Standing Out

March 1, 2006

How To Stand Out From Your Competition this Holiday Season... for just pennies!
By: Adams Hudson

'Blending In' may be fine for cake mix, but it’s terrible for your marketing. Why? Because you’re spending money to be different, unique or to stand out from the crowd. Copycat marketing is perhaps the biggest waste of money in all of contracting.

All the institutional and manufacturer supplied ads start looking the same, and customers can't distinguish one from another. This adds to cost while reducing the lead count.

Our suggestion: Be bold during the Holidays with your unique edge. Get standout recognition while your competition is fighting amongst themselves. And do it for less. Here’s how...

  • Sales Letters (in a Direct Response format) should be sent out prior to December 10. Rebate and deferred payment offers work well during this season. Do not send any sales offers between December 10 and January 12 or you’re wasting money.

  • PostCards and Self-Mailer Letters sent first-class are faster and less expensive than enveloped mail. Plus, since you’ll receive the ‘undeliverables’ back, this is a perfect once-a-year clean up of your mailing list.

  • Low-Cost Holiday Cards can do all of the above and can be sent from Thanksgiving to New Years. Send to your entire database, but do not use a sales message or the effect is ruined. These are the #1 Customer Retention pieces during the holidays.

  • New Years Calendars can be a good idea, but limit them to only the top purchasing customers in your database. Customers get many calendars each year, so only the most attractive will make it to the wall, which means only the costliest. Be careful here.

  • Red and green streamer tape in 2” width can visibly distinguish your service vehicles from Thanksgiving forward. For less than $4 per vehicle, you can be a standout in traffic. The tech with the best decorated truck should get a little gift from Santa.

  • Your “on-hold” message should reflect the season and mood. Have separate messages for Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Years. You must speak to customers in the language of the season. This costs you zip.

  • Your phone greeting can also change for nothing. Use ‘Merry Christmas’ or ‘Happy Holidays’ instead of the standard. Be consistent in your greeting message or you sound unprofessional.

  • Use bags of red and green ‘Kisses’ to give to all customers during the Holidays. For about 4 cents a customer, you bring a smile and greater reception to your message.

Not many contractors will make these small, nearly free changes. But, the ones who do will ‘stand apart’ from their competition. And they’ll be the ones who are remembered and referred over the rest. Isn’t this what your marketing should do anyway?

Adams Hudson is president of Hudson, Ink “Creative Marketing that Works.” His company creates a full line of marketing tools for contractors including Customer Retention newsletters, Yellow Page ads, “turn-key” Marketing PowerPacks and custom copywriting. You can get a free subscription to his “Sales & Marketing Insider” by faxing your letterhead to 334-262-1115 with the request. Also check out on the web for free marketing tips or call 1-800-489-9099 for more info.

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