HVAC Advertising, Marketing, and SEO for 2023
It’s no surprise to anyone that HVAC marketing strategies change as time goes by. Even the best HVAC marketing ideas that worked yesterday may not work again today. With a world constantly on the move, how do you stay in front of your customer base?
In this article, we’ll guide you through a simple process of getting your growing business off the ground and developing a strong HVAC marketing strategy.
Trends in HVAC Marketing
As you already know, HVAC marketing has dramatically changed in just the last year. All those tricks of the trade that once worked are no longer relevant.
But why? Why have these once tried and true methods of HVAC advertising gone away? And more importantly, what’s replaced them?
Print Advertising is Ancient History
Gone are the days of print when it comes to effective HVAC advertising. Those full-page phone book ads some of us remember from childhood are equally as ancient as those memories. HVAC marketing ideas like naming your business “AAA Heating & Air” just to be the first listing are obsolete.
Yes, there is some print HVAC advertising left out there. But as we all know, it’s only a matter of time before ALL print advertising becomes completely extinct.
Everyone Searches the Internet Now
Almost everyone uses the internet to find business listings at this point. Why wouldn’t they? They can find anything they’re looking for straight from their mobile devices.
The most effective way to reach new customers for your HVAC company is to leverage the internet. And to do it properly, you have to have an HVAC marketing budget and an HVAC marketing plan to use to your advantage.
Getting Customers in the Digital Age
Today, most businesses get their customers one of three ways:
- Word of Mouth
- Storefront with Signage
- Online Searches
WORD OF MOUTH
Traditional word of mouth referrals are becoming few and far between. First of all, they take years to grow and build. Sure, sometimes customer loyalty will result in a new client, but it probably won’t be from a neighborly chat.
Word of mouth refers to the informal communication that occurs between individuals about a new or startup business. It is typically done through personal conversations, online reviews, and other forms of social media. Word of mouth is one of the most powerful forms of marketing, as it can increase awareness of a business and attract new customers, but word of mouth referrals take years to build and rarely happen overnight.
A storefront with a sign
There are certain businesses where a storefront and sign are crucial and can lead to new business. A small clothing boutique in a shopping district for instance. For most home service companies, like say one that sells and repairs HVAC systems, this simply isn’t the case.
When was the last time someone walked through your shop doors looking to purchase a new heating and cooling unit? I’m going to guess that the chance that ever happened is pretty slim. Signs are too expensive anyway.
That brings us to online searches. By far the most common way most people are going to find you. They’re going to grab their phone, open up Google, and search for the best air conditioning businesses near me. They’ll most likely choose one of the top 3, click on the link to their mobile-friendly website, and check their service area. Chances are, that’s who they’ll call.
How quick and easy was that? Not just for the potential customer, but for that HVAC company as well. So why not take the quick and easy path? Why not invest in online visibility?
What is online visibility?
One way to ensure you’re using your HVAC advertising dollars wisely is to be highly visible online. But what does that mean?
Visibility is the ability of a website, brand, company, or person to be seen or discovered online. At its core, it’s appearing in Google and other search engine results. It’s also social media marketing, email marketing, or having content featured on other websites.
Few people really understand internet visibility at all. Much less how to use it to grow their business and dominate their marketplace through effective internet marketing.
Some do, but so many of them choose ONLY to advertise online. They do it in ways that just don’t make sense from a strategic business perspective.
So what is the right way to do it? And where should you start?
Where to Start
There are so many resources available to an HVAC company online and advice on how to get started with their HVAC marketing plan! It’s become hard to sift through the noise and know what works best for any contractor trades. We’re here to help.
Get a website
Everyone has websites! They are easy to buy and easy to build. From template sites to fully hand-coded custom websites, websites are everywhere. No HVAC marketing strategy is complete without an HVAC company website. And it should be mobile friendly!
Now you have your very own HVAC website! All set, right? Unfortunately, it’s not that easy. Remember, a website is just a starting point. Now you have to make yourself stand out. Set your company ahead of the pack. You have to get the phone to ring.
Making the Phone Ring
First, you have to understand there are a few billion other search results out there for just about any search. Being found is almost like winning the lottery. For example, a simple Google search of HVAC contractors yields 2.5 trillion results. Trillion, with a T. Now that’s worldwide, but still a lot.
