Whether your HVAC business serves residential clients, commercial customers or both, summer is prime time to capture new business. However, increased demand for air conditioning services also means increased competition. In this post, we’ll explain the best strategies for how to get HVAC sales leads.
The HVAC market is projected to grow by 5.5% annually through 2020—but will your business get its share of that expanding market?
How to get HVAC sales leads to your website
The first step to attracting more customers is getting new leads to your website. Let's face it: very few people turn to the phonebook when they want to find an HVAC contractor these days. Instead, they'll do an online search for contractors near them; check out online review sites like Yelp; or ask friends, colleagues or family for recommendations. (Speaking of recommendations, if you’re relying mostly on referrals, check out these 3 other ways to get leads.)
In order to get found, your HVAC business needs to be in all of the places prospects look. Here's how.
1. Get listed in local search directories.
Google My Business is the biggest one, of course, but you also want to ensure your business has a listing in Yelp and other free business search directories. (I'll talk more about contractor-specific directories later on in this post.)
To make your local search directory listings pay off, follow these tips:
- Include as much detail as you can. The more complete your listing is, the more customers will know about your business. Include phone number, address, hours, cities you serve, specialties, and even photos.
- Make sure your name, address, and phone number (NAP) information is exactly the same across all directory listings. If there is even a slight variation, search engines will "read" the listings as different businesses, which will hurt your ranking in search engine results. In other words, don't list your business as Acme HVAC, Inc. on one site and Acme HVAC Inc. or Acme HVAC, Incorporated on another.
- Regularly review your listings to make sure they’re current. Got a new phone number or moved to a new city? Be sure your local search listings reflect the change. After all, what's the point of a directory of it doesn't help prospective customers contact you?
2. Optimize your website for search engines.
Search engine optimization (SEO) is key to driving more traffic to your website. You can use a keyword tool such as Google AdWords Keyword Planner to determine which keywords are most popular among customers searching for HVAC services in your area. Using those keywords in your website’s title tags, meta description, and content — especially headlines, subheads or captions — will help it rank higher in search engines for those keywords.
For the summer season, think about what customers might need. Emergency air conditioning, air conditioning repair or air conditioning installation might be popular searches performed by overheated homeowners.
(Note: As more consumers use voice devices like Amazon Echo and Google Home, voice search is becoming more popular. Here are some tips on how to optimize your website for voice search.)
In addition to keywords, there are a couple of other important factors in optimizing your website for search engines.
Fast load speed: Customers expect websites to load within a matter of seconds — and not 15 seconds. Aim to have your website load in less than three seconds, or watch potential customers click away to your competition.
Site design and the size of the images you use are big factors affecting site load speeds. Google has tools you can use to test your website speed and your mobile website speed. If they’re not up to par, talk to your web design company about what changes you should make.
Mobile friendliness: Mobile friendliness is one factor that Google considers in its search engine rankings. If your site isn't mobile friendly, it will show up lower in search rankings. Perhaps more important, it won’t be functional for your customers.
Think about how often you look up businesses on your smartphone. (All the time, right?) Your customers are the same way, so if your site doesn't work on a smartphone, they're not going to spend a lot of time struggling to make it work. They'll just go to the next HVAC company on the search results list.
3. Use pay-per-click ads
SEO is step one in boosting your HVAC website higher in search results. However, just like a home will be more comfortable with a heating and air conditioning system rather than just one or the other, you can drive even more traffic by adding paid search advertising to the mix.
Head back to the Google AdWords Keyword Planner, and you'll get lots of help finding the best keywords for your pay-per-click (PPC) ads and planning your campaign. The cool thing about online advertising as you can see right away how will your ads are working, and make immediate changes if they're not.
4. Get online reviews
For HVAC contractors, online reviews and ratings should play a big part in your marketing. After all, potential customers want to know that previous customers are happy with your business. When you get Google reviews, your star rating will show up with your Google listing so online prospects can see at a glance what others think of your work. (See how to create a link for customers to write Google reviews.) Follow the same steps as with local search directories in terms of creating a complete, current listing with a uniform NAP.
Once you have your listings up, work on getting at least six to 10 reviews and a minimum four-star rating. Once a job is completed, follow up with customers a few days or a week later with an email encouraging them to review your business, and a link to your listing on review sites. If they're happy with your work, most customers will be equally happy to give you a review.
Stay on top of your reviews and respond immediately if you get any negative reviews. I know a lot of business owners live in terror of a bad review, but in reality, there generally few and far between. In fact, having a couple of bad reviews has been shown to make your rating appear more "authentic" than having dozens of raves.
5. Use social media
Remember how I said most people ask friends and family for HVAC recommendations? Since social media is one place that potential customers hang out with their friends and family, having a presence on social media can put your HVAC business top of mind, too. Keep an eye on neighborhood Facebook or Nextdoor groups, watching for people asking for HVAC recommendations.
You can also share useful information on social media, such as tips on checking your air conditioning unit for summer, ways to keep your house cool, or how to be more energy-efficient. If you don't have time to write up this kind of information, don't worry: These don't have to be your own articles. You can link to other articles online your customers might be interested in (just make sure they aren't from your competitors).
How to get HVAC sales leads to buy
Okay, you've gotten leads to your website. Now what? As with hooking a fish, your job is only half done — you've still got to reel them in. Here's how.
- Make your website mobile friendly. It may sound like I'm harping on this, but that’s only because it's so important. Did you know that mobile devices produced 55% of all Google search ad clicks in Q4 2017? What happens if that lead you worked so hard to get actually clicks on your link, and your website looks horrible? Maybe the typeface is so small they can't read it, or the links are hard to click. The benefits of a mobile-friendly website are many: for example, 61% of mobile users are more likely to contact a local business that has a mobile website.
- Create a landing page. You can direct leads to different places on your website tailored to their needs. This is called a landing page. For example, if you have a pay-per-click ad targeting owners of apartment buildings, that link could go to a landing page for commercial customers. A pay-per-click ad about air conditioning could go to a landing page focused on air conditioning. By using landing pages correctly, you can show potential customers what you want them to see, and guide them exactly the way you want them to go.
- Have a strong call to action. Your landing pages (in fact, every page of your website) should direct leads to do what you want them to. Don't be shy: Actions such as "Call Now," "Request a Quote," or "Get a Free Estimate" should stand out on the page so users can easily see at a glance what their next step is.
What if your prospective customers are still hesitant to act?
Some people so need a little extra nudge. Here are three things you can do to win them over.
Offer an incentive. You can sweeten the pot for leads to take action by offering them something of value that will entice them to click on your link, fill out your form, etc. For example, an incentive for HVAC customers could be a limited-time offer for:
- 10% off the total cost of installation
- one free maintenance inspection per year
- a $250 Home Depot gift card
…whatever you think will appeal most to your target customers. Test different offers and see which ones work best.
Include testimonials. Customer testimonials will help build visitors' confidence in your business. You can even offer to refer leads to previous satisfied customers (first make sure the customers are willing to talk, of course.)
Win their trust. As with any home-related business, it's important to prove that you are a legitimate, trustworthy company. "Trust signifiers" such as the Better Business Bureau logo, your contractor license number, or whether you're a member of the local Chamber of Commerce all help to ease any worries that prospects may have about working with you.
How to get HVAC sales leads to buy is not a simple matter, but if you make it work, you just might double your business. You can get help with your digital HVAC marketing by using a lead generation solution from Web.com. Find out more about how LeadStream can help you get HVAC sales leads.