Episode 15: Advertising Waste Management for HVAC Businesses

Podcast episode 15


1:01 – Establish an accountable advertising system

2:38 – Coupons or redemption vouchers

3:37 – Promotional codes

4:18 – Dynamic telephone numbers

5:04 – How did you hear about us?

5:38 – Tracking links and Analytics

10:18 – Tip of the week

10:56 – Done-for-you Lead Generation

Hi! Welcome to the HVAC Business Growth podcast. I’m your host Nick Bielawski. We have another great episode lined up for you today. We will be talking about Waste Management in Advertising. This is an area that I feel really strongly about and I think it’s going to be a great insight for you guys to see the type of things that I see in advertising and HVAC businesses.

What I want to cover today, in particular, is my 6-step process on how you can make your advertising accountable. Also, we’re going to talk a little bit more deeply about the online side of advertising and some things that you can do to make sure that you’re getting the most out of your advertising dollars. So let’s get stuck into the show.

The first thing that we need to realize is that advertising is an investment in business and obviously we want to get the highest return on investment or our dollar spent. We need to make sure that we are very strict with our advertising and that the advertising that we’re doing is ruthlessly accountable.

You need to determine what type of return on investment you want to get from it. Just like having a staff member. Just say you’re paying your staff member $50,000 to play their particular role. You need to decide how much business that particular person is going to generate for you or what the job is actually worth to you. The same strict guidelines and policies that you put on your staff should also be put on your advertising. Hopefully, by the end of this show, you’re not going to get coerced or persuaded by a radio advertising or a newspaper advertising manager to try and get you to buy a full-page ad in the daily newspaper.

One rule with our advertising is we always want to make an offer. We spoke about this in the previous podcast about Direct Response Advertising. Don’t even bother with any of the Coke ads or any of the brand type of advertising.

You’re probably a small-medium business. So to me that means your dollars are actually limited so what we need to do is make sure that every dollar we spend on advertising generates a positive return on investment for us.

The 6-steps that we can use to make your advertising accountable.

Firstly we can use coupons or redemption vouchers with our advertising. So, if you’re doing ad in newspapers, trade shows or any types of magazines or publications then you should look into using coupons or redemption cards.

What are they? For example, you can make an offer on a particular coupon code in a, say, local newspaper and they may get a 50% off a heating system or a 10% off a cooling system or whatever it is. They need to have a coupon with them or they need to display or redeem it to be able to qualify to get that particular discount on that product.  That makes it really easy to actually see whether the promotion that you’re doing or whether the advertising medium that you’re using is worthwhile because you can add up the amount of coupons or redemption vouchers that you’re getting. So this method is a really simple one.

Secondly, you should use promotional codes with your advertising. We find that these are a little more common in the radio but can also be useful in the newspapers. You get on the radio. You might have a 15-second or a 30-second spot on the radio and you quote a particular promotional code and when a person rings up, they have to, again, quote the promotional code to qualify for the offer. So again, the advertising is going to be accountable for what it’s doing because you have all these promotion code. You can see how many sales you’ve generated and what they’re actually worth.

Thirdly, dynamic telephone numbers are fairly a new thing and I reckon they’re fantastic. So, basically, instead of having your normal phone number for your number, you actually get a dynamic telephone system created. They’re actually really cheap. You can get them for as little as $50 a month in some cases. And basically, every advertising medium that you’ve got has a different telephone number to ring through. At the end of the month, you can track the telephone calls that came through and whether they led to a sale. And if they make a sale, what type of sale was it, how much it was worth and so on. So you can actually see how much a particular advertising medium generates for your business and whether it’s worth using or not.

The fourth thing that you can do is get your sales staff to ask on the phone. It sounds pretty simple. They ring up or the customer rings up and the sales staff will just ask, “How did you hear about us?” They’ll just say from a local newspaper, a referral program or a local sporting club sponsorship. You’ll soon find out if you just ask through phone. Make it one of the first things that you do. You’ll find out whether the advertising that you’re doing is leading to appointments or sales.

