Marketing Your HVAC Business: The Ultimate Guide for Business Growth
Maybe you run an HVAC business, maybe you’re thinking about starting one––either way, you’re going to have to start flexing your marketing muscles to compete in this saturated marketplace. Marketing is helpful for all business owners, regardless if you’re on the tech or the business side of the company.
Trying and testing different marketing strategies probably isn’t why you got into business, but it’s what’s going to help you grow.
This might seem like a nasty beast you don’t want to touch––but don’t worry, it’s likely that you’ve already done some marketing in the past (sending quotes, sharing business cards, etc.) All you need to refine your approach.
It’s time to go a step further and explore the following marketing strategies that will grow your bottom line.
We recommend these marketing strategies for HVAC business owners because of your unique place in the market. Let’s dive in!
Top 10 marketing ideas for HVAC professionals:
- Create a solid website
- Collect client reviews
- Create a client referral program
- Offer stellar value to your clients
- Brand your vehicles
- Use branded stickers
- Invest in business cards and flyers
- Take advantage of PPC and social media ads
- Use social media
- Upsell your services by marketing them to clients onsite
1. Create a solid website
One of the biggest mistakes you can make when owning an HVAC business is not having a website. At this point in time, if you don’t have a website, you basically don’t exist.
Van Wu, Owner of Trust Home Comfort Ltd., says that “people in this industry fail on professionalism. You need a dedicated and professional website. Everybody looks for you online.”
A website boosts your professionalism and trustworthiness by adding a level of transparency to your business. It also helps leads find you, contact you, send a work request, and share your information with their friends and family (those are easy, free leads!).
If you’re the kind of person who is very busy and can’t always answer the phone, you can use your website to answer FAQs, collect emails, and provide leads with some basic information to help them make quicker hiring decisions.
Van Wu, Owner of Trust Home Comfort Ltd.
People in this industry fail on professionalism. You need a dedicated and professional website. Everybody looks for you online.
How to create an HVAC website
You have a lot of options when it comes to building a website. You can purchase a custom domain from hosts like GoDaddy or Squarespace, and then use web development websites like AMP on Google (which helps you make an automatically responsive and mobile-friendly website), WordPress, and Wix to build your website.
Some of these domain host websites also offer a branded email package, which is great if you want a custom email to use on your marketing materials.
If you’re not ready to build your own website, you can always hire a web developer or an agency to do it for you. But this isn’t necessary. These professionals can be very expensive, and they might not be able to provide much more added value than a website host that helps you build your own website.
Whatever you do, don’t forget to use your website as a custom lead generation tool. Make sure to embed a work request form on your home page to help you collect leads and allow prospects to request an HVAC service from you.
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2. Collect reviews
Collecting reviews is one of the most effective marketing strategies you can use. Why? Because if you collect reviews on another website like Yelp or Google, your website will appear in search results, and people will see your customer rating right in the search!
Customer reviews are one of the most important ways to help you get new clients. According to a BrightLocal consumer survey, 84% of consumers trust web reviews as much as they trust personal recommendations. Reviews on your Google My Business account and your Facebook Business page have a huge influence on consumer buying decisions.
How do you get your clients to leave an HVAC service review?
Van Wu is a huge advocate for gathering client reviews. He says that his reputation is one of the main sources for garnering new business. He suggests using follow-up emails as a method to extract feedback and reviews.
“After you do an install or repair you need to follow-up with an email and answer their concerns. Normally I get review feedback through Jobber’s email follow-up tool. I can ask my clients for a rating between 1-10 and they can add comments.”
Van asks some of his clients to leave Trust Home Comfort Ltd. a review on his site of choice when it’s appropriate.
Next, Van puts his online reputation right on his quotes as a testimony to Trust Home Comfort Ltd.’s service.
Reviews are great for Van because they help his company get discovered, and they help him coach technicians based on customer feedback.
Another option for getting client reviews is to include a link to your preferred review platform of choice in your automated follow-up email. That’s what Andy Weins, Owner of JDog Southeastern Wisconsin did to collect over 500 5-star client reviews to grow his business.
Van Wu, Owner of Trust Home Comfort, Ltd.
“Building a good reputation online and offline pays off. I’d say that 40% of jobs come from referrals based on our customer service.”
3. Offer stellar value to your customers
Although the value that your HVAC business brings to your clients isn’t exactly a marketing strategy at first glance, it can easily become one.
