HVAC, Business Tips, Pro Features, Guides

HVAC Email Marketing: How to Increase Sales & Attract New Customers

April 26th, 2024
13 Min Read

We’ve noticed that email marketing is often neglected by HVAC companies despite being one of the most effective and high ROI marketing channels for both nurturing past customers and closing new ones.

Instead, HVAC business owners tend to be extremely focused on initial lead generation (online ads, mailers, etc.). These acquisition channels are important, but email campaigns can also: 

  • Nurture potential customers who reach out but don’t close immediately

  • Help drive recurring business and referrals from existing customers

And, importantly, it can do so at an extremely low cost. 

But doing email marketing effectively means not just blasting the same “winter is coming” message every autumn. Instead, it means having a smart strategy based on sending personalized, relevant emails to carefully segmented customers.

We’ll discuss how to do email marketing well in this post and explain how our email software feature, Marketing Pro, which has been designed specifically for the HVAC industry, can help. We’ll also provide seven email campaign examples that you can use to drive business with existing customers as well as potential customers.

Table of Contents

To learn more about how ServiceTitan’s marketing features could help your HVAC business, keep reading or book a free, personalized demo.

Why HVAC Email Marketing Is Important

Email marketing refers to delivering emails to existing customers and anyone who has opted in to your mailing list via your website or ads. 

Email marketing is an extremely effective marketing channel mainly because of its low cost, especially when compared to PPC ad channels like Google Ads, Yelp, or Angi. 

Specifically, there’s no incremental cost to sending emails. Email providers usually charge monthly so the difference between sending emails to 100 customers or to 10,000 customers is usually only a small increase in monthly fee — a world of difference compared to paying for every click from a PPC ad (like Google Ads). 

Plus, email marketing typically brings in $40 of revenue for every dollar spent — that’s a huge 4,000% potential return on investment! 

The second key benefit is that it’s much easier to convert existing customers (and those who have chosen to join your email list) rather than strangers. Existing customers are more likely to buy from you again and recommend your HVAC services to their friends if they hear from you regularly. 

So, when HVAC business owners focus too heavily on generating fresh leads and neglect to mine the valuable resource of their existing customers, they leave money on the table from missed opportunities, such as: 

  • Unsold estimates that don’t receive follow-up

  • Customer memberships that don’t get renewed

  • Big-ticket replacements of aging equipment that never happen

Short of hiring an army of customer relationship managers to stay on top of these issues — an impractical, costly solution — HVAC contractors can leverage their existing customers and attract potential customers with the help of an email marketing service that automates the process.

Which Email Marketing Service?

There are two main types of software solutions:

  1. Generic email marketing platforms that offer automated, standalone email delivery services

  2. Field service software designed for your specific industry (e.g. HVAC, plumbing or electrical) that integrates an email marketing tool with other business operations like scheduling and estimating

A generic email marketing platform (like Mailchimp or Constant Contact) will help you segment target audiences (to a point), automate email delivery, and track campaign performance. But you’ll need to manually dig through customer data and coordinate the email software with your CRM tools. Even then, the results are more of a spray and pray, rather than a narrowly targeted approach. 

But if you use software that’s been built for HVAC contractors, like the email feature we offer within ServiceTitan’s Marketing Pro tool, then your email marketing campaigns can be built inside the software that has all of your customer and job history data. 

This simplifies the entire process — allowing you to send extremely personalized and relevant emails to your customers (like unsold estimate emails, expiring membership emails, and more).

In the next section, we’ll explain how.

ServiceTitan: How to Build Successful Email Marketing Campaigns for Existing & Potential Customers 

We’ve mentioned some of the areas where HVAC contractors stand to most improve their bottom line — following up on estimates, renewing service agreements, and converting high-value equipment replacements.

With ServiceTitan Marketing Pro, your email marketing strategy can capitalize on these areas (and attract potential customers, too). Our features facilitate the entire process.

Our method breaks down into four easy steps:

  1. Create a campaign (The Right Message)

  2. Segment email recipients (The Right Audience)

  3. Build an email sequence (The Right Time)   

  4. Review results and optimize (The Right Results)

1. Create a Campaign: The Right Message

Not many HVAC business owners are confident about tackling the design elements of email marketing themselves, and few service businesses keep a designer on staff.  

Similarly, the independent agencies that take on the work don’t have a great idea of what works best when it comes to HVAC email marketing.

Your emails should look similar to the rest of your brand, with your logos and branding used consistently throughout all your digital marketing activities. This way, homeowners will know what to expect from you, and they’ll be more likely to open and read your emails.

ServiceTitan’s customizable, battle-tested email templates have been developed by our in-house designers and copywriters so there’s no need to outsource any design work for your email campaigns. 

Simply upload your company logo so it’s incorporated into your emails for any campaign you choose. (You can choose from the variety of specific campaign templates in our library, or create your own from scratch.) 

