Tom's distinguished career in propane, spanning five decades, makes him an invaluable resource for our clients and the industry. He's done everything from driving bobtails to running marketing and sales for Ferrellgas, one of the largest Propane MLPs in the country. He also founded NRG Distributors, a gas appliance distribution company based in Michigan, which was eventually sold to Ray Murray, Inc. Tom continues to hold a mechanical contractor license and closely follows advancements in propane heating equipment and appliances. He is passionate about packaging all that experience and knowledge into helping our clients figure out ways to grow their gallons.Tom is a frequent contributor to LP Gas Magazine. He facilitates a Benchmarking Council Group for NPGA and is chair of the NPGA Government Affairs Committee. All this activity barely leaves him time to tend to his small vineyard and commercially licensed winery in northern Michigan. Tom also likes to travel to faraway and exotic locales, like our headquarters in New Jersey.
Susan is an unmistakable champion for the heating oil industry who spearheads Warm Thoughts’ Partnership for Realty and Oilheat Success. PRO$ has operated in 9 states to help Realtors overcome obstacles in the sale and marketing of oil-heated homes. Under her guidance, PRO$ has connected with literally hundreds of thousands of Realtors nationwide, coordinating thousands of in-office presentations, appearing at hundreds of trade shows, establishing a recognizable presence on social media, and getting much needed support materials into the hands of real estate agents.
As a former real estate veteran and award-winning top producer herself, Susan is passionate about helping other real estate professionals, and makes herself available all hours of day and night. Utterly authentic, this “Jersey Girl” always finds common ground, whether in the hills of rural Ohio, downtown Baltimore, or toney Greenwich, Ct. She is a master of social media, with over 4,000 Facebook followers, and helped launch Warm Thoughts’ very successful social media consulting program. When Susan is not in the field presenting the PRO$ program, she is passionately committed to saving animals, as founder and president of Rosemarie’s Rescue Ranch, Inc. (rosemariesrescueranch.com)
As our PRO$ program coordinator, Silvia Revisore manages and markets the day-to-day operations of PRO$, which helps realtors understand and sell oil-heated home listings. This includes coordinating multiple CE classes a day and developing eblasts, which Silvia handles with the cleared-inbox finesse of organizational guru Marie Kondo.
Before joining Warm Thoughts, Silvia worked in sales for a major beauty company, ran her own small business and obtained her degree in Business Administration with a focus on marketing. Outside of work, Silvia attends online classes, enjoys crafting and keeps up to date on all things football. She’s working on achieving her goal of visiting every NFL stadium in the country!
After years of focusing on growth principally through acquisition, Bottini engaged Warm Thoughts to help aggressively grow its business organically.
Warm Thoughts refocused the Bottini brand, and helped the company put together a sales and marketing plan that emphasized growth in customer count and quality. We executed a new digital strategy, including a new website, SEO, social media and pay-per-click for both full-service and discount brands, which dramatically increased leads and web visits. We helped overhaul sales compensation, implemented training and invigorated customer communications efforts with newsletters, e-blasts, and more. We managed merger communications to maximize retention,drove a surge in budget and auto-pay accounts, and helped increased delivery fees on propane accounts with little customer pushback.
Highlights: Exceeded growth goals in propane and sales accounts, dramatic improvement in customer quality and lead generation, 500% increase in social media engagement—all within client's budgets.
Warm Thoughts manages over 150 websites and digital campaigns for propane, heating oil, and HVAC-related businesses across the country. Access to proprietary data shows us what works best to create experiences that drive leads and communicate your brand in a way that resonates with customers. Data guides us to create impactful “websites that work” with measurable results. Our services include:
Wilson Oil & Propane has evolved from a small oil delivery company to a mid-size diversified energy and home services company that sells oil and propane, HVAC services, duct sealing and discount fuel (in their separate Lawman’s division). Over the years, Warm Thoughts provided strategic and tactical support in the evolution of both the Wilson and Lawman’s brands, engaging a multifaceted modern marketing approach that utilized digital, traditional and social media, sales and customer service training, and coordinated customer communications. We helped pioneer their Homeshield offering, a bundled approach that has supported better new customer retention. They also extended the brand with creative use of truck wraps highlighting their auto-gas and charitable giving programs.
