A strong online presence, customer reviews, and multiple payment options are the building blocks for your HVAC marketing plan. Here's how you can get started.
Over the years, you probably haven’t had to worry about HVAC marketing in your business plan. Word of mouth was enough to keep your business going. But the HVAC industry has grown almost 50% in the past ten years, leading to much more competition than you had ten years ago.
Still, marketing may not seem like a priority. Maybe you don’t have the budget to hire someone or pay for ads, or you don’t have the time to do all of it yourself. But to keep money coming in, some time and money have to move out.
It doesn’t have to cost an arm and a leg or take up all of your time, either. Effective marketing can help you stand out against your competition, as long as you focus on the right things and use your resources wisely.
BUILD A STRONG ONLINE PRESENCE
A strong online presence is key to marketing your HVAC business and increasing sales. Nearly 2 in 3 customers will look online before choosing a contractor. So, if you’re not online, you don’t exist.
Start building your online presence by investing in a website. Your website is the central hub for all information about your company, from your contact information to the services you offer. One downside to word of mouth is that you can’t control the information that’s spreading. Maybe Joe’s uncle’s best friend’s dad passed along the wrong phone number or said you offer services that you don’t. Even though you didn’t give him that information directly, it’s still Joe’s first impression of your business, and you likely lost business as well.
Once your website is up and running, don’t forget to create a Facebook page if you don’t have one already. 70% of American adults use Facebook, so it’s a great platform to genuinely engage with your customers. You can respond to reviews, share educational articles, and see what your customers are interested in. But this can apply to any social media site. If you have younger customers, try joining Instagram or TikTok. If you mainly service a small community, join Nextdoor to see what everyone’s talking about and how you can help solve some of their problems.
Plus, McAfee recommends checking social media to verify a business is real; if you’re not at least active on Facebook, potential customers may question your business’s legitimacy. The key is to be active on these accounts; if you make them and never post, it’s pretty much the same as not having an account.
ASK FOR REVIEWS
If you’ve been in the HVAC business for a while, you’ve likely relied on word of mouth to do much of your HVAC marketing. While this is a tried-and-true strategy, everything is becoming digital now. Online reviews are now just as critical to marketing your HVAC business, if not more critical. They’re basically the digital equivalent of word-of-mouth, and more than 88% of consumers trust online reviews more than word-of-mouth referrals.
While asking for reviews may feel a little weird at first, it’s no different than asking customers to tell their friends and family about your services. You won’t be the first business to ask for a review, and you definitely won’t be the last. Plus, not asking for reviews can hurt your online presence.
Customers are more likely to leave negative reviews than positive reviews unprompted. Often, folks don’t think about leaving a positive review for a good experience, but the emotions surrounding a bad experience motivate them to leave a bad review. You’ve probably experienced this several times. Have you ever left a review for your favorite restaurant? What about that run-down hotel with bed bugs you stayed in last summer?
The good news is 80% of customers will leave a review — but only if asked to. One of the best places to ask customers to submit reviews is your Google My Business profile. When someone searches for your business, these reviews will be one of the first things they see. You can share snippets of positive reviews on your website and social media pages to maximize the impact.
ADVERTISE YOUR PAYMENT OPTIONS
One marketing idea you may not have considered for your HVAC company is advertising your payment options. Multiple payment options are a great way to attract more customers and increase HVAC sales.
Research shows that 85% of customers won’t complete a purchase if their preferred payment option isn’t available. With HVAC sales, you’re more likely to see scenarios where people don’t even start the booking process if it isn’t clear you offer their preferred payment option.
Time is valuable. Imagine a customer looking at different HVAC companies in their area over a weekend. This is the payment information they’ve gathered from each company’s website.
Which company is worth calling first on Monday? Company A, because no matter how they decide to pay, they have an option. Company B doesn’t offer financing, and for all they know, Company C only takes cash. Who has the cash these days to pay for HVAC services?
With inflation and rising interest rates, credit cards may not be a homeowner’s preferred alternative to cash. Credit card interest rates are currently about 20%, 4% higher than last year. Fixed-rate installment and same-as-cash loans are more affordable options since fixed interest rates won’t change with the Fed’s rate hikes and are often lower than credit card interest rates.
Offering financing options to your customers also provides an opportunity for bigger tickets. Customers may not be willing to spend as much if they’re working with cash on hand or a credit card with high interest rates and a credit limit. With financing, the money they would have spent on interest can instead go towards better equipment. But again, your customers may not know that’s possible unless you advertise multiple payment options.
A strong online presence, asking for reviews, and advertising payment options are vital to your business plan. At FTL Finance, we can’t help you perfect your HVAC marketing. But we can help you offer financing as a payment option for your customers. Visit our website or contact us to learn more.