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HVAC Marketing Archives - Effective Media Solutions

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April 29, 2020

Spring is Here, Summer is not far behind, but the Corona Virus is Front and Center

We are actually having a Spring this year in the South.  The weather has been great, considering most of us are stuck at home.  So, outdoor activities (where permitted) have been great, but the sunshine and mild temperatures aren’t the best for the HVAC business. Spring is the time to survive and get ready for the busy season ahead.  Safety checks and A/C tune-ups fill our calendars, but this year is different of course.  We have a whole new set of circumstances to deal with as our nation struggles through this pandemic. So, how are HVAC Companies dealing with the Corona Virus?

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The Impact of the Corona Virus

This pandemic is real!  People are scared of human contact!  This goes against human nature doesn’t it?  We are social beings, so it is tough on everyone.  The HVAC industry has been deemed “Essential”, which has been a blessing for our industry, but what is the impact?  Our employees are on the front lines, going into homes and businesses on a daily basis.  Heating and Air businesses are taking many necessary precautions to protect themselves and their customers.

Will this become the new normal moving forward?

How does the HVAC Industry React?

We are all seeing HVAC companies post their new procedures on their websites, social media, and television commercials.  Everyone in the industry is assuring their customers that safety precautions are being taken very seriously.  Field employees are wearing masks, washing their hands regularly, and sanitizing everything possible.  So, we all must make changes to adapt to our ever-changing world.

Your Local Heating & Air Contractor’s Reaction

We wanted to hear from a local heating and air conditioning company, and here is what the owner had to say. “Our main concern is to the safety of our employees and our customers during this pandemic.  Our company has changed the way we interact with customers, by keeping at least a 6-foot distance and not shaking hands with them.  We are also making sure to wear gloves, face masks, and shoe covers when entering homes.  Andersen uses tool and hand sanitizer, we wash our hands regularly, employees check their temperature often, and we make sure no one in the home we are entering shows signs of the virus or even a common cold.   We are all adapting to our new normal, our customers included.” explains Carrie Ivester, Owner/General Manager of Andersen Heating & Cooling

How is HVAC Distribution Adapting?

We know the coronavirus has been very tough on the HVAC suppliers/distributors.  They’ve had to change so many aspects of their day to day business model.  The distribution/contractor relationship is exactly that, a “relationship.”  That means daily and weekly interaction between the owner and employees of the HVAC business, their local territory manager, the inside sales and counter people at the supplier.  This has been hard to keep it business as usual when the normal interaction has been changed drastically.

Here is what we are hearing from a local distribution employee:

“From a distributor standpoint, COVID-19 has single handedly changed the way we physically interact with our customers on a daily basis.  Whether that is the separation at the counter taking an order, pulling/loading an order, or the limited interaction when delivering an order.  That’s not to mention the sales or training side:  All training classes have been moved to online classes and depending on the area sales calls have been by phone, email, or virtually online. When it comes to our customers, I do feel like this situation has challenged us to be flexible and work harder to get in front of our customers, especially when recruiting new prospects.” James Francisco, Territory Manager

Our goal; as an industry, is to keep our customers confident that we are doing our best to ensure a safe work environment for our employees and customers.  Remember home and business owners will rely on us to keep them comfortable, especially as we move into the summer season. The more we exude confidence, the better off we will be as HVAC service providers.

Changes in Your HVAC Business

So, we all have made major changes in our daily operations.  These changes are making our customers feel safe when doing business with our companies.  The peace of mind knowing your company is taking the proper precautions can strengthen your relationship with your customers. Remember “Trust” is such a key factor to a homeowner or business owner when choosing an HVAC provider.

  • All Field employees wearing protective gear (Gloves, face masks, booties)
  • Washing and sanitizing their hands as often as possible
  • No handshakes or “high fives” with the customer, keeping a safe social distance
  • Paperless Invoices
  • Video Chats with Customers
  • Staying outside when at all possible

As we continue to understand more and more about the virus, our efforts will help diminish the spread.  Many of the procedures will become the norm even after the COVID-19 virus fades away.

“Andersen Heating & Cooling is grateful to be able to still serve our community during this time. Aside from providing comfort, HVAC equipment is vital for health and safety especially in this time of quarantine. It is important for our technicians to be able to get to the homes quickly and make repairs quickly if needed. Air quality in homes is also a vital role HVAC companies play, especially during these times. Andersen is educating our customers on the different solutions available to them to help fight the potential risk of the virus. Such as air filtration, UV lights, Scrubbers, etc.” Carrie Ivester, Owner/General Manager of Andersen Heating & Cooling

 

What are we seeing from a marketing perspective?

As a marketing provider for HVAC contractors, we thought it would be important to give some input from the marketing perspective.

“Coronavirus is changing the behaviors of consumers in many ways. One effect has been a shift in market shares for different forms of media, especially in states with stay at home orders. Billboards and drive-time radio are losing share; while OTT, television, and social media are trafficked more than ever. Having a strong digital presence and effective video assets along with the right marketing team can help you transition quickly so you can stay in front of your customers.”  Jim Gregory, Digital Services Manager

“Unlike many customer-facing businesses like restaurants or gyms, there are still opportunities for home service businesses to thrive. People are spending more time than ever at home and projects they’ve been putting off are having a huge effect on their daily lives. They’re feeling the heat (quite literally in some cases) of those unresolved problems around the house. And, they are as motivated as ever to get things fixed. You might not land as many big, expensive change out jobs as you’d like, but the question isn’t whether or not there’s work for your business. The question is whether or not you’ll be the business they call.” Steve Kottra, Paid Search Manager

Lessons Learned

I think being patient and willing to make changes as needed will be the norm going forward.  Everyone in our great industry is learning to adapt, and I firmly believe we will get through this together and come out stronger as an industry.  So, what can we gain from these stressful and scary times?