The fifth thing that you need to do is from an online perspective. Start using tracking links and Analytics. If you don’t have Google Analytics installed on your website, you need to do that right now or get your web person to do it for you. It’s really simple. It’s probably the best Analytics package in the market. You can see the types of key phrases that people typed in to visit your website—if they came from a search engine or whether they came from Facebook or Twitter. You can see the different campaigns that you’re doing and where people are coming from.

With the Analytics, you also need to set up goals. A goal would be whether it’s a telephone call, a contact form filled out or a particular page that gets visited. You need to set up goals so you can see how people track through your website and what it actually converts into. If you’re asking somebody to fill out a quote form or a contact form, you would install a goal code on a Thank You page. So it would work like this: somebody comes to your website, they fill out a quote form, they click submit and they are then taken to a Thank You page. On the Thank You page, there’s a code installed. That tracks the goal for that particular conversion that was made.

You need to be able to see all the online campaigns that you’re doing. Anything that gets driven to the website needs to be held accountable. Tracking links are a great thing that you can use as well and they hook up with Google Analytics. If you’re doing multiple types of advertising out there, you can create a tracking link that people click on and then you can import in the tracking link and any of the stuff that you want. You may just code up or put a unique number for each of the ads that you’re doing. You might put a description in terms of what type of ad it was and then you can track through your Google Analytics which campaign brought traffic to your website and then hopefully led into goal conversions from there.  It goes without saying that using tracking links and Analytics with your online advertising is really important. More people are starting to spend money in this area so it’s really important to get the tracking right before you start sinking money into this. It’s really important.

So we’ve spoken about a 5-step process for making your advertising accountable.

There’s almost a step in between though that I think is really important to talk about. And there’s a bit of a middle ground in terms of the role of the advertising – overall it’s obviously to generate sales for your business but, particularly if you’re using the phone or the internet, the role of advertising might just be to get people to pick up the phone and call. So in a sense, if you’re generating phone calls and generating people or traffic to your website, then maybe the goal of the advertising has already been fulfilled. So you need to track what’s happening on the telephone call or what’s happening on the website or what’s happening to these face-to-face consultations. Maybe your advertising is doing an absolutely fantastic job of getting people to inquire or visit a website. But you might need work on your presentation skills or your phone scripts or it might be online. Maybe your website needs to improve the navigation or it might be really slow. So you may have some coding issues that you need to sort out.

And all of those things can mean that you fall short of your sales target because you might be doing a great job of generating interest but you’re falling short in the conversion stakes there so you really need to look at it.

So you’re probably thinking, “What am I going to do with my radio ads or my metropolitan newspaper ads?”  Here’s my rule my rule for that.

The first one is I’m letting you keep 10% of your ad budget for luxury ads. But what this means is if it doesn’t fit into the 10%, then you can’t do it. So if the television ad is what costs you $50,000, then that means you need to have an advertising budget of $500,000. I don’t want a large portion of your advertising budget going to these television ads or these big radio ads. Instead, spend it on the direct response type of advertising that we’ve spoken about on all the podcasts, okay?

So now it’s time for the HVAC Business Growth tip of the week. The tip of the week is simple: Stop advertising if it’s not working for you. Branding doesn’t really matter in your particular business because no one’s going to recognize you anyway. I know that probably sounds cruel. But in the United States there are probably only 5 to 10 businesses that people actually identify with the ads that they’re running or their logos. So unless you’re a Coca Cola, a McDonalds or a Nike then just for the moment please don’t bother about the branding. Stick to the direct response advertising and I think you can do really well.

Okay so we’re nearly out of time for today’s show. I just want to tell you again about a Done-for-You Lead Generation Service. Basically, hvacbusinessgrowth.com is looking to partner with other businesses and assist them in generation leads for their particular business. So, we really specialise in the online arena. So, if you need help getting your website on the top of the search engines for particular key phrases in your market and you need to get more traffic for your business so you can generate more sales, then head over to the website at hvacbusinessgrowth.com. In the navigation menu you’ll see “Done for you Lead Generation”. Just click on that link. There’s a short summary of what we offer and then there’s a survey at the bottom. Hit the survey and fill that out and we’ll get back to you as soon as we possibly can and then we can talk about doing business with you.

Thanks for listening to the show today. I’ll see you next week!

Episode 15: Advertising Waste Management for HVAC Businesses

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