In the Know is a monthly partnership between LP Gas magazine and Propane Resources. Our focus this month is on agriculture, addressed by marketing and communications specialist Tammy Day.
Q: What can retailers do within their local communities to promote their businesses and the overall benefits of propane?
A: With summer comes the opportunity to focus on other aspects of your business.
Fewer deliveries allow retailers to pay attention to other details, such as repair and maintenance of equipment, buildings and property, promotion of programs and payment plans, and repairs and improvements of your customers’ equipment.
But what better time to ensure your customers and potential customers know that you are more than just a propane delivery truck? Take the opportunity to be a leader, an educator, and, yes, a friend of the community.
■ Advertise: When you advertise your company in the local paper, make sure the reader knows why to choose propane. Share a fact or statistic about the cost-effectiveness of propane over electricity or other energy sources. Then promote that you sell propane appliances and the energy that fuels them. Remember, resources are available through the “Pull the Plug on Electric Water Heaters” campaign, provided through the Propane Education & Research Council (PERC).
■ Advertise for free: Why not write up a few small articles or helpful tips about the benefits and cost savings of propane, your company and/or your services to submit to your local paper? They’re always looking for content. It’s free and, by working on them now, you’ll be able to simply submit them later when the timing is right for the content you’ve written.
■ Sponsorships: Have a little fun with your advertising dollars by sponsoring a Little League team, local hometown event, church or community group.
■ Meet and greet: Knock on a few doors, especially on the doors of homes where competitors’ tanks look less than desirable. Those folks are being neglected and are just waiting for someone like you to take care of their propane needs. Be sure to take information about your company so that you’ll have something to leave with the homeowner, even when they’re not home.
■ Door hangers: Door hangers printed with basic information about your company and its offerings are ideal to leave behind when no one is home. Knock, and if there’s no answer, hang it and leave.
■ Make calls: Don’t leave your customers out in the cold. Call them from time to time to let them know you appreciate them, and inform them about anything new that you have to offer. Pass on facts or statistics on the cost-effective, energy-saving properties of propane to reassure them that they’ve made the right decision by sticking with propane. Be sure to give them the opportunity to voice any suggestions or concerns they may have. Most importantly, tell them you appreciate them.
■ Host a customer appreciation event: Host a customer appreciation event for your customers and the general public. Offer discounts on cylinder fills or exchanges to get people in the door. Have all employees on hand and recruit help so your employees are available to answer visitors’ questions. Have those handouts from your door-knocking adventures to give to interested visitors.
■ Social media: Take the time to hone your social media skills. It’s never been easier. There is no need to fret over what to post when you can share what other trusted propane organizations are saying. You can also promote your services, offerings and the benefits of propane.
Do you need facts and statistics to reinforce the information you pass to customers and potential customers? PERC offers many fliers, fact sheets, brochures and reference cards with information on efficiency, cost-effectiveness of propane and the benefits of propane appliances over other types of appliances. Many are available for free.
Take time this summer to promote your business and educate your community about the benefits of using propane. When you do this, benefits abound for your company and the entire industry.
Tammy Day is a specialist in marketing and communications at Propane Resources. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 888-739-6732.