What if we narrow it down? Let’s say, New Orleans HVAC. That’s 5.4 billion results. Still a lot. What about a suburb of New Orleans, like Metairie or Slidell? Metairie has 284,000 results, and Slidell HVAC has 153,000 results. The city of Slidell only has about 30,000 residents, so that’s about 5 results for each resident of the city.
The point is, the competition is fierce. Simply having a website for the sake of having one won’t get you very far. You have to have a digital marketing plan in place to give your HVAC website visibility.
The internet is saturated with advertisements and advertisers. You can’t rely on any one source to get you to the top of search engine results. The choices are confusing to say the least.
With millions or more in online competition, can a business carve out success there? Can a growing HVAC business with a strong HVAC marketing plan get to the top of Google?
Yes, and there is actually more than one way to do it, but it all starts with digital marketing.
Should I pay for digital marketing or use the free stuff?
When searching for methods to grow their online presence, businesses are immediately inundated with ways to spend their money. To gain a better understanding of their options, most people do a little internet research and arrive at this question.
To help answer it, let’s take a look at the options.
Paid options include:
- PPC Advertising (Google Ads, Microsoft Ads, Facebook Retargeting, etc.)
- Social Media Marketing (Facebook Ads, Twitter Ads, LinkedIn Ads, etc.)
- Home Services Websites (HomeAdvisor, Angi, Thumbtack, etc.) – Often very expensive sources of HVAC leads and HVAC clients.
- Display Advertising (Google Display Network, Outbrain, etc.)
- Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
- Content Marketing (Blogging, Infographics, etc.)
- Email Marketing
- Affiliate Marketing
- Video Marketing
- Influencer Marketing (like we can afford that)
Free options include:
- Creating a websiteUtilizing social media platforms (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc)
- Creating interesting and useful content on blogs and other websites
- Sharing that interesting and useful content across social media and business working platforms
- Creating an email marketing campaign
- Create online videos or podcasts
- Networking with HVAC industry influencers
- Creating referral programs
- Participating in online forums and discussion groups
- Utilize SEO (Search Engine Optimization) best practices wherever possible
Finances are always a factor
If you’re like most of us, finances are a factor. We’ll say more than once in this article that Search Engine Optimization (SEO) work is hard. In most cases, it’s a full-time job.
So leaning in the direction of free stuff makes sense. Particularly until you get enough clients for your HVAC marketing ideas to make financial sense.
If you’re going to start down the free route, you need to familiarize yourself with the Google landscape. That’s where you’ll be spending most of your time.
What should an HVAC Contractor look for?
Here are a few of the things you’ll see on the first page of a Google search for HVAC companies.
Google Local Services Ads
These are Google Verified businesses that PAY to be at the top of the search engine result page (SERP). Google Local Services Ads (LSAs) connect businesses with customers who are searching for services online in their area. LSAs are shown prominently on Google search pages and on Google Maps. A Local Service Ad campaign can be a great supplement to traditional SEO methods.
Pay Per Click Ads
Google Pay Per Click (PPC) advertising uses online ads which appear when people search for specific keywords or phrases.
These ads are placed by businesses who bid for the opportunity to appear on the top of the SERP. In addition to LSAs, Google PPC ads are found at the top of search results too. And in the middle. And at the bottom too.
This is where everyone really wants to be, but it’s hard, so Google is willing to sell those people ads. You get what you pay for.
In the short term, ads are great at filling voids of traffic – while the SEO is building up. But, to pay PPC forever just doesn’t make a lot of financial sense for a sustainable HVAC marketing plan.
One of the greatest advantages of paid ads and PPC campaigns is that they produce very rapid results. As opposed to SEO, which can take months to years.
The disadvantage of paid ads are that they can be expensive and costs can add up. In the long run, you’re paying to build someone else’s business and brand instead of your own. Paid ads stop when you stop paying, and without SEO, your business will come to a halt.
The Map Pack
Arguably the most prominent feature on the SERP page is the map. If you’re looking for something in your area, there it is. And it’s right up there at the top of the search results. It’s ahead of the first organic search result in fact.
The Google Business Profile
The Google Business Profile (GPB) is a free feature from Google. It provides the ability to create a profile and business page that includes contact information, business hours, location, and more. This allows businesses to have an online presence on Google and Google Maps.
The profile page also allows businesses to add additional information such as photos, videos, and online reviews from previous customers. Businesses can also add links to their website, social media accounts, and more.
Once created, the profile page can be seen by customers searching for a business on Google and Google Maps. It’s one of the best ways for businesses to increase their visibility, and is essential to adding more customers.
