Online marketing tools to boost your propane burner tips, grow gallons

September 17, 2015 By    

bfp_in-the-leadwebIt’s a simple equation that can save your business: More burner tips equates to more gallons.

If you’re like most propane marketers, you probably struggle with how to use online marketing to drive interest in whole-house propane use. As a result, you helplessly watch as electricity and natural gas steal growth opportunities for your business.

Yet propane marketers can improve revenue from new and existing customers by strategically using online marketing to drive increased interest in burner tips throughout the home.

As a propane marketer, you face challenges other energy providers don’t have to overcome. First, many customers don’t see propane as an energy-delivery system – they see it as their heater fuel.

Second, other forms of energy – especially electric – enjoy greater adoption by contractors and plumbers who are unlikely to be your propane champion. Big box stores favor electric appliances, too, so don’t look for them to drive the propane movement.

To overcome these challenges, you have to become a propane evangelist, using all the online tools at your disposal to sell the benefits of propane directly to your customers and prospects. Here are three of those tools, with some guidelines for how to get the most out of each one.

Tool 1: Your website

Your website is key to driving the messages that increase burner tips in the home. Develop a concise propane proposition – an elevator pitch that touts the benefits of propane to visitors.

Some tips for your propane proposition include:

* Position propane as an energy delivery system, not just a fuel. Break the anti-propane bias by showing customers that propane is an energy-efficient choice to power appliances throughout the home.

* Make it short and compelling. Users often leave a website’s page after 10 to 20 seconds, but pages with a clear value proposition can hold people’s attention for much longer. Find out what matters to visitors and orient your proposition to those benefits.

* Always use a call to action. Your propane proposition should always include a call to action. For example, a “Learn more about our propane fireplaces” link is more likely to convert than a product list.

* Measure, measure, measure. Use your analytics to see if your propane proposition is driving user interest. You will want to consistently keep track of the number of unique visits, time on pages, keywords, traffic sources and ranking.

Tool 2: Search engine marketing

Search engine marketing (SEM) can be a critical part of your burner tip-building strategy, if you do it right.

Pay-per-click advertising allows you to buy ad space on search engine result pages. Keywords are auctioned to the highest bidder, and your fee is based on how many times the ad is clicked.

Since every phrase entered into a search engine is a question – for example, “propane gas” might mean “who offers propane delivery?” – the key to using SEM is to anticipate what questions users are asking about propane and what keywords are used as a proxy for those questions. Then you can use those keywords to drive visitors in your service area to your website.

Tool 3: Email marketing

Email marketing can drive increased interest in burner tips among your existing customers. Two keys to using email marketing include:

* Be brief. The average time reading an email is 15 to 20 seconds. Focus on only one tip per email like a propane benefit or appliance they might not know about. To be even more effective, tie that tip or benefit to an offer.

* Make content readable. Use headlines, bullet lists and bold type to guide the reader to messages that reinforce the benefits of whole-house propane use.

The bottom line

You are the only one who can grow gallon sales among residential users in your market.

By applying a strategic full-court press on the benefits of propane through online marketing tools, you can break down the barriers to propane adoption, increase burner tips and reap the benefits of supplying more fuel to your customers.

Ben Gutkin is the vice president of marketing services at Warm Thoughts Communications. He can be reached at bgutkin@warmthoughts.com.

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