  • HVAC is an essential business, home and business owners need us!
  • Maybe we should have been practicing more sanitary work habits and procedures?
  • Learning to adapt in the heating and air business is vital to our longevity!

We would love to hear your comments and feedback on how your HVAC company is dealing with the Corona Virus?

We Speak HVAC! 

Will@myeffectivemedia.com


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February 29, 2020

Winter is not what it once was….

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Let me guess, has your winter looked like the forecast above?  I know winter isn’t “Old Man Winter” anymore!  Furnaces last longer than years before, homeowners are actually changing their air filters, and consumers will just throw on another blanket! So, how do we increase sales moving into the busy season?

Make the most out of it!

When things are slow, we have to be creative as HVAC business owners.  We still have to pay our employees, if we want to keep them….pay our utilities, payroll taxes, workman’s comp insurance, employee benefits, etc.  So, our heating and air business has to keep generating revenue even when the weather is not cooperating.  So what do we do when the phone is not ringing?  It’s time for us to pick up the phone and start “dialing for dollars.”  So, who you gonna call?  Ghostbusters???  Sorry, my son love’s that movie, and we watch it all the time.  Had to throw it in there….

Contact your existing customers

Your customer base is the best place to go when times are slow.  You already have a relationship with them…..hopefully a good one!

Here is the tricky part…

This is where keeping very detailed information about your customers plays a “key” role.  The more we know about them the better.  We can provide different customer segments different offers depending upon what they need.  Here are key things to track and know about all your customers:

  • Age of their system, you should know this for everyone of your customers, even if you didn’t do the installation, especially if you didn’t do the install!
  • Number of repairs in the last year, two years, three years?
  • Dollar amount of these repairs?
  • How is their duct system?  Most duct systems are far less than perfect, unless of course your company did the installation!
  • What indoor air quality products do they have?  If any?
    • Programmable Thermostat or these days a “Smart Thermostat”
    • High efficiency filtration system (do they have pets? Family members with allergies?)
    • UV light?
    • Humidifier?  Do they a gas furnace in a home with hardwood floors?

So how do you capitalize on the slow season and increase sales?

Market to your existing customers

Remember earlier we talked about “Dialing for Dollars?”  This is where knowing everything you can about your customer comes into play.  Again, we are trying to fill the job board and keep hours for employees.  Here are a couple of examples to jumpstart things before the warmer weather arrives:

Example #1:  The customer needs a new duct system.

We all know duct jobs typically are not high profit jobs, and they are very labor heavy and time consuming.  So, if you have customers that need ductwork improvements or total replacements…..now is the time to reach out.  Here’s the caveat:  You can’t spring this on one of your existing customers.  This type of sale has to have been nurtured over time.  Their service or maintenance tech should be making the homeowner aware of the imperfections of their ductwork.  I’m sure the homeowner has complaints of hot and cold rooms.  Showing them pictures when you are out on service or maintenance calls is great, and a key part of this.  Remember a picture says a 1000 words!

You don’t want to tie your installation crews up installing new duct systems when it’s 95 degrees outside, but it makes for a nice fill-in when things are slow.

Example #2:  The customer has an aging system with recent repairs.

Again, this is where keeping track of all your customer’s information is critical.  You have a homeowner with a 17 year old HVAC system.  It has had three somewhat major repairs in the last three years.  The most recent being the blow motor on the furnace.  So, the repairs are starting to add up for the homeowner.  This will work best when your technician has been communicating with the homeowner.  They must let them know of the mounting repairs, and that they need to be ready to replace their system in the near future.  That way, it is not such a shock to them, and they are prepared.  Here’s where you strike:  Contact your customer about replacing the system.  Just be honest with them….you already have a good rapport with them, and let them know things are slow for your company this time of year.  They will empathize with your situation, but you have to give them something in order to get them to bite.  Offer them a percentage off the job, if they let you do it now while your company is not busy.

Working above and below the line

This is where knowing your financial numbers is extremely important.  We all are striving for double digit net profits, but when the weather is mild and the phone is not ringing……we have to do what we have to do.  So now we have the “math” portion of our discussion.

Do you know your company “breakeven” each month?

If you don’t, it is vital to determine this for each month of the year.  Why is this important you may ask???  Well, when we are looking for anything and everything we can do to bring in revenue and keep our employees busy…..It is SUPER IMPORTANT….If we can generate enough income to cover all overhead and expenses for the month, WE HAVE WON!

If you know your financials; you know when you can reduce prices, and when you can’t.  I used to hear all the time when I worked as a territory manager calling on contractors.  “ABC Heating & Air is giving their work away!”  “I wish they would raise their prices!”  Maybe they were underpricing their jobs……hmmm…..but maybe just maybe they knew their financials…..and what it took to breakeven…..and what it took to keep jobs on the board, when the weather was not our friend.

The Key is Knowing

Once your monthly breakeven point has been reached, you are covered!  You can even take jobs that you normally wouldn’t and at prices some deem to be “giving it away.”

As always good luck and good selling!

We Speak HVAC! 

Will@myeffectivemedia.com


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January 31, 2020

How was 2019?

It’s hard to believe it’s 2020!  So, how was your 2019?  There are so many factors to consider when you determine if it was a good or bad year.  Your financial numbers don’t lie, but we have to look a little deeper…..It’s all about playing the long-game, unless you are selling your company in the near future.  Weather, the economy, and hard work will always play a major role in how your HVAC business did in 2019.  Do you have a 2020 HVAC Marketing Plan?