Van Wu explains that his customer service strategy is the main selling point for his customers and leads. It’s what convinces people to pick up the phone and ask his team to do their next service call. Trust Home Comfort Ltd.’s value is customer service, and it’s what drives his word of mouth marketing engine.
“Building a good reputation online and offline pays off. I’d say that 40% of jobs come from referrals based on our customer service.”
What’s the best HVAC advertising strategy?
Believe it or not, customer referrals are your best advertising channel. Word of mouth works for HVAC pros. It’s low cost and it’s easy to stand out by offering better service than your competitors.
Van explains that his company’s value proposition (value add) is all about customer service. It’s not hard to offer that, Van explains, because “normally customers are mistreated by tradespeople because they think they know more than them, yet they lack good customer service skills to treat them well.”
When you master your value add, you can use it as a marketing machine. For example, Van’s team goes beyond expectations by being helpful, completing extra services for free, and giving product recommendations (which is also an opportunity for his team to upsell).
4. Create a referral program
A basic referral program is a great way to reward loyal customers and get your foot in the door with new ones. You can offer an incentive to satisfied customers that’s paid out when they refer a new client to you.
Van Wu says he offers $100 in cash or credit per closed sale for client referrals. He thinks it’s a great way to leverage your biggest fans and find new customers who have already heard good things about the business (a nice place to start).
You can offer this as an option to all of your existing clients, include it on your website, use it within your contractor network, or share promotional flyers with the details around town.
5. Brand your vehicles
Vehicle decals are essential for HVAC professionals who are constantly running between service calls. You’re always out in the field, so why not make that work for you? Your van could be a free ad billboard for you when you’re on the road, parked at a grocery store, or in your client’s driveway for a service call.
You can design the decals yourself, or get a professional to design vehicle decals for you. First decide what you want to include on the vehicle: your business name, logo, contact information, slogan, and your best selling point (i.e satisfaction guarantee or financing).
Next, get accurate vehicle measurements (make sure you know what car model you’re driving!). This will help you avoid driving around with a cut off or illegible decal.
Next, choose the colour scheme. Use a bright colour that contrasts well with your vehicle colour, yet remains legible. For example, green writing on an orange background won’t be easy to read. Stick with white or black background and a couple other colours in the foreground.
Finally, look for a local design and print shop that can either design or print the project. A professional designer will be able to create a well-rendered, accurately designed decal for you to use. They might even be able to install it for you too!
If you’re willing to give it a go (and are experienced with graphic design or know a great designer) you can actually complete the vehicle wrap or decal project on your own. Take some advice from this expert if you decide to try it out.
6. Stickers for heating and cooling systems
One of the best ways to market your HVAC business for repeat customers is to use plenum stickers. Vinyl stickers are easy and cheap to print, and you can stick them right where it counts and where your clients will see it: on the plenum!
Make sure to include your contact information and company name on the sticker so your client always knows to contact you when they try and troubleshoot their furnace or AC. Stick your stickers whenever you complete a service call, maintenance visit, or arrange a service agreement with your clients.
7. Business cards and flyers
Handing out business cards is a no brainer, but don’t forget to invest in a business card that stands out. The same goes with flyers. The only difference is the level of convenience.
Flyers take a bit more time and dedication to drive around town and place them strategically (in community centres, on community boards, in hardware stores, on the perfect light post, etc.)
Business cards are pretty easy because you can simply keep a few in your wallet and hand them out if you’re around town, at a networking event, or when you’re in a new neighbourhood.
Flyers are relatively cheap to print out––you can do it at home, or have them printed professionally (which would be a bit more expensive.) Business cards are also an inexpensive marketing tactic (depending on what you decide to print and the quality of your prints).
There are tons of great graphic design websites online that offer free templates, like Canva, Looka, and some of these services also offer printing too, like Vistaprint, and Moo.
Don’t be afraid to go local and reach out to a few of your city’s local print shops for business print and design quotes.
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8. Use the right ads
Digital advertisements are one of the most effective advertising methods out there right now. They’re great because you can display your ad to the right audience in your geographic location based on their preferences and needs.
For example, you can use Google Ads to display pay per click (PPC) ads to people who search for “HVAC contractor Denver” and try to get them to your website.
One downside to Google PPC ads is they can be pricey for the HVAC industry. For example, if you ran an ad targeting the search term “HVAC Denver,” it would cost $46.04 each time someone clicks on the ad. The term “furnace repair denver” would cost you $70.28 each click!
