HVAC Marketing: 16 Tips and Strategies that Make HVAC Companies Stand Out

Diana LamirandMay 26th, 2020
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Growing revenue with a successful HVAC marketing plan requires a different skill set than simply being good at tuning up a furnace, fixing a broken air conditioner or installing an indoor air quality system. 

In today’s digital world where online shopping reigns supreme, HVAC companies must master both if they want to stand out in a competitive online marketplace for home services.

Does mastering HVAC marketing seem like an ever-moving target these days? Do you know which HVAC marketing strategies to invest in to achieve the highest ROI? 

Before the internet, HVAC companies could depend on the phone book, direct mail and newspaper or radio advertising to reach customers in their service area. Today, they must navigate a plethora of HVAC advertising ideas on various digital platforms, often guessing when trying to choose the best avenues for attracting leads.

In this Guide to HVAC Marketing, we took the guesswork out of the equation with 16 proven HVAC marketing tips to grow your business.

Creative HVAC marketing can result in more job leads, more calls and more booked appointments—all of which lead to more revenue for your HVAC company. Here’s a breakdown on how to accomplish each one:

1. Make your HVAC website mobile friendly

  • Optimize your site for smartphones, tablets.

  • Put great reviews front and center.

  • Be where your customers are—on mobile devices.

To meet your company’s HVAC marketing objectives, make sure customers can find your mobile-friendly website quickly and easily from any smartphone or tablet. 

Why is a mobile-friendly website so important? It’s how today’s connected customers find your HVAC services, read your customer reviews and engage with your HVAC marketing ideas. If your website isn’t fast, secure, easy to navigate and immediately accessible from that device they carry around all day, they’ll lose patience and move onto the next company with a better HVAC website design.

In 2019, American adults spent about 3 hours and 30 minutes a day using a mobile device to search online, and by 2021 that time is expected to increase to over 4 hours, according to a study conducted by Zenith Media.

Need a captive audience searching for “HVAC near me?” Look no further than the smartphone in your hand for customers who are ready to buy.

» Read more tips on how to grow your HVAC business.

2. Optimize your website for SEO

  • 90 percent of consumers use the internet to find local businesses.

  • Think local when picking the best keywords.

  • Sprinkle variations of keywords throughout your website.

When strategizing HVAC SEO marketing, think about today’s busy homeowner. Many don’t even know their neighbors’ names, let alone communicate enough to ask for an HVAC service referral.

What do they do when they need HVAC service? They pick up an electronic device—whether it’s a phone, mobile tablet, desktop computer or laptop—and search online for HVAC websites. According to this 2019 Local Consumer Review Survey, 90 percent of consumers used the internet to find a local business in the last year.

When someone types “A/C repair” or “furnace tune-up” into Google, Google’s algorithm searches for results most relevant to those keywords and closest to the online shopper’s geographic location. To get your company to appear on Page 1 of Google’s organic search results, optimize your website with the best keywords people use to find your services online.

If you’re an HVAC company in Tampa, for instance, be sure to use “Tampa A/C repair” as one of your main keywords. Sprinkle variations of the keywords on your website’s landing pages, content blogs, headlines, subheads, meta tags and meta descriptions to improve the SEO health of your website.

» Learn more about SEO with this complete beginner’s guide.

3. Set, manage and adjust your HVAC marketing budget

  • What percentage of sales should be dedicated to a marketing budget?

  • Options for that marketing spend, including traditional and digital.

  • Targeted campaigns, social media, Google offer opportunity.

Establishing a marketing budget for an HVAC company means committing a certain percentage of your sales revenue to HVAC advertising, in whatever combination works best for your company to reach more customers. 

Experts in the industry say HVAC contractors need to dedicate 10 to 20 percent of sales toward their HVAC marketing budget, if they truly want to grow their business. A 5 percent marketing budget is considered a small “maintenance” budget that only yields minimal results.

Set your HVAC marketing budget, then take a look at the costs of HVAC marketing and where you need to spend those dollars. Options might include traditional advertising on TV, radio, newspapers and billboards, printing and sending direct mail fliers, and all of the various avenues for HVAC internet marketing. Test a combination for best results, or focus on one before adding another.