Getting Set up with a Google Business Profile
To take advantage of Google Local Services for your small business, you’ll first want to set up your account. Be prepared for this to take a while. Many businesses require postcard verification which can take a week or more. First, start by creating your Google My Business account online:
- Visit: https://www.google.com/business to get started.
- Enter the name and address of your business.
- Verify your business with Google by phone or postcard.
- Add photos and information about your business.
- Connect your GBP account with other online properties, such as your website and social media accounts.
- Encourage customers to leave online reviews.
- Monitor your GBP regularly and respond to reviews.
Once your GBP is up and running, there are lots of ways to spend money on it. But before we look at those, let’s look at the simple and FREE things HVAC companies SHOULD do.
First, include a detailed description of your business, including services, products, and hours of operation. Be sure to add high-quality photos and videos to showcase your business and products. Create a separate page or section for each service or product you offer. Utilize the Q&A section to provide answers to commonly asked questions.
Get online Reviews!
Request reviews from past clients, and respond to reviews from customers positively and promptly. This not only drives new business, but helps to ensure customer retention.
Be sure to add business attributes to help potential new customers find the information they need. Include your HVAC company in local directories and online business listings – sometimes referred to as “citations”.
If you have an HVAC advertising budget, you can utilize Google Ads to boost visibility of your profile. Utilize Google My Business Insights to track profile performance. Lastly, always routinely and regularly update your profile with special offers and new information.
Get in the Map Pack
Now that the business is verified, the next and most obvious question is “How do I get into the Map Pack?”
What is the Map Pack?
We mentioned the Map Pack earlier, but let’s take a closer look at what it is.
The Google Map Pack is a feature of Google Maps that allows businesses to appear in a special “pack” of three to seven local businesses at the top of the search engine results page (SERP) when someone searches for related services or products.
The businesses that appear in the Google Map Pack are based on the searcher’s location, Google’s algorithm, and the relevancy of the search query.
The advantages of being in the Map Pack are numerous. Your business will appear prominently at the top of the SERP and will get more visibility and traffic.
Additionally, if customers click on your listing, they will be brought to your Google My Business page, where they can learn more about your products or services.
To get your business found in the Map Pack, you should create a Google My Business profile, make sure all of your business information is accurate, and work to build up your reviews.
Additionally, you should optimize your website and content for local SEO, as this will help Google identify your business as a likely fit for the Map Pack.
Why is the Map Pack Important to my business?
When a potential customer searches for a local business, The Map Pack helps them stand out in the search engine results pages (SERPs). The Map Pack also gives customers a better sense of a business’s proximity and reputation. This allows them to make more informed decisions about which businesses in their area to visit.
The Map Pack is on Prime Real Estate
The physical placement of the map pack on Google’s search result page is significant. This is because it is one of the most visible and easily accessible features for users to find.
The map pack is also one of the most prominent and convenient ways for users to quickly view and compare nearby businesses.
Additional Traffic to your Website
Additionally, Google gives priority to local businesses that appear in the map pack. This means that businesses appearing in the map pack are more likely to receive website traffic and more new customers.
Take Advantage of the Map Pack’s Prominence
Being that the Map Pack is so prominent, why wouldn’t you want your burgeoning HVAC company to be found there? It’s above the first organic result. That’s a pretty good place to be, right? For most home service companies like an HVAC repairman, yes, it’s a great place. Statistically, approximately 85% of all “first clicks” come from the map pack.
But what about competition? Is there an 800 lb gorilla in the room with you? This isn’t a matter of David versus Goliath. When it comes to the map pack, top three will do. And, well, that’s where being first and last comes into play.
Third is a Winner Too
There’s an old saying in business, if you’re not first, you’re last. Well that’s not necessarily the case. A company many of us know as PepsiCo showed us in the 90s that it was ok to be #2 too. And in an interesting turn of events, Dr. Pepper very happily settled into the #3 position – with compatatively low marketing costs.
What do the Cola Wars have to do with Google Local SEO and the Map Pack?
Does anyone remember the Cola Wars? It may not have had anything at all to do with HVAC marketing, but there is a good example to see here. Many of us recall the historic marketing campaigns taken on by Coke and Pepsi in the 80s and 90s. The most memorable of which was the “Pepsi Challenge”.
But did you know there was a third soda involved? One that just sat on the sidelines and raked in tons of cash while #1 and #2 fought it out. You may not realize Dr. Pepper’s role in the soda wars, but there is plenty to learn from its example.
