Posted by Emily Bauer
February 27, 2019
It can be hard to stand out in a field like HVAC. As most home service business owners know, competition is fierce.
Unfortunately, making a sale isn’t as simple as pitching a prospective customer and scheduling an appointment (trust us, we wish it was, too).
In the crazy world of selling, studies show that up to 80% of all sales require at least five follow-ups to close. That means it can take five interactions with a customer—which may include five refusals—until a customer may be ready to close the deal. Annoying? Yes. Essential? Also yes.
If you’re looking to stand out in the digital world but aren’t sure where to start, you’ve come to the right place. Read on for HVAC marketing strategies that deliver results, to help you get a leg up on the competition and drive HVAC leads who will turn into lifelong customers.
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In today’s digital age, there’s one truth: if you don’t have a website, you don’t exist.
Today’s digitally-savvy customer looks to company’s website for legitimacy. The proof is in the facts: 85% of consumers use the internet to find a local business—which leaves you in the dust if you’re not online.
Think of your company’s website as the digital HQ for your HVAC marketing. It’s your centralized place in the digital world where prospective customers can come and learn about your business.
That means it’s your opportunity to speak directly to potential clients and show them why you’re the best choice for their HVAC needs. A well-designed website educates prospective leads, but also provides them a contact phone number and online contact form on each page of the site, so that an appointment with you is right at their fingertips.
While building a website once required the help of a professional web developer, these days anyone can do it using all-in-one website builders. It’s as simple as choosing your domain name (URL), selecting a site template, and filling it with content about your HVAC business.
However, it’s also important to optimize your website for mobile users. If your site won’t load on a potential customer’s smartphone, guaranteed they’re going to head elsewhere and book someone else’s services. It’s also important to make sure your site loads quickly; 53% of mobile website visits are abandoned if a mobile site takes longer than three seconds to load.
Google is the new Yellow Pages. Those in need of HVAC services once turned to that big yellow book for answers; they now turn to Google. It was once enough to simply purchase ad space in your local Yellow Pages—but those days are over.
Today, Google receives tens of thousands of searches per second.
Now, putting your business in the faces of potential customers is an entirely different beast. You have to obtain great rankings on Google, and that’s a bit more complex. That’s where the next HVAC marketing strategy comes into play: optimizing your site for SEO.
SEO stands for Search Engine Optimization. Here’s the basic principle: make your website as search engine-friendly as possible. The better your SEO, the more likely it is that your website will appear when someone Googles “HVAC services”.
SEO sounds technical and intimidating, but for a small business, it’s fairly simple.
In order to reach potential customers, you must first think like potential customers. Make a list of all of the different phrases that users who need your services may search for in Google. This will become the list of words you want to “rank” for, meaning that when a user searches these phrases, you want to appear as high up as possible on their Google search results. That may include things like:
Heater repair Los Angeles
Best heater repair company
Same day heater repair
Compile a list of keywords like this for the most important services you provide.
Every word on your website is an opportunity for you to improve your Google ranking. Once you’ve compiled your list of keywords you’d like to rank for, it’s time to start incorporating them into your site content. That includes your headers, title tags, and page copy. Be sure to write naturally. Overuse of keywords in your site copy in an attempt to rank (known as “keyword stuffing”) is a big Google No-No.
One simple way to incorporate a lot of keywords in a single place is to build a Services page. Here, you can list all the services you offer, allowing you to improve your ranking for a variety of keywords.
Remember that improving your SEO does not happen overnight. It’s a gradual and ongoing process. The sooner you begin, the sooner your rankings will begin to improve!
If you already have a website and want to see how optimized your SEO is, use our tool for FREE.
While customers who are ready to move forward with their HVAC service are searching for phrases like “heater repair Los Angeles”, there are plenty of potential customers who are still in the discovery phase.
They’re wondering things like which heater suits their needs the best, whether they should go with energy efficient products, or how much they should expect to pay for an installation. As an HVAC professional, you’re chock full of answers.