Mastering HVAC digital marketing—from targeted email campaigns and paid social media posts to Google Local Services ads and 5-star Google reviews—increases brand awareness for your HVAC company and helps you build an online reputation. Focus your budget on HVAC internet marketing, then manage and adjust it regularly by tracking results for each campaign.

4. Focus on lead tracking and reporting

  • Measure success with lead tracking and reporting.

  • Demand tracking details about every lead.

  • Accurately calculate cost and ROI.

Digital marketing consultant Chris Yano advises HVAC service companies to focus on lead tracking and reporting to truly measure success for digital marketing. 

And if your marketing agency isn’t helping you track data, it’s doing you a disservice, says the CEO of Ryno Strategic Solutions and co-host of “To the Point” podcast.

To make good decisions about how to best spend your marketing dollars, you need full transparency and specific details about all your leads so you can accurately calculate the cost and determine your ROI. 

“You’ve got to know,” Yano says. “You have to know 100 percent where you stand.” 

5. Demand transparency with call-tracking software

  • Listen to every customer call.

  • Tie calls to specific marketing campaigns.

  • Adjust marketing spend and training.

Utilize call-tracking software for full transparency into which customer calls convert to real job leads. But keep in mind, simply deploying the software and listening to every third call won’t give you a clear picture.

Every call needs to be listened to and classified appropriately, Yano says. Separate new customers from repeat customers. Take referral leads out of the equation. Remove solicitations and missed calls. Filter requests for parts from calls tied to a direct mail campaign. 

Ryno listens to and categorizes each call by tracking date, time, location of caller, CSR name, booking status, objections, a call transcript and more. That level of detail identifies problems and training opportunities, and lets businesses solve problems. 

6. Verify and promote your Google My Business page

  • How to use Google My Business effectively.

  • Appear on Page 1 of organic Google search results.

  • What percentage of marketing dollars should go to search?

Verifying your Google My Business page, formerly known as Google Local, is simple to do, and it doesn’t cost a dime! Take your time to set up a quality business profile to attract new customers. 

If your HVAC company operates multiple businesses, you can set up a Google My Business profile for each one, as long as you add different addresses and phone numbers for each. 

With a well-optimized website, good customer reviews and a verified Google My Business page, your HVAC company can gain more leads by showing up on Page 1 of organic Google results when a customer in your area searches online for HVAC services. Companies can also buy Pay-Per-Click digital ads for better visibility, as well as set up call tracking to measure ROI.

Successful contractors like Tommy Mello, The Home Service Expert and owner of A1 Garage Door Services, a $30 million-plus home services business, say today’s consumers find 70 percent of all services online through Google searches. He advises spending at least half of your marketing dollars there.

7. Tell your company’s story in videos or blogs

  • Build authority with your target audience.

  • Target high-ranking keywords in your market in key text.

  • Regularly update your company’s website with authentic content.

Get to know your customers by letting them get to know you. Frequently posting blogs or videos about your company helps to build authority with your target audience, improves your search engine ranking and increases organic traffic for your brand. It’s HVAC marketing at its finest and relatively inexpensive compared to other marketing tactics.

Use blogs and videos to target high-ranking keywords in your market, such as “fix A/C leak” or “furnace blower repair,” and offer helpful information and tips. Include keywords in the headline, captions, subheads and throughout the content, as well as photo alt text and metadata fields. 

Regularly updated websites rank higher on Google and other search engines, and posting content with high-ranking keywords is a cost-effective way to improve your website’s SEO. Just make sure the content is authentic, and not simply overstuffed with keywords.

» Get more HVAC marketing ideas here.

8. Make your brand sticky and disruptive

  • Do customers remember your business name or logo?

  • Is your brand unique, or does it get lost in the crowd?

  • Do customers feel at ease and find your company trustworthy?

Branding can make or break a small business, and in times of economic uncertainty, it’s imperative to set your brand apart from the herd, says Dan Antonelli, President and Creative Director of KickCharge Creative.

Branding is how customers perceive your company, whether it’s your business logo, advertising campaigns, signs on your trucks or employee uniforms. Always strive to make your brand sticky and disruptive, Antonelli says.

“By sticky, we mean it stands out in their mind, they can remember who you are when they need to,” Antonelli says. “As contractors, we're trying to counter the fact that a lot of homeowners are scared about who's coming to their home, right? They want to figure out, who can I trust to be inside my home and fixing something of mine?”

