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Digital Marketing for HVAC, Heating and Cooling Companies

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Digital Marketing for HVAC, Heating and Cooling Companies

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Before we start talking about how companies can find HVAC leads using digital marketing, let’s look at just why heating and air conditioning is such a competitive (and lucrative) business.

The nickname of X3’s home state of Colorado is the “Centennial State” due to the fact that it was officially made a state in 1876, 100 years after the signing of the United States Declaration of Independence. However, for many people who either don’t live here or who are new to the Colorado, it may as well be called “Southern Alaska” because they think it’s the Arctic tundra basically all of the time. I can assure you that this is not true. In fact the graph to the right shows the high and low temperature averages in Denver over the course of a year.

Of course, when a person imagines this arctic tundra, they’re probably thinking about what we call, “The High Country” (go ahead and chuckle at our history with cannabis). The larger point we’re making here is that while Colorado isn’t necessarily overrun with sub-zero temperatures all the time, it’s a place that has a wide diversity of temperatures and for many of us, this means making sure our heating and air conditioning systems (HVAC) are firing on all cylinders for when those temperature extremes do come calling.

At this point, if you’re a business owner you’re probably thinking, “Thanks for the lessons. How do I get leads for heating and air conditioning?”, right? Over the last several years, legacy – also known as “traditional” – marketing platforms such as magazines, billboards, radio and television have given way to a technical revolution where search engines, social media, emails and digital advertising rule the roost. Below we’re going to take a quick look at how X3 brings leads for HVAC companies through the (virtual) door to increase value while bringing in a more robust ROI than you’ve ever seen before. Of course, if you’d like to skip the reading and just reach out, click HERE and we’ll get you taken care of. Otherwise, read on!

 

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What we’ll be covering:

  1. Do you have a website?
  2. Have you “claimed” your business?
  3. What is SEO and how can it bring you HVAC leads?
  4. Is digital advertising good for finding more HVAC leads?
  5. Are online reviews important?
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1. DO YOU HAVE A WEBSITE?

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If your Denver, Colorado based, HVAC business doesn’t have a website there a couple of things to consider: First, launching a website doesn’t have to be painful – especially if you work with a digital marketing agency (cough, X3!, cough). Second, you’re not alone. In fact, according to the Small Business Administration only about 65% of small businesses in the United States actually have websites.

Even if you DO have a website, it’s very important to consider if that website is acting as an effective part of your digital marketing strategy or if it’s no different than a billboard in the middle of the desert. Does your website have a solid content marketing strategy? Does it have calls-to-action? Can a potential customer even find your phone number or a contact form so mobile marketing brings in business also?

X3 Digital Marketing: Bring more HVAC leads in the door

 

Then there’s the matter of whether or not the major search engines like Google, Bing, Yahoo or the relatively new kid on the block, Duck Duck Go can even find your business. Some of that comes down to the structure and speed of your website – especially since mobile devices now account for better than 80% of all internet traffic.

There are certainly more than a few ways to get a website up and running for your business but, there’s a bit of you get what you pay for when it comes to construction, speed and functionality. Here are a few of the more popular site building tools which range from free to very (very) expensive and a few of their pros and cons:

  • Weebly: This is a reasonable way to just get an online presence but it’s extremely limited in its ability to generate leads for heating and air conditioning repair and service (or any other leads for that matter). No good for SEO.
  • Wix: Similar to Weebly in that it’s a decent stop-gap while your “big kid” website is under construction with X3 (#shamelessplug).
  • Squarespace: While it’s still missing some of the SEO tools of other platforms, Squarespace is known for visually appealing websites on a bit of a budget. Easy to work with, it requires almost none of the technical skills that may give you pause.
  • WordPress: Open source and very customizable, WordPress is primarily what we build on (ahem) and makes for a solid solution. There is a world of plugins by third-party developers to make WordPress very customizable to your needs. Can be a bit sluggish from time to time if not properly optimized.
  • Custom: There are a couple of very important things to consider when looking at a fully custom coded website; 1. the cost will likely be significantly more than other platforms and 2. the development time will certainly be longer (typically about double) than most estimates given at the outset of a project. On the other hand, a fully-custom Python build, for example, can be fast, powerful and do pretty much everything a company of any size could need (and pay for).
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2. HAVE YOU “CLAIMED” YOUR BUSINESS LISTING?