Highlights: 300% increase in customer base, successful launch of propane and discount fuel division, bundled selling approach which has resulted in substantially higher than norm program enrollments (service plan, budget, auto pay, price cap).
Sail Energy is a new consolidator that so far has acquired five propane and oil companies in New England. Sail faced multiple challenges as it sought to create a consistent brand identity while preserving or transitioning local acquisitions. Working with Sail’s executive team, Warm Thoughts crafted a brand strategy for integrating each acquisition that has facilitated significant retention, introduced new product lines and positioned each for growth.
Warm Thoughts executed a complete overhaul of the company websites, launched SEO, PPC and Facebook initiatives, repositioned service plans for profit, utilized direct mail and ambitious customer communications programs and PR.
Highlight: Exceptional retention of acquired customers, cost-effective leveraging of creative across all locations, 300% increase in social media presence, increase in service plan profitability by over $100,000, TV coverage of “spread the warmth” campaign.
Social media is an inescapable factor in our lives, and businesses who fail to tap its power are missing out on a significant opportunity to build their brand, engage with customers, and generate leads. On-line reviews are increasingly influential in attracting new customers. Warm Thoughts has generated tremendous success for clients by understanding how to attract more followers to them, and, even more important, engage . We manage your social interaction, with creative posts created just for you, and strategy honed by our success with dozens of fuel companies. We manage your reputations 24/7. We can also help you tap into very effective advertising opportunities on Facebook and elsewhere. We’ve increased our clients’ effectiveness by over 700% . We have over 300,000 people liking the pages we manage, including the most successful in the propane and oil industry. And we can make your social media presence a source of pride and strength for your company- whether we are doing all the work, or coaching your team.
It is much harder to manage your social presence in a way that impresses your audience and gets them to interact with you. That’s not something your typical customer service rep, or “salesperson who is always on Facebook,” or even marketing director necessarily understands. . It is easy to post items that make you feel good.
Located in southern California, Hyde’s began as a family-owned appliance repair business. Now in its third-generation, Hyde’s has managed to grow their business year after year and continues to celebrate the opportunity to give back to their community with their annual “Celebration of Giving” program.
By partnering with Warm Thoughts for nearly two decades, Hyde’s has improved profitability through service plans, communicated with customers via newsletters, bill inserts, and door hangers and entered the digital marketing space. As a result, they’ve has grown to become one of the region’s largest and most diversified HVAC companies.
CMC is a leading provider of management and services for industry-leading utilities, and one of the few certified Women’s Business Enterprises serving the energy-efficiency industry. Warm Thoughts has provided strategic account management for CMC as it has dramatically increased its footprint and revenues.
Print projects include designing RFP templates, infographics, logos, style guides, sell sheets, cards, brochures, invitations, truck graphics, trade show displays and direct mail. Digital projects include website design, development and maintenance, SEO, reputation management, eblasts and other promotions.
Highlights: Redesign of the CMC Energy corporate website, a re-branding project for the CMC Energy Connecticut site, several projects for CMC’s 40th anniversary (2017) and the acquisition of Clean Markets (2018).
Warm Thoughts has supported Ehrhart's evolution, transitioning the brand to Ehrhart Energy, orchestrating its marketing plan and introducing their tag line,
It's not just business. It's personal. Warm Thoughts dramatically improved the company's digital performance with a new website, effective SEO and pay-per-click campaigns, and expanded social media. We’ve also integrated radio, direct-mail campaigns, newsletters, surveys and eblasts to engage customers across multiple channels and have instituted better tracking to make smarter marketing budget decisions.
