Small businesses like HVAC companies get a lot of bad marketing advice. There’s a lot of reasons for this but the big ones are:
- Older generations think every 22 year old knows digital marketing.
- Professional agencies like to push strategies that make them money and not necessarily the HVAC company.
- Strategies that are great for national businesses don’t work well for local businesses like HVAC companies.
If you want to use digital marketing to grow your HVAC company, you have to understand why each of these are going to undermine the growth of your business.
- 22 year olds don’t know digital marketing. The may understand social media and technology better than their older peers, but that doesn’t mean they understand the digital marketing field. This is the #1 mistake I see businesses make. They give their niece/nephew the reins of their digital ecosystem where they create a website on SquareSpace or Wix and a few social media accounts.
Then nothing happens.
- Agencies love to advise services that make them a lot of money. This is a sad reality in the digital marketing industry. Agencies are businesses and many of them are ran by people that are looking to make as much money as fast as possible. What this leads to is them telling you should implement strategies and tactics that doesn’t give you the highest ROI.
- National & Local businesses cannot market the same way. Why? Your customers are only within a set radius of your business. National brands can afford to market to all of the US because they can serve the entire US. You cannot. You can only serve people in your city.
This article is going to be focused on how you can leverage digital marketing as a local HVAC company. If you were a HVAC company with a national footprint, this advice would be completely different.
Here’s the things you’re not going to focus on.
- Growing a social media following. You can and probably should have these but they shouldn’t be a focus. Unless you have a very niche specialty in the HVAC field, people likely aren’t traveling across the country to see you. Even if you grow your following to 10,000 followers, it’s likely that only 5-10 actually live in your city. You can see how this could be a giant time waste with a very negative ROI.
- Anything video related. Yes. You should have a few videos for your website and Google Business profile. Outside of that, video creation is a very laborious marketing medium if your audience is local.
- Social media ads. Social media can work for local businesses like HVAC companies. The problem arises in the fact that it takes a lot of data (ad spend) to optimize these campaigns and zero them in to be truly effective. Most HVAC companies and digital marketing agencies advising them don’t want want to spend the time and budget to make these truly effective.
You have to think about where your customers are and whether you’re going to hit them with your digital marketing message on a specific channel. If you focus on the below and get it right, your HVAC company will be booked to the gills.
Here’s the big things you should be focusing on.
HVAC Themed Website
Your first step is building a beautiful website that builds trust with your audience. This is going to be the centerpiece of conversion once you get the leads coming in from Google.
Your website should be built on WordPress and not SquareSpace or Wix. It takes longer to learn but WordPress has a lot of functionality that will help you rank quicker and bring in more clients. I always advise clients to use the GeneratePress theme as they have prebuilt sites that are beautifully designed to get you set up quickly.
If you want your digital marketing to be effective, your HVAC company website should have/be all of the below.
- High quality images of you and your staff.
- Onsite reviews from real customers.
- Frequently Asked Questions. This not only builds credibility & trust, it also saves your front desk staff from answering unnecessary questions.
- Mobile friendly.
- Fast. Your website should load within 3 seconds.
- You should have your phone number, email, & hours listed in the footer of every page.
- Trust signals like industry awards & credentials.
- Services offered & the real life results of those services. Think of them as case studies for HVAC companies.
- Structured data to better help Google understand your website.
Most HVAC companies should hire out the build of their website to their SEO agency. As your digital marketing agency tries to rank your website, there’s a lot of work to be done redoing a poorly optimized website.
SEO for HVAC Companies
Search Engine Optimization, even in 2023, is one of the best digital marketing channels for HVAC companies. Small businesses generally don’t spend on SEO as the time commitment is longer than they’d like. This makes search terms for HVAC companies less competitive. SEO takes a minimum of 6 months but brings in clients and leads continuously after that.
Local SEO for HVAC Companies
Local SEO is going to be your long term digital marketing money maker. If you execute on local SEO long term, you’ll have a revolving door of new clients without having to constantly pay for ad dollars.
Most customers start their digital journey looking for an HVAC expert on Google. They look at the HVAC companies in their local area and then filter down based off of what they see. Google knows this fact so one of the larger ranking factors for local SEO is proximity of the searcher to the business.
The ultimate goal is to end up in the map pack below.
While you don’t have to end up in this map pack to draw significant traffic to your HVAC company, it’s guaranteed to overwhelm your business when you do.
Google My Business Profile
Your business profile on Google is going to be one of the most important factors for where you rank for local SEO. The ranking weights for how you show up are debatable but the elements you should focus on are below.
- Age of GMB profile
- Proximity of your business to the searcher
- Completeness of profile
- Categories used and text within your profile & website
Local citations or NAP citations (name, address, phone) are what Google checks to make sure you’re a real business at your current address. There’s a variety of businesses like SEMRush that will help you build local citations for less than $50.
3rd Party HVAC Company Aggregators
There’s a variety of aggregator sites like Yelp and Angi’s list that aggregate lists of businesses. For every niche, it’s a different set of websites aggregating. Google “best HVAC company in [insert your city]” and find every website that lists HVAC companies and create a free profile.
Once you create a free profile on these sites, fill out the profile completely with information that matches your Google business profile. Also try to get as many reviews on the website as possible.
Normal SEO For HVAC Companies
Normal SEO is generally too scattershot unless your clients travel from all over the country to you if you have a niche specialty. That doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t focus on normal SEO in your digital marketing efforts though.
Google needs to see your business as an expert to rank you in local SEO. The only way to do this (outside of links) is to publish a lot of high quality content in your niche. You should be working with an SEO consultant to make sure you’re doing this appropriately.
Advertising For HVAC Companies
You need to be very selective of where you spend your digital marketing budget. Most digital marketing channels give you vague metrics that don’t actually tie back to leads or revenue for your HVAC company.
Local Search Ads
Google’s local search ads is one of the first places an HVAC company should spend if they want to advertise to potential customers. With this ad type, Google will only show customers your location if they’re within a predefined radius of your business.
While you’re waiting for your digital marketing agency to rank your HVAC company, you can jump to the top of the SERP page and immediately start getting inbound traffic and leads.
These ad types also show up prominently on Google maps when a user searches on that part of Google or on the Google maps app.
Geo Targeted Text Ads
Geo targeted text ads is the next digital marketing strategy you should implement as an HVAC company. This ad type will be the first thing potential customers see when they’re searching for an HVAC company.
I say that this is the second ad type that you should implement because a lot of people have been trained to ignore text ads. Some people still click on them but local search ads don’t have that inherent bias yet.
Email & Text For HVAC Company
Once you have your new customers, a big pain for HVAC companies is making sure they keep their appointment. It doesn’t matter if you acquire new customers if you can’t retain them and have them show up to their appointments. This is where email & text comes into the picture.
You should be using email and/or text to ensure your customers remember their appointment. This is your internal digital marketing ecosystem.
A week before and a day before their appointment, send them an email and text as a reminder. These emails & texts should have all relevant details about time, location, and what the appointment is for.
Lastly and using sparingly, you can use that email/text list to announce new service & products. This ensures that you have demand for add on products/services for your HVAC business.
The above isn’t an exhaustive list of how you can use digital marketing for your HVAC company, but if it’s executed on well, you won’t need to do anything else to ensure your HVAC company has a fully booked calendar.