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Tips and How To's Archives - Effective Media Solutions

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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!

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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.

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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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March 23, 2019

What if there was a “Black Friday” sale for air conditioners?

It’s time to let homeowners in on the hvac industry’s little secret.  There is a good time to purchase a new heating and air conditioning system.

 

Attention homeowners, there is a good time to buy!  And, as contractors we know you aren’t thinking about buying a new hvac system for your home.  Who is? It’s typically not high even in the discussion for you when it comes to home improvements.  It’s way down list after a kitchen remodel, new carpet, maybe a pool…..you see what I’m getting at.  But at some point the dilapidated box outside your home or the one under your house, or the one in the attic will have to be replaced.  So listen carefully to this advice, it will save you some bucks!

 

Your Local Heating and Air Contractors Go From Super Busy to Slow Overnight

 

Your local heating and air conditioning company has many challenges.   They juggle keeping their existing customers happy along with the advent of new ones.  This consists of on demand service calls to repair heat or a/c, semi-annual maintenance visits, and new equipment installations.  Your typical heating & a/c company is doing everything they can to provide the best customer service, while providing quality workmanship, along with keeping their employees happy.  This is an up and down cycle for these contractors.  They can go from extremely busy, where their field employees are working 60-80 hour weeks, to very little work at all.  Their employees are not getting enough hours and the company needs more work to generate revenue to keep the company running and its employees happy.  This is where you, the consumer can take advantage of the situation if you have to bite the bullet and make that unwanted purchase.

 

The Mild Temperatures of Spring and Fall

 

The mild temperatures we see during spring and fall is not a great time for most hvac companies. Let’s face it, extreme temperatures cause heating and air conditioning systems to fail.  The harder they work the more chance they will fail, or they will not keep your home at the comfort level you desire.  So, during mild weather, contractors will do things they normally would not do during the extreme heat of summer or the cold of winter.  They will offer installation discounts or special offers such as,  “A Free A/C with purchase of a new furnace”.  The key point to recognize here is that contractors need to keep their employees busy and revenue flowing.  This is advantageous to the homeowner that knows their hvac system is on its last leg. Maybe you had problems last winter or summer?  You had expensive repairs performed, and maybe the hvac company told you it’s time to think about replacement.  My point here is, to plan ahead.  Contractors would love to hear from you during the shoulder seasons of spring and fall. If you wait to your system fails during 95 degree plus weather, you may pay a premium!  So, think ahead and save some money!  You’ll be glad you did! 

 

Rebates or Incentives from the Manufacturer

 

The heating and air conditioning manufacturers want to keep production moving to keep them profitable. They suffer the same way the local service contractor suffers.  When the temperatures are mild, they are not moving as many heaters or air conditioners. So, what do they do?  They offer rebates or incentives on their products. Typically, the manufacturer provides rebates or cash back on the higher efficient equipment.  The rebates could range from a couple hundred dollars to in the thousands. Also, during these times the equipment manufacturers may offer special financing like 0% interest or 6 months deferred financing.  This can be very helpful to the consumer.  Let’s get real, is any homeowner really putting money back for a new hvac system?  Probably not, but let’s keep an eye out for these specials, you could save a lot!

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If You Know a New HVAC System is in Your Future….

 

Dear Mr. and Mrs. Homeowner, if you know the time is near for that old clunker to be replaced, remember these key things:

 

  • If you’ve had a major repair or multiple minor repairs on your hvac system recently, starting thinking about it and plan ahead.
  • Keep an eye on the weather, “hint hint” the spring or fall
  • Look for specials or deals
  • Manufacturer rebates
  • Take advantage of financing

No one wants to invest their hard earned money into a new heating and air conditioning system, but when the time comes, use this knowledge to your advantage.  You’ll often save a few bucks, and you’ll make a local heating and air company happy.


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May 25, 2018

It’s a two or three step process for the consumer

  1. It begins with asking for help from friends, family, or co-workers.  This can be done via word of mouth or through social media.
  2. Then the online research phase begins.  Consumers will Google terms such as:
    1. AC Repair
    2. Air Conditioning Contractor
    3. HVAC Service
    4. Best Heating and Air Company

How does your online reputation look?

