We enter the heating season in unchartered waters with sharks circling. Between the extraordinary spike in oil prices, troubling supply issues for both propane and oil, difficulty getting drivers and techs, and higher costs for everything, you might be saying to yourself, “We’re going to need a bigger boat.”
Navigating Uncharted Waters
- Overcommunicate with your customers. Everyone’s phones are lighting up, and calls that might have taken five minutes are now taking 15. You can reduce calls, change the tenor of the conversations, and increase retention by emailing/sending newsletters/Facebook-posting more often than normal. Customers need to know that:
- You are on their side.
- Even if your options are limited, you feel their pain.
- You hate when prices spike and volatility is off the charts.
We’ve seen this work time and time again. If you don’t do it, you are only hurting yourself.
- Live to fight another day. You are going to see reductions in gallons because of conservation and ancillary heat sources. Receivables will slow down. People will want to get small deliveries. Borrowing costs are higher. Wages are higher.
The bottom line is that you have to be a price hawk this year, even if it costs you some customers. You can get more customers by increasing your advertising budget next year. It could take years to recover from some of the potential financial disasters lurking behind the corners this year.
- Your people are going to get beaten up by customers. Show them some love and help give them answers to the hard questions they are being asked. It’s tough to hear people’s challenging stories day after day. Give them a bonus, bring a massage therapist into the office to give chair massages, give them extra days off in spring and summer, etc. Work harder to support morale.
You are unsung heroes who kill yourselves to take care of your neighbors but are unfairly blamed for things far outside your control. I’ve been at this for over 30 years and have never been prouder of the people and companies I work for. Hang in there!
Rich Goldberg, President
NEW CLIENT PORTAL MAKES THINGS EASIER FOR YOU
We will be launching a client portal that will give each digital client instant access to the status of any open projects, contact information for Warm Thoughts team members, upload tools for sending us photos or other content, and much more. We are also adding an e-sign tool, so you will no longer have to download, print, scan, and return agreements.
This portal streamlines our previous process and gives you direct access to our entire team.
Need a quick edit to your website?
Just submit a ticket directly to our developers rather than having to email your account manager and wait for them to process the request.
Want to send photos or videos to our social media team to use on your Facebook page or any other platform? Just upload the files to the portal so everything is stored in one convenient place.
Need to pay an invoice? The portal will give you the ability to pay invoices online quickly. And if you have questions, you will now have direct access to our accounts receivable department.
Have an urgent issue (i.e., phone lines are down, your payment portal is down, or there’s some sort of service disruption)? A quick click on the emergency button will allow your message to quickly go to multiple members of the Warm Thoughts team so that we can ensure your issue is addressed as quickly as possible.
INTRODUCING OUR NEW PLATINUM DIGITAL PLAN
Our bundled digital plans ensure that our clients have a competitive advantage when it comes to online marketing. We recently added a new option — our Platinum Plan.
Our VP of Marketing Services, Ben Gutkin, explains its objective.
FOR A LITTLE BACKGROUND, CAN YOU TALK ABOUT THE BENEFITS OF A WARM THOUGHTS DIGITAL PLAN?
Modern online marketing tactics are interdependent in ways that significantly affect your results. Your reviews impact how often Google shows you for searches and how many prospects actually call you. You can use social media not just to build your brand but also to promote blogs, which attract more visitors to your website and increase your placement on the Google results page. And, of course, all of your web content dramatically impacts your search rankings.
We understand all the things it takes to win at online marketing for propane, heating oil, and HVAC businesses and keep you up-to-date with rapid changes across online tactics. We have separate dedicated specialists for Search Engine Optimization, content creation, review promotion, social media, and paid digital advertising. Our Silver, Gold, and now Platinum Plans allow you to cover all the important bases at budget levels that best suit your priorities. We have a 97% retention rate of clients with these plans, which speaks volumes about their value.
WHO IS A CANDIDATE FOR THE NEW PLATINUM PLAN?
The Platinum Plan adds tactics that can be very helpful for companies offering multiple services or which have multiple branches. We aim to improve their website’s ability to rank for all their services throughout their market areas.
WHAT ARE SOME OF THE DISTINGUISHING FEATURES?