Highlights: Successful implementation of a delivery charge that added hundreds of thousands of dollars to its bottom line. Plus 200% increase in website traffic, surge in monthly payment programs, re-balancing of promotional budget more aligned with goals, and reduction of customer losses.
Carroll Home Services has been a success story in a dwindling heating oil marketing in Maryland. And Warm Thoughts has been part of that story for over 10 years.
Warm Thoughts orchestrated sales and marketing plans that resulted in tens of thousands of new customers for Carroll, increased retention, and supported its diversification into HVAC services, plumbing, and propane. We re-branded its Alliance discount division, and supported its significant growth.
Over the years, our efforts have used virtually every tool in the traditional & digital marketing toolbox, including organic social media, PPC, Facebook advertising, eblasts, highly targeted direct mail, billboards and radio advertising. We've conducted market research, trained sales and customer service personnel, and supported the brand transition to CHS when the company was acquired by the Star Group several years ago.
Highlights: successful diversification of business, acquisition of tens of thousands of new customers while driving cost per lead down by 25%, market research that changed approach to HVAC sales.
Parker Gas is a second-generation family business with 5 locations in North Carolina, and a cylinder exchange program called “Rapid Exchange.” As the propane market has come under pressure from heat pump and natural gas conversion, Parker looked to Warm Thoughts to amplify its marketing effectiveness.
Warm Thoughts identified key areas that would be important to improving Parker’s competitiveness. We completely overhauled its website and digital promotional strategy, which has led to a dramatic increase in visits and leads. We substantially improved customer communications by sending a newsletter several times a year to build relationship and positioning with customers to cross sell appliances. Warm Thoughts also helped Parker implement a delivery fee, first testing the concept to give them more confidence, and then managing all customer communications. We also developed a new website with a promotional campaign to significantly increase traffic to their Rapid Xchange business.
Highlight: Helped implement a delivery fee that has netted them hundreds of thousands of dollars.
With 16 locations throughout Louisiana, O’Nealgas needed an agency to pull all their marketing under one roof. With deep experience in the propane industry and an understanding of their customers, Warm Thoughts was the right choice.
O’Nealgas began the process with updating their website from something that looked nice and everybody liked, to a fully optimized marketing tool that would generate business. Our objectives were to help the company grow by acquiring new customers and selling more to their existing customer base. A combination of direct mail, newsletters, digital advertising and social media was deployed to help O’Nealgas achieve their goals, all with a budget that made sense to their corporate structure. Heavily focused on ROI, our efforts have been achieving real results for the past two years.
Energy United is an electric cooperative and the second largest electric utility in North Carolina, serving more than 120,000 homes and businesses. It also owns Energy United Propane, which has multiple locations in both North and South Carolina.
Warm Thoughts was first engaged by the propane division to significantly improve its customer communications and digital marketing. We created a new website, developed a customer newsletter and managed customer communications when it was time to merge one of its acquisitions into the Energy United brand. It also executed an aggressive “Opt-Out” budget plan promotion, which resulted in a 300% increase in plan enrollments virtually overnight!
Based on the success of its efforts, the parent company also engaged Warm to lead a brand review and create a new website for the electric cooperative.
Highlights: Overnight transformation of customer quality, seamless transformation of acquisition with few customer losses, integrated electric and propane digital presence under the single brand umbrella.
Warm Thoughts Breakthrough Groups™ offer the opportunity to learn from our industry’s leading strategists and from top fuel companies as well.
Volatile prices, pressure from conversions, changing customer behaviors, aggressive competition, fewer gallons per customer… Our market is changing as never before. We need to find real breakthroughs that will allow us to thrive in a new world. Breakthrough Groups provide an opportunity to cut through the noise and work one on one with your peers to solve your biggest challenges.
We meet three times a year to share ideas, benchmarks and explore new opportunities in a supportive, confidential and industry-focused environment. Unlike other groups, participation is limited to non-competitors so substantive discussion occurs and honest relationships develop.
