There is nothing more frustrating for an HVAC contractor than spending time and money reaching out to homeowners who do not need or cannot afford a system.

Regardless of whether you are using direct mail, email, or digital marketing, you need to make sure that you are targeting the absolute best prospects for your dealership.

Most HVAC companies use a set of standard targeting variables to create their list. These include dwelling type, home ownership, home value, and age of home.

However, within that group are still people who are not good prospects. We can all agree that it’s a waste of hard-earned dollars to reach out to non-qualified prospects. You spend money pitching them — not to mention the time spent at an in-home appointment and getting them to sign a contract. And then, they don’t qualify for financing.


Demographics Aren’t Enough

More than 25% of American homeowners have scores under 599. If they can’t pass credit with your finance company, your marketing money spent on them will go to waste.

With this in mind, many HVAC contractors are now incorporating credit worthiness into their criteria.

First, know your customer. Make sure you select your list by the score that you know your finance company will accept. Remember, the credit score can be overlaid onto the specific targeted homeowner lists that work within the framework of your company’s lead generation program.

Then, you can consider the different types of credit score lists that are available in the marketplace.


Understanding Prescreened Data Versus Modeled Credit Scores

It’s important to understand the difference between prescreened credit score data and modeled credit data.

Prescreened lists are typically provided by Experian, Trans Union, or Equifax. They are a great way to ensure that marketing targets conform to an actual credit score, but they are generally quite expensive and require extensive red tape to get a marketer set up to rent lists or to get mail pieces approved.

The fact is that most HVAC contractors are just simply not qualified to receive prescreen data. That is because you are not the actual finance company. There are lots of hoops to jump through to get approved, including background checks and office visits. Additionally, there is required legal language that must be printed on your mail piece that requires you to make a firm offer of credit. That means regardless of whether you want to sell your system to someone, if they got your mailer, they get the loan.

Since most contractors cannot use the prescreened list, the solution is modeled credit score data. This is widely used data in the HVAC industry because:

  • The costs are comparatively less expensive.
  • It’s easier to acquire this list of creditworthy people (same-day delivery).
  • No firm offer of credit is required.
  • You have the ability to overlay demographics and home data.


Standing Out In the Crowd

We know that the key to keeping your brand and offer visible to prospects is frequency. And it’s not just repetition in the same medium. Your message needs to be visible in multiple marketing channels to make an impact. The more times someone sees your message and the more ways they see it, the more they will remember it.

That means once you have a great list of targeted prospects, you want to maximize it. You want to reach out to your prime prospects through as many ways as possible: direct mail, telemarketing, email, and digital marketing.


Generating Leads Through Direct Mail

Direct mail is still the only marketing channel that reaches 100% of your prospects all the time, every time.

Yes, direct mail may feel “old school” — but it works. This is especially true for higher-priced items like HVAC.

These statistics are from SmallBizGenius.

  • 42.2% of direct mail recipients either read or scan the mail they get.
  • Direct mail requires 21% less cognitive effort to process than email.
  • Direct mail recipients purchase 28% more items and spend 28% more money than people who don’t get that same piece of direct mail.
  • Direct mail offers a 29% return on investment.
  • 73% of American consumers say they prefer being contacted by brands via direct mail because they can read it whenever they want.

The top direct mail format in HVAC is the oversized postcard. Smart marketers are using QR codes to drive people to a landing page on their websites, where they can convert these prospects into solid leads.


Telemarketing Still Generates Leads

Many HVAC dealers do very well with telemarketing. Your list can be appended with scrubbed telephone numbers. If you work with a reliable list company, they will provide you with scrubbed data (which means the list is purged against the Do Not Call list).

Nowadays, many homeowners are “untethered.” This means they do not have a landline. If your company generates leads through telemarketing, you may want to consider a list of homeowners with cell phone numbers.


Email – Part of your Lead Generation Strategy

Email response increased in 2020. That’s because everyone was at home glued to their phones or laptops. A well-crafted email to the right people can definitely generate leads for your HVAC business.

Make sure your subject line entices people to open your email. Give them a good reason to click on your call to action button. This way, you can drive them your website, where you can capture their information and develop a real-time lead.

Email addresses can be appended to about 40% of your targeted lead list. As a reminder, before you embark on an email marketing campaign, double check to make sure you can important rented or appended lists into your CRM system.


Reaching Your Top Homeowner Prospects Digitally

Digital display advertising is a form of advertising that utilizes custom or branded images to reach a specific audience. These ads are also known as internet banners. They typically use photos, videos, and graphics to attract users to click and be taken to a landing page where your company captures real time leads.

It doesn’t matter if you are scrolling through your social media feed, shopping online, listening to music, or watching the news on your iPhone — during your session, a display banner may appear on the top, bottom, or side of your screen. These are digital ads, and one of them can be yours.

With addressable geofencing, you can serve digital ads to the same qualified homeowners from your list. By reaching these qualified prospects via another channel, your visibility, branding, and chance for success improve.

The overarching goal of lead generation marketing is to develop solid leads for your sales people. The place to begin is by developing a well-targeted, qualified list of prospects. When you target homeowners by their credit worthiness, you are improving the efficiency of everything you do.