Key HVAC Indicators from 2019

Weather dictates so much in our industry, so I implore you to look at what really matters.  Your area of the country may have had a cool summer and a mild winter, but let’s take a look at what matters in the long-term for you HVAC company.

  • Did you grow your maintenance customer base?
  • Did you increase your tune-up conversion % to maintenance customers?
  • Did you increase your average ticket value in service and AOR?
  • What % percentage of jobs were financed?
  • What % of jobs had add-ons: i.e. IAQ items, duct cleaning, extended warranties?

So, maybe the weather did not cooperate in your area of the country, but if your heating and air company improved in these categories you still had a positive year.  Remember, we are playing the long game!

2020 Overview

It’s time to review your current marketing efforts.  Where are you strong?  Where are you lacking?  What’s your budget?  Do you feel it’s too little or are you over spending?  Do you feel you are not using the proper channels?

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Your Website

How does your current website look?  Is it modern and up to date?  Here are some things to consider if your current website is a “lead generator” or an old dog….

  1. When was the site built originally, if it’s over 5 years old, it may be time for a new one.  You may ask why?  Older websites do not function well with modern plug-ins, their framework may be outdated (Looks old compared to newer sites), and it can’t handle enough modern content.
  2. Is it a responsive website?  Does it change its layout and size when you change device?  Does it look good on mobile, tablet, desktop, and laptop?
  3. Is it mobile optimized?  Google ranks and indexes all websites by mobile first.
  4. Is it a secure website?  That means it has an SSL Certificate:  HTTPS vs. HTTP.  If it’s not secure, the search engines are penalizing it and its rankings.

Your Social Media

How active is your HVAC business on social media these days?  It’s not only important for your website rank, but it is where your customers are spending their time these days.  These are things to ask yourself about your company’s social media landscape:

  1. How socially active is your company?  How often are you posting, and to what channels, how many followers do you have?
  2. What social sites are you active on?  Facebook is a must!  It is where your target demographic is on a daily basis (homeowners 25-65+).  Instagram, Twitter, YouTube are important as well.

Google My Business

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Google is currently putting a huge amount importance on your company’s Google My Business page.  Google; which makes up about 85% of all web traffic, wants to see you have a completed and active profile.

  1. Correct Business information:  Name, Address, Phone #, hours of operation, service area, company information statement
  2. Current pictures related to your business
  3. An updated Google Maps listing.
  4. Accept questions from potential customers on your profile……..you must respond to these in a reasonable amount of time.
  5. Google Reviews!!!! The more the better, the higher the star rating the better, and you need to respond to all reviews.
  6. Google Posts on your profile.  This is a great place to high-light  your current service special or a feature about your company.

Your Google My Business profile can be a full-time job!

Traditional Marketing (If your budget allows)

What forms of traditional or “old school” outlets are you using?  TV, Radio, Billboards, Print?  These forms of advertising are great ways to brand your HVAC business.  It is tough to measure exact results from traditional media campaigns when it comes to heating and air industry.  Remember only 2% of the population is ever in the market at any given time for your services, so make sure to address these things:

  1. Hit the core values that a consumer/homeowner wants from you (Trust, Value, Fixed Now)
  2. Be consistent with your message, don’t change it from campaign to campaign (i.e. We are Playing The “Long Game”)
  3. Make sure the message is the same everywhere: The TV spot has the same message as the radio commercial, the billboard, your social media, your website, your email marketing, your mailers, your job site signs……I think you get the point.  If not, you may be competing against yourself and you don’t even know it!

Now Let’s Talk Budget

We consistently see HVAC companies under fund their marketing efforts.  That’s ok, because many of us were taught that marketing does not work for our HVAC business……Things have changed! And maybe we were marketing the wrong things…..SEE BELOW under The Basics

We recommend somewhere between 3-8% of gross revenue, minus any new construction work your company is doing.

If your HVAC business falls in the 3% range, digital marketing is your best avenue:

  • Website
  • Paid Advertising (PPC and LSA’s)
  • Social Media

When your company dedicates closer to 5% or more, you can start to add in traditional advertising:

  • TV
  • Radio
  • Billboards

And of course there are all kinds of mixtures in between, these are not hard and fast rules!!!

Real World Example:

ABC Heating & Air does around 2.5 million in service and AOR revenue.  A budget would look something like this:  75K total for the year

  • 18k dedicated to website
  • 24k to PPC/LSA advertising
  • 8k to Social Media
  • 25k to Traditional marketing (Radio, TV, OTT, Billboards)

The Basics

Remember what your customer wants from you!  Repeat after me….

Trust, Value, Fixed Now…..Trust, Value, Fixed Now…..Trust, Value, Fixed Now

The Brave New World – What’s New and Trending

Our world is rapidly changing!  Long-gone are days of phonebook and job site signs as your main form of advertising.  Again, can you believe it is 2020???  Remember when having a website was a big deal, and Facebook was brand new?

Again it’s 2020….There are new players today and they have game!

Don’t be afraid of what is new and different, and do not base your decisions on your personal activities.  There is always a constant in our world….CHANGE!

Go where the “eyeballs” are!

This could not be a truer statement, “Go where the eyeballs are.”  Think about how our habits have changed in recent years…..

  • We once got our news from the newspaper, then television, now our smart phones.
  • We once made sure we were sitting in front of the TV when you favorite show aired, then we would record it on the VCR if we were going to miss it, now we watch it on demand or through an app.
  • We once looked up phone numbers in the phone book…….you get the picture!

Thanks and Good Selling!

We Speak HVAC!

will@myeffectivemedia.com

 

 


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December 18, 2019

HVAC Branding – Tell Your Story – It’s Important!

