03 Business Tips Round-Up Part 1

April 15, 2004

Excerpted from the e-PHC Profit Report newsletter.
Jim Olsztynski, Editor-Publisher

Marketing Tip #1
Selling and installing CO detectors is a natural add-on for HVAC contractors. It also would be a good idea to print up a small instruction sticker on company letterhead for placement near the CO unit.
It could read:
1. Install outside of sleeping areas and near fuel burning appliances (although not right next to).
2. Test your CO alarm at last once a month and replace the battery on battery-powered units at least once a year.
3. If your CO alarm should sound, immediately push the reset/silence button and call 911. Move to fresh air and make sure everyone in the house is accounted for.
4. Do not re-enter the premises until emergency services have arrived, the source of CO determined and appropriate remedies enacted.
In addition to safeguarding your customers, such a sticker reminds them of you.

Marketing Tip #2
You need to budget time to update your web site. Not a tremendous amount of time, but write it into someone’s job description to spend an hour or two each month making sure the information is current, and researching similar web sites to incorporate new ideas into your company’s.

Most small business web sites suffer from inattention. It reflects badly on your company.

Marketing Tip #3
e-PHC Profit Report has heard of a kitchen and bath firm that gives homeowners certificates for free massages to help cope with the havoc and stress of remodeling jobs. What a great idea, and certainly adaptable to re-pipes, equipment change-outs, sewer digs and many of the stress-inducing jobs you perform.

You can build the price of the massages into your jobs. Even better, work out a deal with a local message therapist, most of whom would be willing to give freebies or at least discounts away in order to attract new customers.

Marketing Tip #4
Do your vehicles have backup beepers? Not only are they worthwhile safety devices, they are also marketing tools. That’s because every time your vehicle beeps while backing up, every head in the vicinity will turn to see where the noise is coming from, and they see the sign on your truck.

Of course, you need good signage to reap this benefit.

Marketing Tip #5
When business slows down, the temptation rises to cut prices. First, though, see if you can make some headway with these alternatives.
1. Offer payment plans that feel more affordable to customers.
2. Offer discounts for prompt or early payment.
3. Delayed payment may be an inducement to someone in a momentary cash flow crunch.
4. Promote loss leader low prices on certain types of products and services, with the intent of selling more profitable items to make up the difference.
5. Offer premiums & giveaways. A $5 gift often seems to have more value than that to the recipient.

Marketing Tip #6
Who are your top customers? If you keep the kind of records you should, that information should be just a few mouse clicks away. However, data can be misleading. If you rank customers by volume, the top of the list include some people who had big, expensive jobs but only called you once and may never do so again. Keep track of call frequency as well as volume.

Few, if any, customers are drowning in a sea of thank you notes. Take the time to jot one to those who rank near the top both in volume and /or frequency of use.

Marketing Tip #7
If you do any e-mail promotions to customers, you've probably been served notice by a few that your message has been blocked by some anti-spam filter. Savvy marketers avoid certain words that trigger many of these filters. Some of those words include: newsletter, Internet, mortgage, offer, live, pics, protect, now, free, solution, work, news, credit.

Excerpted from the e-PHC Profit Report newsletter
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Jim Olsztynski

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