marketing cock-up's

 

I am constantly amazed at the amount of marketing cock-up’s that M&E, HVAC and FM equipment suppliers, Manufacturers and Contractors make in their outbound marketing. What’s surprising is they scratch their heads and ask themselves why they aren’t getting any responses for their efforts.

Here is a long list of common mistakes I see in contractors e-mail and in other direct marketing material.

1. Lacking a Main Headline

Customers don’t read junk mail. They scan it and discard. You only have a nano second to grab their attention. You need an inspiring headline to do that. It is without question the single most important part of the direct mail.  It’s amazing how many M&E Businesses send out their email and direct mail pieces completely without a headline. What is the point of sending it out if your customers don’t know what it’s about?

2. Ignore any Emotion

Most M&E direct marketing sounds something like, “Here’s our stuff. Save some money with it.”

There isn’t any attempt to bring out an emotional response. There is an old saying that says, “People don’t buy for logical reasons. They buy for emotional reasons.” The saying is right. Enticing peoples emotions, whether in the body text, images, or both is more likely to prompt action than just blatantly presenting them with your stuff.

3. M&E Boxes, M&E Boxes and More M&E Boxes

When M&E Business bother to include images, it’s usually a piece of equipment i.e. a Boiler, Chiller, condensing unit, UPS, Fire Alarm etc, or their full product range. Building Managers and FM’s can’t distinguish one box from another. To make it worse they don’t care either. They look at the picture of your box and their eyes glaze over.

People like pictures of people in similar situations. Know the businesses you are targeting and who the individuals you are targeting and try and select images base on that. Or, choose some images that are designed to evoke emotions.

4. Market to Men only

It is natural for M&E Businesses to market to men. After all, most M&E Businesses and especially Contractors are men. The buyer however is commonly a woman, especially in FM. According to the marketing research, women not only help to make the service contractor decision, they are also part of a team of that are in control of the equipment replacement decision.

So the customer who you target in your marketing should be a woman. The piece should be designed and written for a woman. The emotions you are striving to evoke are a woman’s. It should change your approach to how you write and the Images you use.

5. Don’t Engage Directly with the Customer

Most direct marketing copy is seriously boring! Uninspiring and dry as a bone. it frequently leads to lengthy technical babble that is boring and uninspiring.

You must engage your Customers and their individuals – their women especially. Have a conversation with her. Speak directly to her. Be excited about what you do. Be opinionated. Be expressive.

6. It’s Inconsistent With main Branding

Often M&E Business direct marketing pieces are produced as a one-off. Whether it’s an Email, a Flyer, or Brochure It often is unique and is unrecognizable as something coming from your company.

When one of your customers sees your marketing material, they should be able to recognize immediately who and where it has come from. There should be consistency in the look and feel across all of your marketing and branding activities.

7. Assume Customers Understand your Industry Jargon

Most M&E Businesses marketing falls in to that trap of using industry lingo. Even If you use terminology like Heat Pumps, Absorption, Inverter Drives or Biomass it will often mean nothing to most FM’s or Occupiers. In fact, most can’t even tell you what M&E, HVAC or Building Services stands for.

Of course it all depends on who your Customer is. Consultants and specialist M&E Contractors will understand, but if your customer is an Occupier, then If you are going to use Industry jargon, then you must explain it. The best way is to avoid it altogether.

8. Decide on Who you are Promoting

Sometimes I’m trying to decide who the Marketing piece is actually from. Some Contractors are especially guilty at sending out some direct emails that promotes themselves as well as a Manufacturer they represent. Is the email from the contractor or the manufacturer? This often confuses customers.

Any direct marketing should feature your brand first, foremost, and most prominently. If you need to promote a manufacturer too then make sure your brand takes top billing. 

9. Do Not Position themselves

To Customers, one Manufacturer or Contractor often appear to be much like another – providing similar or identical products or services, and most make little effort to stand out. You need to differentiate yourselves from the Competition. If you claim to be the Biomass expert, people may not consider you for General Heating systems. If you claim to be a Lift Maintenance contractor for one area, Businesses in another region may not be as keen to use you. Defining your positioning differentiates you and many contractors especially are poor at doing that.

You must create a position for your company that makes you stand out from other companies. Make your USP (unique selling point) reflect your differences and include it in your outbound marketing material.

10. You Try to Market Everything

Some M&E Businesses often try to tell their target customers about everything they can do. i.e. Contractors want to include their commercial and residential capabilities on the same direct marketing piece.

Keep them separate. i.e. If you are an Electrician and do commercial and residential work, create one marketing piece (flyer, email etc) for commercial and another for residential Customers.

11. You Stress Product/Service Features, Not the Benefits

M&E Businesses often fall into the trap of promoting the technical specifications of a product. The Consultants and M&E engineers who receive your marketing material will probably appreciate this. However most Occupiers and FM’s don’t care and won’t understand it. So you can guess where your Marketing will end up!

