Ahhh marketing! One of the most important (but sometimes) least appreciated parts of a business. While some may joke that marketing is the “colouring department,” it is actually so much more. It’s a vital part of business growth. Marketing has many layers, and every activity completed is (or should be) part of an overall strategy that aligns with your business goals, such as attracting new customers.
Marketing is the loudspeaker of your company - the way customers find and hear about your business. While having a great service or product is key for business success, if no one knows about it, you won’t have any customers, and thus, you won’t make any money. What’s that old adage about a tree falling in the woods but no one's around to hear it? That’s what not having a marketing strategy for a business is like.
Marketing is the act of targeting prospective customers and telling them about your HVAC business. It’s also about how you represent your business, such as its brand personality and voice. Of course, this encompasses many different activities. In the past, these may have been newspaper ads, letter drops and billboard ads. While these are still utilised, most businesses now run a digital marketing strategy instead.
Using digital marketing for your HVAC business allows you to get your business seen by more people in less time and for less money than traditional advertising and marketing. What does a digital marketing strategy involve? It includes everything from launching a website, capturing online reviews, using social media, publishing a blog and setting up paid advertising.
HVAC Marketing Tips
Building a marketing strategy can be daunting in itself, let alone if it also includes new tools such as Google Ads and website builds. But, once you get started and have a little practice, you’ll yourself for not starting it sooner. Let’s take a look at some of the most important parts of a marketing strategy and its benefits.
Have an amazing website (mobile friendly)
In the current climate, being findable on the Internet is a priority. You want to be accessible to your potential customers. And that means if they type into Google Search something like, “air conditioning service near me,” you want your business to appear. Otherwise, those customers will go to a competitor. To do this, you not only have to be on Google Business, you also have to have a website that is easy to use and easy to understand. Your website is the first impression you’re giving prospects. If it looks messy and hard to use, it could potentially put customers off booking with you.
But, having a good website isn’t just about making it look pretty. It is also about ensuring that your website design is mobile-friendly. Why? Because mobiles and tablet displays are different dimensions from a computer or laptop, websites need to be designed using different dimensions so that they’re easy to use and access on mobile devices. Have you ever clicked on a website using your mobile, but you can’t find the menu or half the page is cut off? That is a sign that the website has not been designed to be mobile-friendly. And with nearly 55% of website traffic generated from mobiles globally, ensuring your website is mobile-friendly is pivotal. Luckily, most website development tools will easily replicate your website into a mobile-friendly version.
In addition, having a website also allows you to have a “base” where you can direct potential customers from other marketing materials such as social media posts, ads or set up a contact form.
Leverage customer service to boost sales
There’s a well-known saying in the business world–it costs more money to find new customers than it does to retain existing ones. This is why it’s important to leverage customer service to boost sales.
Anytime you work with a customer, it’s worth going the extra mile to increase the chances that they’ll want to hire you again. Go simply beyond showing up and getting the job done. For example, keep your customers informed about their project with updates via email or SMS and make the sales process easy for customers with the capability to quote and take payment on site. These can be simple processes to implement if you’ve got job management software. You can also help customers by recommending products or informing them of other services which they may not know about.
You may also want to invest in a customer relationship management system (CRM). These tools help to keep your contact list organised, track customer job details and identify your top customers, among many other things. Keen to find out more? Check out our blog on customer relationship management systems.
Use social media to your advantage
Today, social media is a significant part of most people’s daily routine (and that includes your customers as well). Data shows that as of July 2021 there were “4.48 billion social media users around the world,” which equates to almost 57% of the global population! And that number just keeps increasing. The same data shows an increase of “more than half a billion users in just 12 months.”
In business, it’s key to be where your customers are or can find you. So, in this case, it pays to be on social media. However, it can be tricky to know how to start or which platform to use. We’ve also put together a handy infographic to showcase The Best Social Media Platforms for Field Service Businesses.
Invest in Google Ads and business cards
Once you’ve got your website and social media under control, you can move on to the next level of digital marketing–digital advertising. This can include Google Ads or social media advertising. Google Ads, in particular, is a great place to start as it allows you to appear near the top of the search results. For example, you can create an ad to appear when someone searches for “air conditioning maintenance near me.”
While digital ads may seem daunting to first-time users, there are heaps of resources online to get you started. Or depending on your budget, you may even be in a position to contract someone to do it for you.
In addition to digital marketing, having hard copy collateral is also beneficial in the trades industry. Just think–how often do you check the fridge for a magnet or a drawer for a brochure of that HVAC business you used that one time? Make sure to support your digital marketing efforts with some hard copy collateral to leave with your customers as well. Or, even use them as a letter drop!