Here are four campaign template examples:

#1. Unsold Estimates Campaign

An unsold estimate template can be customized with your company name and specialty (e.g. HVAC), along with personalized contact information, which ServiceTitan pulls automatically from the customer’s account. (We discuss how to create target audiences in detail below.) 

This template also prompts customers to check out your ratings and reviews, reminding homeowners why they called you in the first place. 

Using a template like this in an email marketing campaign is a cost-effective alternative to dedicating labor hours to following up on unsold estimates. We’ve seen that simply having a defined sales process for these kinds of follow-ups can boost an HVAC contractor’s revenue by as much as $1 million in a given year — money they were previously leaving on the table.

#2. Expiring Memberships Campaign

Similarly, a campaign that deploys our expiring memberships template can boost HVAC membership agreement renewals. For HVAC contractors, whose success often depends on maintaining a steady revenue stream during off-seasons, these kinds of customer retention campaigns are especially effective. 

#3. Seasonal Campaign for Idle Accounts

Many of our Marketing Pro users are especially fond of our seasonal templates. In addition to keeping your HVAC company top of mind, this example has been designed to remind existing customers who haven’t booked work in a while that it might be time for a tune-up or a repair. 

#4. Aging Equipment Campaign

Seasonal templates are great for aging-equipment email campaigns, which can be lucrative even if they yield only a handful of jobs. In boosting the close rate for aging equipment contracts — often $10,000 to $20,000 a pop — email marketing campaigns are uniquely effective at helping HVAC contractors grow their share of the most valuable segment of their market.   

The #1 newsletter for the trades.

Campaigns for Potential Customers

Seasonal campaigns can also be adapted for targeting new customers, as can publishing helpful information on your website and social media accounts, which can be curated to educate customers on your email list, too. 

Here are three examples:

  • Severe Weather Campaign: Share tips on how to prepare for severe weather and offer a consultation on whole house insulation or a super-efficient heat pump. Target customers in ZIP codes where the storm is expected to hit.

  • Anniversary Campaign: Celebrate significant anniversaries with existing customers and potential ones, too. Send out an email a week before your anniversary showing how proud you are to share it with them and offer a percentage discount off all services to mark the occasion. 

  • Vendor Campaign: If there’s a product you want to promote (for example, smart thermostats), create an email campaign using photos from your vendors and offer a special discount coupon. Tie it in with why you recommend using a smart meter and how it will benefit homeowners.

This “softer” email content gradually filters information to potential customers who, over time, will learn to trust you as the expert on all things HVAC. Then, when they need an HVAC contractor, your business will be top of mind.

Here’s a step-by-step guide on our support portal to walk you through the process. You can also try out our email newsletter template here.

Watch our YouTube video on how to build your brand using ServiceTitan’s email templates here

2. Segment Email Recipients: The Right Audience

An email campaign can be only as good as its targeting. 

For HVAC contractors, blasting every customer with a message about aging equipment or membership renewal makes very little sense. For most recipients, the email will miss the mark, especially if the subject line* is irrelevant, meaning you risk causing annoyance and/or ending up in the spam folder.

*Note: Marketing Pro offers a clever subject line grader feature, which grades your subject line (A, B, C, etc.) to help verify that you’ve built the best possible campaign.

The key, in other words, is reaching the right audience — and only the right audience.

When you segment your email list into specific groups, you can personalize your campaigns according to your customers’ specific needs. This means that your subscribers will always receive relevant emails, and it will reduce your bounce rate so your emails will reach more people. The ability to do this type of granular segmentation is extremely powerful when your customer and job history data lives within the same software as your email marketing. 

For example, let’s say a contractor wants to target and contact every customer who has an AC unit that’s going to turn 10 in the next six months — ideal recipients for an aging equipment campaign. Manually creating this audience without software would be almost impossible. Even for an HVAC company using an email marketing service like Mailchimp, data would need to be imported from a CRM or spreadsheets. It would be useful only for a specific purpose, within an extremely tight time frame. The next time the contractor wanted to send a targeted marketing email, they’d have to start all over again. This would be true even if they wanted to reach the very same audience with the very same message. 

But with Marketing Pro, ServiceTitan users can accomplish surgically targeted marketing by choosing from our two audience filter options:

  • Static: Select a certain date or date range (for example, customers who called before September).

  • Dynamic: These can be set to continuously adapt to events. For example, you can add people to your target audience for Memberships Expiring within 30 Days, Unsold Estimates within 5 Days, or, as in our example, Air Conditioning Systems Turning 10 within 6 Months.

Since ServiceTitan already contains a vast, highly detailed store of data about each and every one of your customers, creating audiences like these is simple and entirely automated. 

ServiceTitan automatically populates email audiences with only the customers that fit the exact criteria you select for each message, ensuring that they’re maximally effective and minimally invasive.

