Are you one of the many HVAC contractors who is attempting to increase your business with marketing efforts in the more traditional, and outdated way by listing your business in the Yellow Pages? If so, you are completely wasting your money. In the past, the Yellow Pages were the place consumers turned to when they needed to find a local business, such as a pizza delivery place, a car repair shop, or even a new dentist. However, as technology has advanced in the last few years, people are beginning to use that hefty yellow book more often as a doorstop than as a source for information.
Today, HVAC contractors can’t dispute that (other than direct referrals) the internet is the most important place for new client lead-generation. Leads search online, use mobile devices, and get advice on social media. But that doesn’t mean it’s easy to make connections. There are certain concepts you need to understand about the digital marketing to lay the foundations for successful campaigns. Revved Business is here to help. These general concepts will help you set goals, better understand your leads, and give you a vision for your marketing.
Marketing for HVAC Contractors
The ease and efficiency of finding a new business online will cause this trend to continue to grow each year, making it a necessity for HVAC contractors to begin investing into digital marketing. With hundreds of HVAC businesses online competing against you, it’s not enough to just have a website for your HVAC company and hope for the best. You need to also make sure that potential leads can find you when searching for a local business to fix their broken air conditioner or heater. In order to be found in the online marketplace, it’s crucial to invest in a pay-per-click (PPC) campaign.
Marketing vs. Advertising
In the past, most small local businesses mainly advertised. Their “brand” marketing was their word-of-mouth reputation. Ads were print and maybe local TV or radio. And yes, The Yellow Pages were a necessity. Today, marketing at a brand level is more robust, even for small businesses. And advertising has goals which are distinct from marketing.
An easy way to visualize the difference between marketing and advertising is to think of the target audience for each.
The first is the person whose air conditioner just blew up—and it’s a July heat wave. This person has an immediate, urgent need for HVAC services. They’re going to search for a service (probably on their phone, standing outside watching the smoke rise from her broken unit) and call an HVAC service now. You use PPC advertisements so they finds you at the top of the search results. They are responsive to direct-response ad copy and conversion-based content. They want to find the best deal from a trustworthy service and act. You advertise to this hot lead.
The second is a person who predicts their air conditioner is going to need replacing. They’re concerned that their vents need to be cleaned. They’re unhappy with their electricity bill, so they’re researching ways to lower it, including options with their home’s air conditioning. You have the opportunity to use content to market to this lead. Luckily, you have a variety of useful information on your website and your company blog to help with this. This content marketing does two things: creates awareness of your HVAC company brand and builds trust with the lead. When you offer honest, useful advice, you create the sense that you’re not just out to sell.
Utilize Local Listings
Search listings are like the Yellow Pages of the Internet. Google Maps, Bing Places, and Yahoo Local allow small businesses to appear in the search engine results when someone looks for a business like yours locally. For example, if someone were to search for “ac repair in San Antonio, TX,” these search engines will return the claimed business profiles of local HVAC companies above the website results. By claiming your profiles and optimizing them with relevant information, potential leads can make an informed decision about calling you—and you can show them why you’re better than the competition.
Be conscious of your reputation
Word of mouth and referrals have always been important for HVAC contractors. Today, that importance is amplified by internet content. Most HVAC leads will check online reviews before they make a call. Sites like Yelp, Angie’s List, the Better Business Bureau, Google for Business and Top Rated Local offer third party resources for ratings, reviews, and comments about your work. Like it or not, these reviews will effect your lead generation. The reason many businesses don’t like it is because you can’t control this content, and—let’s face it—people aren’t always fair.
Today, you need to understand that everything you do as a business affects your reputation and online reviews. Your staff, service levels, fairness, quality of work—all play a role in your referral/review marketing. The most important thing you can do to impact your online reviews is keep your standards for work and customer service high. Remember that everything you do will have a lasting impact. Beyond that, monitor what’s said about you online and do everything you can to sway things towards the positive. Encourage your happy HVAC clients to leave you reviews.
Learn More about Marketing for HVAC Contractors
These are just a few simple ways to get your marketing off the ground if you are an HVAC contractor. For additional help with marketing for the heating and cooling industry, don’t hesitate to contact our Marketing Gurus at Revved Business.