HVAC Marketing Strategies to Get More Clients
Trying to get more HVAC clients, but not sure which digital marketing strategies work best?
Being honest here, there are no magic marketing strategies for HVAC companies over other related industries. Rather, there’s a range of strategies and all of them will work… or none of them will work.
The effectiveness of the strategies you use depends entirely on how well you implement them, and if they’re the right fit for your audience.
For instance, Steve Reno, former HVAC/R Field Engineer, advertised his business in retirement park flyers (a fairly old way of marketing), considering that most of his customers were snowbirds (retirees that go to warm places during the winter) on fixed incomes.
“My best strategy was the “no gimmick, gimmick”… Nothing moved our business better than showing people we cared about how they spent their money… Being brutally honest about our industry and it didn’t win any points from competitors. I explained that we didn’t inflate prices, just to offer a “discount”. I explained the harsh reality behind most flat rates. I explained the difference between most OEM parts and their plain box counterparts… We did it without exaggeration and without trashing competition.”
Knowing his target audience thoroughly informed him of where his audience is, and where best to reach them.
Imagine trying to reach retirees, generally in their 70s and up, with social media ads.
It just doesn’t work.
In other words, it’s less about the strategy you use or the method of delivery, and more about knowing your audience and using the right methods effectively.
But we’re here to talk about digital marketing strategies and how to use them to grow your HVAC business. So, I’ll tell you how to translate the success of, and strategy behind, Steve Reno’s flyers into a digital strategy for marketing your business- and more, below.
HVAC marketing strategies & how to use them
One major thing that stands out about Steve Reno’s flyers, is not just that he knows his audience, but that he delivers value with every ad.
If there’s one piece of advice I’d offer that applies to every digital marketing strategy, it’d be this:
Always offer value.
That value often comes in the form of solutions.
In Reno’s case, he’s offering value by being extremely apparent about his industry. Most people believe that businesses are withholding information… hiding the bad… deleting the negative reviews… keeping the extra fees a secret until the bill lands in their mailbox.
By talking about his industry with transparency while still offering his service, there was a greater sense of trust. He’d essentially removed the guesswork.
So, below, I’ll mention SEO and social media, etc. but through it all, keep in mind that every strategy is so much more effective when you are providing value.
That means offering a solution, answers, and transparency.
With that locked in, let’s discuss some of the best HVAC marketing ideas and strategies for growing your business.
Add your HVAC business to directories
Creating a list of industry directories is one of the first moves you should make today.
For service industries, directories are key to discovery, for a number of reasons.
- Service directories have a ton of domain authority. Meaning, they’ll almost always pop up on the first page of a Google search.
- Directories give your website a backlink. This is one of the most important factors in helping your website rank organically- meaning, potential customers can find your website from a simple search on Google, rather than from a ton of different marketing tactics. The more organic searchability you have, the less you need to rely on paid avenues.
- Nearly every directory displays reviews. Your customers are going to vet you. They have to. There are too many options for them to just go with one and hope for the best. They’re going to look for the best deal and the most reliability. Because other customers are honest, whereas they feel you may have something to hide, they rely on reviews to vet services.
Now, there are a lot of directories to choose from, but the goal is to get into the main directories. The ones with the most authority and searchability, as well as the most vital local directories.
Don’t just put your information everywhere. That could actually harm your website.
Some of the best main directories include:
- Google Places
- Angies List
Simply listing your services there is a great place to start, but go a step further and start building up your reputation on those platforms by encouraging reviews.
83% of customers don’t trust ads, but they do trust reviews from other customers. So utilize them.
How to get more reviews for your HVAC service
There are a few ways to get more reviews for your service, and most of them include simply asking:
- Each time you complete a service, add a request for a review- with a link to the review page- to their bill.
- Add a review link to a follow-up email
- Ask customers over the phone- you can even let them know you’ll email them the link to make it easier
- Embed a review link on the homepage of your website (this is usually as simple as a plugin or an HTML embed)
It’s fairly easy to get the link and keep it in your system for use, no matter how you interact with your customer.