Tap into the extensive experience of your facilitators, peers and other experts associated with the program and gain the chance to expand your own horizons and gain valuable insights into the issues you’re facing and achieve real breakthroughs.
Warm Thoughts leads the way in developing and executing state association programs that generate strong results for association executives and members. Considered the leading marketing and communications provider for heating oil and propane associations around the country, Warm Thoughts is:
But don’t take our word for it, read what they have to say:
“Warm Thoughts has been a fantastic partner in helping us maximize our NORA funding. They have developed innovative programs that have exceeded our expectations.”
- Eric DeGesero, Fuel Merchants Association of New Jersey
“Warm Thoughts hit the ball out of the park for us. They basically reinvented our approach to rebates, and in so doing, invigorated my membership, grew gallons and opened our eyes to a new way to approach marketing.”
- John Jessup, North Carolina Propane Gas Association
For companies that offer products and services to the propane, oil or HVAC industries, Warm Thoughts is a tremendous strategic ally. Twenty-five years of experience in the space gives us a unique window into how these companies make choices about vendors and allies and the best ways to reach the right players. Our creative team works wonders to get your products and services to market with the best possible positioning.
Poore’s Propane and Oil in Delaware is principally a propane marketer, which also delivers oil and equipment service through a subsidiary, Service Energy. For years, Poore’s focused on growth through community propane projects and diversification. It is the largest Blue Rhino supplier in the country, offers tank refurbishing, septic system replacement and more. When Poore’s decided to refocus on residential growth, it replaced its agency with Warm Thoughts who put together a new brand strategy, bringing Service Energy under the Poore’s banner to reduce market confusion. Warm Thoughts diagnosed substantial underperformance in its SEO and PPC programs and developed a new website and social media campaign that substantially outperformed its previous efforts. It provided sales and customer service support. Warm Thoughts also designed Poore’s successful service plan and budget program, and supported its tank refurbishing business.
Posted on April 15, 2021
May 4, 2021 update: Google’s algorithm update is now expected in mid-June 2021.
If you’ve ever wondered how your website performs on a Google search, and how likely prospects are to find you, now is the time to take an even closer look at this issue. Google has announced a major update to their search engine optimization (SEO) algorithm for May 2021, which may have a direct effect on your company’s website. To discuss the impact of this change, we consulted our own SEO expert, Peter Kang.
In this interview Peter identifies the changes we can expect, key steps to address and what Warm Thoughts is doing about it. Spoiler alert: Google’s best practices are also ours so we’re not expecting our clients to be adversely affected. Even so, we want to let you know what you can expect to happen in the next few weeks.
WARM THOUGHTS COMMUNICATIONS: Tell us about the upcoming Google update.
PETER KANG: In the coming algorithm update, Google will prioritize user experience. They’re already using signals to determine what kinds of websites are user friendly. For example, is your website mobile friendly? Is it secure? Is the text relevant?
With this new update, they’ll be adding more factors created to determine whether your website provides a good experience to users. The updates they’re planning can affect organic search results—particularly for companies that aren’t already following Google’s best practices.
When can we expect this update to take effect?
The industry is expecting this update to happen in May. There’s no exact date—yet—for when it will start rolling out.
Has Google identified what factors it’ll be changing with this upcoming update?
Yes, they’re calling them core web vitals. It can get kind of techie but to simplify it, they’re going to be adding new ways to judge a website. One of those ways is how fast your website loads content. Google expects websites to load within 2.5 seconds, but the basic idea is “the faster the better.” For people who are building websites, this may affect how that’s done. For example, template websites, which we never use at Warm Thoughts, often have extra features that aren’t customizable, so whether you use them or not, they will still be running on the backend and can slow down your website. With this update, websites that can’t be customized to load content faster may see a drop in their organic search results.
Secondly, Google is going to look at the interactivity of your website. If a user clicks on a button, how long does your website take to get them to that next page? A clear example of how this impacts the user experience is with e-commerce websites. If a customer clicks “add to cart” or “place order” and there’s a lag between when the person clicks on the button and the next action that’s taken by the website, it can lead to some very unhappy customers. Another problem is when orders are placed multiple times or multiple products that the customer didn’t want are added to the cart. This isn’t a good user experience.
