How to Get HVAC Customers Online (Without Breaking the Bank)By My Service Depot on Thursday, May 23, 2019
Many inexpensive or free tools can help you promote and grow your HVAC business online.
Running a small business usually means working with a limited marketing budget. Of course, if you don’t invest at least a portion of your revenue in promoting your HVAC business, you can’t expect to expand your business and bring new customers.
As a matter of fact, stats say that 50% of customers naturally churn within five years, which means you need a regular and steady influx of new customers in order to survive.
The global HVAC market is expected to grow, and according to estimates, it will reach $208.55 billion by 2024, which means that your competition will be fierce. From that perspective, it’s obvious that you’ll have to double-down on your marketing and promotional efforts in order to attract new customers.
Here’s how to do that without spending a fortune.
Build a great website.
Long gone are the days when HVAC and other small businesses could spread the word about themselves simply by posting an ad in the local newspapers or in the Yellow Pages (though this traditional approach is good for your local search rankings).
In the 21st century, you must have your own fenced-off corner of the internet.
A decent, visually appealing website doesn’t have to come with a hefty price tag. For example, you can take advantage of WordPress, a platform for building a free website or blog. It offers different customizable templates, as well as free support.
Provide consistent information.
Naturally, different web pages and directories will feature your HVAC business. However, many business owners who aren’t tech-savvy make a mistake of not checking and filtering the information floating around about their company. 93% of customers say they’re frustrated by incorrect and inaccurate information about businesses in online directories.
That’s why you need to make sure that you provide accurate and consistent information about your HVAC business. NAP (name, address, and phone number) consistency is essential for the success of your local SEO. Even more than that, it’s important not to confuse your potential customers by allowing inaccurate and inconsistent contact information to exist on the internet.
Produce helpful content
Educating your target audience is of vital importance when it comes to attracting new customers. This means that you should run a blog in which you’ll discuss some of the most common issues your customers face, issues such as how to clean an AC unit, or the benefits of a good ventilation system. Blog posts about relevant topics of interest to your target audience can help you nurture and keep visitors on your website, gradually converting them into customers.
Free tips and advice, as well as how-to manuals, work as excellent lead magnets, and you should remember that if you offer your prospects solutions to their issues, they’ll be more likely to purchase from you. Bear all this in mind when creating your content.
Optimize your website for search engines
So, you have a great website packed with useful content, and yet you don’t get very much traffic. What gives? The fact that your website isn’t optimized for search is usually the main culprit.
What does this mean? In layman’s terms, your website and its content aren’t visible to search engines or your target audience. Hiring an SEO expert who will add relevant keywords to your content, find backlink opportunities, and leverage guest posting—as well as tweak different things on your website—will improve your website’s rankings and help you start appearing in your target audience’s searches.
Small businesses don’t always have enough customer service reps to handle an increasing number of support requests. This means that your customers usually have to wait until a support rep becomes available to talk to them. In the HVAC business, emergencies occur at odd hours (often when your customer service reps are sound asleep). Sometimes a potential customer wants a piece of information about your products and services, and if they don’t get their reply in a timely manner, they’ll simply go to your competition.
That’s where chatbots come in. Chatbots can provide your potential and existing customers with the information they need to help them with some basic troubleshooting. What’s even better, they will do it 24/7 and without any delay. These smart algorithms can improve your communication with your customers by engaging them in real-time, one-on-one conversations. Needless to say, such fast and constantly available customer support will significantly improve your customer satisfaction, all without necessitating the hiring of additional customer support reps.
Build your social media presence.
There are almost 4 billion social media users worldwide. Odds are, a huge portion of your target audience uses Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, or other social media channels on a daily basis.
In other words, these platforms can do wonders for reaching your potential clients, improving your brand recognition, and promoting your HVAC business.
The trick isn’t to spread yourself too thin and start posting on every single social media channel. Instead, find out the preferred channel of your target audience and build your presence there. Just don’t get too pushy with your advertising. Instead, share relevant and useful posts from which your followers can learn something new.
Recent Facebook changes have significantly reduced the organic reach of business and fan pages, which means that usually less than 10% of your audience will see your posts. Luckily, you can improve these numbers by setting aside a small budget for Facebook Ads. For only a couple of dollars a day you can target your audience and show them your content.
Leverage social proof.
Consumers are more likely to trust peer recommendations over advertising. Social proof—such as customer testimonials, case studies, and customer reviews—can be a powerful mechanism for building trust.
Positive reviews and comments from happy customers have the power to convince prospects that your company offers only high-quality products and services. Just make sure that all the reviews and testimonials you use are genuine and authentic. Faking them can only hurt your reputation. Always add pictures to your testimonials. People find this technique more trustworthy because it “puts a face to the words.”
Another good idea? Incentivize your existing customers to leave reviews. Longer descriptions and narratives perform better than simply saying that your HVAC service is “great” or “amazing.”
Michael Deane is one of the editors of Qeedle, a small business magazine. When not blogging (or working), he can usually be spotted on the track, doing his laps, or with his nose deep in the latest John Grisham.