We live in an increasingly digital world. You’re more connected to your customers (and future customers) than ever, but it can still be tricky to cut through the noise to ensure your business stands out.
That’s why it’s important to consider a range of marketing strategies, from modern day techniques like automated email marketing through an HVAC software solution to more traditional methods like sending postcards out in the mail.
Direct mail marketing like HVAC postcards delivered to your customers’ door might seem a bit old school – and it is – but there’s a reason this method has stuck around for so long.
Sending postcards via old-fashioned snail mail can help your business stand out and build brand awareness over time. (Picture a postcard with your coupon stuck to a customer’s fridge vs. a promotional email that goes straight to junk mail).
However, direct mail is only a good investment if you do it right. So, today we’ll compare the pros and cons of direct mail marketing and look at the potential impact of HVAC postcards. Plus, we’ll discuss tips to make your HVAC postcards as effective as possible.
The Pros and Cons of Direct Marketing
As with any form of advertising, there are pros and cons to using direct mail to market your business. It’s important to have a solid understanding of both before diving in to create your own HVAC postcard marketing campaign.
The Benefits of Sending HVAC Postcards
Sending HVAC marketing postcards allows you to:
- Get Noticed: A recent Canada Post study found that more people notice and read direct mail (53%) than email messages (26%). A promotional email might end up in someone’s junk folder or get deleted before they even open it. Alternatively, with physical mail, the recipient must collect and sort each item by hand.
- Build Brand Awareness: How many times have you received a coupon or promo code in the mail and stuck it on your fridge? When potential customers get your postcard in the mail, there’s a good chance they’ll hang on to it for future reference – especially if it includes an attractive promotion. So, even if they don’t end up calling you right away, you’ve still made a lasting impression.
- Drum Up Repeat Business: HVAC postcards aren’t just something you should send to potential customers. By sending postcards directly to your existing customer base, you can encourage them to call you for seasonal maintenance.
- Building Stronger Customer Relationship: Postcard marketing can also help businesses build a stronger customer relationship. Even if the postcard is not promotional, it would still be helpful to send your customer a thank you note or to remind them for another service in the future.
The Drawbacks of Using HVAC Postcards
OK, we’ve seen that direct mail can be a powerful method for marketing your HVAC business. Now let’s take a look at the other side of the coin, so you can make an informed decision about whether HVAC postcards are a worthwhile investment for you.
The drawbacks of marketing postcards include:
- Higher Cost than Email Marketing: Cost is probably the biggest reason business owners hesitate to experiment with direct mail marketing. You don’t need to spend a ton to run an HVAC postcard campaign, but there are a few extra costs involved. Namely, you need to design and print your cards – and pay for postage.
- Tracking Results Can Be Tricky: You need to get creative about how you track the impact of your HVAC postcards. Whereas email marketing allows you to see how many people receive, open, and click on links within your message, tracking with direct mail is a bit more complicated.
However, you can combat this by including unique promotional codes that are associated with a specific postcard campaign. So, when someone calls and says they received a discount code in the mail, you’ll know exactly which postcard they’re talking about – which means you’ll know which pieces generate the most leads.
Want Better Bang for Your Buck? Make Your HVAC Postcards as Effective as Possible
On average, direct mail campaigns have a return rate between .5% to 2%. So, if you send out 100 postcards to local homeowners, you should get a response from up to two people. To maximize your potential ROI, follow these tips for creating impactful HVAC postcards.
1. Know Your Target Market
Done right, direct mail allows you to decide exactly who sees your marketing (unlike many digital ads that are more loosely targeted). So, when building your mailing list, it’s important to only include people who are potential customers. For instance, you wouldn’t want to send postcards to people outside of your service area or renters without the power or need to hire you.
You should also consider creating more than one list, so you can target different homeowners with different offers. As an example, an HVAC business might create separate lists for existing customers, new local housing developments, and homeowners in older neighborhoods who might need more in-depth services now or in the near future.
2. Keep Your Design Simple and Easy-to-Read
Don’t try to squeeze too many visual elements onto a single postcard. After all, the point is to communicate value and build brand awareness at a glance. So, unless the recipient can look at your postcard and instantly know who you are and what you’re offering, your ad won’t be very effective.
You should use color and font size to draw attention to key elements. This creates an information hierarchy that tells people what they should look at first. In most cases, you want to make sure your headline and call-to-action are larger than the details of your offering.
3. Include a Clear Call-to-Action
To avoid information overload, focus on one promotion per postcard. Whether your goal is to drive people to visit your website, generate referrals, or simply build brand awareness, include a clear call-to-action to make it happen.
For instance, if you want future customers to have your number handy when they need an HVAC pro, try out CTAs that encourage them to hang on to your postcard. Something as simple as “Save this card!” or “Keep this code to get 10% off in April” can help get your postcard pinned to the fridge.
4. Get the Timing Right
Not sure when should you send out your HVAC postcards? The ideal timing for your campaign depends on your strategy.
For targeting existing customers, for example, you could send out bi-annual postcards reminding them of the importance of seasonal maintenance. If they receive your postcard every spring and fall, it’ll become second nature for them to call you to help winterize their home.
On the other hand, for targeting potential customers who have never hired you before, you can try sending postcards more frequently. Use different CTAs and deals for first-time customers until you find something that hooks them.
5. Remove Addresses from Your Mailing List
If any of your postcards fail to deliver and are returned to you, that’s a sign you should clean up your mailing list. Remove old contacts from your list to avoid wasting future postcards (and postage) on outdated addresses.
6. Track Your Results
Add a unique tracking number or promotional code to each run of postcards. This helps you determine which postcards are most effective at bringing in new customers. You can use this knowledge to make improvements and test different designs and messaging until you find the perfect formula.