Everyone has a story to tell, even heating & air conditioning companies! Many are a story of passion, sacrifice, and the will to succeed where others have failed.  People can identify with that and relate to it in their own lives.  They want to hear about success and what you stand for.  If you humanize your company, consumers will identify with it.  They will want to do business with you over your competition.  So, how do you Brand Your HVAC Business in 2020?

Separate Yourself from the Competition

What makes your HVAC company different?  Why should I call you over the other 50 companies in town?  Why are you better?  Why should I trust you?  These are questions you should ask yourself and be able to answer.  This is where branding yourself and your company are vital to your success.  So, how do I do it?  We all provide repair, maintenance, and installation services?  TELL YOUR STORY!

  • Why did you get in the business to start with?
  • Talk about your journey, your life.
  • Why you are passionate about your business and the services you provide?
  • Talk about the quality and expertise you bring
  • Guarantees your company provides

So What Really is Branding?

Branding; by definition, is the practice of creative awareness of a product or in this case a service that is easily recognizable as belonging to your business.  HVAC branding is critical to the success and profitability of your business.

Distinguishable brands typically command higher prices that ones that are considered generic. So what does this mean for HVAC companies like yours?

Let’s first identify what the consumer thinks about residential hvac.  The reputation of our industry is sometimes tarnished, and the consumer is expecting bad or poor service…..What if we turned that perception around for them.

The Perfect Service Call

  • Call Ahead to let them you are on the way.
  • Email or text them a picture of the service techician.
  • Show up on time, in a clean uniform (where possible, we know service can be dirty), in a clean vehicle, wearing a name tag.

The HVAC Equipment Purchase Process – “In the consumer’s eyes”

Homeowners think purchasing a new heating and air conditioning system is like buying a new washer and dryer, a refrigerator, or a tv.

Where to Purchase?

They look at the different retail outlets to make their purchase from, and in your case they are looking at potentially you and your competitors.  The consumer then moves to what options or features best will meet their needs.  (EX: A homeowner is purchasing a new tv.  They look at the picture quality, size, smart tv, etc….)

Feature set or performance

In our world that means:

  • Efficiency: SEER, HSPF, AFUE
  • Comfort level: single vs. multi-stage vs. variable capacity
  • Warranty

You notice we aren’t mentioning price here….?

This also applies to how you BRAND or SEPARATE your heating and air company from the competition….

Trust

Trust is paramount to the consumer.  They must trust your company and your technician before they will let you enter their home.  Branding around trust for your HVAC business is important…..consumers will weigh this before making a purchase decision.

Value

The average consumer only purchases HVAC 2.5 times in their lifetime, so it is an infrequent purchase.  It is the most expensive appliance in the home.  They are looking for value over price, but if we don’t present our value proposition they will ultimately revert to price.

Fixed Now

Timely fast service may trump all of the above.  We live in a “me too” society today, consumers refuse to wait for service.  Your HVAC company must have to ability to react fast to the consumer needs.  Long gone are the days of waiting two weeks for a new installation or 3 days for service. So….

What if your BRANDED around timely service guarantees????? Fixed today or your service call is free??? Guaranteed Repairs or your money back!

What would consumers think about your business?

Customers will Identity with You!

Your heating & air business has to face the basic facts…..Consumers/homeowners just don’t think about you until they need you…..So, by branding your hvac business with things they  identify with will create association with what they like.  Your ultimate goal is to become the “Kleenex” of heating and air companies in your area.  When they need your services, you are the first company that comes to mind……It’s a lofty goal, but it can be done!

HVAC Branding works in 2020!

It’s time to Tell Your Story!

Thanks and Good Selling!

We Speak HVAC!

will@myeffectivemedia.com


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September 18, 2019

Recap Your Summer

The summer was hot, did your hvac company capitalize? Every summer in the heating and air conditioning world it’s a mad scramble…..grabbing emergency service calls, taking care of existing customer’s systems, and finishing up the left-over maintenance agreements from the spring.  Does this sound about right???  Well the big question is, did you make enough money to make it through the coming slow months?  I had a hvac owner recently say, “he wished September didn’t exist.” That’s a pretty strong statement, but I bet many on you can relate.

Read on for some tips that can make the “in-between” months easier to survive.

Capitalize on the slow times or the “in-between months”

Let’s put on our thinking caps…..summer is over, but it’s not hot enough to drive a lot of service work and ultimately replacements.  Let’s face it, homeowners will suffer through a few more hot days before they’ll fork out big bucks on their A/C system. And the cold nights of winter are a long ways off….

So it’s time to get creative

What is our best lead source, your most coveted possession???  Your existing customers!!!  Hopefully you have a large number of maintenance customers on the books, and if you don’t that’s ok.  But, it’s time to start aggressively growing your maintenance base if you don’t. So, what can we do to keep your team busy and break even when the temperatures are mild?

Let’s market to our existing customers

Everyone is looking for a bargain and save a little money these days.  There’s an old saying in this business…..”Just break even in the slow months”  and that’s a win for your heating and air conditioning business.  You already have a relationship with your customer, so let’s use that to our advantage.

So what do we market to our existing base?

  • Accessories:  (C02 detectors, UV lights, air cleaners, surge protectors)
  • Duct cleaning
  • New duct systems: Very labor intensive, and typically low profit in the busy season, but a great offer in Sept-Oct.
  • Savings off a new system

What we are attempting to do is simple.  We want to drive enough revenue to break-even with our expenses/overhead and have enough work to keep our staff busy.  And more importantly keep them on the payroll, we don’t want to have to lay off valuable employees during the slow months.  During the busy times, we may turn these types of jobs down or over price them, so we do not get the work.  These can become welcomed additions to your job board!