That’s precisely why an HVAC blog is an invaluable HVAC content marketing strategy. By maintaining an HVAC blog, you can attract customers with articles that rank for keywords those customers are searching, and win them over with your wealth of knowledge and expertise. Hello new bookings, and hello more money!
Unlike users who are ready to get moving on their HVAC project, users in the discovery phrase will utilize Google and other search engines for research. That could include phrases like:
Best heating system
Heating options for large home
Cheap heating systems
Again, compile a list of keywords and phrases for your most important services.
These keywords and phrases will dictate the topics of your blog articles. You can write a top 10 list of your favorite heating systems, or an article on the best heating systems for small, mid-sized, and large homes. The best part about your blog is that you have knowledge to write the content all on your own—no research required!
Google My Business is a tool offered by Google specifically for local businesses. It allows you to build a profile for your business that will appear in Google searches and on Google maps. If you’ve ever searched for a gas station or restaurant on Google or Google Maps, you’ve likely interacted with a Google My Business profile. Google My Business is a totally free opportunity to improve your HVAC digital marketing.
Building your Google My Business profile is simple.
Fill in all requested information, including your NAP (name, address, phone number), website, hours of operation, and more. Be sure to include your service area, so customers know whether or not you make house calls to their location.
A verified business tells Google that your page is legitimate. There are a number of ways to verify your business with Google, including via postcard, phone, email, and more.
The more information you can provide Google about your business, the more legitimacy your business will have with Google. In addition to your NAP and website, add categories (i.e. services you offer) and a description of your business. Be sure to utilize your SEO keywords and phrases whenever possible. Finally, add images and videos if available.
For better or for worse, customer reviews affect your bottom line. A survey by BrightLocal found that 92% of customers read online reviews when researching local businesses – and another 68% of consumers trust a business more after reading positive reviews.
When it comes to building credibility, customer reviews are king. According to a 2018 survey, 91% of 18-34 year old customers trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations. That’s up 15% over the past 5 years, and that number is expected to continue growing.
If you run a business with lots of happy customers, there’s no reason not to incorporate them into your HVAC marketing strategy.
You’ve already mastered Google My Business, so building profiles on other review sites should be a cinch. Besides Google My Business, Yelp is the head honcho when it comes to local business reviews. Yelp profiles are built quite similarly to GMB, so you should be able to repurpose most of what you’ve compiled for your GMB profile. Other must-haves include Angie’s List, Home Advisor, and more!
Looking for more than just Angie's List & Home Advisor? Check our our list of the top Angie's List competitors.
While it may feel a bit awkward to ask, satisfied customers are often more than happy to put in a good word for your business. Note that it’s against the rules to incentivize reviews, but a simple ask can go a long way! Provide links to your Yelp and Google My Business pages from your site, so that happy customers are just a click away from a rave review.
Responding to a positive review is simple. It’s a matter of thanking your customer for their patronage and expressing your gratitude to them, which isn’t hard work. But what do you do when you receive a negative review?
The fact of the matter is that bad reviews happen—even to the best HVAC companies. The smallest mix-up may drive an unhappy customer to leave a negative review of your business. But even the most scathing review can be helped by a response from the business owner. A study by the Harvard Business Review showed that by simply responding to customer reviews—positive or negative—businesses saw their overall rating increase by 10%.
Remember that when responding to a negative review you’re not here to make excuses for their bad experience—you’re here to make it right. A simple response that acknowledges and takes responsibility for the experience, plus a request for them to contact you and give you the chance to right the situation, is all that’s needed.
Will the customer follow up? Perhaps. But what’s more important is that prospective customers who read the reviews see a company that’s honest, hardworking, and responsible.
Though you may know it best for funny animal clips and viral videos, YouTube is a search engine just like Google, Yahoo, and Bing, with 149 million active users every month. Just like websites and blogs, YouTube videos are searchable by keyword and show up in Google search results. That means that a well-made YouTube video can show up not only to the 149 million monthly YouTube users, but also in the 105 billion monthly Google searches. That’s a lot of people!
