A glance at Conger LP Gas’ social media will tell you a lot of what you need to know about us. While the main goal is, of course, to grow profitable gallons and build our brand, our top priorities are our customers and the communities in which we serve.
Based in South Georgia with four locations serving more than 30 counties, we utilize an integrated marketing communications approach to our advertising and public relations efforts. We ensure that all our efforts are unified through our public relations, social media, website and advertising. In my role as the storyteller for Conger LP Gas, I promote the company by turning Google and Facebook reviews and customer testimonials about experiences with our team members into creative content.
My advice to other marketing and public relations practitioners is to use those customer reviews and testimonials to your advantage. Word-of-mouth testimonials from your actual customers say so much more about your company than what the internal marketing team could come up with.
As part of our marketing strategy, I try to use as much content as possible that features our actual employees. It means a lot to our employees to see their faces in an advertisement, but it also means a lot to the customer when they see a friendly, recognizable face. Traditional terrestrial radio also sees great returns. While I have a background as a radio personality, I encourage President and CEO Dan Richardson to voice some of the commercials because it further deepens his connections with our customers. Plus, it’s always nice to have fresh, new voices on advertisements throughout the year.
Community is everything, because we know that we would not be the business we are without the people who count on us for their propane and appliance needs. In a single week, we could be hosting a fundraiser in our Tifton office’s demonstration kitchen, attending a ribbon cutting with a chamber of commerce in one of the cities of another office, and attending a business expo in another town.
As the director of marketing and public relations, I am on the board of directors and am an ambassador for several of the chambers of commerce in South Georgia in our communities. I often attend multiple events a week on behalf of the company. And while participating in as many community events as possible might mean long days and regional travel, I cannot stress enough what it means to local business owners and community members to see our business supporting them by simply showing up and being there.
Dan has always stressed that it is our duty to give back and be involved. And that is precisely what we do, especially with our Tifton home office. We moved to this location in 2018 and have since hosted many events in our showroom and demonstration kitchen. We have found that many people who come to events might not have ever visited our office otherwise. We always take time during each event to educate attendees on the benefits of using propane in their homes and businesses. We have talked with many attendees and had them return the very next day to purchase a product for their homes.
The pandemic put a nearly two-year damper on our events, but so far in 2022, we have been able to kick things back into gear while still being socially responsible. In January, we hosted our annual chili fundraiser for the Pregnancy Care Center of Tiftarea and were able to raise $4,500 for the cause.
We held cooking classes with our favorite Italian chef, Laura Piovesana of The Italian Wooden Spoon. This summer, Conger LP Gas was able to team up with a local cakery to offer cake decorating classes for kids and a local artist to host painting classes for kids and adults.
Over the summer, we saw more than 200 people (not to mention the parents and grandparents that came with the kids) at events in our kitchen. One of our favorite events this year was in July, when we hosted our Hometown Heroes Kids Event, a “touch-a-truck” event featuring our local first responders and military. This year, we even included our local hospital, as they are certainly our “hometown heroes” as well. It was great to see the children’s faces light up when they posed with their favorite “Paw Patrol” characters in our demonstration kitchen. The three-hour event saw nearly 400 people in attendance.
In the last year, we have also found success by joining local home builder associations to educate that industry about the benefits of using propane in new home construction and remodels.
We have hosted continuing education courses on topics like Rinnai tankless water heaters and took the opportunity to also inform them about the available rebates for homebuilders through the Propane Education & Research Council’s Propane Construction Incentive Program. We found that many of the homebuilders simply did not know that these incentives were available, and we have seen continued growth in this market.
My hope with this article is that it is evident that an emphasis on community and your customers really goes a long way.
If you are a propane marketer, I encourage you to join your local chamber of commerce, attend that ribbon cutting or civic meeting, and plan that event at your location that you have been thinking about hosting. I guarantee you will see far more in return for your business than you could ever give individually.
The Propane Marketer’s Checklist for Growing Customer Engagement
- Join your local chamber of commerce and get involved as much as you can by attending ribbon cuttings, monthly meetings, lunch-and-learns and more.
- Network! Be a good community member by volunteering and participating in local events.
- Gather email addresses and other contact information from attendees at local events and business expos. This can be accomplished through door prize sign-ups.
- Use the email addresses you gather from community events to build your email database to send information about your business with email marketing services.
- Be sure that your Google My Business profile is accurate and complete. Turn on the chat feature for customers to have immediate access to your company.
- Pitch your company and any events or news to local media through press releases. You never know what update from your business might be picked up to be featured in your community.
- Be consistent on social media! Create content that allows for engagement with your followers and features your employees as much as possible.
- Create a YouTube channel and upload any videos you create for social media. A lot of consumers turn to YouTube, and you can use the content on your website or blog.
- On social media, make sure to like and respond to comments on your posts. The more engaged you are, the better.
- Request that customers leave Google and Facebook reviews for your company. This can be turned into great, personalized content straight from your customers for your social media and website.
- Organize events at your location. Depending on your location, this could be customer appreciation events, cooking classes, etc.
- Be creative! It’s OK to think outside of the box and try something new. Have fun with it and be a good steward of your business.