So how do you choose an air conditioning company?….Can you be found easily when they do a generic search on Google?  Is your company on the first page of the major search engines?  Are you doing paid ads to get you on page 1? For Example:  AC Repair in your city or town

How do your reviews look on Google, Facebook, or the Better Business Bureau?

 

Consumer are researching what you do….reading reviews and recommendations….they are forming an opinion about your business, even before they call….

Step Three of the Process: Now it’s time to call

Choosing a residential heating and air contractor can be overwhelming. When it’s time to
install a new unit, have your existing system serviced, or preventative maintenance is needed, make sure you take your time to choose the right heating and air contractor for you. Get several bids, have them come out to your home, and be sure to ask the right questions. To avoid a costly and frustrating mistake, here are five great questions to ask before you make your choice.

How does your company answer these questions below?

This is common practice in our industry, right?  You would be surprised what consumers don’t know.

1. Will you come to my house?

Before any contractor gives you a bid they should take a look at your system and evaluate your home. Be prepared to tell them about any problem areas, such as rooms that won’t cool or heat properly. Don’t be afraid to ask if they have experience working on your particular system.

2. Do you have references?

There’s nothing wrong with asking for names and numbers of past and current customers. Once you get the information, do something with it. Call them and ask specific questions. Initially, a reference may give you what seems like a canned response but dig a little deeper and ask what they liked, what they didn’t like, and what could have been better. You can also check out the Better Business Bureau website. Look up their business rating and customer experiences. The website for the Better Business Bureau is ​https://www.bbb.org/

3. Do you have the proper license and certification required in the Carolinas?

Residential Heating and Air contractors are licensed through the State Licensing Board. Ask each contractor if they are up to date on their licenses or certifications. You can also look up if they are licensed in your state on these websites. For North Carolina, you can go to https://onlineweb.nclicensing.org/lookup/licenselookup.aspx​. For South Carolina, click on https://verify.llronline.com/LicLookup/Contractors/Contractor.aspx

4. Are you insured?

Ask about their insurance and how their insurance will protect you from damage to your home and/or personal property. You’ll also want to ask about their worker’s compensation policy.

5. Can I get that in writing?

Ask for a written and itemized bid. The bid should include the work that needs to be done, when the project will be completed, and itemized cost for labor and parts.
Are you currently doing all of the above?  As contractors, sometimes we take these things for granted.  We think the consumer understands our business, maybe they don’t know as much as we think?  Let the consumer know your company does all of these.  It will increase your sales!

If you have questions please feel free to contact us!


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October 20, 2017

Marketing an HVAC company is a continuous process that, by its nature, is never finished. Whether it’s the season of the year or the state of the economy, internal and external factors will shape the way you promote your business to your target audience. However, there is one facet of your marketing strategy that should remain constant. Your business may grow and your customer base may evolve, but your core message will stay the same. Read on as we explore the most compelling ways you can communicate your business’s message to the world.
 

Why is a core message so crucial?

Do you know what your core message is? This may seem like a simple question, but it can be surprisingly hard to provide a simple, honest answer. Well, let’s start with examining the meaning of “core message”. Think of your core message as the “theme” of your business, or the “It Factor”. If you had to define your business’s purpose in a few words, you would eventually discover its core message. The core message is how you would describe your company to your customers if you were only allowed to use the same sentence each time. It’s the sum of all your values, strengths, and differentiating attributes that set you apart from your competitors. When viewed this way, we like to think of it as your “USP”, or Unique Selling Proposition. What do your customers need to know to choose you over the competition? That’s your core message. This message should resonate throughout your marketing strategy. It should inform all your promotional efforts, whether implicitly or explicitly.
 

How to convey your HVAC company’s core message

Your USP should be the subtext of everything you communicate to your customers, whether it be advertisements, blogs, or an informational webpage. But how do you convey a core message to your customer base? Well, that depends on what the message is. At Effective Media Solutions, we’ve found that most HVAC company’s USPs fall under three broad categories: Trust, Value, and Fixed Now.

