Canadian Rental Service

CRA President’s Message: June 2012

By Ed Dwyer CRA president   

Canadian Rental Association

The Internet is mightier than the sword.

The Internet is mightier than the sword.

No doubt everyone has used such mass media resources as TV ads, radio spots, newspaper ads and the Yellow Pages. With the expansion of the Internet, most rental companies also have developed websites to attract and inform potential customers. Now that we have iPads, other tablets and mobile smartphones, social media is the next tool that I’ve been looking to use. When I hear of social media I immediately think of Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and the like. Years ago, being the typical rental guy, I banned access to this type of contact with the web as it seemed to be nothing more than an unproductive waste of employee time.

After a lot of thinking, I have decided that now is the time to change. I now see ways of generating profits from using social media while cutting labour costs. One of those ways is to use one of our newest CRA/ARA member benefits: a state-of-the-art, web-based, e-mail marketing service. It is a great tool to build customer loyalty, increase referrals and promote repeat business.

The American Rental Association has just announced that they have joined the Constant Contact Partner Program. The ARA will now be able to provide its members (including, of course, Canadian Rental Association members) with easy-to-use e-mail marketing, social media marketing, event marketing and online survey tools to help create and build strong, lasting relationships with its rental customers.


I had been looking at some ways of getting more market share by reaching current customers and developing ways of finding new customers using low-cost Internet-based programs. Which is more cost effective? Sending one employee out to speak with one foreman or sending out one newsletter to 50 foremen to promote our rental products? We will keep our e-mails to the point, with the emphasis on informative, relevant content and no more than one e-mail every two weeks. We will also encourage opening and reading the e-mail by including occasional bonus contests. Each e-newsletter will include links to our company website to increase traffic.

My intent is to target my message to different customer classifications, such as landscaping equipment users, concrete equipment users, aerial lift users and homeowners. Everybody checks their e-mail constantly, especially at job sites, as this is how information moves and things get built these days. I am in the middle of building a new facility and I now see how important e-mails and texting is to the construction industry. Guess what – phoning, faxing and Yellow Pages ads don’t cut it anymore!

If your rental store was overstocked on, say, concrete power trowels, or they were not moving the way you want them to, you could sent out an e-mail to the people on your concrete equipment user list to tell them that you have trowels available and ask them to call your store today to receive a special one-time rate. It would not make sense to send out that e-mail to the aerial lift equipment or landscaping equipment users as they do not rent such equipment. You might narrow the e-mail down to only one company, which might have five different jobs going on at the same time. Now imagine how long it would take your salespeople to go and visit all your concrete equipment users and try to move the trowels. E-mail communication is instant: if you woke up in the morning and notice pouring rain outside you could sent a blast e-mail saying we have pumps available and can get them out quickly if needed. Imagine getting this message out to 100 jobsites in your area at 6:30 a.m. on a rainy day when you know the first thing the foreman is going to check when he gets to the site is his e-mail or texts. This would result in more rentals, lower labour costs, higher utilization and more effective time management. Cha-ching, cha-ching.

To get started, call Member Services at the ARA at CRA and ARA members will receive a discount of 20 per cent on a six-month pre-pay, or 25 per cent on a 12-month pre-pay.

Your CRA recognizes the importance of social media and has formed a Social Media and Advertising Committee led by our social media guru, James Morden. We welcome your ideas and comments for that committee.

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