But not now.
Lazarus, the owner of Eagle Air Conditioning Inc. (White Plains, N.Y.), has done a 180-degree turn in his opinion of electronic media as a vehicle for marketing his business - something he didn’t even foresee a decade ago.
“I can remember approximately 10-plus years ago, telling an employee that a website is something not really applicable in a commercial and industrial service company, and how personalized e-mail wasn’t a necessity, but how wrong I was,” he said. “I remember the days sending proposals for RTUs and chillers from my AOL account!”
BUILDING A WEB PRESENCEA lot of good things have happened to Lazarus and his company, thanks to electronic media. It all started with a website and has transcended into a large presence on Facebook. “Needless to say, since the creation of our website, www.EagleAirConditioning.net, we have obtained substantial commercial and industrial HVAC work,” Lazarus said. “In fact, we just recently released our new website.”
The success coming from a Web presence built a natural bridge to expanding to social media platforms. But even this next logical step was met with a pushback from Lazarus. “The choice to use Facebook, as well as other social mediums like Twitter, ultimately came from our marketing department,” he said. “The goal was to potentially increase organic search engine optimization [SEO] results as well as connect with prospective building owners. Quite frankly, at first I was very reluctant to have my marketing and sales teams spend time on such things.”
Eagle Air Conditioning has benefited from the number of “likes” it gets on Facebook - which Facebook describes as sharing content with other friends. When users click a “like” button at a website, a news feed is automatically generated with a link back to the website. In laymen’s terms, it is basically cost-free word-of-mouth advertising.
FORESEEING A SOCIAL FUTURELazarus admits that his company’s ventures into Facebook are only at the tip-of-the-iceberg stage, but he is very optimistic that a commercial HVAC contractor can have a great deal of success in a market that, on the surface, may not seem ready to support the trade. “Our Facebook ventures are still in early development and have not directly led to sales increase, but have increased our SEO rankings with internal and outbound links, thus indirectly increasing sales and leads,” he said. “Despite only creating our social networking accounts a few months ago, we already have 319 likes on Facebook. It seems that by updating a page frequently with interesting information, we’re able to pull potential clients in. I do feel that, just like the website, in time Facebook will increase our sales.”
Lazarus noted that his company will continue to expand its marketing on Facebook, and hopes to see some sales increase as a result of our efforts. While his marketing department oversees the social media, he will often submit advice and messages, too. And he hopes his competition hasn’t caught on yet.
“I visit my competitor’s websites and online footprints regularly,” he said. “I have seen a lot of the ‘one guy with a truck’ shops having social media pages, but my direct competitors do not participate, for whatever reason that may be.”
On the surface, selling rooftops units via Facebook may not seem like the best marketing move. But then again, many commercial contractors had little faith in marketing through their own websites 10 years ago. And now everyone (well, almost everyone) has one.
To see what Eagle Air Conditioning is doing right now, visit www.facebook.com/EagleAirConditioning or www.twitter.com/#!/@EagleHVAC.