Here’s a breakdown:
- Set up a Google My Business account if you haven’t already (this is usually one of the best places to have reviews)
- Generate your review link. This is pretty simple. You just have to search for your business as if you were a customer, and click “write a review”. When the review page pops up, simply take the URL and pass it around to your customers when the time comes. (Store it in your client management system, notes, call systems, canned email templates, or even bookmark it)
- Shorten the link with this tool: https://goo.gl/. Longer links can take up a lot of space and intimidate people into thinking it’s spam.
- Set up a system with your team, so that everyone is on board with collecting reviews, no matter how you interact with the customer.
Pro tip: You can change the review to automatically populate a 5-star review. So, each time you send the link, it’ll automatically have 5 stars. They can change it, and still add their comments, but they’ll be more likely to keep the 5 stars where they are.
How to: Simply add a 5 to the end of the URL, after the last comma. You may have to remove one of the commas from the original URL if there are two. For example:
If this was the end of the URL originally: cafd4c3043,3,
You should alter the URL to be: cafd4c3043,3,5
If you have the right systems in place, you can automate review collection entirely.
You may even increase demand beyond your ability to keep up, as Frank Bartol, former owner of an HVAC business suggests.
“If you are getting too much to handle you can reduce your zip codes. You can “tune” these to the ones that work the best. I eventually hired a part-time marketing person to keep up with all the monitoring and evaluation.”
Local SEO: HVAC businesses + near me
Every marketer likes to emphasize how important SEO is to inbound lead generation. But there’s another layer to SEO that doesn’t apply to every business, and that is local SEO.
If someone’s looking for an HVAC business, they’re looking for someone near them. That part is obvious.
What’s less obvious is how to appear for those local searches.
Fill your website with keywords like “HVAC businesses near me” and “HVAC businesses in [whatever city you’re in]”.
It’ll help you appear in top search results.
I’ve done quite a few searches for HVAC-related keywords, and the competition for local SEO is fairly low. Meaning, it isn’t as difficult to place your website on the first page of Google.
That being said, include variations of local keywords to ensure you appear for multiple searches.
To find keywords for your HVAC SEO efforts:
You’ll need some kind of keyword research tool. One of the best free keyword tools is Google Keyword Planner.
You’ll have to run an initial search to get keyword suggestions. For local SEO, use terms such as:
[The city you’re in] + air conditioners
+ heating and cooling services
+ heater repair
+ What is the best HVAC unit on the market?
The keyword planner will show you the search volume and competition for the keyword.
Keyword competition is important because, if you don’t have enough domain authority for the word, you’re unlikely to rank above the competition.
Therefore, if you have lower domain authority, choose keywords with lower competition.
This may mean less search volume, but if you choose keywords that have more intent behind them- meaning those are the words people are searching for when they need real answers- you’ll be better off.
(Side note: If you find a keyword or keyword phrase with good search volume and low difficulty that relates to one of your services or offers, consider using it for more than just your website. Create an amazing landing page and use that keyword and all variations of that word/ phrase on the page. Use a PPC ad with the same keywords to get more eyes on it)
A lead generating HVAC Blog
Speaking of SEO, blogging is a great way to continually keep your website in the eyes of Google- if you can pump out great content consistently.
Regularly updating your site with relevant content means search engines have to keep crawling your site to understand the new pages.
The more relevant content there is, the more likely you are to appear in a search by your customers because Google sees you as relevant and answering questions people are searching for related to your industry.
Search engines are getting better at understanding pages and your website as a whole, rather than judging it based on the use of keywords (don’t worry, keywords still matter).
This just means that you should have a lot of content pertaining to each area of your industry, such as:
- Emergency HVAC repair
- Duct cleaning
- Furnace inspections
- HVAC outdoor unit maintenance and inspection
- Air conditioning installation
- Filter changing
Just talking about these services isn’t enough. You need to answer questions. Here’s what your content strategy should look like:
- Listen to your customers (what do they ask about most when they make their initial call to you, what questions do they often have throughout the process of serving them?)
- Find keywords related to those problems (preferably lower difficulty keywords with high intent, meaning they aren’t general words anyone would search for)
- Create a list of HVAC blog topics and put them into a content calendar (mix a level of general posts and really specific, such as posts about your pricing or process)
- Create the content
- Distribute the content on social media and in forums and groups
Blogs don’t just make you more noticeable to search engines. If you’re doing them right, they should generate leads as well.