Trust: The emotional appeal

This is perhaps the most powerful way to attract consumers to your business. As humans, we’re guided by our emotions, and the way we feel greatly affects the choices we make. This is particularly true in the world of HVAC. The success of your business depends on the trust that you cultivate between your company and the people you service. As a result, pulling back the curtain and relating to your customers on a personal level is a great way to strengthen that connection. Are you a family business? Have you served the same community for decades? Is there a charity you’re passionately involved in? Does your company focus on green, environmentally friendly comfort solutions? Be vocal about what drives you, and consumers will identify with and gravitate towards your business. If trust is a major part of your core message, social media is critical to your marketing strategy. Social media allows consumers to get to know the people behind your company, reinforcing the sentiment conveyed through your core message. In addition, blogs provide an excellent space to illustrate your company’s USP. Choose topics such as “5 Tips to Save Energy and Reduce Your Carbon Footprint” or “Jones Heating & Air: Serving Our Community for 50 Years” to build a bond with your audience.

Value: What all consumers want

While trust is important, there is a significant demographic that considers value above all else when choosing an HVAC provider. If your business satisfies their needs, then your core message is simple: “We provide the maximum value for HVAC services in our area”. Of course, you must be able to back up a core message centered on value. Today’s HVAC customer will use any and all resources available on the internet to make an informed, shrewd decision as to which contractor is most valuable to them. Furthermore, if they don’t believe your value lives up to your core message, they’ll make sure the world knows it via online reviews. Remember that value isn’t synonymous with low-priced. You want to maximum your customer’s perceived value so they feel their dollars have been well spent. Excellent HVAC service at a moderate price is much more valuable than mediocre service at an “unbeatable price”. If you offer more value than your competition, then all you need to do is spread the message far and wide. TV, radio and digital ads all reach large customer bases in various geographic areas. Whether your focus is quality service or unbeatable HVAC repair coupons, the goal is maximum exposure.

Fixed Now: The simple, effective HVAC message

At the end of the day, people want fast, reliable HVAC services. At Effective Media Solutions, we specialize in raising “top-of-mind awareness” among your customers. Nonetheless, the fact remains that many consumers only think about HVAC when they need repair. They want their furnace or air conditioner “fixed now”, plain and simple. If your company excels at quick response time and efficient repair, then fixed now should be at the heart of your core message. Your slogans and taglines should be phrased to reflect this USP. In addition, promote preventative maintenance plans which offer priority or emergency HVAC service to preferred customers. Prompt service is one of the most effective USPs an HVAC contractor can boast.

Trust, Value & Fixed Now: The Keys to HVAC Success

The three tenets of Trust, Value and Fixed Now provide an intuitive, straightforward template to help you craft your business’s core message. However, they also serve as guideposts for a healthy HVAC company. While you may find that your USP mostly aligns with one of these principles, the fact of the matter is that you need all three in order for your business to be successful. Promoting quick service is a great way to attract customers, but if they don’t feel a sense of trust with your company, or their perceived value is low, they won’t be coming back. Broadcast your strengths, but make sure your whole house is in order!

Once you determine your core message, the rest of your marketing plan will fall into place. In fact, you may even discover a direction that breathes new life into your business! Are you ready to identify your USP and craft a distinct core message for your HVAC company? Call Effective Media Solutions today, or click here to get in touch with our marketing team!
 
844-533-HVAC
 
Will Young
Digital Content Manager
wyoung@myeffectivemedia.com


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August 24, 2017

Times are Changing….Rapidly!

It’s no secret that technology continues to change our lifestyles year after year. However, staying ahead of the curve when it comes to these changes seems like a tall order for many HVAC contractors. In order to reach today’s consumer, you have to understand the way their viewing habits and entertainment preferences have evolved. Whether you’re a new HVAC provider or an established name in the business, your target audience’s tastes and behaviors are different than what they were even a few years ago. Here are a few ways you can bring your HVAC marketing strategy into 2017 and beyond.

