How to Market and Grow Your HVAC Business
Today, there are over 100,000 HVAC businesses in the United States*, each competing for a piece of the $81.1 billion/year industry**.
With more than 72 million homes in the United States with a central HVAC unit, how can your HVAC business stand out above the rest in such a competitive industry?
A couple of key tactics to help make your phone ring are...
- Put your website to work
- Localize yourself
- Implement a referral program
- How complimentary services can uncover new opportunities
- Turn needs into leads with seasonal deals
- 8-10 year long marketing tactics that work
Put Your Website to Work For You
There are 8 simple, yet critical elements that every HVAC business website MUST follow to be successful in attracting new customers...
- A relevant domain name. If the domain name you want to use is already registered to someone else, it’s okay to create something similar or play around with the wording a bit. At the end of the day, the most effective domain names are the ones that are easiest to remember!
- An easy-to-navigate homepage. Visitors should be able to quickly scan your website’s Home page to find the information they are looking for. The key here is to think about WHAT your customers are looking for- Emergency or After Hours Service? Do you service boilers as well as forced air systems? What areas (cities, boroughs, or counties) does your company service?
- Current contact information. Your address, phone number, email, and links to your social media accounts should all be current. However, be sure to emphasize the best way for your customers to reach you! At the end of the day, they are most likely to work with a company who is quick to respond.
- A solid company description. People who have never worked with you before need to know WHO you are, WHAT services you provide, and WHY you’re a better choice than any of your competitors. Remember, your prospects are looking for someone they can trust, so it’s important to explain WHY they should trust YOU! Keep in mind that you have less than two seconds to make a great first impression (online)!
- A Call-to-Action (CTA) and Lead Form. Assuming you’ve provided all the key information your customers are looking for (and made it easy for them to find it!), the next logical step is to tell your visitors exactly what you want them to do. For example, an effective CTA for a HVAC-related lead form is: ‘Request a FREE Repair or New Installation Estimate!”
- A Testimonial / Reviews Page. This allows prospects to see what other customers have to say about their experience working with you. However, don’t be afraid to showcase mediocre or less than stellar reviews. In the event a customer leaves an unpleasant review, be sure to respond to it, acknowledge their feelings and offer an opportunity for them to contact you so you have an opportunity to make things right. No one is perfect, and being honest and transparent is much more authentic, relatable, and more importantly, trustworthy.
- Fresh content. Keep your HVAC website updated with fresh and unique content. The search engines are more likely to rank a site with regularly updated content than those with stagnant content that hasn’t been touched in a while, as they deem it as having greater value to those searching for the services you provide. This is where ‘blogging’ can add immense value to your website and business (we’ll touch more on this later).
- (RELATED READING: 4 Proven Reasons Blogging Will Grow Your HVAC Business)
- Search Engine Optimization (SEO). In order for potential customers to find you when searching online, it is imperative that your website and Google My Business (GMB) listing be properly optimized. The important thing to remember here is that SEO is NOT a set-it-and-forget-it tactic. The search engines are constantly evolving, and the factors they assess to determine a given site’s rank in the Search Engine Results Pages (SERPs) are always changing. Add to that the number of existing and new competitors all adjusting their SEO strategies on a daily basis, and you can quickly see how and why SEO is a critical and ongoing tactic.
Pay close attention to the last element! It used to be that when people wanted to hire an HVAC professional, they opened up a big fat phone book and scanned the yellow pages for a heating and cooling company they’d seen advertised in a commercial or local newspaper. Some even asked their friends and neighbors for a recommendation. But one thing is for sure - they definitely didn’t pull out their smartphone and search for “heating repair in West Bloomfield, MI”!
Today’s digital world is a totally different culture than it was even 10 years ago. If your HVAC business isn’t online, you’re already losing customers to your competition. But if you are online, your website MUST to be up-to-date with the latest SEO tactics and best practices to ensure your business is visible to those searching for your services.
More than 70% of consumer searches on the Internet are for local businesses, so you want to make sure your HVAC website is easily found. So aside from having a great, user-friendly website that is properly optimized for search engines, it’s important you also list your business in all the local search directories you can. Some are free, and some require a subscription. We recommend taking advantage of all the free listings you can before investing in any paid directory listings.
Many of your customers often use directories like Home Advisor and Angie’s List to find local, credible HVAC businesses in the area. While those are typically paid directories, other options you can get listed on that we recommend include:
Industry specific directories:
- Thomasnet.com *be sure to list your business within the appropriate “HVAC contractors” category with Thomasnet.
With every listing you setup, make sure you have a plan to monitor it. When you receive positive feedback, send a quick “Thank you” reply to that customer! If you receive an unfavorable review (it happens, so don’t stress too much over it), respond to it promptly. This demonstrates your genuine concern for the customer’s issue, as well as a willingness to work towards a solution.
How do you monitor your online reputation and run an HVAC company at the same time? Easy! And it can be done for free through Google Alerts.