Special Offers

Special offers are a great way to entice existing customers; as well as, new customers that may be willing to take the plunge and invest in your services.  Remember, our goal here is to at worst break-even during the “shoulder seasons.”  So, what are we talking about?

  • Upgrades – offer the next higher SEER unit for the same price as the lower SEER unit. (Talk to your equipment supplier, they may work with you, they want to move boxes too during the slow times)
  • Rebates – the manufacturer typically offers rebates in the spring and fall.
  • Free A/C or Furnace – this one takes some creativity, but we are thinking “out of the box” right?
  • Free extended warranty – another adder to entice homeowners to buy, remember we’re trying to push them off the fence!

Additional Services

Adding additional services to your contracting business is a long-term commitment.  Many HVAC companies expand into related industries to help smooth out the peaks and valleys of heating and air’s seasonality.  These can be natural compliments to your HVAC business.

  • Plumbing
  • Electrical
  • IAQ
  • Home Automation

Just Break Even!

We as contractors know we can’t push consumers to do something they do not want to do.  We all know our business is driven by air conditioners or furnaces breaking down.  What’s the statistic??? There’s only 2% of the general population ever in the market at any given time that needs our services.  That becomes even smaller when we are between summer and winter.  So, if we can just break even during these months, it’s a BIG WIN for your company!

The bottom line is the HVAC business is year round, not seasonal!

 

Thank you for taking interest in our article!

“We Speak HVAC!”

will@myeffectivemedia.com


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September 9, 2019

 

Summer is over, well almost!  It’s time to put your HVAC Co-op Dollars to work!

Things are slowing down even though it is still hot outside…..you’ve worked hard all spring and summer and have earned your co-op.  Deadlines for approval are approaching fast, but we still have time to put together a well thought out campaign that will maximize your funds.  Effective Media Solutions can help you make the best use of your funds and produce additional revenue for you company this fall.  Let’s talk!

So Don’t Let Your Co-op $$$ Go To Waste

Every HVAC Contractor wants to grow their business…..and every HVAC Distributor/Manufacturer wants to help their dealers grow. It’s time to put those HVAC co-op dollars to good use. Don’t waste them on shirts and hats, or a hastily produced campaigns at the last minute, or even worse…..don’t use them at all!  It’s Time to put your HVAC Co-op Dollars to Work for You!
Effective Media Solutions works with just about every HVAC brand out there, and we understand how your co-op dollars work. We can help your company make the best use of them to help you grow your business.

HVAC_co-op options

Here are a list of services provided by Effective Media Solutions that can be used for co-op:

Digital Marketing:

Traditional Marketing:

Print Marketing:

      • Newspaper
      • Direct Mail

Graphic Design:

It's Time to Use Those Co-op Dollars

 

  • Contact your local distributor/manufacturer or your territory manager to see what co-op funds are available.
  • Contact Effective Media Solutions directly.

It’s time to grow your business! We generate NEW LEADS that GENERATE NEW SALES! 

We Speak HVAC!

(844)533-HVAC – Office Line

(704)507-7858 Will Merritt or (704)661-8588 Dave Bowen

To read more industry related blogs visit: Effective Media Solutions HVAC Industry Blogs


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August 1, 2019

Google My Business Listing

These simple HVAC marketing tips will make you a “HVAC Superhero” in your local community.  Your company’s Google My Business listing is becoming more important these days.  Google is putting more and more emphasis on your profile. So, when is the last time you’ve really looked at your Google My Business listing?

What Should I Do?

Google wants to see activity on your GMB page.  So, it will help your profile by doing the following:

  1. Make sure your basic business information is correct: Company name, website, address, and phone number. Tip: (Google in 2018 began allowing two phone numbers on your GMB listing, which now allows you to use a “trackable #” and your main number.  It’s a great way to see how many calls and leads are coming from your profile.
  2. Add pictures to your page on a regular basis.  Remember to properly name your picture, the internet search engines cannot see pictures only their alt tag description.  Example: You have a picture of all your employees, tag it ABC-Air-Conditioning-your city-your state.
  3. Provide a brief description about your business under the “about”section.  Tell your potential customers what your company stands for, a brief history, and what services you provide.  Tip:  Here is a great place to use some “keywords” about your business and the geographic areas your serve.  (Air conditioning, heating, ac repair, furnace repair, towns and cities you serve, and even local community names)
  4. Google Posts: Google allows you to create a post on your GMB profile.  You can create an offer, a contest or giveaway, or even a “feel good” post about your business.
  5. Service Areas: This is extremely important for heating and air conditioning businesses.  HVAC companies provide their services at the home or business of their customer. Tip: Hide your business address on GMB and list the towns or cities you service.  It will show as a map on your listing, so your potential customers will know if you service their area.

Social Media Profiles

Social media has become a part of the fabric of our society.  Your customer is addicted to their smart phone and is immersed in the world of social media.  As a local heating and air conditioning company in your community, you need to be active on social media.  Go where your customers go!

You may or may not be active personally on social media, but your customers or potential customers definitely are using it.  So, if you are not a big social media junky……no worries!  You can start with by creating one company social profile and go from there.  You may ask, what social network or networks should our company be concerned with?  There are more and more choices today, but Facebook still dominates the social media world.  Facebook’s fastest growing demographic is the older baby boomer generation.  Tip:  They own homes and typically have money for home improvements.

So Which Social Media Profiles?

Facebook is still the market leader, but many other social sites are catching up fast!  You can’t go wrong by making it the focus of your social media efforts.

