Is Traditional Advertising Dead for HVAC Companies?

Growing Your HVAC Brand Through Traditional Advertising

Is Traditional Advertising Dead for HVAC Companies? If you ask most digital advertising agencies, you would think it is. At some point, the effective branding of radio, tv, billboards, and direct mail may go the way of the dinosaur and the palm pilot. But not yet!

Everyone today is focused on the final touch point before a decision is made……. the digital search ads and the company’s website. But when someone has a need for your services and Googles something like, “HVAC Repair Near Me”, so what makes them choose your company over your competitors? In most cases, they are not sure why they pick one company over the other. The consumer just recognizes you and relates to you on an emotional level. If digital advertising is the engine, then traditional advertising is the fuel that helps create new customers.

So What Message Works for Your HVAC Company?

Here are a few of the reasons people choose one dealer over another based upon traditional advertising:

  • Branding: 95% of the success or failure of a traditional advertising campaign (radio/tv/billboards/direct mail) is due to the creative. Think about it like this…..How is your ad motivating someone to choose you over your competitor? Are your ads entertaining and/or informative?  Both can work!  Look closely at your message, is it what a homeowner wants from a residential heating and air company?  Take a look at this article on the subject.
  • Referrals: Referrals start with a previous need from someone that they know. This is truly the best and the most affordable form of advertising….. “word of mouth.”  The person making the referral may have also been referred by another person. Wherever the chain begins, the original referral most likely came from someone who was driven to pick a company due to traditional advertising. This should be one of your top lead generators. If not, then it is time to review why. Are your CSR’s, techs, and installation crews doing their job?  Are they singing your company’s praises?  Your message?
    • Referral Program:  
      • Give incentives to current customers for referrals
      • Give incentives to your staff for referrals
  • Highlight Trust, Value and Fixed Now: These three categories cover most; if not all, of what your potential customers are looking for. These have the most value over all others. Make sure your traditional ads highlight one or more of these. You can build your brand around any or all.
    1. Trust: your customer is inviting someone they never met into their homes. Are your tech and installers professionally dressed? Are they clean? Friendly? These folks are the front line to your business. Are they representing you in the manner you want to be presented?
    2. Value: You definitely do not have to be the cheapest option out there. You just need to offer a perceived value to your customer. Remember these people are having a bad day. They just want to feel like they are getting a “win” by calling you at the moment you are offering a good deal.
    3. Fixed Now: Trust and Value can go out of the window when the consumer’s heating & air system is broken, and no one can come repair it within a timely fashion. We are living in an instant gratification society. People will not wait. They will keep going down the list until they find someone who is available.
  • Message consistency: Most dealers have different people running different messages at the same time. This forces you to compete with yourself. Make sure that your radio, TV, and billboards all have the same creative message and offer. Remember that people passively view/listen to ads until they need your services.  Remember, heating and air conditioning is “out of site” and “out of mind”, for the average homeowner/consumer.  They only think about it, when it’s not working!

How is Traditional Advertising Changing?

In 2021, there are many new options for advertising your HVAC message.  Think about your habits today?  You’re a consumer too!  We are all inundated with many forms of advertising today, but some options still dominant the overall listenership or viewership.

The Tried and True Advertising Medium

  • Television:  Broadcast and or Cable Television
  • Radio:  The numbers still dominant some of the new listening formats
  • Billboards:  Costs are increasing but can reach many of your target consumers

Newer Traditional Formats in Recent Years

  • Social Media:  Probably one of the least expensive methods to drive brand awareness
  • OTT:  “Over the Top TV”, these are the cord cutters that are watching tv in newer formats (Roku, Sling, Direct TV Now to name a few)

Traditional Marketing or Advertising for Heating & Air Companies Holds Its Own

As contractors, we have to remember one thing. Consumers are not thinking about us until they need us. They are not watching television, perusing social media, or driving down the road looking for a heating and air company. But, when their home’s HVAC system breaks, you know where they are going to look…..They will use some type of device to search the internet for heating and air companies.  Consumers that have built an association with your company, sometimes it’s conscious or unconscious, will be more likely to click on your Google Guaranteed, Paid Ad, or Organic Listing if they know you!  It is all part of a consistent, well-rounded, marketing campaign to drive company awareness.

Traditional campaigns build your brand and are a long-term strategy and should be done only as your company’s budget allows. These marketing avenues will continue to grow your business for now and the future.

Thank you for taking to time to review our article!

Reach out if you have questions or comments!

Dave Bowen

Managing Partner – Effective Media Solutions