2020 has changed the way we do business, but also the way we, as consumers, look for products and services. Everything is online, and the online marketing space has been put to the ultimate test. If you can tame this beast, you can ensure the longevity of your heating and cooling business.
In this article, we’re going to break down how you can utilize online marketing to ensure your HVAC business can ride the waves of COVID and the rising world of data and marketing.
What is HVAC Marketing?
Marketing is simple, it’s not complicated. I’m shooting myself in the foot here, but in reality, it’s a straightforward process: set up the conditions necessary for a person to convince him or herself that you are the one they should choose to solve their problem.
We all like to feel that we’re choosing a company out of free will, not like we’re being manipulated or persuaded into buying something. And with your HVAC business, that is no different.
So how do you do this? Well, in the past, you would advertise on Yellow Pages (remember that?), your local chamber of commerce, radio ads, and other forms of physical marketing. However, over the past ten years, nothing comes close in terms of cost-efficiency and ROI to online marketing.
So, in summary, HVAC marketing is the process of developing a strategy that will allow potential buyers to convince themselves your company is the right one to call, and the best way to do this is through online platforms.
What Forms of HVAC Marketing Exist?
So what forms of online marketing are available for HVAC contractors?
- Google Ad Words
- Facebook Ads
- Organic SEO
- Google Maps SEO
- Pay Per Lead
- YouTube Ads
- Lead Generation Listings (Homeadvisor, Yelp, etc.)
Just about all of these, except for lead generation, require you to pay close attention to your website. Your website is your headquarters, and while you may be out in the field all day, your website is what will help you get the attention of new customers.
1. Invest in Your Website
In our blog post on HVAC SEO Tips, we discussed how investing in your website is the first crucial step in creating a successful online marketing campaign for your heating and cooling company.
Most people will go to your website because they’ve either heard about you from a previous customer (referral) or because they’re in the market for a new provider and you happened to be one listed. Whatever the reason is, if they land on your site and it looks horrible and takes forever to load, you’re better off playing the lottery and winning than to expect the person to reach out to you (okay, I’m exaggerating, but you get the point).
Your website can be an asset or a liability (this was said by Ruan Marinho, who is another great marketer in the SEO field). And it’s true! You can either be paying hosting, domain, and content fees every month and view it as another bill to pay, or you can turn it into an asset that can generate new customers for your business. It all comes down to mindset and willingness to tread new waters (this is a very new way of doing business).
2. Create TONS of Content
Content is KING. There are tons of books and marketing specialists who will attest to this statement like there’s no tomorrow. If you want to stand out, you need to create content. Content should go on your website as blogs or articles, as social media posts, on YouTube videos, and on any platform you can think of. Although your top priority, at least if you’re an HVAC service business, should be on your website. This is because people scrolling on Facebook watching political mashups aren’t likely to take action from an AC repair post.
What Type of Content Should Be Made?
Here’s the secret to creating killer content for your website: answer questions!
There’s a great book called “They Ask You Answer” and the summary is just that, when you get a question, you need to answer it. Think back to every question you’ve ever been asked by a prospect or customer. This can be “how much would it cost to install a new AC?” or “Should I buy a heat pump or furnace?” and if you write a high-quality blog post, around 700-1,000 words, with a few images, you’re GOING to STAND OUT.
Why? Because your competition isn’t talking about this. So if you want to create a killer marketing strategy for your HVAC business, answer all the questions or as many as possible (try writing out at least 10) and post the answers on your website.
3. Get Listed on Google Maps
The third thing you should implement in your marketing plan is to get listed on Google Maps. You can click here to claim your business, and once claimed, you can start ranking in the Google Maps section.
Take note of the image above. If you’re a contractor, then ranking in the maps section or three-pack (three listings usually appear here) will get you the phone calls you want. This is because it has all the information you need in order for a property owner to make a decision: reviews, name, phone number, and hours.
How to Rank Higher
If you’re looking to rank higher in Google Maps, you can do a few basic steps to boost your rankings:
- Fill out everything Google asks
- Get your business listed in local directories
- Be consistent with your name, address, and phone number
- Post photos on your Google My Business
If you have any questions, feel free to email [email protected] to get additional insight as to how to rank higher in the maps section.