Use content marketing to build trust
Content marketing can include many things such as blogs, eBooks and posts on social media. These assets are key to showing your customers and potential customers your expertise in the field. Through content marketing, you can build trust, share updates and analyse industry news. Content marketing is also used to inform customers and prospects about topics they may have questions about or want to know more about.
The main thing with content marketing is to ensure that you are writing for your audience. They, after all, are the ones who will be reading anything you produce. When it comes to content, put your readers’ needs before your own, and then see how these choices can fit into your strategic business goals. For example, as an HVAC business owner, you could write a blog that includes a list of questions or a checklist to ask potential service providers. This type of content provides great advice to customers without making them feel sold to. Hesitant about writing this sort of content? Don’t be, because if they don’t get the information from your website, they’ll get it from someone else's.
Content marketing is not only easy to produce and cost-effective, but it also has many benefits for your business. For example, it keeps your website updated with new content, supports your organic ranking on Google (the position your business appears on Google’s search results) and provides you with relevant content to share on social media. But most importantly, a blog will drive traffic to your website.
Content marketing is your opportunity to answer your prospects’ and customers’ questions. It also provides them with an insight into your company and maybe because of that, you’ll be the call they make next time they need support.
Thinking of starting a blog? Check out our top tips in How to Blog for Your Field Service Business.
If you’re deciding between two movies to watch–what do you do? You check out reviews on Google and, more than likely, decide to watch the movie with the better reviews. You’ve probably done this for restaurants or products you’re thinking of buying as well. So, why should it be any different when people are looking for HVAC services?
Research compiled by G2 shows that “about 95% of customers read reviews before making a purchase” and “93% of customers will read reviews of local businesses to determine its quality.”
That’s a lot of customers checking your reviews to determine whether they’ll engage your business to complete their job. So, online reviews-especially good ones-are essential.
HVAC Marketing Strategies
Now you have a broad understanding of what constitutes different aspects of marketing for a HVAC business, it’s time to put it all together and create a strategy.
Utilise SEO and social media presence
Social media for your business is key to not only build brand awareness but also to connect with your customers and prospective customers. It also helps drive traffic to your website, which in turn may boost your Google ranking.
While this may seem like a stretch, it’s a common theory (although not confirmed by Google) that the longer visitors stay on your site after finding you in search results, the better it is for your ranking. This is because a longer “dwell time” confirms that you are providing quality content that is relevant to the visitor’s search, and Google aims to provide relevant content for searchers.
Another way to help your Google ranking is to build a Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) strategy. This involves using keywords and phrases in your blog and on your website content to help you rank for those phrases and makes it easier for your audience to find you. For example, when someone types in “air conditioning in Brisbane,” many businesses and results will show up. Using a range of keywords can influence how close you are to the top of the page for a search result. Don’t know much about SEO? Do your research and check out some marketing blogs such as HubSpot or MOZ to learn more. But remember, put your audience first and then start weaving an SEO strategy into your blog plan.
Publish great HVAC blog content
Content marketing is queen in my eyes (I know, I’m biased), but to be honest, it is the key ingredient to all parts of your marketing mix. This also includes having a great blog! To ensure you publish great HVAC blog content, you need to:
- Identify your voice
- Write for your audience, not yourself
- Plan your content
Check these three points out in more detail on our blog.
Use email marketing
Have you ever been notified of a sale at your favourite store via email? Or have you had a company reach out via email to check if you’re still interested in a product? Or even just received a newsletter from a business? This is email marketing. With so many new tools such as social media and paid advertising, you may wonder if email marketing is worthwhile.
The answer is yes! Data shows there are “four billion daily email users” globally. A number that is likely to climb to “4.6 billion by 2025.” This shows it pays to spend time creating an email marketing strategy.
Start a referral program
Just like reviews, word-of-mouth (WOM) marketing provides social proof of the great quality of your business. In fact, data shows that word-of-mouth marketing drives over $6 trillion in global spending each year, and 64% of marketers say it is the “most effective form of marketing.” Considering this, it makes sense to kick off a referral program when you’re looking to grow your business.
Of course, a referral program is where you reward a customer for recommending your services. But what should you offer as a reward? There are many things you could use, such as a universal gift card. Or, if you’d prefer to keep the reward in-house, you could offer a percentage off or credit on the next job you complete for the customer. Once you’ve decided which is the best option for your business, you can share this program with your existing customers through socials, blogs, emails, your website and even hard-copy collateral.
If you’ve gotten to the end of this blog, I hope I’ve convinced you that marketing is much more than a mere “colouring department.” It’s a vital part of business strategy.
Marketing connects you with customers, makes it easy for them to find you and keeps them informed. Without it, no one would know about your business! By creating a marketing mix of digital and hard-copy collateral and advertising, your HVAC business will be set up for success.