Instagram;  which is owned by Facebook, is out pacing it’s parent company in new monthly sign ups. It has been tagged as the “young” person’s social media platform of choice…..it’s great for quick pictures or stories.  Remember the “millennials” are getting older……they are the 2nd largest demographic segment in the US after the baby boomers and are projected to overtake the “baby boomers” in 2019…..they are becoming your new target market!

Twitter has a proven track record, and is a viable platform for HVAC companies. It’s a great way to send out quick messages or specials to your customers or potential new ones.  You can even answer questions potential or existing customers may have about your services.

YouTube has become extremely popular by all ages, and YES it is considered a social media platform.  Did you know? It is the 2nd most used search engine after Google, and P.S. it’s owned by Google…..so it’s important!  Tip: YouTube is great place to post short videos, especially “how to” videos.  Consumers are constantly searching for problems associated with the air conditioning system and how to fix it.  You can quickly become a trusted source of information.  They will look at your business as an authority for heating and air problems.

LinkedIn has grown rapidly in the last couple of years.  It caters primarily to businesses doing business with other businesses or B2B……So, if your heating and air conditioning company does commercial work, building a LinkedIn profile could be well worth your time.

Our recommendation is to “start small” and you can grow your social presence one post at a time.  Have fun with it, social media for hvac companies is supposed to be fun!

HVAC Social Media Sites:

Here is a quick list of recommended social platforms for HVAC Contractors:

  1. Facebook
  2. Instagram
  3. Twitter
  4. YouTube
  5. LinkedIn

Reputation Management

So what is reputation management for a HVAC company and what does it involve?  Today your company has a ton of information on the internet.  Some of it is correct and some of it is far from the truth.  As a business owner, you want to make sure you are “painting the correct picture” for your customer.  There are a gazillion sites on the web that have your information.  It’s important to make sure your information is correct!

What Information you say?

  • Name, Address, and Phone Number (Often referred to as “NAP”)
  • Website
  • Business Hours
  • Geographic Areas Served
  • Years in Business

What Sites are Important?

Like we said above, there are a gazillion websites or directories with your information on the internet.  There are various forms of software that will help populate and correct the information online.  We have found there are a few main ones that your business should be concerned with, which can effect your online rankings.

  • Google My Business – It’s #1 by far!!!
  • Facebook and any other social sites you post to regularly.
  • Bing/Yahoo
  • Better Business Bureau
  • Yellow Pages
  • Yelp

Reviews, Reviews, Reviews….

Reviews are a hug part of your online reputation today.  Consumers who are unfamiliar with a particular service company are searching on the internet and reading reviews about your HVAC company and your competitors business.  In the years past, would-be customers would consult a friend or neighbor to find out who to call for air conditioning or heating service……or we would look up companies in the yellow pages.

Fast forward to 2019

So, what do we do when our A/C breaks, and we don’t have an existing relationship with a local HVAC company?  We still may phone a friend, but our habits have changed dramatically in recent years.  Consumers today will post something on social media, “the modern day word of mouth”:

Can anyone recommend a good air conditioning company?

Once they receive recommendations, the consumer will do a little online research.  Now is when online reviews have so much importance.

Here are the important things a potential buyer is looking for:

  1. How many reviews does your HVAC business have?  Tip: The more you can have the better, studies have shown consumers will downgrade your business if you have less than 30.
  2. What is your company’s star rating?  (5.0 is the best on Google)
  3. Do you have recent reviews?
  4. Have you responded to reviews?  Tip: You should respond to all reviews, but most importantly respond to the bad reviews! Consumers understand no business is perfect, but it is best to respond, be tactful, tell your side the story as to what happened, and apologize.

The Simple Things Can Have a Huge Impact!

As a trusted local heating and air provider to your community, take the time to review and update your Google My Business listing on a regular basis. Take a look around the internet…..Google your company and see what you find. Keep an eye on your online reviews. Make sure you are responding to them and take action when you have a negative review.  Be proactive and take charge of your online presence and you will gain more customers!

 

Thank you and good selling!

”We Speak HVAC”

will@myeffectivemedia.com

 


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June 13, 2019

and put on the consumer hat!  We have a lot going on running a heating and air conditioning business…..but do we really know “The Homeowner’s Frustration?” They have a problem with their A/C system, and they just want it fixed.  It’s time to take off the contractor hat and put on the consumer hat.

Let’s make it easy for them

Remember the consumer is not very familiar with this process.  They don’t call a heating and air contractor every day, and remember from our recent article (Why Did We Lose the Sale?), the average homeowner only purchases a new hvac system on average 2.5 times in their lifetime.  So, they don’t speak our language of SEER, AFUE, and HSPF.  Think of it like this; we speak Spanish and they speak French……we don’t understand each other.

It’s not an easy process for the consumer…..

Ok, you’re now the homeowner.  You walk in your house after a long day at work, and what do you find?  Your house is HOT, the A/C is out!  So what do you do? …. other than go into panic mode!!!

  • You check your thermostat, does it have power, batteries?
  • Check your breaker box, any tripped breakers?
  • Is the outside unit running?
  • Is there cold air coming from the vents?

If the homeowner determines it’s time to contact a professional, then what?  Some may have a relationship with a local air conditioning contractor, but many homeowners do not.  In the old days, you went to phonebook and looked up air conditioning companies.  But when is the last time you even laid eyes on a phonebook?  Or you called a neighbor to enlist help, uh oh it’s 2019, you may not know your neighbors that well…..sorry but it’s true.  So, today’s consumer uses the latest technology at their disposal:

  • They post their problem on social media: Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter asking for a reputable contractor
  • Maybe they check the neighborhood app: Nextdoor
  • Of course there’s Google and other search engines….