Diversify your radio presence

The emergence of digital outlets like Pandora and Spotify has changed the radio industry forever. So what does this mean for your company? Well, if you want to stay relevant to your audience, it’s time to diversify your radio presence. Advertising on streaming services like Pandora and Spotify allows for superior targeting capabilities. You can tailor your message specifically to your intended customers depending on the demographic data you are targeting, regardless of the consumer’s listening behaviors and musical tastes. In addition, ads on digital radio can be very similar in cost. So, this means you can say goodbye to traditional radio, right? Not so fast. While streaming services are growing rapidly, good ol’ fashioned radio isn’t going anywhere any time soon. The vast majority of Americans still listen to radio at some point in the day, making it an excellent tool to broadcast to a wide audience across a large geographic area. (Check out the facts for yourself) Finding the right balance between traditional and streaming ads is the key to an enhanced radio marketing strategy.

The rise of the cord cutters

While traditional radio is still going strong, the cable TV industry is being shaken up. Video streaming services allow users to watch all their favorite shows without having to deal with a contract with the cable company. This has ushered in a massive shift of people away from cable or satellite to sign up for streaming services. As an HVAC contractor, it’s crucial to recognize this trend and act accordingly. Services like Amazon Video, Sling, Hulu, PlayStation Vue, Crackle, and YouTube TV all include advertisements in their programming. These ads cannot be skipped on these streaming services, so no worries about consumers fast forwarding through your spot.  And with countless hours of shows on numerous streaming platforms, that’s a lot of ad time to take advantage of. Why not create a brand presence in the midst of all that binge watching? (Check out the cord cutter audience)

Mobile advertising is the future

Over three quarters of Americans now own a smartphone, a number that is steadily rising. If you’re an HVAC contractor who’s worried about how to reach a customer base that is watching less TV and reading less newspapers, here’s your opportunity. The majority of consumers now carry the internet with them everywhere they go. With that being said, a focused mobile marketing strategy is crucial for any business owner in 2017. Mobile ads can make a significant impact on social media platforms, smartphone-friendly websites, and mobile-only apps. Nonetheless, while mobile advertising is a key tactic for HVAC companies, creating brand awareness and generating conversions is all about quality content, no matter what the medium.

Are you Social?

Social media has become a part of the fabric of today’s society. It began over 10 years ago as the “young” person’s playground. Now it has transformed into a juggernaut of news, video, opinion pieces, and yes an advertising platform. According to research (PEW Research Center),  8 in 10 online users today are using Facebook with Instagram, Pinterest, LinkedIn, and Twitter gaining ground. I bet most of your customers are hanging out here too? Social Media has become the new “Word of Mouth” advertising. This is a great place to create brand awareness for your HVAC or Plumbing business. You can humanize your company with personal pics of employees, your community involvement, and other fun activities. Consumers like to associate a bond with companies they do business with.  The key is to drive engagement with your social media base.  Strike up a conversation…post things that are relevant to your local community, if it matters to your followers they will engage.  You can even market your services and provide special coupons to social media followers.  Learn more about social media for HVAC here.

Now that you’re better equipped to reach your customers, you need to know what they want and expect from you. Check back soon as we discuss what today’s consumer looks for in an HVAC provider.

Will Young
Social Media Director
wyoung@myeffectivemedia.com


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February 9, 2017

 

Grow Your HVAC Business in 2017

If you are serious about growing your Heating and Air Conditioning company in 2017, and I know you are!  Let’s look at a few simple things you can implement that drive big returns for your company.  These techniques are simple, cost effective, and drive sales!

Develop a Referral Program

Referrals are a must for heating and air conditioning companies!  The average consumer knows very little about their home’s hvac system and even less on who to call for service or installation.  Studies show most home owners don’t even know the brand of the equipment that keeps them comfortable.  Word of mouth marketing is huge in our industry.

Take Advantage When You Are Top of Mind

Strike while the iron is hot!  Heating and air conditioning services are out of sight and out of mind to the consumer……except when they need you!  So capitalize on the opportunity when you come out and fix their problem…..You are their hero!  So, it’s time to use that to your advantage.  Here are a few simple things you can do to drive referrals:

  • Offer a coupon for future services
  • A gift card for their favorite restaurant
  • A donation to their charity of choice

Email Marketing

In today’s digital world, having your customer’s email is vital!  It’s probably more important than having their phone number.  Email marketing is a great tool to keep your company and it’s services top of mind with your customers.  Remember the average consumer is not thinking about heating and air conditioning.  Email marketing can be used in many ways:

  • Maintenance reminders and scheduling
  • Special offers during the slow seasons
  • Other services you offer (Ex. duct cleaning or indoor air quality upgrades)
  • Follow-ups from recent service, installation, or maintenance visits

This leads right into the last method to grow your business in 2017…..

