It used to be that when people wanted to hire an HVAC professional they opened the phonebook and scanned the Yellow Pages for that heating and cooling company they’d seen advertised in a commercial, the newspaper, or on a billboard. They typically asked around to their friends and neighbors for recommendations, but they certainly didn’t pull out a smartphone and search for “heating repair in Bensalem, PA.” Today it’s a totally different ball game. If your HVAC business isn’t online, it’s falling behind fast. And if you are online, you need to be vigilant about staying up-to-date with search engine ranking algorithms and best practices to ensure your website is receiving maximum exposure. Marketing your services online may sound like a very daunting task, but there are some things every HVAC business can do to increase its web traffic and gain new customers.
LOCAL BUSINESS DIRECTORIES
Listing your HVAC company in local business directories is an excellent way to get in front of people who are searching for heating and cooling services in your geographical area. Over the last 12 months, the top referral source (non-paid web traffic via another website outside of Google.com) for my company website was YellowPages.com. Users looking for HVAC services in my area were able to view my listing and then call or visit my website to schedule a technician… all with a free business listing.
When creating or claiming local listings for your business, your top priority should be to ensure you have accurate profiles with “Google My Business,” “Bing Places for Business,” and “Yahoo! Small Business.” These three profiles have the greatest potential for improving your organic search rankings and driving traffic to your site. Here are a few other local business directory websites you should be listed with:
Similar to local citations, listing your business with industry-specific directories can help drive qualified traffic to your website and improve your organic search rankings. Some examples of niche directories include Hvac-Connect.com, FindhvacDealer.com, TheBlueBook.com, and Thomasnet.com — be sure to list your business within the appropriate, “HVAC Contractors,” category with Thomasnet. A word of warning when creating profiles on niche directories: avoid websites that appear spammy or untrustworthy and avoid posting your business information on sites that require a link back to them. These characteristics are frowned upon by search engines and could end up hurting your site’s rankings.
YouTube presents a fantastic platform for companies in the HVAC service industry to reach potential customers. It is a great outlet for users to find insightful “how-to” videos pertaining to simple maintenance problems. Some research into what users are looking for can help you create video tutorials that target highly searched queries, such as “air conditioner troubleshooting.” This puts your brand in front of a larger audience and helps to establish credibility.
Your video content should always be focused on helping your target audience first and foremost. It is also recommended that each video be given a title and description that is “search engine friendly” — use important keywords and link to helpful resources on your company website if applicable. This will allow search engines to locate your videos more easily.
You don’t need to be on every social platform; in fact, you probably shouldn’t be. But it’s important to have an active presence on the social sites that matter most to your customer base. For most HVAC businesses, this means engaging with your audience on Facebook and YouTube. Please don’t miss that keyword, “engaging.” If you are going to put your business on social media, you need to be interacting with your audience in ways that are meaningful to them. And, as we discussed with videos, all of your social media profiles should be search engine friendly in addition to being user focused.
Although your customers are looking for HVAC help via the web, word of mouth is still king. It simply takes the form of online reviews now. People want to know what your customers have to say about your work. You could have the prettiest looking HVAC site on the Internet, but if your customers aren’t happy, you’re going to have trouble growing your business.
Make sure your HVAC company is listed on popular review platforms like Yelp, Angie’s List, BBB, Thumbtack, HomeAdvisor, Yahoo! Local, Google+, etc., and monitor each listing. When you receive positive feedback, send a quick “thank you” to your customer. If you receive an unfavorable review, respond to it promptly, showing your concern for the customer’s issue and a willingness to work towards a solution. This can typically be accomplished by asking the unsatisfied customer to call or email you directly so you can straighten everything out. The worst thing a company can do after receiving a poor review is respond negatively or ignore it completely.
I hope you find a few of these tips helpful as you continue looking for new ways to grow your HVAC business online. If you have any questions regarding these recommendations, please feel free to leave a comment below.