Marketing to customers is a constant concern for the HVAC contractor. Customer’s expectations for contractors are constantly changing, as well as customers’ engagement with different forms of advertisements. The pandemic only complicated issues, and now HVAC contractors are moving into the shoulder season. What are good strategies for marketing to customers this fall, when residential customers might want to delay repairs or replacements?
Indoor Air Quality, Heating, and Service Agreements
“The fall season should target indoor air quality solutions, early heating change outs, and service agreements,” said Chris Smith, CEO of All Contractor Marketing. The need for indoor air quality remains regardless of the season, so IAQ products represent a solution contractors can target. Contractors can also work to persuade customers to get ahead of breakdowns — replacing a system in the fall is much easier than the system going down on a freezing cold night in the middle of winter. Plus, signing service agreements and offering preventive maintenance work can keep techs busy in the shoulder season.
Smith recommended that a great option for a fall ad run would be a direct mail post card campaign with three offers that target these areas. Contractors could offer 0% financing, a discount on an indoor air quality product, and a discount on a service agreement. The post card design could also be mirrored in a social media ad that runs the 4-6 weeks that the promotions are being offered.
“Think of what’s occurring in your customers’ lives during the fall: holiday parties, out-of-town family guests, and getting ready for these events,” Smith said. “You will see some remodeling or even ductless splits for bonus rooms or basements to add space.”
Many families will want to get these renovations done before snowfall, so contractors who can offer the appropriate systems and repairs, counseling on what is best for the customer’s comfort in their renovated space, will have a better chance of getting the sale.
The Pandemic and Shoulder Season Marketing
The pandemic seems to be waning, but it is not yet over. HVAC contractors should keep this in mind, as many of the effects of the pandemic on the HVAC industry still linger. In Smith’s opinion, the same foundational marketing strategies that worked at the beginning of the pandemic are still working very well now. Since many people are still cognizant of their hygiene and health, contractors should continue their messaging of providing great service that customers can trust, as well as their commitment to social distancing, touchless home services, techs that sanitize services when done, and online payment options for a true touchless experience.
“Let your customers know you can pull off tune-ups, repairs, and even replacements using safe touchless techniques to keep them and the home safe,” said Smith. “Keep repeating this message over and over.”
The economy is still in a strange place because of the pandemic and associated product shortages. According to Smith, this past summer was business as usual for HVAC business customers due to strong growth and customer acquisition. However, it is still unclear how the equipment shortages in the industry will affect demand and pricing overall. Some contractors have looked at last year’s autumn sale and already pre-ordered enough equipment to move through the season with little impact from the shortages.
“I think if you were to give the residential and commercial market demand an overall grade, it would be a B+,” said Smith. “Demand is not maxed out, but a good steady demand continues for both markets.”
He added that the residential new construction permits across the nation are still down, and demand is hot, which is affecting the market. If the price of building materials continues to fall and normalize, the residential new construction market should increase over the next 18-24 months.