Marketing Pro will even score your target email group (as “strong,” “medium” or “broad”) so you can further fine tune your audience to achieve a better opening rate.

HVAC contractors can refine their target audiences almost infinitely, slicing and dicing their customer base using any characteristic that might be marketing-relevant: 

  • Date of estimate

  • Membership type

  • ZIP code or geographic zone

  • Previous service technician

  • Job type, materials

  • Ticket price

  • Spending over time

  • Commercial v.s. Residential

  • New homeowner

  • And more

To make audiences even more specific, HVAC contractors can use exclusion filters. For example, aging equipment of only particular brand types, or replacements likely to clear a certain dollar threshold, screening out HVAC clients least likely to buy big ticket services.

Using an email marketing tool like Marketing Pro that’s been designed specifically so HVAC contractors benefit from having all of their customer information in one place saves a huge amount of time and lets you send laser-focused email campaigns to the right people, every time.

Robin Cody, director of marketing and business development for Cody & Sons Plumbing, Heating & Air, told us that Marketing Pro helped them halve the time spent on building email campaigns. Now it takes them only 30 minutes (or less) to set up a campaign instead of over an hour doing the same thing with different software. 

“I just don’t have the time to look into our data, research, and start doing things like building audiences,” Cody says. “That’s what’s so great about ServiceTitan Marketing Pro. I can essentially use it as our customer relationship management software now. I can use and analyze our own data to target customers appropriately.

3. Build an Email Sequence: The Right Time

The best days and times to send emails will be specific to your HVAC business. To find out, test and see when open rates, click-through rates, and conversion rates are highest for your email campaigns. And use common sense — sending over an estimate first thing on a Monday morning is probably not the best time.

ServiceTitan’s Marketing Pro lets businesses track audience email-delivery history to determine the best time to contact them. You can do this by analyzing metrics such as how many emails have been sent, when they were sent, and when they were opened.

In addition, capitalizing on opportunities like following up on unsold estimates or bidding to replace aging equipment at the right time, is critical. Failing to do so is often tantamount to giving business away.

With Marketing Pro, you can configure campaigns with extreme time specificity, programming a campaign as a one-time mailer or a recurring message. HVAC contractors can specify when a campaign will continue or stop, for example, once a customer has opened the email, or when they’ve requested a quote, booked a job, or renewed a membership.

Once configured, these settings are automated, ensuring that busy CSRs no longer have to keep track of all the variables involved in maintaining each and every email campaign. 

By allowing HVAC contractors to consistently follow up on every customer contact, email marketing becomes the most profitable and least expensive marketing device.    

4. Track, Measure & Optimize: The Right Results

Finally, analyzing whether your email campaigns resulted in calls, booked jobs, and revenue is the most important step

With ServiceTitan, you can assign a unique campaign code to all of your HVAC emails — allowing you to attribute revenue to each specific campaign.

HVAC contractors can use ServiceTitan’s reporting features to create a marketing scorecard of all current campaigns, then tie all new customers to the specific email campaign that brought them to you. 

This lets you analyze:

  • Which campaigns are most and least effective?

  • Where and with whom? 

  • Which campaigns result in the most booked jobs? 

  • What kinds of jobs can be attributed to which campaigns? 

  • What kinds of campaigns are ultimately producing the most revenue? 

These metrics (and more) give HVAC businesses the ability to tweak existing campaigns to improve their performance, as well as draw lessons to implement when building new marketing campaigns.  

Try ServiceTitan’s Marketing Pro for Your HVAC Email Marketing

By focusing on new customer acquisition, many HVAC contractors overlook opportunities to grow revenue by simply focusing more of their marketing efforts on the customers and contacts they already have. 

With ServiceTitan’s Marketing Pro, it’s simple to deliver personalized, relevant emails to carefully segmented customers as well as attract new ones.

Marketing Pro’s features allow HVAC contractors to turn email marketing into the most profitable marketing solution at their disposal: 

  • Creating automated, purpose-driven campaigns for tasks like selling unsold estimates and maintaining service agreements

  • Using ServiceTitan’s battle-tested campaign templates

  • Building custom audiences to maximize the impact of your messaging

  • Developing email marketing campaigns tailored to the seasonal and equipment-specific needs of individual customers 

ServiceTitan subscribers who use Marketing Pro have seen a 27% increase in membership renewal rates, a 14% increase in year-over-year revenue, a 14% increase in average repeat job rate, and a 45% higher year-over-year growth rate for call volume.

Learn more email marketing tips in this post

Want to see Marketing Pro in action? Schedule a call with us to learn more about how ServiceTitan can help you supercharge your email marketing.

ServiceTitan HVAC Software

ServiceTitan is a comprehensive HVAC business software solution built specifically to help service companies streamline their operations, boost revenue, and achieve growth. Our award-winning, cloud-based platform is trusted by more than 100,000+ contractors across the country.

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