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Let’s say you began your  business in the HVAC repair and service industry 25 years ago (to put in perspective, that year – 1996 – Ironic was a huge hit for Alanis Morissette). At that time there was no such thing as “claiming” ownership of a business in the digital space. Now, however, there are a lot of different places for your business to be listed and on many of those it’s up to you, the business owner to claim ownership. You may be saying something like, “But I didn’t list my business there!” No, you didn’t but those websites list everyone they can to bump up their own search engine optimization and online marketing. Below are two listings for the same nearby Heating & Air Conditioning systems company (who are NOT clients as of this writing) and neither of them are claimed by the organization owners which leaves opportunity on the table.

X3 Digital Marketing: Claim your online business listing

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X3 Digital Marketing: Claim your online business listing

One of the first things X3 does with our new clients is to go through pertinent (and ever-expanding) directories and business listings to make sure that any potential customer who may happen across their product or service can get in touch as easily as possible. We make sure that all NAP (Name, Address, Phone) listings are up-to-date and accurate. This is a seemingly small but vital part of any good digital marketing plan – especially in an industry as competitive as heat and air conditioning service.

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3. WHAT IS SEO AND HOW CAN IT BRING YOU HVAC LEADS?

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If you’re like many of our clients, you’ve probably heard the terms “SEO” and “Search Engine Optimization” thrown around quite a bit and you know/think that it’s a piece of marketing your company but you have no idea where to begin. As digital marketers we don’t just “do SEO” to a website but we make it part of a comprehensive digital marketing strategy which will bring customer leads to your phone or email. In short, the SEO part of marketing is using a marketing technique which makes sure that one search result is found above others in relevant online searches. SEO is also sometimes known as search engine marketing.

What does this mean for a potential customer who’s looking for their air conditioning system? It means that they’ll see some websites above others and we want yours to be the top organic result. What’s an organic result? Take a look at the diagram below and you’ll get a better picture of some of the different parts of a Google SERP (Search Engine Results Page):

X3 Digital Marketing: HVAC, Heating and cooling SERP (Search Engine Results Page)

When we talk about SEO as it pertains to active digital and content marketing, we’re talking about those organic search engine results (in this case, Google). Unlike digital advertising (those “ads” above), you can’t simply pay for an organic result thus forcing a brand awareness campaign. Organic search results can take months and even years to be impactful. They’re a combination of many different marketing techniques, usage of social media channels and how effective and engaging a customer journey is once they’ve begun to explore your website. A lot of people will skip past ads the large majority of the time because they know that ANYBODY can pay to be there if they want. Those potential customers want the inherent trust in organic search results.

Still confused as to what SEO is or how important it is? Reach out and we’ll help walk you through just how many people are searching for HVAC, heating, air conditioning and the like.

 

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4. IS DIGITAL ADVERTISING GOOD FOR FINDING MORE HVAC LEADS?

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As you probably noticed above, SEO is a very wide-ranging set of techniques used by digital marketers, like X3, to help their clients and the field of digital advertising is just as diverse. In fact, in many cases the X3 can take business looking for more HVAC leads and target specific digital marketing channels where we know online lead generation is more likely and not waste too much time on those platforms which don’t move toward that goal. In this way, X3 can use digital marketing tactics that are nimble and hyper-focused. Think of it as shooting with a sniper rifle (digital advertising) versus a shooting with a shotgun (SEO). Let’s take a look at a few of the most widely used – and most powerful – platforms, strategies and methods used by marketers for to bring sales through the door:

PPC (Pay-Per-Click)

When we look at what has defined “advertising” until the last several years, we can think about things like billboards, television, magazines, radio, etc. These strategies were the norm for a very long time but that was all before the internet became the most powerful sales and marketing tool to ever exist. With those platforms however, it is much more difficult to get leads which are as focused as they can be with digital ads.

For instance, if your HVAC business has an ad on a billboard and tht billboard has roughly 10,000 cars drive by each day, you don’t know if those drivers are homeowners (or if they’re in any way responsible for their heating and air conditioning systems at all) or if they’re in a home which is part of subdivision which is only five years old (which makes a difference since the average furnace in Colorado is about twenty years). However, if an HVAC business is using digital systems, the ads could be focused on specific neighborhoods or zip codes, which means the age of the homes can be targeted. The ads could also cater specifically to those who may have had a specific type of plumbing installed (the Quest plumbing lawsuit, for instance) which could greatly affect the lifespan of a furnace.

So how does pay-per-click marketing work? It’s in the name! Some methods of marketing such as billboards, magazines, CPM advertising, etc. all base their cost on the number of impressions an ad gets – basically, how many eyeballs see a particular ad. The problem with this is that you’re paying for a person who never engages with your ad. With a pay-per-click product ad, you ONLY pay when a person on particular online channels actually CLICK on your ad. The primary means of PPC ads these days are Google Ads (Google AdWords) and display advertising.