The Next Step after the initial search phase

Alright, here is where it gets good.  Your next potential customer has gotten some information via a recommendation and has decided to search on their smartphone.  Remember they are still in the “Oh S**t” moment of, “I don’t have air conditioning” in my home.  That’s not a good place to be, and they want to move away from that place as soon as possible.  Now that they have a recommendation or two, they start the rapid research phase…..

A Quick Judgement is Made about your heating and air company

The distressed homeowner looks up air conditioner repair or another related search, and they find…..we’ll call them company “A” on their favorite search engine.  And let’s see what their search returned….

Contractor “A” – Here’s their stats:

  • They have a website, but it was built in 2002.  It has limited information, it’s not optimized for mobile,  has outdated coupons, and kind of “hang the open sign in the window” approach.
  • Google shows only 3 reviews, and their rating is 3 out of 5 stars.
  • The company has a Facebook account, but it hasn’t been posted to since 2016…
  • And they are registered with the BBB or Better Business Bureau, but do not have any reviews.

Hmmm…..let’s look at the 2nd contractor.

Contractor “B” – “Our shining star”:

  • Their website is modern, mobile optimized for the smartphone(which the distressed homeowner is using), it has “Call to Action” buttons to schedule service and it promotes coupons for savings on service calls, and it screams fast, reliable air conditioning service.
  • Contractor B has over 100 Google reviews, many of them recent, and a 4.7 rating out of 5 stars.
  • They have active Facebook and Instagram accounts that show recent job site pictures and happy homeowner recommendations.
  • The company is BBB registered, rated, and has many positive reviews.

Contractor “C” – Remember we were taught by our parents to get “Three Estimates” right?

  • No website to be found.
  • A Google listing that shows the picture of a house, and the listing has not been claimed.
  • There is an old link to a “My Space” account.
  • I know this getting a little ridiculous…..

Who do think they called…….

Broken Promises, told one thing and…..

Congratulations you are the lucky contractor that gets the chance to win over this customer for life.  The homeowner just wants their A/C fixed asap.  So, we tell them we can have a service tech at their home tomorrow afternoon……the new customer begrudgingly says “ok, that will be fine.”  Fast forward to the next day, and the homeowner takes the afternoon off of work in order to meet your technician.  It’s about 2:30 pm and no one has contacted this excited new residential customer.  So, they decide to call your office, and the receptionist answers and checks with the dispatcher……They come back on the line with their “shiny new” customer and says, “We should be at your home by 4:00 pm.”  The homeowner feels somewhat relieved…..Now it’s 4:15 and still no knight in shining armor to fix the air conditioner.  Now the technician contacts the homeowner, and says that their current call is taking much longer than anticipated…….“Can we come tomorrow morning?  You’ll be the first stop!”

Do what you say you’re going to do

We have to be courteous, respectful, and do what we say we are going to do.  I know we are stereotyping the HVAC industry, but I’m just trying to convey some common issues homeowners experience with residential service providers.  I’ve personally had some awesome  customer service experiences and some that have been less than stellar…..and that’s putting it mildly. There are so many outstanding service companies today, and the consumer is taking notice!  Today’s consumer is expecting you work around their schedule and provide the highest quality service and workmanship……or they will find someone that will provide it.

Put Yourself in Their Shoes

Think like the consumer and not the contractor, “walk in their shoes.”  They are unhappy and uncomfortable…..They just want an easy solution to take them back to their “comfort zone.” Make is simple and easy!  Remember, often times they don’t know what kind of system they have, they may think their air conditioner is a Honeywell or White Rodgers……I’m being serious!  Make the scheduling process easy from the start to finish. Live operators answering the phone even after hours……Forms to schedule service on your website……and stick to your appointment time.  Also, be flexible with your service times.  Early evening and weekends work great for consumers!  Throw your contractor hat away and wear the consumer hat……You’ll be surprised at the difference it makes in your sales!

 

Will Merritt

Effective Media Solutions

will@myeffectivemedia.com

 


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May 22, 2019

As contractors, we wonder about this constantly……from quote to quote, why did we win this job and why did we lose that job?

They had a lower price?

That’s what we think in the heating and air conditioning business.  The other company won the job because their price was lower. And we all know pricing for replacement jobs can be all over the board.  The price can range from $5000.00 to $15000.00…..even for same brand of equipment.  So what does the consumer think?  It’s confusing for the homeowner!  Remember the average person only purchases a new heating and air system 2.5 times in their lifetime.  Let’s make it easy for them.

They provided the solution the buyer was looking for…..

It’s more than price these days.  Would be buyers have become very tech savvy.  They have so much information at their disposal regarding the products we sell today. Often times the buyer doesn’t really know what they want, we have to lead them down the path.  The consumer may mention a particular brand they want, but studies show they still trust in the contractor’s recommendation.

Are we as contractors asking the right questions on the sales call?

  • Do you have hot and cold spots in the home?
  • Have you considered zoning?
  • How does your ductwork look?
  • How long do you plan to live in the home?
  • Do you have allergies?
  • Would you like to be able to access the system remotely?
  • Did or does your current system keep your home comfortable?
  • How are your utility bills?

