Sales tools close at hand

September 1, 2008 By    

Don’t pass up some of the best marketing tools in the energy industry by ignoring the creative work that the Propane Education & Research Council (PERC) has produced with your assessment dollars. You have already paid for them, so why not use them? Here are some of my favorites:

 Tom Jaenicke
Tom Jaenicke

• Find a Propane Retailer – Several million PERC dollars are spent annually directing thousands of consumers and builders to PERC Web sites to find a nearby propane retailer. If you are in the retail propane business, your company needs to be registered on this site, no matter how large or small your business. It is the opportunity to register every ZIP code that you service in your marketing territory, and there are several categories of business that you can register.

Pay close attention to the type of tank-installation services you claim you can provide. Earlier this year the category list was revamped and the tank installation category was expanded to include above ground, under ground and community systems. If you were previously registered in the tank-installation category and have not updated your registration, you will only be listed as an above-ground tank installer. If you are equipped and qualified to install underground tanks or community systems, you will want to update this part of your registration so you don’t miss any leads.

• Marketing Resource Center (MaRC) – Do you need a ready-made ad, statement stuffer or marketing brochure? Are you looking for the right photo or graphic to use in making your own ad? There are many choices available on the MaRC, and they can be downloaded for free.

PERC Senior Vice President Kate Caskin says, “The possibilities are endless but not possible until a marketer visits the Propane Marketing Resource Center to see what’s there and what might work in their local marketing efforts. There’s so much to choose from. These materials are designed with the marketer in mind – to help local marketers promote propane, educate the consumer and ultimately close the sale.”

Marketers without the in-house expertise can even use the PERC-provided Creative Lab to get print ads and brochures modified with a company logo for free. The Creative Lab can be contacted at or at 202-973-5821.

Remember that we are rather unique in the energy business since we are people delivering energy in person. Your electric utility will never be able to say that. Arm your drivers and service techs with information to educate consumers and make them feel good about choosing propane and your company.

• Web sites – First of all, you need a Web site for your business if you don’t already have one. In today’s energy marketplace, having your own Web site is a small, inexpensive and necessary step to keep pace with your propane customer’s needs.

Look for a local webmaster or do a little Web surfing to find propane marketer Web sites or other business Web sites you like and find out who did their work. Even a one-page starter site can be much better than not having one.

When you have your own Web site, you can tell your company story and link your site to PERC sites and These are professionally designed sites that your customers and prospects will want to visit to find out more about propane.

“The PERC Web sites are researched and designed to promote propane in a consistent, professional manner. This gives marketers the opportunity to show their customers that they are part of a larger, nationwide branding effort to promote propane,” Caskin says.

• Builder education courses – There are five education courses in Power Point format available on the MaRC that are designed for architects, builders, remodelers, developers and other building professionals. Search for “builder education course” and choose the course you want to use with the building professionals you contact. Green Building with Propane, Underground Propane Tanks and other courses are available to download for free. A test and test key also can be downloaded.

You can print enough to give an education course to your local building company or – better yet – your local chapter of the home builder association where you can become known as the energy expert in your community. If you don’t want to give these courses in person, you can direct those who want to take the courses to where they can take the courses online at their convenience for free. Remind architects that they can register and get continuing education credits for taking these American Institute of Architects-accredited courses.

One of the more important aspects of the education courses is that course-participant leads are available for free download on the MaRC. I would consider these leads to be highly qualified considering that the participant took the course to find out more about propane and related uses.

• Consumer safety materials – As I talk with marketers, builders and others interested in propane, the conversation eventually turns to safety. You can download a variety of industry-approved safety materials on the MaRC to provide great talking points for you and your employees. You can use these materials to market to your customers how important safety is in our industry and your business. Find out more about propane safety and how to make sure your employees have the latest training by visiting

I have covered a few of my favorite PERC marketing tools, but there are many others that may become your favorites. Check out the MaRC and take a look at all the research reports, fact sheets, webinars, leads from trade shows, marketing kits and other items in addition to what has been featured here.

Before you look to other sources for marketing materials, make sure you have determined how PERC creative work can fit into your marketing plan. Consider these resources like a huge deposit in your marketing account. Make withdrawals on a regular basis.

Tom Jaenicke is the owner and president of ATomiK Creative Solutions LLC, a company that provides marketing, consumer education and business development consulting, primarily to the propane industry. He can be reached at 810-252-7855 or

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