Remember: you’re paying for clicks, but these visitors might never actually become leads.
Marc Brewer, Owner of DLACO HVAC
Marketing leads come from ads, and that’s when prospects are shopping around for service providers. These leads are trying to maximize their bang for buck. Marketing leads are way more expensive and you’re dealing with informed customers.
What’s the best type of HVAC advertisement strategy?
If you’re looking to use digital advertisements for your HVAC business, you can try PPC Google Ads, programmatic ads on website hosts, or direct response social media ads. Keep in mind that PPC ads can be very expensive for this industry.
Alternatively you can advertise your services on social media networks like Facebook and Instagram.
Social media ads can be a more affordable advertising channel as they tend to cost less than PPC ads, and you can create more targeted ads with social media ads. You can display ads for your services in your prospect’s social feed based on their likes, interests, location, groups, and more.
9. Use social media
Social media is not for everyone, but you should definitely start getting more familiar with it. It’s a fantastic way to generate exposure in your community because it’s pretty easy to use (plus it’s free).
Use social media networks to gain exposure through groups, hashtags, and locations. Don’t worry about the number of followers you have. Work on how you interact with your audience and join the conversation.
Although you need to post regularly and interact with your community to get good liftoff, social media is very valuable.
Which social media network should I use?
The best social media networks to be on in HVAC include Facebook, Twitter, and Thumbtack because you can post and connect with others fairly easily without requiring too much video and photo content. Choose the network based on your comfort level.
What your social profile should look like
Profiles on social media networks will include different information sections. For example, a Facebook Business page will include an entire “about” page, whereas Instagram will give you only 150 characters to tell people about your account.
Make sure you always include your business name, business information, website link, and contact in the account profile. You can also include a work request link right on your profile in the link in your bio, or directly in your profile on some social networks, such as Facebook.
10. Upsell, Upsell, Upsell!
Okay, upselling your services is not exactly “marketing,” but you can use upselling to replace some marketing efforts, and also use it to market your services. Upselling costs less money and time than ads and promotional marketing materials do.
Marc Brewer, owner of DALCO HVAC, believes that upselling should be a crucial part of your HVAC marketing strategy. In Mar’s opinion, upselling is a an opportunity to showcase other services for free. Van Wu believes that upselling can contribute to the majority of your company’s revenue.
It’s great because you’re able to market your services right to your customers, answer their questions, and convince them to buy a higher priced package or service.
Plus, you’re catching your customers at a good time because they might not be shopping around for more services at that moment.
Marc gives his expertise on two upselling strategies for you to try:
1. Quote higher than your competitors but always offer price matching.
“If you come out with a higher priced quote you can try and maximize profit dollars. You can always offer competitor price matching. Rather than just offering a cheap deal right out of the gate, you can negotiate towards it. Negotiating makes you look easier to work with and more professional down the road. Plus it opens the door to upselling services down the line.”
2. Get your service techs to sell rather than ads or salespeople.
“I can get more out of service tech lead in comparison to a marketing lead. People trust techs more than salespeople. Techs can sell right at the front door, and on the job site. Plus, there’s no competition with a service call lead. Either the tech was called to come over, or the tech calls the customer to do a maintenance update.
Marketing leads come from ads, and that’s when prospects are shopping around for service providers. These leads are trying to maximize their bang for buck. Marketing leads are way more expensive and you’re dealing with informed customers.”
Should you hire an HVAC marketing company or agency?
You might be tempted to hire an agency to help you out, but this isn’t necessary. You can complete a lot of marketing initiatives on your own without committing too much time to it.
Hiring professional marketers for your business
If you want to hire a professional, the first person you should look for is a web developer. A good website can usually do more for your marketing than anything else in the HVAC industry.
If you decide to hire an agency, remember that they can be very expensive to work with. The relationship requires a significant amount of management and communication. You have to make sure they are on the ball, doing what you need them to do, and are executing what you want.
If you have the capital and want to hire an agency to do your marketing for you then make sure you speak to their references first.
In the HVAC industry you can’t assume business will come to you just because you’re good at your trade, or because people have an emergency. To truly grow you need a detailed strategy to get your business discovered plus an efficient business operations plan. There’s a lot that goes into making your business successful.
What are you doing to forge strong relationships and create happy clients? Share your tips below!