On our Platinum Plan, we can post directly to your Google Business Profile instead of just on Facebook. This is great for companies that offer HVAC or plumbing services and want to run short-term promotions. And for companies with multiple branches, the benefits will be significant as specials and promotions can be branch-specific.
Our strategies to boost rankings on Google are too numerous to mention here, but some significant tactics are worth pointing out. At the Platinum level, we will create what are known as “Power Pages.” These long-format, keyword-driven pages provide literally everything a customer would need to know about a particular topic (propane water heaters, fuel tanks, and Bioheat® fuel are some examples). This type of content takes a great deal of work but enables you to outperform competitors and drive a significant amount of traffic to your website. You can see one of these power pages by going to PropaneNorthCarolina.com and clicking on Tankless Water Heaters under the Propane Water Heaters menu.
Additionally, Platinum sites may have as many as 20 keyword groups and market areas to promote products and services to the right audience. This approach can create thousands of keyword combinations to push the website to the top of Google rankings. Plus, we have added the newest Google tools like conversion tracking, content syndication, and citation building. We have even included YouTube channel optimization!
ARE ALL YOUR ONLINE SERVICES INCLUDED IN YOUR BUNDLES?
No. Our bundled plans cover the most important bases but not everything that’s possible online. For instance, we can help you with multi-channel employee recruitment campaigns, Google Display Ads, geofencing, retargeting, YouTube video ads, Facebook advertising, targeted prospect emails to curated lists, and much more.
WILL THE OTHER TIERS BE CHANGING?
Yes, we are always reformulating our offerings to keep pace with ongoing changes in the digital world. Google and Facebook are very different than they were ten years ago when we launched this program. Our updates aim to keep pace with those changes and will address other technical demands we see today.
ARE THE PRICES OF YOUR PLANS INCREASING?
No, the prices aren’t changing.
HOW DOES THIS AFFECT CLIENTS CURRENTLY ON PLANS?
The new plans went into effect on September 1. (Letters were sent prior to that to all our existing clients.) For all our current clients, this is an opportunity to review, in detail, exactly what is covered in your service. New for everybody will be an extensive list of available services that are offered “a la carte.” So, if you see services you would like to take advantage of, you will have the opportunity to either upgrade your plan to a level that includes them or simply add individual services to your existing plan. This is a much more flexible approach than we have had in the past. I think all our clients will appreciate it.
WHY ARE THESE CHANGES BEING MADE?
It’s time! We haven’t significantly updated our program since its inception almost a decade ago, and in the digital world, that is ancient!
WHAT ARE KEYWORDS — AND WHY ARE THEY ESSENTIAL TO YOUR WEB MARKETING?
Do you ever wonder how your website appears when someone searches for “propane supplier near me” or “what is bioheat?” It’s all about your keywords and how they rank.
Keywords are the link between what people want to find online and your business’s solutions.
Search engines like Google exist to help people find what they are looking for: an answer to a question, a company to do business with, and so forth. That’s what “algorithms” are all about. Since there are literally millions of possible matches to any search, Google (and Bing, Yahoo, etc.) needs to find ways to serve up the best fits. They do that by isolating individual words or phrases and ranking every website by how well they match when someone searches for those keywords.
There are hundreds of these keywords on a typical oil or propane company website. You compete with other companies in your market area to convince search engines that you’re the best match for fuel and service searches. The goal is to show up on page one of those search results.
A page-one ranking drives lots of organic traffic (and prospective customers) to your website. And traffic leads to more traffic — sites with many visitors rank higher.
This is what Search Engine Optimization is about. It’s especially tricky because search engines don’t reveal exactly what goes into their algorithms. They frequently change them without announcements. Updating your site to match these changes is how you get more leads.
HOW WARM THOUGHTS IS DIFFERENT
Most fuel companies don’t realize all the business they lose simply because they don’t show up early in the search results.
Warm Thoughts works exclusively with energy and service companies. We KNOW the right keywords to support your particular business and have proprietary strategies that increase your page-one rankings. No one in or outside our industry comes close to our results. It starts with how we write and structure your website. But the real work begins after your site is live. All search engines prioritize the constant updating of website copy. Our smart blogs are critical to your keyword rankings. They help persuade search engines that your site is the best, most current match for the keywords that matter most. We also have a specific strategy for improving the number and quality of your keywords — so you show up on page one more often.