In the 80s and 90s, Coca-Cola and Pepsi were duking it out in the advertising ring for the top spot. Dr. Pepper sat quietly and watched. Throughout the years, Dr. Pepper’s advertising dollars were a mere fraction of what Coke and Pepsi had been spending anuually.
When the Soda Wars ended, a clear winner emerged. And without a doubt, that winner was Dr. Pepper. You may be asking how.
By maintaining an extremely valuable position in the market. By doing so, Dr. Pepper didn’t have to spend the massive amounts of advertising dollars Coke and Pepsi did. If you can’t be first or second, third place is still a very nice spot.
Local SEO Map Placement
So what is the business takeaway from this? Well, for starters, you don’t have to be number one. You really only need to be number one through three. Studies have shown more than 80% of local search clicks go to the businesses in the Map Pack.
Recall, there are only three locations displayed on the map pack, sometimes four in markets that are using map ads, but mainly three. The first is usually the big guy, but often, spots two, three, four, and so on, maybe aren’t. If your goal is to grow your HVAC company, expand your HVAC services, capitalize on Local SEO. It may be the best strategy for your HVAC marketing plan.
Ranking in the Google Map Pack
What do you need to do to rank in the map pack for HVAC services? One of the main ranking factors continues to be quality content. Content is important because it tells Google what your HVAC website is about. It should be engaging and useful to the reader.
Google now has algorithms that predict the intent of the person searching. These algorithms try to match them up with results it “thinks” they want. For an HVAC company website, the content should include topics related to simple DIY repairs. There should also be HVAC marketing info directed at the consumer to recognize your company brand. You’ll also want content that gets them to pick up the phone and call you.
This is where your content strategy and your HVAC marketing strategy should line up. Content should always be original, it should be well-written, authoritative, and ultimately useful. When content is added to websites, either in the form of a blog or a website page, “On-Page SEO” techniques are important to understand too.
The Lucky don’t survive without SEO
There are businesses in the world that “happen upon” SEO by chance, and there are those who make it happen for themselves. Some businesses rank on Google simply because they showed up to the competition.
Many small businesses are doing their own SEO. By doing so, they aren’t taking that aspect of their marketing plan as seriously as they should. If those businesses aren’t actively working to maintain their rankings, they can be easily overthrown.
Most HVAC Companies aren’t doing SEO
Many HVAC businesses are using SEO but most aren’t using it to its full potential. Reasons for this could be a general lack of understanding about how SEO works. A lack of resources or time to invest in SEO could play a role. Maybe they aren’t knowledgeable about the most effective SEO strategies.
Additionally, some businesses may have an outdated website, or content that is not optimized for SEO. This can make it difficult to get the full benefit of SEO.
The importance of a strong online business presence for HVAC marketing strategies
Having a strong online presence for your local HVAC business can help you in many ways. It can help a business reach a wider audience, as well as build trust and credibility with potential customers. It can also help a business engage with clientele. By providing updates, responding to inquiries, and offering discounts and promotions a business can expand its base of loyal customers.
Additionally, having a strong online presence can help a business increase its brand awareness. It increases visibility as well and helps them generate more HVAC leads and sales.
Finally, a strong online presence for your HVAC company can help a business build relationships. It allows them to stay connected to current and potential customers, which can help build loyalty and trust and ultimately lead to more sales.
A little mention about On-Page SEO
On-page SEO is a set of techniques used to optimize the content and structure of a web page. This is in order to improve its ranking in search engine results. It involves optimizing the HTML code, content, and structure of a webpage. It makes it easier for search engines to index and understand the content on the page.
This includes optimizing titles, descriptions, headings, URLs, and meta tags, internal links and structure of the website. It’s also about making sure the content is well-written, relevant, and of high quality.
Additionally, on-page SEO involves optimizing the page for specific keywords related to the topic of the page. This can include using the keywords in the page title, headings, content, and meta tags. Doing this will help the page rank higher for those keywords when someone searches for them on a search engine.
Content is the Foundation of Local SEO
Quality content that is optimized for local keywords, phrases, and search terms will help your website to appear higher in local search engine results. Content should also be tailored for local customers. It should provide them with information about your business, products, and services that is relevant to their needs.
This will help to build trust with your local customers, and potentially increase website visits and conversions. Additionally, content can help to demonstrate your expertise and authority in the local area. This helps to further improve your website’s ranking in local search results.
