelines will allow your business to have direct and personal communication with potential customers in the mail, on their mobile phones and online while blowing away your competition.



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