Cost-per-click can vary depending on location, time of day and year and how competitive a field is. To give you a clearer answer to the cost question, below is a small sample of cost-per-click for a few keywords related to HVAC service and repair nationally and in Denver:

KEYWORD AVERAGE SEARCHES PER MONTH AVERAGE COST PER CLICK
HVAC repair near me 15,000 $30
AC repair near me 33,000 $40
Furnace repair near me 17,000 $20
Furnace repairs Denver 300 $50
AC repair Denver 150 $50

At X3 one of the things we work with out clients on is to define specific “buying keywords” which can help to separate actual buyers from “tire-kickers”. For instance, if someone is searching on Google for “Emergency furnace repair” there’s a very good chance that they’re need a furnace repair when heat isn’t simply a luxury but is needed. Aiming for a buying keyword as opposed to a digital marketing plan which focuses on broad-based keywords allows us to bring more leads that result in sales to our clients.

RETARGETING

Weird word, right? Well, retargeting can be one of the most targeted and powerful options and driver of conversations available to brands in the highest level of a digital marketing campaign. Before we nerd out over the nuts and bolts of retargeting too much, here’s a quick diagram of how it works:

X3: what is retargeting?

Still confused? Head over to something like AccuWeather right now and you’re almost certainly going to see an ad for SOMETHING you’ve search for on Google or social media in the last week or so. Retargeting is a method which uses cookies and pixels (tracking code) from social media platforms and search engines to see what you’re interested in or looking for so that you, the consumer, can be shown ads that are specific to you. For instance, if your heat goes out in the middle of January in Colorado and you begin looking for “furnace repair Denver” but then you go answer the door and forget about what you were doing. Later that day, these marketing systems will “remind” you of your need for furnace repair.

SOCIAL MEDIA

This is a bit of a touchy topic these days since social media has moved from being a great way to look at pictures of babies, puppies and weddings and into a drag on society. However, social media can still be used as a great way to reach potential customers by way of deciphering likes and dislikes that lie outside the screaming Facebook mob.

If you’re not familiar with what “social media” is exactly, that’s ok! In short, social media is a series of platforms and resources which give people the ability to create networks in the digital space – much like we do in the analog world in churches, networking groups and other meeting places.

Any good social media marketer – which we do consider ourselves at X3 – will develop a program that will show a relevant massage to people who are actually likely to need your service. The challenge is, is a social media like Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram and Snapchat the place where you’ll find the right customer opportunity? In other words, are people “shopping” for furnace and air conditioning repair on those social media platforms? They’re much more likely looking for a more organic experience although, they can still be shown ads related to things they’re searching for elsewhere online.

You may have seen a friend posting something like this:

x3 digital marketing leads for roofers facebook recommendation

In that case, they’re not really cruising around Facebook looking for a roofing (in this case) contractor. Rather, they’re asking their friend network for recommendations which may or may not lead to your business.

At X3 we use social media marketing as part of a comprehensive digital strategy that uses systems built into those platforms to get your ads in front of the eyes of a consumer that will actually turn into a lead and then result in sales not just today but in the future. Want to know more? CLICK HERE

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5. ARE ONLINE REVIEWS IMPORTANT?

[/et_pb_text][/et_pb_column][et_pb_column type=”3_4″ _builder_version=”4.6.6″ _module_preset=”default”][et_pb_text _builder_version=”4.6.6″ _module_preset=”default”]We’ve talked about SEO (Search Engine Optimization), social media marketing, Google Ads (PPC) and other systems as part of the digital marketing activity an HVAC business would use to get leads in the door. Now we’re going to talk about reviews which, because the people leaving those reviews are often times your neighbors, are one of the most powerful methods of online lead generation which is growing stronger by the day.

Since this is a relatively new thing for many people not well-versed in digital marketing we’ll use probably one of the older methods of reviewing a company as an example and that’s the Better Business Bureau (BBB). This company – and it is indeed a private company, NOT a government department – was founded in 1912 to advocate for consumers. Even today, the BBB is a very important place to have your business listed and any reviews AND complaints which customers take the time to fill out a form for weigh heavily on their readers.

