The digital space has become increasingly popular for customer acquisition and retention. According to AdWeek, 60% of consumers begin the sales process by using a search engine (ie. Google, Bing, Yahoo, etc.) to find specific products they want, and 81% of shoppers conduct online research before they make the purchase. With these high numbers, it’s a given that the fuel oil, propane, and HVAC industries should utilize the internet and digital marketing opportunities more to their advantage. In this blog post, learn how your distribution and service business can use simple digital marketing tactics to better attract customers online.

Assuming your company’s website is up-to-date and follows current best practices (search engine optimized, responsive, visual, long scroll, etc.), there are three main areas that will significantly impact your customer acquisition and retention online: social media, digital advertising, and email marketing.


Social Media

C-Suite members often associate social media with Millennials and Gen Z-ers which negatively impacts their decision to implement any sort of social media strategy. However social media does much more for your business than just acting as a social platform to connect you to these younger generations. Having active social media accounts on the major sites (including Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Instagram) optimizes your listing in search engine results.

Social media accounts that are kept current rank higher in Google’s and the various search engines’ systems, so when a prospect searches your company’s name, these active accounts will likely show up on the first page of the search results. 

Since prospects will be researching your business in their sales process, posting specials for new customers on your social media pages is a great way to lure them in and hook them to your business. Every three to four weeks, run a special offer for all new customers who sign up on the web. With Blue Cow Software’s Ignite Web, you can create custom discount codes that only work for new customers. Post the code on your social media pages as a motivation for prospects to choose your business and to go digital. Additionally, you can run promotions like this for your current customers but limit it to online delivery and service orders.


Digital Advertising

If you’ve heard the terms Pay-Per-Click (a.k.a. PPC) and Cost-Per-Impression (a.k.a. CPM), you’re one or two steps in the right direction when it comes to digital advertising. While digital advertising is an umbrella term for a handful of tactics including Google AdWord’s PPC campaigns, Remarketing campaigns, Facebook Advertising, and more, the general idea behind all these tactics is the same: you pay for a brief piece of content to be displayed in front of a targeted audience.

Because you are paying for the content to go in front of a specific audience, whether it be determined by keyword search or demographic, digital advertising is a fantastic and efficient way to acquire new customers for your business and online portal. You can use your online system like Ignite Web to generate promotional codes that sync directly to your back office and then easily update your ads to reflect the promotion. You can also target which geographic locations can receive your ad and use the promotional code which will help avoid misuse.

Although many digital advertising platforms have character limits, you can utilize copy like “Use code XY587BCS for 15% off your first online delivery order. Get started today!” to attract new customers within your advertisement.

Not sold? Check it out for yourself. Platforms like Google AdWords are easy to set up. Google AdWords, specifically, has a low $10 monthly minimum, giving you the perfect opportunity to test it out.


Email Marketing

Attract, win-back, retain, and do much more with email marketing. This tactic is an excellent way to keep your business top-of-mind for your current customers and prospective customers who may have left your business for a competitor (or couldn’t quite decide to fully switch over to your delivery and service offerings).

Win-back campaigns which can be used for the latter of the two described above, should be used minimally. We recommend running a campaign every three months to your lost or cold leads. Reaching out every three months, if timed correctly, will give you the opportunity to win them back during all the prime times of the year. In these emails, you can offer a “Welcome Back” discount code that’s valid only online and for a set period if the lead decides to give your business a try. If you’re excited about these opportunities, you can look into email automation and run more strategic campaigns based on who has opened, clicked on, or used your promotional code.

For your current customers, you can run referral campaigns among the typical monthly or bi-monthly outreach emails. In referral campaigns, you’ll want to ask your current customers for a referral. Upon receiving the successful digital referral (in other words, the referred party has signed up to test your delivery/service offerings), your current customer will receive a code for x% off their next order.

The opportunities to connect and win customers online with email marketing are endless and exciting. But, before you hit send, be sure to have the recipients’ permission to email them.


Now, if you’re set on any of the above tactics keep in mind that all three recommendations rely heavily on a modern website. Additionally, you’ll want to have a software extension like Ignite Web that allows you to easily create promotional codes and lets your customers and prospects create & access their account online and place & pay for orders. For more information on Ignite Web, please contact Blue Cow Software at 888-499-2583 or [email protected]