Thursday, October 13, 2016

Mail Boosts Home Services Contractors--If Done Well

Changing seasons signal a burst of direct mail from clients in home services contracting, especially HVAC promotions. And we've seen some great and some not-so-great examples. So we'd like to pass along a timely article from Contracting Business by Matt Michel, CEO of The Service Roundtable, who draws on his experience to create a helpful list of common direct mail pitfalls for contractors. To whet your appetite, we'll pass along just five of the first points in his series of 21 tips on direct mail mistakes. Michel's focus is HVAC contractors, but we think his tips have wider application to a range of consumer mailings. The No. 1 mistake on his list is leaving out a main headline. Yes, some mailers still forget that that they have only seconds to grab consumer attention in the pile of junk mail. But just any headline won't do the job. Marketers need to work hard to summarize appeal in compelling, clear, attention-grabbing text. And that doesn't mean trying to hedge bets with multiple competing headlines; a confused message is the same as no message. Second, remember to play to emotion in the copy and the images; emotion, not logic, moves people to buy, and research has found leading emotional motivators include greed, fear, guilt, exclusivity and need for approval, with convenience and pleasure as icing on the cake. If the images and words in your piece don't touch a nerve, it will get tossed. Third, choose images with people, not product arrays, Michel advises; a parade of boxes, which is all consumers see in pictures of condensing units and furnaces, has little marketing power. Plus, the people pictured should fit the target audience and evoke motivating emotions along with the copy. Fourth, consider the gender of the target decision-maker. Since many HVAC contractors are male, they often make the mistake of marketing to a male audience, but research shows that women make the service and replacement decisions in most households. In that case, images should feature women, and copy should recognize the different emotional triggers of female buyers. And fifth, whether the target audience is male or female, speak directly to the consumer in a conversational and engaging tone. A dry recitation of facts and figures is more likely to bore than persuade. For the rest of Michel's tips, read

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