There are so many factors to consider when you determine if this past year was a good or bad one. Your financial numbers don’t lie, but we have to look a little deeper. It’s all about playing the long game, unless you are selling your company in the near future. Weather, the economy, and hard work will always play a major role in how your HVAC business did in 2019. Looking forward, an HVAC marketing plan for 2020 can be the key to success. Do you have one?
Key HVAC Indicators from 2019
Weather dictates so much in our industry, so I implore you to look at what really matters. Your area of the country may have had a cool summer and a mild winter, but let’s take a look at what matters long term for your HVAC company.
- Did you grow your maintenance customer base?
- Did you increase your tune-up conversion percentage to maintenance customers?
- Did you increase your average ticket value in service and agency of record?
- What percentage of jobs were financed?
- What jobs had add-ons: i.e. IAQ items, duct cleaning, extended warranties?
So, maybe the weather did not cooperate in your area of the country, but if your heating and air company improved in these categories, you still had a positive year. Remember, we are playing the long game!
It’s time to review your current marketing efforts. Where are you strong? Where are you lacking? What’s your budget? Do you feel it’s too little or are you overspending? Do you feel you are not using the proper channels?
How does your current website look? Is it modern and up to date? Here are some things to consider if your current website is a “lead generator” or an old dog:
- When was the site built originally? If it’s over five years old, it may be time for a new one. Older websites do not function well with modern plug-ins, their framework may be outdated (looks old compared to newer sites), and they might not be able to handle enough modern content.
- Is it a responsive website? Does it change its layout and size when you change device? Does it look good on mobile, tablet, desktop, and laptop?
- Is it mobile optimized? Google ranks and indexes all websites by mobile first.
- Is it a secure website? That means it has an SSL Certificate: HTTPS vs. HTTP. If it’s not secure, the search engines are penalizing it and its rankings.
Your Social Media
How active is your HVAC business on social media these days? It’s not only important for your website rank, but it is where your customers are spending their time. These are things to ask yourself about your company’s social media landscape:
- How socially active is your company? How often are you posting, and to what channels? How many followers do you have?
- What social sites are you active on? Facebook is a must! It is where your target demographic is on a daily basis (homeowners 25-65+). Instagram, Twitter, and YouTube are important as well.
Google My Business
Google is currently putting a huge amount of importance on your company’s Google My Business page. Google, which makes up about 85 percent of all web traffic, wants to see you have a completed and active profile.
- Correct business information: Name, address, phone number, hours of operation, service area, and company information statement
- Current pictures related to your business
- An updated Google Maps listing
- Accept questions from potential customers on your profile. You must respond to these in a reasonable amount of time.
- Google Reviews: The more the better, the higher the star rating the better, and you need to respond to all reviews.
- Google Posts on your profile. This is a great place to highlight your current service special or a feature about your company.
Traditional Marketing (If your budget allows)
What forms of traditional or “old school” outlets are you using? TV, radio, billboards, or print? These forms of advertising are great ways to brand your HVAC business. It is tough to measure exact results from traditional media campaigns when it comes to heating and air industry. Remember only two percent of the population is ever in the market at any given time for your services, so make sure to address these things:
- Hit the core values that a consumer/homeowner wants from you (trust, value, fixed now)
- Be consistent with your message, and don’t change it from campaign to campaign (i.e. We are playing the long game)
- Make sure the message is the same everywhere: The TV spot has the same message as the radio commercial, the billboard, your social media, your website, your email marketing, your mailers, your job site signs.
Now Let’s Talk Budget
We consistently see HVAC companies underfund their marketing efforts. That’s okay, because many of us were taught that marketing does not work for our HVAC business. But things have changed. We recommend somewhere between three to eight percent of gross revenue, minus any new construction work your company is doing.
If your HVAC business falls in the three percent range, digital marketing is your best avenue:
- Paid advertising (PPC and LSA’s)
- Social media
When your company dedicates closer to five percent or more, you can start to add in traditional advertising:
And of course there are all kinds of mixtures in between.
Real World Example:
ABC Heating & Air does around $2.5 million in service and AOR revenue. A budget would look something like this: $75,000 total for the year
- $18,000 dedicated to website
- $24,000 to PPC/LSA advertising
- $8,000 to social media
- $25,000 to traditional marketing (Radio, TV, OTT, Billboards)
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