Incorporating YouTube content into your HVAC marketing strategy works just like building blog content, though the final product is a video rather than an article.
Think about what your potential customers might be searching for videos of. Tutorials are a great option. Create YouTube videos that show how to complete simple repairs that any DIY-savvy homeowner can do (and may not be worth your time). This will help establish you as an expert in HVAC and the go-to repair service when a more technical issue arises.
If your lack of professional videography skills has you doubting yourself, push those fears aside! YouTube tutorials don’t need any pizzazz or frill. Your smartphone camera is surely sufficient in terms of quality, and your tutorials don’t need to appear professionally produced. They simply need to be clear and easy to follow.
Social media isn’t just for keeping up to date with your ex’s latest adventures. It’s a powerful marketing tool for local businesses to build and connect with potential leads. Through your company Facebook page, you can grow awareness of your business, find new leads, and engage with new and long-time customers.
Building out a Facebook page is just like building our your Google My Business profile. Be sure to fill your page with relevant information like your NAP (name, address, phone number), services, business hours, and more.
You can also enable reviews on Facebook. Not only will this be helpful to potential customers, but your reviews will also appear in Google searches for your business. Potential customers will see a result from Facebook that includes your company name, address, and star ratings.
Facebook is also the perfect place to highlight any images you have of your company. This could include team photos, before and after images of various projects you’ve done, or any other photography related to your business.
Participating in industry-related Facebook groups where you can share your knowledge and establish a reputation as a local professional
Host a giveaway on Facebook that encourages users to interact with your page to get more reach and exposure
With more than 1 billion users, Facebook is ripe with opportunity for your HVAC marketing strategy. While organic social media is a great start at reaching prospective customers, the key to unlocking a steady flow of leads is through Facebook advertising. With a small monthly budget, Facebook advertising will allow you to reach thousands of users potentially in need of your services.
Facebook advertising seems complex, but it’s really a simple addition to your HVAC digital marketing strategy.
This tells Facebook that you’re aiming to get as many potential leads to your site as possible. Set a daily budget that you feel comfortable with. As small as $10/day can reach more than 1,000 people daily!
Building your audience is your opportunity to reach the users you’d like to connect with. With the magic of Facebook advertising, you can build and target the precise audience you’d like. For an HVAC marketing campaign, you may want to target:
Users within your service area
Users within a defined age range
Facebook ads contain 3 different elements: text, an image, and a link. Your Facebook ads should clearly and concisely explain who your business is, what services you provide, and why prospective leads should choose you over the competition.
Servicing the community for 25 years
5-star rating on Yelp
Family owned and operated
First time customer discount
A team photo of your smiling service technicians
A technician shaking hands with a happy customer
A before and after of a particularly compelling project
When it comes to links, always link back to your website. Be sure that the page users land on includes a contact form and a phone number, so they can easily make an appointment with you.
Simply turn your campaign on to get the traffic flowing to your site. Test various different audiences, as well as several different ads featuring different combinations of texts, images, and links to see what performs best. You’ll begin to reach prospective customers in no time! Make sure their experience is great - 71% of consumers that have a good social media service experience are likely to recommend a brand to others.
Experts estimate that it costs 5x more to earn a new customer than it does to retain an existing customer. In an industry like HVAC, customers are bound to need your services more than once over the course of a few years. So how do you ensure that your customers keep coming back?
HVAC automated marketing services help you do just this. By setting up an automated email campaign, not only will you be able to send service reminders and thank you follow-ups automatically, but you’ll be able to do so much more.
Incentivize email signups by offering a small discount to users who sign up for your email newsletter
Set up automated reminders for heating maintenance in the Fall and air conditioning maintenance in the Spring
Automate a “We’ve missed you!” coupon for a discounted service to customers who haven’t booked an appointment in over a year
Send a bi-yearly recap of the latest and greatest in HVAC technology to incentivize upgrades
Digitizing your HVAC marketing strategy is an essential step to get a leg up on your competition. By incorporating the above tactics into your marketing plan, you’ll be driving a steady pipeline of leads with little ongoing effort. Happy marketing!
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