WARNING: All of these strategies work and work well, but this one, in particular, takes a lot of time and effort. If you can’t continually produce quality content that speaks to your target audience, then scrap it altogether or hire someone to take it on.
Deliver value on social media
In most cases, those looking for HVAC services have an immediate need. They’re not generally following an AC business on Facebook.
That being said, there are ways to use social media to your advantage- whether it’s to build brand awareness or to attract leads.
First, consider the audience that each channel opens you to:
● Facebook – 2.6 billion users
● YouTube – 2.3 billion users
● Instagram – 1 billion users
There isn’t a lot of organic reach for Facebook business pages anymore. However, groups are still thriving.
Whether you create a group to offer free HVAC advice or enter into home remodelling groups, advice groups, etc. you’ll have an opportunity to provide value and attract business.
Of course, your physical location limits the kind of customers you can attract, but there are ways around this.
- Create a Facebook group for your specific area (HVAC advice-Denver)
- Word of mouth happens on the internet too. The more you offer your advice, the more people will see it, and they will be from various places around the country. But that word of mouth has an impact on growing you locally.
- Use geotargeting to boost messages in the areas it matters most- where your customers are.
- Answer comments, posts, and questions for your target area. You’re able to easily search for target keywords on Facebook and Twitter to find conversations happening around your space.
Social media may span the globe, but there are ways to use it to reach your local community. You just have to know how to leverage it.
PPC: Heating and Cooling Ads
Paid ads are a little bit of bread and butter for immediate services like HVAC companies, and for very good reason.
People need HVAC assistance right away, in most cases. They’re not hanging around on the internet reading up on HVAC systems and how to install them themselves.
PPC ads reach them in the moment, capturing them right as they’re ready to convert.
Besides that, PPC ads:
- Are easy to A/B test, so you can try variations of the same ad again and again to optimize conversions
- They’re fairly easy to set up if you know how and understand the features
- You’re placed right on the right page if your bid is competitive enough or there isn’t a lot of competition for the keywords.
- You get immediate leads if you do them right
- It’s helpful if you don’t have enough domain authority on your site to rank well organically
- You can target any location and demographic
If you have a small team (if you’re the only one marketing the business), PPC ads are very easy to scale up.
Here’s a great example of a heating and cooling PPC ad:
Why is it great?
The ad clearly utilizes several keywords and keyword phrases- and they’ve clearly bid high enough to get on the front page of Google for big and general terms like HVAC.
But they’ve done more to win attention over the other ads on the page, such as offering “Free estimates” and targeting a very specific group with “replace your HVAC system”
They’ve also taken advantage of additional ad features such as phone numbers and page linking at the bottom of the ad.
It’s very easy to miss these simple opportunities, but they’ve capitalized on it all.
Here’s another good one:
They’ve done most of what’s mentioned with the other ad, but they’ve added certain keys that an audience is looking for:
- 24/7 emergency service
- Online specials
- Financing options
- Appointment scheduling
This ad is packed with keywords, too.
There’s only so much content you can produce, but paid ads… you can create as many as you want in a short amount of time. You just have to have a good budget.
Collect testimonials and use them everywhere
This might not seem like a straight-up HVAC digital marketing strategy, but testimonials are one of the best ways to continue bringing in business.
This is because buyers are a little hesitant, and they’re not likely to trust you unless you build up that reputation for being completely truthful and straightforward.
But testimonials are essentially like referrals, but with complete strangers. Bobby Dabic, former HVAC lecturer and trainer, explains how important that is:
“ALL my work has been through REFERRALS!! … The best tactic I can offer is work on yourself or the people that directly deal with the clients. If you have the best marketing success.. it will not succumb to much without the right work attitude, workmanship or reputation.”
Essentially, when you provide great customer service, people talk about it. They continue coming back to you.
They refer others to you.
They leave great testimonials to help others find you.
The strategy comes in how you collect and use those testimonials.
How to collect testimonials for your HVAC service:
In most cases, getting testimonials comes down to asking.
Sure, as mentioned, if you provide great service, people will talk about you and refer you automatically.
But some people are very satisfied with your service, but don’t say anything at all.
You have to prompt them.