Be disruptive by standing out from the crowd. Your brand should be unique, something that doesn’t blend in. 

Antonelli advises a good brand does the following to attract customers: 

  • Puts customers at ease

  • Diffuses negative stereotypes or biases

  • Aims to make people feel confident in their choice and reaffirms the company value

  • Matches the company deliverables

  • Takes control of the conversation and sets the tone to show customers why they should choose to do business with you

Whether you’re leveraging the longevity of your brand, your trustworthiness, or a catchy name, just make sure your foundational branding is strong. 

9. Ask HVAC customers for Google reviews

  • Develop a better strategy for securing positive reviews.

  • Customize your message to make the request personal.

  • Make leaving a 5-star review easy for customers.

With more consumers shopping online today than ever before, your company’s HVAC business plan better include a strategy for managing online reviews. Your online reputation depends on it, says Travis Ringe.

Ringe co-owns ProSkill Services, a full-service air conditioning, electrical, plumbing, water heater and water treatment home services company in Arizona. It’s a $14-million operation with more than 3,000 5-star Google reviews.

Ringe says he focused his HVAC marketing on getting more 5-star Google reviews by using ServiceTitan’s built-in survey tool to customize a personal message and ask customers specifically to leave a Google review. The HVAC online marketing software automates the process for better results.

When you provide awesome HVAC service and make it easy for customers to leave a review, they usually do, Ringe says. “We get between 5 and 15 Google reviews per day, on average.” 

With 82 percent of customers saying they read online reviews for local companies and more than half saying they won’t consider hiring a company with less than 4 stars, managing online reviews has become a vital part of doing business in today’s digital world.

» Learn more about how to ask customers for reviews to improve your online rankings.

10. Master local SEO by geo-targeting the right audience

  • Learn as much as you can about your service area.

  • Join local groups on platforms such as Nextdoor and Alignable.

  • Build awareness and trust for your business brand.

Remember how we discussed optimizing your website above? The same HVAC marketing strategies apply to mastering local SEO, or identifying the right local audience for your company. It’s how you get in front of those local customers searching online for “HVAC near me.”

Do you know how many people own homes in your service area? Do you know your customers’ age, gender, average household income, and credit score? Do you know what specific HVAC keywords they search for most often in your locale?

Learn as much as you can about your customers before starting any HVAC online marketing campaign. Join local groups on platforms such as Nextdoor and Alignable to help build referral traffic, distribute HVAC advertising fliers in local neighborhoods, or post a funny video to local Facebook groups to engage new customers.

The more your company appears in front of the right audience with the right message, the more awareness and trust you build in your brand.

» Learn more about local SEO here.

11. Automate targeted email campaigns to grow HVAC leads

  • Put the most relevant message in front of the right customers.

  • Segment your email audience based on relevant data

  • Improve your customer relationship management to target appropriately.

Targeted HVAC email marketing is considered one of the most effective marketing channels today, earning $40 for every $1 spent. The best HVAC email marketing campaign gets your company’s name in front of the most customers with the most relevant message at the right time, says Megan Bedford of Mugyver Consulting.

Many companies don’t do automated HVAC email marketing, she says, because they can’t manage it themselves or find a cost-effective provider to do it for them. Mass emails with generic messages don’t typically resonate with customers and lowers conversion rates. 

Tools like ServiceTitan Marketing Pro allow you to segment your email audience by zip code, age of equipment, date of last service, new homeowner, and more. Using data already collected in ServiceTitan, you can target previous customers with a “We Miss You!” email campaign, follow up with existing customers on unsold estimates, or offer a discount to new homeowners.

For Cody & Sons Plumbing, Heating & Air in Dallas, ServiceTitan Marketing Pro helped improve the company’s customer relationship management (CRM) system to target their own customers appropriately, says Robin Cody, the company’s Director of Marketing. 

“Before, we just didn’t have the time or tools to target existing customers,” she says. 

» Read more email marketing tips for HVAC companies.

12. Buy Google Local Services ads to gain better visibility

  • Google Local Services puts your digital ads atop of search results.

  • Craft the snapshot of your business to sell your services.

  • Pay only when customers contact you through the ad.

While a well-optimized website can produce organic Google search results, buying Google Local Services digital ads makes it more likely your company appears at the top of Google search results, above PPC ads and organic listings. 