4. Make Videos and Take Photos
The thing next that should be included in your HVAC marketing campaign is taking photos. If you have the budget, consider hiring a professional photographer to take photos of your team.
If you are a DIY type of person, then even using your phone camera will do just fine. Simply take horizontal (landscape) and vertical (portrait) photos of your crew and staff members.
What Type of Photos Should I Take?
You should take photos of your team at work. Maybe take them by various heating and cooling units at different angles.
Also, be sure to include the faces of your team members, especially those who are making the service calls. Homeowners are more likely to give a call to an HVAC company if they know what the service technician looks like before they step into their home.
Wouldn’t you like to see the face of whoever is coming to your personal place of dwelling?
Make sure that your photos are clear when possible. You don’t have to be an expert photographer but the better the photo quality, the more professional you’ll appear.
5. Invest in Pay Per Click or Organic SEO
If you do a great, even decent, job, people are likely to remember you and refer you to their friends. Word of mouth is hands down the most powerful form of marketing, but not always the fastest and best suited for those looking to scale and expand into new markets.
Even if you don’t have thousands of dollars to spend on advertising, investing your time and even a few hundred dollars into your online presence, particularly Google, will significantly help you close more contracts and get more customers.
How Much Should You Spend on HVAC SEO?
If you’re looking to hire an agency price structure will vary from agency to agency. Some will charge you a monthly fee of $1,000-$1,500/mo, depending on the size of your business, locations, and services. Others will charge you a fee per phase. This phase can be broken down into 3-6 month intervals and can cost anywhere from $3,000-$10,000.
You should NOT hire cheap options when it comes to SEO. If you hire an agency that promises 30-day first-page results, RUN! These are almost always off-shore companies trying to get a few hundred dollars for doing next to no work. They may rank you #1 for your business name or some phrase that nobody is searching like “Goodman 5 heat pump replacement in Toledo OH”
SEO is not an expense, it’s an investment. Why? Because you’re paying for results that will give you more business in the long run. To learn more about pricing, check out our article on “Local SEO Price and Cost“
6. Get Your Business Listed Everywhere
It’s important to get your business listed in as many directories as possible. Make sure to include your business name, address, phone #, some keywords, and images wherever possible.
According to MOZ, home service industries should be listed on the following websites:
Some of them you’ll have to pay to be on, and you’ll have to pay even more, such as Yelp, to get their leads. However, even having your business listed on Yelp (without paying for leads) can significantly boost your standing with Google, particularly Google Maps.
Google likes to see consistency across the web. If your name, address, phone# and other details are consistent, you’ll have a better shot of taming the beast!
7. Ask For Reviews and Manage Your Reputation
The final pillar of HVAC marketing is to manage your reputation and get reviews.
As soon as you finish a job, you want to ask the customer to leave a review on your Google My Business page. This will help your rankings and show other homeowners that your HVAC service is reliable and trusted by the community.
How to Get Shortened Review Link
In order to get your Google My Business review link, you need to have a listing first. Once you have a listing, you should create a shortened URL. You can find this under the “Info” tab on the left-hand side of the Google My Business dashboard.
Once set, you will see a tab that says “Get more reviews,” and you will click on the button that says “Share review form” you can now text that link or email it to your customers and as them to leave you a quick review.
Example format: https://g.page/yourhvacbusiness/review?rc
Responding to Negative Reviews
Sometimes people are just not happy with your service. You’ve tried negotiating with them, and they just aren’t happy. So they leave a bad review. Sometimes they aren’t even justified at all, and some haven’t even been customers!
So what do you do?
Well, we’ve done some digging from the Harvard Business Review, and found a few things that work out best when responding to bad reviews.
- Make your response personalized and use their name
- Apologize for the inconvenience and or any mistakes
- Ask the person to contact someone (provide an email and phone # option as some people are too afraid or emotional to call)
- AVOID BEING INSULTING OR RUDE!
- AVOID JUSTIFYING YOURSELF
Contact JCSURGE For HVAC SEO and Marketing
If you’re looking to improve your online visibility and generate extra service calls per month, contact our contractor SEO agency to request a free video analysis of your site. We’ll provide you with a 5-10 minute video going over your website and your competitor’s sites to show you how we can outdo them.
JCSURGE – Building the Industry That Builds America