Google Alerts is one of the most convenient and easy to step-up tools to monitor your brand’s reputation. Simply go to google.com/alerts and fill out the search form with your company name. You have the option of filtering what type of media results you would like, how often you would like to be updated with your results, and so on. Now every time your brand is mentioned online, Google will send you an alert.
Google Map Listing
Of all your online business and directory listings, the most important is Google My Business (Google Map listing). According to research conducted by Google and research company Ipsos Media***, consumers are 38% more likely to visit, and 29% more likely to purchase products or services from businesses with a complete Google Maps listing.
A Google Maps listing makes it easy for customers to gain quick and relevant information about your business, such as where you’re located, when you’re open for business, and a phone number or email address where they can reach you. A well optimized GMB listing also displays any reviews your customers have posted for you, as well as ‘star’ rating to indicate how well your customers rated their experience with you.
You can even link your Google Maps listing to your Google+ page. Google rewards businesses that actively manage their Google maps and Google+ pages, so by simply adding new content on a regular basis, you can boost the ranking power of your listing.
Implement a Referral Program
It’s no secret that word-of-mouth advertising can help promote your business at a fraction of the cost of paid marketing. However, most businesses don’t know how to motivate their customers to become ‘brand advocates’, and ultimately refer more business.
The reality is that most people need an incentive to do something they wouldn’t otherwise normally do. Consider offering your past and current clients a referral credit, such as a $25-$50 gift card for anyone they refer to you (that becomes a new customer!). You can even offer discounts - not just to the customer who referred someone, but offer an additional discount to the new customer as well.
This helps create a lot of positive feelings about your business, providing an even higher level of value. According to Texas Tech, 83% of consumers are willing to refer others after a positive experience****. With that being said, that $25-$50 dollar credit has the potential to come back to you tenfold!
How Complimentary Services Can Uncover New Opportunities
The word ‘complementary’ might scare some small business owners, especially when it deals with high-cost repairs like a broken furnace. However, that’s not the point. It’s not about offering a free furnace repair to attract a new customer. It’s about trying to broaden your service offerings and blend the lower margin services with higher ones.
What does that mean? Offer a FREE energy audit, duct cleaning, or indoor air quality assessment that acts as a lead-in for other services that require a larger investment. This technique has proven to be successful, resulting in additional new customers, sales leads, and even new opportunities discovered, such as equipment replacement jobs that you wouldn’t have landed otherwise.
Turn Needs into Leads with Seasonal Deals
Promoting seasonal services and specials can generate the more sales for the following season.
For example, during the fall months, HVAC businesses have a big opportunity to build their brand and gain more furnace repair and installation clients. As winter approaches, the need for heating maintenance starts, and all you have to do is create the right marketing campaign to turn those needs into leads!
You can promote different deals on your website or social media pages to get your prospects’ attention. This can be a discount on a furnace tune-up before the winter cold settles in, or an AC precision tune-up before the summer heat comes.
An 8-10 Year Marketing Tactic that Works
An easy and effective strategy that many businesses overlook is the value of wrapping your company truck(s).
Think about it... you only pay for it once, and the average vehicle wrap lasts for 8-10 years. If you’re constantly driving around town all day every day, people will see your trucks everywhere. This effort alone is a big part of building brand recognition within the areas you serve.
The key to a successful vehicle wrap is to make it noticeable enough that people can read the company name and phone number on your truck from at least 50 ft away. Keep in mind, less is more, so don’t over complicate it! But do be sure to include your fundamental HVAC service marketing points like:
- Company name & logo
- Phone number
- Clever tagline
- Any accreditation logos (licensed, insured, BBB rated, Angie’s List Rated, etc.)
- Basic service offerings, like “Furnace & A/C Repair, New Furnace and A/C Installations, etc.”
- Relevant background images
With a little thought and effort, your trucks can be great mobile billboards to establish and grow your brand’s recognition, so use them to your advantage!
Need help marketing your HVAC business? Give us a call!
Let’s face it, as technologies and the way people use them continue to evolve, successfully marketing your HVAC business in today’s world can be a big challenge.
At High Level Marketing, the sole purpose behind everything we do is empowering small business owners like you to leverage today’s technologies to best position your brand in front of the very people who are looking for the services you offer and more importantly, drive them to call YOU instead of your competitors.
We’ve worked with numerous HVAC businesses throughout the U.S. to develop an effective website and digital marketing strategy that drives traffic and convert leads! Check out our portfolio here, or contact us today for a FREE initial strategy session.
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*data according to 2008 US Census Bureau (https://www.census.gov/epcd/susb/2008/us/US23822.HTM)
**data according to April 11, 2017 article ‘HVAC Industry Analysis: Growth Rate & Our Changing Workforce’ (https://www.hvac.com/blog/hvac-industry-analysis-growth-rate-changing-workforce/)
***data according to August 2014 white paper ‘Impact of Search Listings for Local Businesses’ (https://www.gybo.com/downloads/search-listing-research.pdf)
****data according to April 9, 2015 article ‘Why Referral Marketing Works and How to Use It’ (https://today.ttu.edu/posts/2015/04/why-referral-marketing-works)