The Oldest Water Heater Contest

April 3, 2012
Are you looking for a great promotion to run in conjunction with a home show, company anniversary or other event?  The oldest water heater contest may be the best lead generator you will try.

Are you looking for a great promotion to run in conjunction with a home show, company anniversary or other event?  The oldest water heater contest may be the best lead generator you will try.

The concept behind an oldest water heater contest is simple. Piggyback on an existing event, like a large home show, or create an event of your own. Homeowners who think they might have an older water heater than everyone else at the event register to win a free water heater.  The water heater is given to the homeowner with the oldest water heater provided he agrees to pay for a professional installation from your company. 

Everyone who registers represents a high quality water heater lead. First, each registrant thinks he might have the oldest water heater. If he thinks it might be the “oldest,” he knows it’s ready for replacement.  Second, if he wins, he’s willing to pay for the installation. This means he’s ready to spend money on a new water heater.  The combination of an old water heater and a willingness to spend money on a new one makes every registrant a qualified lead. 

Your cost is the price you pay for a water heater, parts and a permit. Get a supply house or manufacturer to donate a water heater in exchange for promoting the equipment brand and your costs are virtually eliminated.

To run an oldest water heater contest you must have a way for homeowners to register.  The registration form should include full contact information.  The homeowner must allow you to visit his home to verify the age of the water heater.  This is not a chore on your part.  It’s an open door with the potential to quote a replacement even if the homeowner doesn’t have the oldest.

There are two strategies for verifying the water heater’s age.  One is to quote a replacement on the spot and offer to discount or refund the cost of the equipment if the homeowner ultimately wins.  The second approach is to leave information about the hazards of operating an old water heater (i.e., wasting money due to low efficiency, the potential for leaks, etc.) and return later with a replacement quote.

The advantage of returning later is it allows you the opportunity to award a second place or honorable mention prize, which is a gift certificate with your company (presenting the gift certificate is the reason for stopping by).  Of course, the perfect use for the gift certificate is replacing the water heater.

Whether you conduct the oldest water heater contest with an event or as a standalone contest, you’ve got to let people know about it.  Start with your customers.  Invite customers to mail in registrations or stop by your home show booth.

Send out press releases to the local media.  If the idea of the oldest water heater strikes the fancy of the news editors, you can get valuable coverage.  If not, consider paying for promotional messages with local radio stations and cable television networks.

If the contest is held in conjunction with an event, make sure to promote it at the event.  Hire people to walk the event wearing sandwich boards promoting the contest and your booth.  Hand out flyers at the entrance to the event.  Create promotional magnets and leave them on metal door jambs.  Print promotional messages on napkins and leave them in the concession area.

When a winner is selected, get him to sign a release so you can take his picture beside his new water heater.  Send this picture and a picture of the old water heater, including its age, to the local media for additional coverage.

Running an oldest water heater contest may sound complicated and seem like it requires a lot of work.  It’s really very simple, especially with a turnkey kit that contains a contest checklist, an entry form, entry rules, a sample press release, promotional post card templates, event magnet templates, event flyers, exhibitor flyers, a photography release, and a property release.  This kit is available absolutely free, with no strings from the Service Roundtable.  Simply call toll free 877.262.3341 and ask for a free copy of the oldest water heater contest.

Matt Michel is CEO of the Service Roundtable, which provides contractors with a vast array of downloadable sales, marketing, and business management tools, 24/7/365 online peer support, and cash rebates for parts and supplies.  For more information call 877.262.3341 and ask for a free tour.

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