We often find that even when companies rank on page one, it’s only for keywords that include their name and only in a fraction of their market area. Neither is generating much new business for you. If Warm Thoughts isn’t managing your website, you’re likely missing out on a lot of visitors. We have software that clearly shows where you stand and whether you could do better.
Call us to get a free evaluation.
Peter Kang, SEO Manager
FACEBOOK IS STILL THE BEST SOCIAL MEDIA MARKETING PLATFORM FOR FUEL AND SERVICE COMPANIES
While Facebook is by far the most popular social media platform, there are several others with large followings, including Instagram, TikTok, Twitter, and more. You may be wondering if it is better to spread your marketing dollars around or focus primarily on Facebook.
We work with all platforms, depending on the needs of a particular client, and have spent a lot of time researching their effectiveness. Everything points to one undisputable fact: Facebook is the best platform to promote your home comfort business.
The numbers are irrefutable — Pew Research Center reports that 7 out of 10 American adults use Facebook.
The demographics are right — Facebook is popular with an older demographic (35+), which is much more likely to include homeowners. Instagram, LinkedIn, TikTok, and other platforms have significantly lower usage for vital homeowner groups. Conversely, we find that TikTok has performed very well targeting young people (18-25) when we are promoting technical schools.
Facebook’s tools are fantastic — Facebook has excellent search capabilities. There are more than 1.5 billion daily searches on Facebook for local businesses, services, and products.
When you run a Facebook Ad, you not only have access to the largest audience; you can also target your ad by age, income, home ownership, etc., to connect with precisely the group you want. We use world-class Facebook data to see who’s engaged with your posts and ads and refine them going forward. As a bonus, these ads appear in Instagram feeds too!
It is tempting to think that doing a little bit of everything means you are covering all your bases. But the reality is that achieving real results requires significant activity and focus. A dedicated Instagram campaign requires a steady stream of photos and videos. Twitter requires consistent, daily messaging. And in the end, you are still not fishing where the fish are.
WARM THOUGHTS KNOWS HOW TO MARKET EFFECTIVELY ON FACEBOOK
Our social team develops eye-catching Facebook content with photos and links to your products and services. So far, our 2022 Facebook ad campaigns have reached 6.5 million users and generated 266,068 click-throughs. We run branding, lead generation, and even recruiting campaigns. What does this mean for our clients?
- More traffic to your website, sales team, or brick-and-mortar location
- Higher SEO ranking through Facebook engagement (including Facebook location pages)
- Complementing targeted email markets, pay-per-click, and display ads
Before you start chasing TikTok likes with a lip-sync video, talk to us. We can help you achieve better engagement and more leads on Facebook — with no wasted effort!
USING FACEBOOK ADS TO RECRUIT DRIVERS AND TECHS
Facebook is not only a great tool for building your brand — it’s one of the quickest and most cost-effective ways to push your recruiting efforts forward.
We recently ran a successful recruitment campaign for a client who needed drivers. The campaign was set to run for 30 days, but with such a high response rate, we stopped sooner, reducing the overall ad spend. Thanks to the expertise of our social team and Facebook’s robust algorithms, the campaign saw quality applicants right away, and within two weeks, the first hire was made!
With such a diverse audience using Facebook multiple times a day, every day, your ads will be seen by both active and passive job seekers, unlike those that are on job boards like Indeed or Monster. Ask us how you can find quality candidates through Facebook.
- LETTER FROM RICH GOLDBERG
- NEW CLIENT PORTAL MAKES THINGS EASIER FOR YOU
- INTRODUCING OUR NEW PLATINUM DIGITAL PLAN
- WHAT ARE KEYWORDS — AND WHY ARE THEY ESSENTIAL TO YOUR WEB MARKETING?
- FACEBOOK IS STILL THE BEST SOCIAL MEDIA MARKETING PLATFORM FOR FUEL AND SERVICE COMPANIES
- USING FACEBOOK ADS TO RECRUIT DRIVERS AND TECHS
- THE LATEST FROM WTC (Nov 2022)