To celebrate 30 years in business, Marlo Company Sprinkler Systems in Saginaw, Michigan, decided to go paperless. From invoices to other customer communications, their goal was to transfer as many paper-based communications to email as possible.
What started as a way to simplify invoicing turned into a way to generate more revenue.
As Hannah Booker, Service Manager for Marlo, related, “This is the 30th year we've been in business. I was tired of invoicing and sending all this paperwork. I have had other companies say, ‘Hey, you're not going to get a paper bill anymore. It's going to come by email.’ This is, you know, black or white, no gray area. And that’s what generated the interest in also sending the Hydrawise promotion by email.”
Marlo had started selling Hunter's Hydrawise controllers in the fall of 2017, selling about 10 of them that first year. They’d sold another 15 or so in 2018. So they had some experience with Hydrawise controllers, and when they saw that Hunter and HindSite, their field service software provider, were partnering to include professionally-designed templates in their HindSite Connect Pro email add-on product, they decided to try paperlessly marketing Hydrawise controllers, too.
Marlo sent the Hydrawise promotional email in March, hoping to get some controllers installed before startup season kicked in. They targeted their customers, of which about 1200 had email addresses. Timing was a concern and, as a result of it being their first email marketing campaign, Booker didn’t really know what to expect.
“I'll be honest, our timing was not good. A week after we sent the Hydrawise email, all my startup notices went out. The idea was to install the Hydrawise controllers before we actually went and started up the system. But our weather this year was great. So we were able to really get going early. Because of that we did install some of them at the time of startup. I really didn't have any expectations. I was hoping to get something out of it. But I figured, hey, let's just throw it against the wall and see if it sticks.”
Even though she modified the Hunter Hydrawise email to combine elements from multiple templates, the process of sending the email didn’t take long. “The process is pretty easy. The biggest hurdle was creating the template, and it's not so much of a hurdle, because it's kind of easy.”
It’s safe to say the results exceeded expectations. Marlo now counts more than 80 customers that use Hydrawise controllers, meaning more than 50 signed up as a result of that single email. “I had a lot of people inquire because we didn't put cost in there. So I had people call or reply to the email ‘How much is this thing?’ But we ended up installing more than 50 controllers.”
For Marlo, that represented enough revenue to pay for the entire HindSite Software suite for multiple years - which includes scheduling and routing, electronic field data capture and billing integration with QuickBooks, as well as the Connect Pro add-on. Even better, Hydrawise’s remote monitoring features enable Marlo to implement an additional annual fee that will generate recurring revenue.
“With the promotion that we did this spring, we included a $110 Marlo management fee discount, so it was free. That includes checking alerts, checking their system, changing, updating, whatever needs to be done. So that way, come next year, when their plan is expiring, we can say ‘Hey, you're going to be missing out on x, y, z. You can pay this amount right now and we can continue managing your system.”That's the biggest thing that we want to do is manage what we put in. I don't want to put it in and have someone else take care of it. I want to show them the savings, this is what I did for you. And show them a report of that. Which we can get through Hydrawise.”
Customers buy Hydrawise controllers for different reasons - they like the technology, they want water savings, etc. - but one constant is the customer response that Booker hears. “I haven't had any complaints. Everyone's been happy.”
As far as advice for other contractors about promoting Hydrawise controllers, Booker echoes a Nike ad campaign. “Just do it. Now to me is the time to do it. I would tell everyone that. What are you waiting for? Stop waiting. Do it now.”