By: Gary B. Xavier
In today’s world, it’s well known that internet searches are the way business is done. Millions, maybe billions of times each day, potential customers type a word or phrase into a search engine and peruse the results.
The problem for any business is to make sure they’re near the top of that pile of
millions of results, not at the bottom. And that may seem like a daunting task.
According to Kyle Gargaro, Editorial Director of ACHR News, Google searches for residential HVAC have increased by 19% since 2019, and the focus of those searches has changed from the proximity of the service company to the cost of the unit.
That change is notable because it means online retailers of HVACR equipment with no service capabilities are bombarding potential customers with their messages, leaving HVACR service professionals no choice but to compete.
Thus, the content, layout, and user-friendliness of HVACR business websites are critically important.
A company’s online website presence, social media, texting, and email are all valid and cost-effective ways to market a product or service. Here's a rundown of each method.
It seems obvious that using the phrase ‘home heating’ as a keyword on your HVACR business website will get results. But the results may not be what a potential customer, or a business owner, really needs – unless your business is toward the top of the search results.
Every result shown on the first page of that search had the word ‘home’ as a prominent part of the title – thus if a business was called ‘Home Heating’ they’d most likely make it to the top of the list. But a business called ‘Joe’s Furnace Service’ wouldn’t make the top million unless Joe used ‘home heating’ as a keyword.
So, keywords are critical, as we know. Choosing the right keywords can be difficult, to say the least, but professional help is readily available. An internet search for help with choosing keywords netted nearly 4 million results, reaffirming the point that keyword selection is vital to digital marketing strategy.
Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is the process of making a website and its content more visible to search engines such as Google or Microsoft Bing. An optimized website improves the likelihood that the site will rank higher on search engine results.
The goal of SEO for HVACR business is to help customers find you online.
SEO is usually not something the typical business owner can handle alone; professional help might be required. Without SEO, the HVACR business will most likely have a digital marketing program that is doomed from the start. Forbes Advisor recently listed their choices for the 10 best SEO services, which offer various strategies for website optimization.
The success of an HVACR business can depend on social media. It’s not only important for the website rank, but it is where potential customers are spending their time.
Social media platforms such as Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, YouTube, and LinkedIn are visited every day by many potential customers. An active social media presence will introduce and reinforce the HVACR firm’s role in providing sales of new equipment and service of existing systems.
Social media can easily become, well, social. But the HVACR business should always keep it professional. Otherwise, it can quickly become a quagmire, resulting in damage to a firm’s reputation that can become catastrophic.
Observing the trends of ‘likes’ and ‘followers’ on social media sites will provide important data as to the success or failure of that portion of the digital marketing program.
For HVACR businesses, LinkedIn is most likely the best bet for substantial lead generation and potential customers. While Facebook and other social media options are designed for the enjoyment of the general public, LinkedIn was developed as a business-to-business site. Although posts that are less business and more social are sometimes found on LinkedIn, most LinkedIn users are business professionals with the purchasing authority to make a sale.
Texting has become a staple in everyday communication and can be a useful marketing tool. If used properly, texting can result in favorable and fruitful responses from recipients of the text messages.
However, just like unwanted computer-generated phone calls, text messages can be a source of aggravation if used too often.
Email marketing is a great way to engage with existing customers, and when done properly, can be a powerful lead-generation tool. You can create a monthly or quarterly newsletter for existing customers that announce upcoming service specials, or you can create what’s known as “gated content” on your website. An example of gated content could be a guidebook with HVACR maintenance tips, but a customer could only download it if they provide their email address.
Planning and implementing a digital marketing program for an HVACR business does not fall under the same skillset as diagnosing a compressor failure. While a business owner/manager is adept at mechanical services, putting together a marketing strategy often requires professional assistance. Failure to consult a professional often results in a ‘parts-changer’ approach, where different components are changed out in the hopes of finding the right solution.
It doesn’t work for HVACR services, and it doesn’t work for marketing.