Are you looking for a way to stretch your advertising budget? Do you need a way to convert suspects into customers? Do you need a surefire method to engage your audience and galvanize them to respond to your call-to-action?

Often times small HVAC businesses, are short on marketing and advertising cash. So what is a smart business owner to do to get customers? It is a well-known fact that you can’t stay in business long without customers. Customers are your business’s lifeblood, they keep the lights on, and they keep the paychecks flowing.

Targeted direct mail can be used to reach a specific group of people when
they are most likely to buy your product or service.

What should you do if you only had $6,000 to invest in advertising? How could you maximize that investment and how could you insure that you received the best return on your investment? With a small budget, you would have to rule out any form of mass media, TV, radio, newspaper, or even yellow page advertising.

You might turn to the Internet and decide to do some Facebook advertising, but when you analyze it, why do people go to Facebook? Do people go to Facebook to shop? On the other hand, do they go there to spend time, with friends? How receptive of advertising are you when you spend time with your friends, my guess is that you probably not very receptive. Therefore, Facebook might not be a good place to advertise if you have a small budget.

One of the most effective and least expensive forms of advertising is targeted direct mail. When I say targeted direct mail what comes to mind? If you are thinking of garish oversized postcards or envelopes full of coupons, then we aren’t on the same page. By "targeted direct mail," I mean a personal sales letter written to your target customer base or potential customers.

Targeted direct mail can be used to reach a specific group of people at exactly the right time, when they are most likely to buy your product or service. If you know who your best customers are, you know how to reach them and you know their hot buttons. Write a personal letter to your best customer, introduce yourself, explain the purpose of the letter, tell him or her what you have to offer, and what you would like them to do.

It doesn’t cost much to write and mail a letter. If you write a good letter, you can use the same letter to reach many potential customers. If you don’t have the list of prospects, then you will need to purchase or rent a list of names and addresses.

List brokers can slice and dice their list anyway you want. You can specify things like homeownership, income levels, ZIP Codes, even credit rating. If you rent the list the list brokers will handle everything so all you have to do is give them the letter and they print, fold, stuff, address and mail the letters for you.

We have a few secrets to creating an effective targeted direct mail campaign that you should know.

  1. A single letter isn’t going to yield the results that you want so plan for a minimum series of three letters.
  2. Each additional letter should build on the previous letter to tell your story and include callbacks and foreshadowing.
  3. Space your mailings about 2 weeks apart so you don’t overwhelm your prospects.
  4. Include a giveaway item such as a refrigerator magnet with your contact info and offer on it.
  5. Ideally, you should use a plain white envelope that is hand addressed uses a regular stamp for postage as opposed to using a company envelope and postage meter indicia.

Studies show that people open hand addressed envelopes thirty-four percent more often than commercially produce direct mail piece. The prevailing opinion is that hand addressed mail is more personal so people open it first and read it compared to junk mail, which generally is thrown away unopened. A typical response rate for direct mail is one to three percent, but response rates are upwards of fifty to sixty percent for well-written targeted direct mail sales letters. The key is to target the right prospects and not to use the shotgun approach that targets unqualified prospects and wastes money.

My website contains links to all the marketing articles I’ve written for the HVAC-Talk Newsletter. If you need a branding consultation, a complete strategic marketing plan, or help with marketing services, call or send an email to discuss your needs.

Andy Fracica is the author of Navigating the Marketing Maze, he is a speaker, marketing coach, and president and CEO of Fracica Enterprises, Inc., a consulting firm specializing in marketing, and social media strategy. He has over 30 years of sales, marketing, and product management experience in the heating ventilating and air conditioning (HVAC) industry. He concentrates on helping companies deliver their message in an ever increasingly crowded market by helping HVAC dealers more effectively market their businesses without breaking their budgets. Contact him at 260-338-4554, andy@fracicaenterprises.com or visit the Fracica Enterprises, Inc. website.