The HVAC Marketing Puzzle, Piece by Piece
Marketing for your residential HVAC company has become very complex in recent years. Where do you start as an owner? What worked just a few short years ago may not be in best platform today? We’ll break the puzzle down piece by piece for you, but let’s take a step back first…..
Let’s Look at Recent History
Starting back in the late 1990’s to early 2000’s, it was pretty simple. You started with the basics; lettered your trucks, used jobsite signs, and had an advertisement in the yellow pages. And if you had the funds, you would use traditional forms of marketing or advertising. Television, Radio, billboards were and still are very common. These were your typical branding platforms for heating and air conditioning companies.
Along Comes the Internet
Do you remember the sound the dial up modem made or “you’ve got mail”? We are not that far removed, or maybe I’m just getting old This was a gamechanger for our industry. It gave us the ability to showcase our services for a relatively low cost versus traditional advertising. Now the internet in intertwined throughout all aspects of our lives.
Before we started putting the marketing puzzle together for your company, let’s look at your business and your current marketing.
Evaluate Your Company and Your Current Marketing 1st
First and foremost, every heating and air company is unique in its on way. So, it is difficult to have a one-size fits all marketing strategy. Your company is in a different stage of its life cycle, and it may have different needs than another company of similar size.
What Are Your Business Goals?
- How long do you plan to own and run your business?
- Do you have yearly sales goals broken down by department? (Service, Maintenance, AOR)
- Are you measuring KPI’s (Key Performance Indicators) to determine how to stack up against the industry’s best?
By answering these questions, it will help shape your marketing puzzle.
What Does Your Current Marketing Look Like?
What platforms are you using to reach your target customers? Does your company have a modern website? Are you using lead generation platforms?
What are you currently doing to market your HVAC business?
In today’s digital world, we start with the website first. Your website is your online storefront, customers can window shop your business before they buy, so it better look good! Let’s break down the digital musts in 2022.
- A modern, mobile-friendly or responsive website (That means it looks good on all devices: desktop, laptop, iPad, and phone)
- Paid Services (Search Ads, Display Ads, Google Guaranteed)
- Social Media (This may include organic and paid)
Once you have identified your company goals and the current state of your marketing efforts, now we can begin to put the marketing puzzle together.
Let’s Look at the Big Picture and Define Who You Are?
Does your company have a well-defined USP or Unique Selling Proposition? What makes your business different over the company across town? You may not have it defined, but it is there, just look….would-be customers are looking for certain traits from an HVAC company, and it may not be what you think!
So, What are They Looking For?
We have identified three distinct traits that really resonate with homeowners when they are looking for the right HVAC contractor.
- Trust – consumers want to trust a company that is coming into their home.
- Value – consumers are looking for “value” in their HVAC purchase, and that is not the cheapest price. Homeowners typically only purchase a new heating and air system on average 2.5 times in their lifetime.
- Fixed Now – consumers are looking for fast service, today’s consumers will not wait for you. Often, this will trump trust and value when it is 95 degrees outside.
Think about these concepts when you are identifying your company’s USP and core brand.
And Here Come the Pieces…..Yippy!
The Digital Piece
Your digital marketing starts and ends with your company’s website. It is often the final touchpoint before the consumer contacts you. Your website needs to give the consumer exactly what they are looking for when they land on it. Remember, your customer is not casually shopping for your services. They are in distress! Their air conditioner or furnace is not working, and their home is uncomfortable. So, the quicker we can solve their problem, the quicker you are going to gain a new customer.
Paid Advertising to Drive Traffic 2nd
Now that you have a modern website, it’s time to drive visitors to it. PPC or “Pay Per Click” Ads are a very effective way to get your heating and air company at the top of the search results. There are several types of PPC ads that will drive visitors to your website.
- Google Guaranteed or Local Service Ads – these are considered a “pay per lead” ad. These show up at the top of the Google search results. Your company does not get charged unless the consumer calls you. This originally was a fixed price per lead, but now it is a fluctuating cost that goes up and down with demand.
- Search Ads – these are often called “text” ads. They show up just below the Google Guaranteed ads and are considered a “pay per click” ad. When the consumer clicks your ad, your company is charged. The cost per click is dependent upon what you and your competitors are willing to pay.
- Display Ads – are more for awareness or “brand building” for your company. These ads will show up on partnering websites at the top, side, or bottom margins, on apps, or even games.
Social Media 3rd
Today, your business must show up where the “eyeballs” are! Consumers are infatuated with social media, from posting funny videos to seeing pictures of their grandkids. You may ask, “why would a consumer look for an HVAC contractor on social media?” Well, they aren’t, but they see you there. Nor are they watching TV or listening to the radio to find you……You need to be where the consumer’s attention is today. Consistent organic posting to social media outlets like Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and LinkedIn will drive branding for your company.
The Traditional Piece
When we refer to traditional marketing, we are speaking about radio, television, and billboards predominantly. These platforms are some of your best branding and top of mind awareness tools for your HVAC business.
We direct clients to focus on their digital piece first (website, ppc or paid ads, social), and if their funds allow, we allocate dollars to traditional branding.
Remember, we must focus on the “lead generation” tools first. Branding through traditional media is a big piece of the marketing puzzle, but we see many companies focusing the majority of their budget on these platforms. The consumer is not thinking about your services until their air conditioner or furnace breaks. Where do they go to find you? On the internet. So, if you are not present on Google Maps, PPC ads, or Local Service Ads, they may not find you at all.
It is a balance between branding and lead generation marketing for our industry.
What’s Right for Your Company?
Well, there is no right or wrong answer, it really depends on the company. In a perfect world, your heating and air company would have a marketing budget to cover everything, but that is usually not the case. What you really need to watch is your balance of branding vs. lead generation. A company’s branding helps consumers identify their business when they are taking action to buy. When your potential customer is searching “ac repair” or “heating and air companies”, they need to recognize your business when you are found. The balance between the two varies from a 50/50 spread, to 2/3 lead generation 1/3 branding or possibly the reverse. It depends on your message, the age of your company, and how efficient your organization captures the leads.
This leads directly into our next article, “Simple Techniques to Maximize Your Marketing Efforts”. These are the little one percenter’s, that really make a difference!
The team at Effective Media Solutions is here to answer any questions you may have!