Sometimes the competition is asking the “right” questions and really getting the homeowner involved in the purchase process.  Yes, homeowners can and will get excited about the buying process.  We just have to undercover what their true needs are, and we must satisfy those needs for them.  Often times, if we ask the right questions, we may uncover needs they didn’t know they had!

big-box-store

The Competition is Fierce

The consumer also has a multitude of options beyond the local contractor today:

Today’s consumer thinks buying a new heating and air conditioning system is like purchasing a standard home appliance.  They think it’s just like buying a new tv or refrigerator.  They look at different brands or manufacturers, look for similar specifications or features, and then they compare price.  The consumer doesn’t understand it is more about you “the contractor” than the brand of equipment.  They are ready to buy on features and price.  We all know that is not how it works.  We have to come out to measure, check ductwork, see if the electrical matches up, check installation limitations, etc….you know the drill.   But Look out!  The times are a changing!  The outlets listed above are catering to how consumers operate today.  Look at how the home selling market is changing.  You can simply list your home through an online service, or have the real estate company or agent buy your home outright. You don’t even have to list your home and worry about showings!  Same goes with the car market.  You can buy your car online and have it delivered.  Have you seen the Carvana ads?   And wait there’s one more, the food delivery services.  Think about Door Dash and Uber Eats.  They will bring food from just about any restaurant to your doorstep.  The point is…..Times are a changing!

They worked around the customer’s schedule

For many years, we contractors had “contractor” schedules.  This didn’t really align with the consumer’s schedule.  We went to work early in the morning, so we could leave in the afternoon.  The old mentality of “the early bird gets the worm”.  This worked well for us, but not so much for our potential customer.  The average consumer is very busy during those hours.  It is often difficult for them to take time off of work to be home to meet us.  And heaven forbid, we cancel an appointment or delay it!  So, many of today’s  heating and air companies are beginning to work around the consumer’s schedule.

  • Weekend appointments
  • After Hours
  • Whenever it’s convenient for the customer

Try it sometime, you may be surprised how well it works!  I bet you’ll increase your closure rate!  And, even your employees may prefer the non-traditional work hours.

easy-to-do-business-with

They made it easy to do business with them

This may one of the biggest reasons we lose sales in the residential HVAC business.  The other company made it easier to do business with them.  This can accomplished in many ways.

  • All around great customer service
  • Installing around the buyer’s schedule (nights and weekends)
  • Offering financing
  • Accepting Credit Cards
  • Online scheduling

Appearance is Everything

Have you thought above some of your personal buying habits?  Why you do what you do as a consumer?  Why do we go to Starbucks?  They are not the cheapest coffee.  Maybe we perceive it is better, there’s a sense of belonging when you go there, and maybe it’s just better coffee.  Appearance is huge when it comes to the residential HVAC business.  The general public sometimes has a stereotype when it comes to contractors.  Please don’t get mad…..but sometimes consumers associate certain traits when it comes to the contracting world.  They have become accustomed to bad service, poor quality, poorly dressed, and generally unprofessional business practices.  What if we change all of the consumer’s misconceptions?  We provide great service, show up on time, uniformed, and deliver beyond their expectations.  What do think would happen?  Here are some other things that influence consumers buying from you:

  • Uniformed employees
  • Spotless vehicles
  • Great online reviews
  • Community involvement
  • Background checks and drug testing
  • Employee photo ID’s

So their price was Higher after all

Often times we find out the other contractor awarded the job did indeed have a higher price.  Studies show that only a small portion of the population buys on price.  The vast majority make purchase decisions based on the highest perceived value.  Let’s spend our time and energy working on how we can deliver higher value, versus seeing how we can cut costs so we can do the job cheaper.  If we all work on what matters to today’s consumer; we will all win more jobs.

 

Will Merritt

Effective Media Solutions

will@myeffectivemedia.com

 


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July 3, 2018

Maybe You’re Fishing in the Wrong Place…

Where do you look for new customers today?  The same places you’ve looked for years? Maybe they’re not there anymore, they’ve moved! Effective Media Solutions specializes in helping your company find and capture HVAC leads!

Is Your Phone Not Ringing Like it Used to?

Are you losing leads to your competition, maybe they have a shinier bait than you? Consumer habits have changed drastically in the last few years due to changes in technology.  Google has replaced the phone book….Social Media has replaced word of mouth….YouTube, OTT, and Streaming have replaced traditional television.

So where is your HVAC company marketing and advertising to find new customers?

So why is your phone not ringing as much??

Schedule Your FREE Consultation Now!

You Have to Go to Where the Fish Are… (or the Leads in this case)

Today’s consumer lives, works, and plays differently than the ones before them.  We live in an immediate gratification society.  Everyone has their smart phone in hand and is ready to search and get answers.  Currently 77% of Americans own a smartphone.  (Source: Pew Internet) Studies show the average person touches their smart phone over 2,ooo times each day!

Google, Yahoo, or Bing – Consumers use search engines for everything!

Google processess over 3.5 billion search queries each day.  They are responsible for almost 80% of all search traffic.  (Source: Internet Live Stats)  Are potential customers finding your HVAC business on Google?  Or are they finding your competition?

Social Media – People are social today, it’s their source for conversation and information

YouTube

Does your HVAC company have a presence on YouTube?  Did you realize YouTube is the 2nd largest search engine used after Google?  Consumers today are constantly searching “How to’s” to fix things and learn more.

OTT or “Over the Top Television” – “The Cord Cutters”

More and more consumers today are cutting the cord from traditional television.  People want to watch what they want when they want, so they have so many new options to choose from over standard tv or cable.

  • Smart TV’s
  • Gaming Consoles
  • Roku
  • Amazon Fire Stick
  • Netflix
  • Apple TV
  • Chromecast
  • Hulu

The list goes on and on with choices today!  Did you know you can advertise on these platforms?  The bottom line is, we need to be where the consumer is today.

Old Fishing Techniques Can Still Work?

Old habits are hard to break.  For many years, the phonebook or yellow pages dominated advertising budgets for heating and air conditioning contractors.  The same with direct mail, billboards, radio, and television.  These are still great branding tools for HVAC companies!  But we have to include the new fishing spots….

Our team at Effective Media Solutions can help you best allocate your marketing funds.

Schedule your FREE consultation now!