Local customers looking to hire an HVAC business can view a quick snapshot of your business—such as your company name, Google review rating, and years in business—to determine whether your HVAC company fits their needs. 

Costs for Google Local Services ads vary, but you only pay when a customer contacts your HVAC business through the ad. This cuts down on useless job leads from customers simply price-shopping HVAC services online.

» Learn more about HVAC marketing with Google Local Services.

13. Leverage HVAC direct mail marketing to reach customers

  • Make creative direct mail part of your brand strategy.

  • Catch customers’ attention with catchy slogans and incentives.

  • An agency can help make your direct mail look professional.

Combining traditional HVAC direct mail marketing with a strong social media presence and other HVAC internet marketing options works well for many companies, such as Sunny Service in North Central Texas.

You just have to find the right combination of HVAC marketing that works for you, says owner Ben Stark, who’s also a longtime industry leader and HVAC-R consultant

“For us, getting the message right into customers' hands has always been kind of powerful,” he says. 

Stark also gets to know his customers by giving back to his local community. Stark’s company installs HVAC systems for people in need and supports the Susan G. Komen Foundation by wrapping their trucks with pink stripes, then donating a percentage of proceeds to breast cancer research. While charitable, these efforts also promote brand awareness and trust, he says.

Creative direct mail marketing can also capture customers’ attention with catchy HVAC advertising slogans, unusual HVAC business names and interesting HVAC logo ideas. Including an incentive or coupon to inspire action never hurts either.

Hire an HVAC marketing agency to help you create the most professional-looking HVAC advertising flyers or HVAC marketing postcards, so customers remember your company the next time they need HVAC services. Brainstorm creative incentives or campaigns to get new customers to call.

14. Utilize an app-based HVAC lead-generation service

  • Yelp, HomeAdvisor and others offer another marketing avenue.

  • Be careful with costs, make sure leads are useful, cost-effective.

  • Do research to find which platform is effective in your market.

Utilizing app-based HVAC lead-generation services, such as Yelp, HomeAdvisor, Thumbtack, and others, creates another avenue for HVAC leads marketing. The jury is still out, however, on how effective these lead-buying services really are for growing your business.

Some contractors say HVAC lead-generation services pay dividends, while others struggle to see their value when they find themselves, more often than not, paying for useless leads that never turn into real jobs.

With more than 90 percent of consumers using the internet to find a local business in the last year, listing your company on heavy-hitter websites like Yelp or HomeAdvisor can help your HVAC company rise to the top of organic Google searches. 

Just be sure to read the fine print before signing up to know whether you’ll gain value from investing. Do some research to find out which platforms perform best in your market.

» Learn more about how sites like HomeAdvisor work.

15. Measure results for all HVAC marketing strategies

  • Make sure to review strategies for effectiveness, adjust accordingly.

  • Tie all new customers to the marketing campaign they used to find you.

  • Call-tracking software helps you figure cost per lead, ROI by source.

No matter which HVAC marketing strategy, or combination of strategies, your company deploys, what matters most is measuring the results and adjusting accordingly. 

Create a marketing scorecard of all current campaigns, then tie all new customers to the specific marketing campaign by which they found you, to see what’s working or not working. Boost spending on campaigns with higher returns, and drop channels with poor performance.

If your company uses call-tracking software, such as ServiceTitan Phones Pro, you can easily track the number of calls, booked appointments, sales, revenue, cost per lead, and ROI for each HVAC advertising source. 

ServiceTitan Marketing Pro also makes sending targeted email campaigns a breeze, and allows users to track real ROI by measuring email performance and revenue attribution.

» Ready to market like a pro? Click here to learn more.

16. Deliver awesome customer service from start to finish

  • Getting 5-star Google reviews is dependent on 5-star service.

  • Train every technician to treat customers like their grandma.

  • This simple, old-school method of marketing produces word-of-mouth referrals.

The best HVAC marketing ideas from industry leaders always include providing awesome customer service to every customer from beginning to end. Even in today’s digital world, that’s how companies get more HVAC leads, more 5-star Google reviews, and more loyal customers.

Barry Palmer, co-owner of All Pro Air in Riverside, Calif., trains his HVAC techs to treat every customer like they’d treat their grandma. It’s a simple, old-school HVAC marketing method that works.

“We've always had tons of 5-star reviews. People call us because of that. They use us because of that,” Palmer says.

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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