How Far Can I Carry My Own SEO?
The short answer is that you can carry your own SEO as far as you want. You can invest in the tools and resources necessary to research keywords, build content, and optimize your website for search engines. There are even tools to help monitor your progress.
However, it’s important to remember that SEO is an ever-evolving field. It involves staying on top of the latest trends and best practices. Proper SEO can require a significant amount of time and effort.
SEO requires a lot of knowledge, skill, and time to do correctly. If you don’t have the resources to keep up with the changes, it’s best to hire a professional. There are SEO consultants and agencies to assist you.
What can an SEO Agency do for my HVAC Business that I can’t?
An SEO agency can provide a comprehensive set of digital marketing strategies to optimize a website for search engine rankings. This includes keyword research, content optimization, link building, technical SEO, and analytics.
An experienced SEO agency will have the expertise and resources to properly implement these strategies. They’ll also monitor and measure their effectiveness for ongoing optimization.
This is something that the average person is unlikely to have the knowledge or resources to do. Not to mention, you’ve got a business to run!
Your Local SEO digital marketing strategy is likely to include
- Thorough keyword analysis to identify the most effective keywords to target.
- Optimize your website content to ensure it is properly optimized for search engines.
- Analyze and monitor your website’s performance in the search engine results pages (SERPs).
- Implement link-building campaigns to increase your website’s authority.
- Build a social media presence to increase brand awareness and attract new visitors.
- Monitor the competition and make adjustments to your SEO strategy accordingly.
- Develop a relevant content marketing plan to create and share content that resonates with your target audience.
- Monitor and respond to customer reviews and feedback to improve your online reputation.
- Utilize A/B testing to optimize your website for conversions. A/B testing is an analytical procedure involving two nearly identical web pages to see which one performs better.
- Monitor your website’s performance to identify any technical issues that may be affecting your SEO ranking.
A professional SEO expert can provide you with comprehensive, up-to-date knowledge and expertise. They are also more likely to be able to stay abreast of the ever-changing landscape of SEO and use the most effective strategies available.
A professional SEO expert will be able to provide a higher level of quality and accuracy when it comes to optimizing your website. They’ll also produce quicker results due to their experience in the industry.
Finally, a professional SEO expert will have access to the latest tools and technologies available, which can help to further optimize your website and increase your chances of success.
Can I afford a Local SEO expert?
Compared to traditional “fully managed SEO“, Local SEO is highly affordable, particularly for small businesses like HVAC services. Depending on the size of your business, there are many SEO providers who offer competitive rates and services tailored to your needs.
It is important to research and compare various providers to ensure they have direct experience in Local SEO to provide you with the specific services your business requires.
What about hiring an in-house SEO expert?
The answer to this really depends on your budget and resources. If you have the budget and resources to hire an in-house SEO expert, it could be a great decision. But there are important differences between an in-house expert and outsourcing.
When you hire in-house, that person is your employee. That employee needs to have training, a constant stream of work, and must be productive. That employee also comes with a cost. The cost of one employee can often meet or exceed the cost of hiring an expert SEO agency in the field of HVAC digital marketing and HVAC marketing strategy.
The limitation of having an in-house SEO expert is that you are limited to the extent of that person’s expertise. If they aren’t versed in an aspect of SEO, would you know? If they hated part of the job and left it on the back burner, would you know? If there was a big giant gaping hole in your HVAC marketing strategy, would you know?
The odds of success are lower with one person than with a team. A successful HVAC marketing plan requires constant attention, attention that you can’t get with one person.
Outsourcing all SEO makes dollars and sense
Outsourced SEO experts can provide highly valuable services at a fraction of the cost of hiring an in-house expert. They have all the tools and software necessary to get the job done, why recreate the wheel?
The bottom line is, hiring an SEO expert is often more cost-effective than trying to do it yourself. Experienced SEO professionals have the knowledge and skills to get the job done quickly and efficiently, resulting in better results in a shorter amount of time.
A Local SEO agency can provide you with the expertise and knowledge needed to effectively optimize your website and digital presence. They’ll increase your online exposure, increase and drive traffic to your website, and ultimately help you grow in your market.
With the right strategies in place, your HVAC business can gain an advantage over competitors and reach a wider audience. A Local SEO agency that specializes in HVAC marketing strategies can help you track and analyze your progress.
This will allow you to make informed decisions about your future HVAC marketing strategies. With the help of a Local SEO agency, you can ensure that your business reaches its full potential.