Review Program

Effective Media Solutions helps our clients reach out to their customers on a regular basis.  The week after a service, maintenance, or installation visit, we send an email to each customer promoting how important customer service is to the company.  We ask the customer to rate their service experience.

  • If they had a great customer service experience, we have a link to send them directly to the contractor’s Google Reviews.  The link takes them exactly where they can leave a review, no extra steps or clicks……easy!
  • If there was a problem, we have a link to a hidden landing page on the contractor’s website.  The customer can leave comments which go directly to the HVAC company and are not seen by the general public

How This Helps Grow Your HVAC Business

  1. Referrals is an inexpensive way to gain new leads and ultimately new customers.
  2. Email marketing keeps you in touch with your current customers, prompts inactive customers to become active again, and promotes other services you offer.   It also is a great way to become more efficient in scheduling maintenance and service visits.
  3. Reviews are what help people rate your company in today’s world.  It also is a key component Google looks at for organic rankings for your website.

Sometimes it is the SIMPLE things that can matter the most!  Remember the three Must Do’s for 2017 for your HVAC company:

  1. Create and develop a Referral Program.
  2. Implement an Email Marketing Program to your customer base.
  3. Ask for and promote Reviews from your customers.

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April 1, 2016

During any given time only 2% of the population has a need for your service. So, the question then becomes……how do I make sure they will call me?  We all know how competitive this space is, so my goal is to give you some useful tips that both business owners and territory managers can use to help grow their business.
1. Clear Path to Success:

No matter what form of media the dealer is using to advertise, it is important to have a clear and unified plan on where to direct the potential customer.  Many times I see and hear advertising jingles promoting only the business phone number. While it is great to have people calling the hotline, when is the last time you heard a radio or television commercial and stopped what you were doing and wrote down the phone number?  Unless maybe you’re J.G. Wentworth who has customers actually remembering their phone number when a need arises, but this may be difficult to achieve.  We have found it to be most effective to direct customers to your website.  This accomplishes multiple goals for your business.  For one, the customer can find your number and call you from your website, and second it generates more traffic to your website which helps to increase your organic ranking on Google.  And being on the first page Google today is tremendously important…..There’s an old saying, “The best place to hide a dead body is on the second page of Google”.  You can also can market other services to your potential or existing customer.  Today’s busy consumer doesn’t have the time to call multiple contractors for the other services you offer.  They will be glad to have a “one stop” shop.

2. The Correct Offer:
Construct an offer to cater to your customer.  Often times I see advertisements focused on the brand of equipment the contractor sells.  And an offer saying “call today for “X” amount off a new system”.  While the offer from the manufacturer may be “great” the last thing the average homeowner wants to think about is investing the money on a new system. “Call Today For a Free Diagnostic with Repair” or “After Hours Repair at No Extra Charge” are better examples.  Something free always catches people’s attention, it also appeals directly to the customer’s need.  They don’t know what’s wrong…..they just want it fixed. Companies can spend huge amounts of dollars on advertising and target all the proper  demographics, but if the offer is off the mark so will your ROI.
3. Measuring the Results:
Probably the most difficult yet most important part of growing your HVAC business is measuring the effectiveness of your advertising and marketing efforts.  There are a few ways to achieve this, one is by assigning trackable phone numbers to each campaign. But remember, as stated previously most consumers simply grab your number off your website so you have to look at the tracking results with that skew in mind.  So another way to measure the effectiveness of a campaign is to use Google analytics to compare your website traffic before and after a major campaign.  It is also important to take the weather into account when making the comparison. Our knowledge of the HVAC industry allows us give valuable insights to our clients that help them maintain a competitive advantage against their competition.
What are some ways you have found helpful to measure a campaign’s ROI?  If you have any questions or suggestions on another topic for our next post please comment or inbox me.
Dillon Collier
Account Executive
Effective Media Solutions
dillon@myeffectivemedia.com