Why Control4’s Advertising Partnership with Angie’s List is Perfect for Us

It turns out this is exactly the kind of advertising partnership that we have been wanting for years, as it requires absolutely zero upfront commitment from us.
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If you have a showroom and your area is anything like mine, then you are visited fairly frequently by salespeople wanting you to advertise. (Or by Aflac. Those guys are relentless.)

“Put an ad in our magazine; we reach all the homeowners in this community!”

“Place an ad in our mailer; it goes out to the members of all these golf courses!”

“Advertise in our calendar; we print up more than 5,000 copies and it is in people’s homes for the entire year!”

“Buy space on our new digital billboard, and we’ll guarantee you 10,000 impressions!”

Sure, all of these things have the potential to bring in new business, but you have to weigh the outlay against the potential return and trust this would be new business that your company wouldn’t have received organically. (One of my favorite comebacks to these salespeople is that we are like the Ferrari dealer in this town, and if someone is looking to buy a Ferrari, then they are going to find me without any help from them.)

For years my business partner has had a straightforward counteroffer to salespeople: If you’re so sure that this is going to work for us, then give us the ad for free. If we get any business directly attributable to your ad, then we’ll be happy to pay you for it. Basically, let’s both put skin in the game; if you’re so confident that advertising in your publication will be successful, you shouldn’t have any problem “fronting” the costs for it.

Of course, no one ever takes us up on this offer, which is why I was so intrigued to see the recent partnership between Control4 and Angie’s List, which is built entirely around a pay-only-when-successful model.

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From the email I received from Angie’s List, “Control4 is launching its relationship with Angie’s List in 2016! In 2015, our members spent more than $77M in the home automation category. With the growth and demand for home improvement increasing, this is the perfect market to promote your company.”

If you would like your share of this $77 million in Angie’s List money, then read on!

While Angie’s List currently has 3.4 million members, it recently made a major strategic move in March to open a new free membership model. (“As the millennial generation, [which] is used to everything on the internet being free, transitions into homeownership, Angie’s List wants to be sure we’re keeping our reviews accessible to all homeowners so that service providers can continue to features themselves in front of searching consumers.” So, thanks, Millennials!) They expect this to bring in more members and drive even more traffic to their website.

The first thing I did was to reach out to my Control4 rep, Scott, and ask if this deal was for real and legit. He assured me that it was and then gave me a contact to reach out to.

It turns out this is exactly the kind of advertising partnership that we have been wanting for years, as it requires absolutely zero upfront commitment from us. If we don’t sell anything, we don’t pay anything. This is a case where nothing ventured actually can result in something gained, as dealers agree to pay Angie’s List a 10 percent (essentially a finder’s fee) for each job they sell. Anything dealers manage to sell above and beyond the initial offer is 100 percent theirs to keep. (Which addressed my partner’s very first comment/criticism, “So, if we end up selling them a $15,000 projector we have to give Angie’s List 10 percent of that?!” No! You don’t! So pipe down and start upselling!)

Angie’s List has come up with two different offers: “Family Room Automation Entertainment Package” and “Multi-Room Automation Experience.” The packages include a Control4 controller (either EA-1 or EA-3) and SR-260 remote control and up to three hours of programming/installation and sell for $850 and $1,500 respectively.

The program has room for you to charge more if needed (say if cable retrofit is required, or the equipment is of such an age/type that it doesn’t have pre-created control drivers) saying right in the “fine print” presented to the customer that, “Not all equipment is compatible with Control4. If project takes longer than three hours to install, additional fees may apply,” and “Every installation is unique and requires a consultation by your dealer to determine if additional fees apply.”

I reached out to Tyler Reed, Control4’s director, digital marketing, for some insight on the promotion, and here’s what he told me.

“Angie's List execs are trying to expand smart home and home automation on their site and assigned a team to research the industry, which is how they found Control4. From Control4's perspective it is a way for us to get in front of more customers in our demographic as well as hand the dealers guaranteed leads through the Angie's List Marketplace. We worked closely with the sales team to come up with the offers for dealers, although the offers can be customized by the dealers as well. We launched the program in April and have been in the process of onboarding dealers ever since, and we are getting more dealers signed up every week.”

If you are a Control4 dealer and interested in finding out more about this promotion, email control4@angieslist or call 866.783.2971.

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