Marketing strategy key for retail propane operation

May 11, 2018 By    

Photo courtesy of Wildhorse Propane & Appliance

Capturing a customer’s attention and driving traffic to your operation is an important goal for propane retailers. Achieving that goal, however, can often be difficult. What marketing strategy is best and what content do you put in your marketing efforts?

At Wildhorse Propane & Appliance, a retail operation that supplies residential and commercial propane and appliances in California’s Salinas Valley, press releases stressing the benefits of propane and propane appliances are producing positive results.

Steve Dodson, part owner of Wildhorse Propane & Appliance, uses Access Publishing, the marketing company that produces the Paso Robles Daily News, to spread the word about the benefits of propane. These messages inform readers about appliances like propane-powered backup generators; the benefits of propane to property owners; and why propane should be used over charcoal – to name a few.

Access Publishing creates and distributes the reports and manages Wildhorse Propane & Appliance’s website. The releases are posted on Wildhorse Propane & Appliance’s website, Paso Robles Daily News’ website, and are sent to customers online.

Dodson says these marketing efforts are working. He notes the company is doing more than half a million dollars in annual sales on appliances alone.

Wildhorse Propane & Appliance holds locations in Paso Robles, Carmel and Salinas, each carrying a full showroom. The company sells everything from refrigerators, washers and dryers to dishwashing machines, ovens and stoves.

“I got a call from a guy yesterday to do a gas line and he said that he found me on the internet, which is pretty cool,” Dodson says.

Dodson, who has been in the propane industry since 1982, says he doesn’t do a lot of other marketing. He’s been living in the same area where he operates Wildhorse Propane & Appliance for over 55 years, so most of his business is based on his reputation.

“I don’t have a salesman, so everything I do is from word of mouth,” Dodson says. “We don’t go out and hammer on doors or anything.”

But Dodson notices the press releases are making a difference in propane sales. Here’s an example of how it works.

The company’s most recent report focused on the benefits of a propane-fueled backup generator. It highlighted the appliance’s effectiveness, its long shelf life and its ability to run more cleanly and quietly than its gas counterpart.

Dodson says the purpose of the release is not for customers to purchase a generator from his operation. In fact, Wildhorse Propane & Appliance does not even sell generators, though it installs about 10 new units a year.

The main purpose of the release is for prospective customers to read the report, decide they need a propane-powered backup generator and then contact the company to install the line and supply the fuel, ultimately creating a long-term customer.


Founded // 1980
Founders // Melvina, Bruce and Steve Dodson
Owners // Melvina, Bruce and Steve Dodson
Headquarters // King City, California
Employees // 9
Bobtails // 3

About the Author:

Joe McCarthy is an Associate Editor of LP Gas Magazine. You can contact him at jmccarthy@northcoastmedia.net and at 216-363-7930.

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