Similarly, when a potential customer clicks contact us, or become a customer, the page or form should load immediately without any delay. Google wants customers to have a good user experience, so their update is going to recommend better-performing websites over weaker ones.
And the third element Google is judging harshly cumulative layout shifts. This is the visual part. Let’s say a user is looking for propane companies in their area, they click on the website of a company they like, and then click on the “contact us” form. If that form doesn’t load properly, Google won’t like that. Examples of this include the user having to scroll down to see the form or buttons shifting away, or the website text shifting, to name a few. Again, it goes back to the user experience and making things as easy as possible for customers. From a design perspective this means no huge menus, and also making sure elements on the website are consistent from page to page. You don’t want to complicate your website. Keep it simple.
So to summarize, the three elements the new algorithm is assessing are how fast your website loads, the input delay of elements on your website, and whether or not elements on your website have unexpected movement. Google wants everyone to have a better experience on the internet, so they will now consider these factors when they rank websites.
Will these changes affect what websites the average customer sees in their Google search results?
Yes. How your website displays to Google will always impact your ability to show up on a
Google search. Further, Google has confirmed that with this update, in addition to assessing the factors I mentioned, they’re also going
to experiment with visual labels on search results. We’re not sure exactly what that will look like yet, but in the past, they’ve experimented with labeling, so the industry is expecting something similar. So, as shown in the example here, a slow-loading website might have a label on its search results that says “slow loading.” Now if your competitor’s website doesn’t have that label but your website does, which website do you think the customer will click on? If your website has a warning label issued by Google, it can affect the clickthrough rate of your organic search results, which means it can affect your leads.
Google may also label good websites, with notes like “mobile friendly,” so a customer will know they can expect a well-optimized experience on that website if they’re browsing from their phone. We don’t know exactly how Google will implement these labels yet, but it looks like they’ll be incorporating them into this upcoming May update.
It sounds like this is bad news for companies that don’t prioritize user experience on their websites.
Yes, definitely. Google’s objective is to help people avoid bad websites. Often, it’s good businesses with poorly built sites that are impacted, but keep in mind, there are a ton of scam websites out there that Google is trying to help its customers avoid. This Google update is further trying to push websites to put their users’ experience first, and it’s going to be important for your fuel business to not get lumped in with these problematic sites.
What does this update mean for fuel or HVAC service companies’ websites?
It’s important for fuel companies to know that there isn’t one factor to help you get on the first page of Google results. Many little things, collectively, will help you increase your rankings: the expertise of your website content, the relevance of the information you provide, clear and concise communication, website load times and mobile friendliness, among others. There are a lot of little factors that, when combined, will help customers find you and ultimately grow your business.
How is Warm Thoughts addressing this new update?
We have been following Google trends and best practices for many years. Our team uses a process we’ve developed to identify these trends and to anticipate algorithm updates. We’ve already been doing what Google recommends and more, and we closely monitor the results.
For example, we created a tool to monitor keywords on a monthly basis for our clients, which helps us see how they’re showing up—or ranking—on search results in Google and other search engines as well. This helps us identify any month-to-month drops. If we notice a pattern, this is a sign for us to investigate and cross reference for any algorithm changes. At that point, we adjust the site to get our client’s websites to rank higher again.
We also have tools in place that allow us to check the average ranking for a keyword in your local area. For example, “propane delivery for X county or town” will show us how your website is performing against your local competitors. And we also have important industry partnerships that help us stay on top of search engine updates and news. These relationships keep us in the know when algorithm changes are coming. And of course, we’re members of SEO groups to collaborate with other professionals and stay updated.
So is it safe to say Warm Thoughts handles all these techy things like tracking Google’s preferences for their clients.?
Absolutely. What can I say? We live and breathe digital marketing here.