There are a few ways to do this:
- Add a request for a review and a link to a review page (such as your Google Business page) to their electronic bill.
- On your website- Either as a link in your navbar (to a page dedicated to reviews) or even on your bookings page.
- If your main business page is a Facebook page, you can chat with them through messenger after service and they can add a review directly to your page
- Ask them in person for a referral if they know anyone else that needs service.
- Send an automated thank you email and/or receipt after service with a link to submit a review.
Your HVAC service may be small. It may be just you. And in that case, one of the best ways to get testimonials is to ask in person or even text them a link to a review page.
But if you have employees and are booking clients online, through your website or calls, then you can set up an automated email sequence in your client management system (or at least, with many newer systems you can at least integrate an email management system like Mailchimp).
It doesn’t have to be all that fancy, either. Here’s a good template for a testimonial request:
Where to put testimonials:
Sure, having them on directories is great, but make sure they’re all over your website, your social media, your email campaigns, your PPC ads…
Of course, you don’t want to overdo it. Then it becomes a little too salesy. But showing social proof of your success and the approval of others is a remarkable tactic that will continue to give for the life of your business.
Make it exceptionally easy to contact you on your website or social media
If there’s one thing you can do to bring in more leads, it’s to make it really easy to contact you. The more hoops you remove, the more likely it is people will reach out.
There are quite a few ways to do this:
- On social media, keep your DMs open and available, even if they don’t follow you or like your page.
- Make messenger available on your Facebook page
- Add an email address and phone number to your website, and make it really obvious too. One of the best spots to put it is right at the top, in with the header, or as the call to action.
- Add live chat to your website. It’s a very fast and easy way to chat with customers without them having to put in too much effort or sit on a call. They may not want to be pushed into a sales call, and they’ll more than likely feel more comfortable keeping their distance through chat until they decide if you’re right for them.
People like transparency and ease. They want as much information as they can get so they can comparison shop.
They’ll want to look at a few options and widdle it down to the best one. So if you answer their questions, show your prices, and make it really easy to contact you without obligation or pushiness… you’ll likely win their business.
Building an HVAC Digital Marketing Strategy
All of the above are more like tactics than a strategy. Truth is, it takes a combination of short and long-term tactics to form a real, comprehensive and winning digital marketing strategy.
To build your own, always start with audience insights.
First, pick a few of your favourite past clients. The ones that always pay on time, are easy to work with, and refer you to others or leave a testimonial.
Now, do your research on these people.
- What questions they have about your business, about HVAC services in general
- Where they hang out online
- What kind of information they share, like, and comment on
Also, ask your client-facing employees what questions they hear most often.
All of this will help determine what kind of content you should create, and where to distribute it.
So, the process goes like this:
- Gain audience insights
- Pick your digital marketing strategies based on those insights
- Create individual strategies for each tactic
- Start producing content
- Distribute in all the right places
It sounds pretty simple when you put it like that, and it can be… but each channel requires a certain amount of skill and understanding.
If you’re on your own, choose only those you can master alone. You can always add more tactics later on.
Takeaways for how to market your HVAC business
There are tons of ways to generate leads, even with more immediate services like central air repair and installations (it’s getting hot out there).
But the best HVAC companies know that digital marketing strategies are only as effective as how you use them, and who you’re using them for.
- There’s far more to digital marketing than just SEO, content, PPC ads, and social media. There are newsletters, podcasts, video marketing, slideshares, link-building strategies, guest posting, and so much more…
- Understanding your audience is the most important part of any digital marketing strategy. Without understanding who you’re serving and what they respond to, it doesn’t matter how much marketing you do, you’ll miss the mark every time and waste a ton of money doing so.
- Referrals and customer experience matter a heck of a lot for any business, but for service companies like HVAC installers and servicing, you need to pay far more attention to how you care for your customers. Many businesses continue for years solely on referrals.
- Delivering value, no matter what marketing strategy you use, will always win out. Every audience wants transparency. They want to know that their money is going to something valuable, and worth it. They want to know that they’re not getting swindled. They want to feel they can trust the person they’re giving money to. Building that trust through honesty, good service, and open communication is a winning strategy.
No matter which strategy you choose, use it with intent and full understanding. Otherwise, it just won’t work.