Invest in Online Marketing over Traditional Methods

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5 Ways Online Marketing Tactics Beat Traditional Methods

As a local propane company, you probably leverage a combination of offline and online marketing tactics. Maybe you invest in traditional offline tactics like billboards, Yellow Pages, or print ads because it’s what you’ve always done.

But in today’s digital age, traditional tactics aren’t as cost-effective as they used to be.

The truth is, most online marketing alternatives cost less, have a higher reach, and deliver a better ROI.

For this post, we’ve scoured some of our favorite online marketing blogs to determine when online marketing outweighs traditional marketing tactics. We’ve added our insights to make each point more relevant to you.

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1Build Trust with Lead Nurturing,
Don’t Annoy People with Cold Calling

Imagine you’re plugging through a busy day at the office and you receive a call from a number you don’t recognize. When you pick up the unknown call, it’s immediately clear that the salesperson is giving you a scripted cold calling pitch.

Ugh!

The cold call interrupts your day and breaks your concentration. The salesperson hangs up empty-handed.

Cold calling is a lose-lose situation for the consumer and the salesperson. And this is why cold calling has become a marketing tactic of the past.

Wouldn’t it be nice if you could build a win-win relationship with propane gas leads who aren’t quite ready to buy and sell to them at a comfortable pace?

You can. It’s called lead nurturing.

Lead nurturing is a systematic way to warm up your prospects before introducing a salesperson. Lead nurturing disarms the salesy vibe and builds trust by sharing helpful information.

Instead of cold calling old prospects out of the blue, put them in an email list. Email them helpful information like blog posts or special promotions where they can save once or twice a month.

After a prospect has warmed up to you by opening a few emails and reading some of your information, it’s time for your sales team to strike. Your sales team will have an easier time closing warm leads because prospects recognize your name and think you’re helpful.

Take away from Marketo: Evolve past cold calling, adopt lead nurturing

2Direct Mail Wins Hearts, but Email Pulls an
ROI 100x Greater

Sending direct mail to leads is still an effective way to deliver your message.

Direct mail is especially effective for geographically-targeted propane companies because it:

  • Is highly targeted - you can send to homes in zip codes, even specific neighborhoods, where you want to win new propane accounts.
  • Makes a firm offer - promote a specific price-based offer which prospects can redeem without being burdened by a salesperson or a sales pitch.

Compared to email alone, direct mail is proven to generate a better response and more revenue. However, the high cost of direct mail drags down its ROI.

The cost of sending direct mail is about 60 cents a piece. Email costs about 100-times less at 0.6 cents per email.

According to HubSpot, email brings in $2,600 per $1 invested versus a $27 return for every $1 in direct mail. And unlike direct mail, email performance and ROI can be more easily tested and measured to improve results over time.

In the case of direct mail vs. email, the winning strategy is to use a combined approach. Your propane company can build brand recognition and relationships with an audience by contacting them through two outlets.

Takeaway from HubSpot: Invest in Email Marketing, but don’t be too quick to cut Direct Mail

3A Website Built to Generate Leads
Wins More Customers

When a prospect lands on your website, the site’s first job is to make a good first impression (your website is the online face of your business, after all).

But then what? Well, depending on your site, you can generate a new lead or let another anonymous visit go unnoticed.

Brochure websites are sites that confirm what you do (like a brochure) and that you exist. You can drive traffic, but potential leads visiting your site will remain anonymous.

Lead generation websites are built to help your propane company turn these anonymous visits into leads your sales team can call. Lead gen sites help you win more customers through:

  • Calls to actions that catch visitor attention
  • Offers targeted to your audience
  • Online forms that capture information about the lead

With a lead generation website, you create a channel that feeds prospects into your sales funnel instead of letting your website collect dust.

Takeaway from Bright Orange Thread: Brochure sites miss sales, turn your website into a Lead Generating Machine

4Don’t Waste Your Marketing Dollars on Yellow Pages—Paid Search is Worth Every Cent

Local companies like your propane business once advertised in the local yellow pages phone book that showed up yearly on everyone’s doorstep. Now, those books are thinner and often end up in the recycling bin.

People don’t use the local pages anymore. They search for your business online (Google, Bing, etc.).

Online paid search can deliver serious ROI for your local propane business. Compared to the static yellow page ads of yesteryear, paid search:

  • Can be geographically targeted. You only pay for clicks made by leads that are in your service area.
  • Delivers higher ROI. The cost-per-click for propane related keywords can be as low as $2 and change. Can you imagine paying $2 for a new whole house heating contract?
  • Offers the ability to control budget. You can control spending by the day, or even by the hour.
  • Metrics can be used to test and improve. Experienced paid search marketers use real-time analytics to optimize your ads to get you more clicks and better visibility.

Takeaway from MD Connect: Paid Search beats Yellow Pages for
local marketing

5Control Your ROI with Social Media or
Gamble with Print

Like the yellow pages, print ads are becoming less common and less effective in the digital age.

Print advertising has lower exposure, is more expensive, and its impact is harder to measure than social media ads. Printing an ad in the local newspaper that a small number of people read, and only read once per issue, is a costly gamble.

On the other hand, people check social media daily. For example, studies show people check Facebook 14 times per day and spend an average of 50 minutes on the platform daily.

Advertising on social media platforms like Facebook is more of a safe bet for local propane companies. Social media has the same benefits as online paid search. However, one unique advantage is that people don’t need to actively to seek you out. You show up in their news feeds.

Takeaway from Social Good Media: Social media ads give you flexibility and convenience that Print can’t compete with

Invest in Online Marketing Tactics, But Don’t Abandon What Works for You

The rise of the web changed how people want to get information and likewise changed how businesses market to prospects and customers. If prospects want to learn more about propane services, they pick up their phone and Google it (if paid search or a social media ad hasn’t already reached them).

This change in user behavior means it’s time to change how you market your propane gas company. Investing in online marketing can help you win new customers at a lower cost than traditional methods.

However, that doesn’t mean you should abandon the traditional marketing tactics that work for you. Use them as a supplement to new online marketing tactics.

Your goal is to win more propane customers to grow your business. While there’s no cut and paste template, there are proven strategies that work for your business. We’ve used these strategies to generate serious ROI for propane businesses before.

If you want to know where to start, just ask us. Let’s talk about boosting your revenue with online marketing tactics.

About the Author
is the Lead Strategist of Bright Orange Thread. Reach him at hfrancke@brightorangethread.com
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