This is the age-old question every HVAC business owner has wanted to know (besides how to find a quality service tech). It more than likely repeats itself every single time a bill comes in from the newspaper, Angie's List, radio/TV… the list goes on and on, but you get the point. So does it work? Unfortunately, the answer isn't that simple. OK... So now you’re probably wondering why you’re still reading this. Well, because I have the golden ticket, and I am going give it to you. That way, you can check if the chocolate factory is making the finest Belgian chocolate or sugar coated junk.
SETTING UP THE PROPER INFRASTRUCTURE
In order to find out what's working and what's not, you need to have a firm grasp on what your HVAC company is advertising in the marketplace. I’ve met multiple contractors who are so busy, they aren’t sure of what campaigns they are currently running. Sometimes, they aren’t even sure who their reps are. It can be a struggle just to know what's actually going on, where, and at what time. I recommend using a trackable phone number for each separate campaign so you can keep a record of where phone calls are coming from.
Many do this already, but I recommend using a service like CallRail. With trackable numbers in place, you can better define where the leads are coming from. By assigning radio, TV, print, pay per click (PPC), or any other medium its own trackable number, you can better gauge the quality of each campaign. Services like CallRail also record the phone calls. You can listen to the calls online and even export them. The beauty of this is that you get to listen to how your customers are being handled by your internal staff (you may be surprised).
ORGANIZING YOUR TEAM
In order to successfully track your return on investment (ROI) for each campaign, you have to make your team aware of what you’re trying to accomplish. That means the front office or whoever handles your phone calls needs to ask every person who calls a simple question, “How did you find our number?” or “How did you hear about us?” I don’t care how it's done or whether it’s through your point of sale (POS) system, customer relationship management (CRM) system, or a simple spreadsheet, the answers must be recorded.
At the end of each month or a predefined tracking period, total up the numbers for each campaign and the revenue generated for each call that turned into a replacement sale, repair, or maintenance agreement. This will give you a much better vision of what is working. Then you can adjust your budget accordingly. This method only works if everyone is on board.
It is important to take these numbers with a grain of salt. While this method will give us a much clearer roadmap of where you’re getting the most bang for your buck, the mind of the consumer is tricky. For example, someone could see your TV commercial and months later their air conditioner breaks. They Google you and call your company. When the front office asks, “How did you find us?”, the prospect may very well say, “I Googled you.” However, the reason they Googled you was the commercial they saw three months ago. Many times the consumer won’t even consciously remember. So, your staff must ask the second question: “What made you Google us?” Doing this will help you better understand where the lead came from and which campaign it should be assigned to. Marketing and advertising for HVAC companies should not be some stagnant, repetitive process; it should be constantly evolving and adjusted from data and insights gained from previous campaigns.