While the BBB is still going strong, Google My Business is probably the fastest growing review platform today. The biggest reason for that is with Google accounting for 80%+ of all organic search engine traffic, they’ve designated a piece of their front page “real estate” as you can see below:

X3 Digital Marketing: Online reviews and Google My Business for HVAC leads

Why do online review platforms matter? Well first, we know that a direct referral from a friend is the single most powerful marketing tool that there is. We value our trust in our friends and neighbors and to when they tell us that an air conditioning repair company is good or bad, we listen to what they have to say. In the digital space, this is very similar. Google My Business offers a quick and easy experience since business listings are front and center on SERPs. If a business is using these tools in the right way then potential customers have the opportunity to see everything from their staff to their process. They can send a message or simply subscribe to an email list for special offers.

Other review sites such as Yelp and Home Advisor are also very powerful in their organic reviews (although we do have a lot to say about differences and the pay-to-play nature of those platforms). Part of this is for the same reason as Google My Business but the other reason is that they serve as a directory of a lot of businesses in the same category all at once. For instance, a customer can see all the HVAC service companies within 10 miles of a particular location as well as how their skills line up against other companies and what kind of money they can expect to spend.

Online review are something we strongly encourage for HVAC repair companies looking for leads. Apart from the benefit of brand awareness, the conversions that can come out of well-recommended comments and reviews can go a long way toward growth efforts and making sure that sales leads with the most value are the ones who are calling.[/et_pb_text][/et_pb_column][/et_pb_row][/et_pb_section][et_pb_section fb_built=”1″ admin_label=”Page Header / Title” _builder_version=”4.6.6″ _module_preset=”default” background_image=”https://secureservercdn.net/45.40.145.201/obr.b17.myftpupload.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/03/x3-marketing-lead-generation-for-hvac-heating-and-cooling-companies.jpg” width=”1800px” max_width=”1800px” module_alignment=”center” min_height=”360px” height=”360px” top_divider_style=”arrow3″ top_divider_color=”rgba(5,243,225,0.5)” top_divider_height=”75px” top_divider_arrangement=”above_content” bottom_divider_style=”arrow3″ bottom_divider_color=”rgba(5,243,225,0.5)”][/et_pb_section][et_pb_section fb_built=”1″ next_background_color=”#ffffff” _builder_version=”4.6.6″ _module_preset=”default” use_background_color_gradient=”on” background_color_gradient_start=”rgba(5,243,225,0.25)” background_color_gradient_end=”#05f3e1″ background_color_gradient_direction=”270deg” background_color_gradient_start_position=”69%” background_color_gradient_end_position=”84%” top_divider_flip=”vertical” bottom_divider_style=”arrow3″][et_pb_row _builder_version=”4.6.6″ _module_preset=”default”][et_pb_column type=”4_4″ _builder_version=”4.6.6″ _module_preset=”default”][et_pb_text admin_label=”Item Number” _builder_version=”4.6.6″ _module_preset=”default” text_font=”Montserrat||||||||” text_text_color=”#1e4d5d” text_font_size=”45px” module_alignment=”left” text_text_shadow_style=”preset1″]

THE BOTTOM LINE ON ONLINE LEAD GENERATION FOR HVAC BUSINESSES

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Many business owners today – including our HVAC friends we’re looking at above – spend a lot of time and energy using word-of-mouth marketing as their main way of getting leads. At the same time, they’re so reliant on WOM that they’re completely ignoring any digital marketing strategies. We touched on the efficacy of digital marketing campaigns versus strictly word of mouth in THIS article a while ago. Some business owners act as their own marketing team and wind up spending a ton of time and energy (not to mention money) trying to drive their own digital sales leads to no avail. 

In all fields it’s possible to do some DIY marketing efforts. For that matter, I could probably go on something like YouTube right now and find DIY furnace installation videos to watch to your heart’s content. But why would you do that when it’s the job of a professional to handle it for you – better and faster?

Digital marketing efforts are a professional undertaking and at X3 we make sure that each of the possible digital marketing activities are specifically catered to the needs and goals of our clients. You don’t need to have millions of dollars to spend either. After all, the big secret is that marketing is free! If you spend $1 with the X3 marketing team, and we bring $1 worth of sales leads to your business, your net cost is $0. With X3 however, we expect your online marketing and content strategy to result in a net profit. In other words, if you spend $1 and your paid of organic traffic results in $4 of business, you’re way ahead.

Online marketing is where marketing is moving today. It’s how we bring organic traffic and leads as well as traffic through paid advertising such as Google Ads. Being visible and bringing good service in the door helps to build customer loyalty. This form of marketing builds on good reputation and good word of mouth marketing. X3 is ready to bring sales leads in your doors so you can DOMINATE YOUR COMPETITION ONLINE.

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