Instead, talk about what your products or services will do for them. i.e. LED Lighting eliminates the need to keep changing those fluorescent tubes and improves the Light quality whilst reducing Electricity consumption by up to 70%. Since the lights in a Commercial property are a necessity and they represent 40% of the buildings electric consumption it makes sense to replace them ASAP.

12. Lacking a Call to Action

Incredibly, many M&E Business direct marketing pieces lack a basic “call to action.” In other words the recipient isn’t told what they should do next.

Tell the Customer what you want them to do. i.e. Call Today to take advantage of your offer. Give them a reason to do it by a certain date. Here’s what you should do and here’s why you should do it now or by this date.

13. Including Too Many Offers

Since Marketing Materials cost money, Many M&E Businesses feel the need to throw the Kitchen Sink and everything in it at the Customer and hope something from their promo will stick in their memory. Instead, what actually happens is the customer will feel overwhelmed and/or confused and the promo will inevitively end up in the bin or you delete the email.

Makes sure you only offer one main offer with possibly just one lower level, low risk, compelling offer that helps you to prove you have hit the right target and a that you have a good quality database. The low level offer should be subordinate to the main offer.

14. Having the Wrong type of Graphical Focal Point

Because M&E Business and especially Contractors aren’t trained in graphic design, then you can pretty much guarantee that the marketing pieces they create reflects that. Many use layouts and images that make them hard to read. Some are so poor that the recipient instantly bins it.

If you can’t visualize how you want your flyer or email to look, then get the help of a graphic designer. They are far better qualified than you. Worst case scenario use a standard template layout available from many email providers.

15. Fill up Every Inch Available

Some M&E Businesses feel the need to take advantage of every inch of space available on the page. They fill the direct mail piece with boring text that they think the recipient will be interested in.

It’s OK to have some white space. Empty spaces focuses the eye on what’s not empty. Good use of white space can make direct mail or email much more effective.

16. Using Lots of Different Fonts

I recently received a loose leaf flyer insert in a trade magazine from a well-known Air Conditioning contractor that featured nine different fonts on the page. That went straight into the round drawer! How can someone with such a great reputation allow such a poor quality Marketing piece to go out without it being checked prior to being sent out? Too many typefaces drives people crazy. It’s hard to read.

Limit yourself to just two typefaces or fonts. Use clean and simple tried and tested fonts that we are all familiar in using and reading with such as Times Roman, Verdana, Helvetica or Sans Serif.

17. Forget to set up Tracking

Another common mistake is not setting up a unique Telephone tracking number. Without this telephone tracking number, how will you know how effective your Marketing message is?

It’s really easy to get and set up a special temporary tracking phone number that automates tracking. Make sure that you design your Flyer or email so that the offer identifies the marketing piece or includes a Phone tracking number in one of the corners. You can also simply set-up a new temporary Marketing email address to receive any email enquiries for those customers who don’t want to pick-up the phone.

18. Adding Meaningless Clutter

You may be proud of all of your certifications, memberships, and social media buttons. Your website and Face to face presentation are the best places to display them. Your limited space direct marketing flyer or email is probably not the best place.

Occupiers and Many FM’s don’t recognize many of the symbols and likely, do not care about most of the others. In many cases, they are a given and assumed you have them. In others, they will not cause someone to call or not call. Frankly you are just adding to clutter with no benefit. Leave them off.

19. Including The Fine Print

The Flyer Insert I mentioned earlier was for a promotion and it had a huge section at the bottom with their small print. As Consumers we don’t read the small print and we tune out whenever we see it – although I understand why they need it.

Leave the fine print off any direct mail and your email offers. OK, your lawyer might object. Obviously, you are not doing your marketing to keep your lawyer happy.

20. Forgetting Full Contact Information

Some M&E Business include their phone number, but not their website. Some include their website, but not their email address.

Give your customers every way possible to contact you especially if you have more than one office. This must include your phone numbers, website, email addresses, and all your Social Media Links – Twitter, Facebook, Linkedin etc. Make it as easy as possible.

21. Using Poor Grammar and no Spell Check

Poor grammar and spelling mistakes constantly appear in M&E and Contractor marketing materials. It looks like no one proofs reads anything before it’s printed or emailed.

If you are careless with your marketing materials, customers will subconsciously wonder where else you will be careless. Bad grammar and misspelled words suggest carelessness and a lack of attention to detail, and that can put people off. 

Summary

Don’t fall at the first hurdle. Even if you avoid all of the mistakes mentioned above, you can still mess up either a direct mail or an email campaign with poor research. This is mainly because you don’t test your marketing pieces in advance, i.e. the wrong target customer list is selected (simply a bad quality list or one with the wrong target customer type). Direct mail may generate some great results on the first attempt. However more likely, it takes repeated mailings to be effective. Don’t give up too soon.

Want any help? Why not discuss your next Marketing campaign with us. Book an appointment with one of our consultants using the form below.

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