As an HVAC contractor, you know how crowded and competitive the market is for the services you provide. Every day, people are searching for competent, reliable, and trustworthy businesses, and having the right HVAC marketing strategies in place can make all the difference.
“HVAC contractors have a big advantage over brick-and-mortar businesses because they can market to a much larger geographical area,” says Reed Parker, executive marketing consultant at UpSwell. “You may have technicians who are spread out across many different service areas, and you can target your marketing efforts to be near where those technicians are located.”
Windshield time means everything to HVAC contractors, Parker adds. “You want to be really strategic about where you concentrate your marketing efforts, because if a technician can’t get to a job quickly, all your margins may go away. That’s why targeting your marketing to the areas where you have technicians is so important.”
Looking for the most tried-and-true and cost-effective ways to attract new customers and grow your HVAC business? Here are five HVAC marketing strategies UpSwell recommends:
1. Invest in Web Design and Digital Marketing
To be successful, every HVAC business needs a functional, mobile-responsive website. Research shows that 75% of consumers judge a business’s credibility by the quality of its website, so step one is to make sure your website is well designed and has the information people are looking for, including the services you offer and the geographical areas you cover.
“If you want to focus on how to market your HVAC business, you need a good website before you do any type of direct mail, or any other marketing strategies, because once people find out about you, the first thing they’re going to do is look up your website,” Parker says.
He notes that one of the most effective digital marketing strategies is geotargeting, also known as geofencing, which involves using customer location information to deliver mobile ads to customers’ phones when they are within a specific radius of your target areas. “Since HVAC businesses usually don’t have an actual brick-and-mortar location, instead we can geofence around the areas where your technicians are located,” Parker says.
Optimizing the content on your website for search is also key. Search engines have become an extremely effective tool for finding new business, often being used for “near me” searches. More than 40% of page clicks go to the first three results on a search page, so appearing at the top is important to reaching your key audience when they make these searches.
2. Get Truck Wraps and Signs
When it comes to cost-effective HVAC advertising, two of the most effective brand awareness strategies are also two of the most obvious, literally: truck wraps and lawn signs.
“If you wrap your trucks, everywhere your technicians go, people will see your name and they’ll start to remember it,” Parker says. “When people drive through their neighborhood and they see your truck parked in someone’s driveway, that’s making a powerful impression. They wouldn’t know that truck was there to replace a heating and cooling system unless you show them that you’re there.”
Lawn signs that advertise to neighbors that you’re installing a new HVAC system at someone’s house serve a similar purpose. “This is something that didn’t start until recent years, but what contractors have realized is that if you put a sign up every time you’re at someone’s house, it’s a really effective way of getting a lot more referrals,” he says.
3. Use the Benefits of Direct Mail for HVAC
Direct mail marketing is one of the most cost-effective HVAC marketing strategies to attract new customers. As more and more local businesses decide to switch to digital advertising strategies, there’s less competition in the mailbox, which means you’ll get more of your customer’s attention.
In addition, direct mail is one of the most effective tools for targeting digital natives — millennials and Gen Z adults. As people look for opportunities to take a break from digital media, a piece of traditional mail is like a breath of fresh air, arriving in customers’ mailboxes less frequently than digital mail, but offering a better opportunity to connect with consumers.
Parker says direct mail is especially well suited for HVAC businesses since you’re able to capture customer addresses through service contracts and then easily market to your customers’ neighbors using postcards and other direct mail strategies.
“We can take the data we get from service contracts, throw it on whatever areas you decide to target, and then produce what’s called a penetration report,” Parker says. “The targeting mechanisms with direct mail are so useful to HVAC businesses because you want to be able to get the most out of the day for each of your technicians rather than have them spend half their day driving to a faraway location.”
Direct mail programs are also beneficial for helping to generate repeat business from existing customers. “For example, you might have customers who initially signed up for service contracts but drop off after a couple of years,” Parker says. “If you send them a postcard to remind them to renew their contracts, a lot of people will sign right back up because they have a new issue that’s cropped up since you were last there.”
Parker also cautions that HVAC contractors who are looking to grow their business through direct mail need to have a good system in place for taking phone calls before they send out any mail. “You need to have someone who’s really good with customers on the phone, and ideally, it’s not someone who’s taking calls on a cellphone.”
4. Hire a Pro to Manage Pay Per Click (PPC)
Pay-per-click (PPC) advertising is a way to promote your website to potential customers who are actively seeking HVAC services. With an HVAC pay-per-click (PPC) strategy, you’ll increase your sales numbers and get ahead of your competition by showing an ad before listings for other non-paying service providers, but with the benefit of only paying when someone actually clicks on your online ad. Once those potential customers click and view your engaging website, you’ve gotten on their radar, and have the potential to capture their contact information to close the sale.
“Pay per click is hugely important for HVAC contractors, and it’s not something you can do on your own,” Parker says. “If you don’t have a professional managing your ad spend for you, you’ll find that you could end up wasting a lot of money.”
5. Make the Most of Social Media Marketing
Just like every HVAC company needs a website, you also need to have a social media presence since customers will be looking for you on Facebook and other social media channels. Marketing your business on social media also allows you to easily showcase your recent work.
Parker often recommends that HVAC companies use social media marketing to quickly and efficiently let people in the area know where they’re doing work. “Get a photo of a house where you’re doing a job and post it right away,” he says. “On social media, people don’t necessarily want to get the hard sell, but they do want to know what you’re doing in the community.”
The combination of social media marketing and direct mail also helps to boost brand awareness and increase credibility, since a potential customer might see the post on Facebook and then remember that they got a postcard from that same company just a couple of weeks ago.
Finally, if you’re interested in using HVAC marketing strategies to grow your business, be prepared to spend accordingly. “You can’t market like a $1 million dollar company if you want to be a $2 million company,” Parker says. “You need to look at your percentage of net and take that 3% to 4% in marketing and spend it where it needs to be spent.”
Ready to drive more customers to your HVAC business? Contact the team at UpSwell for a free marketing assessment.