Author Archives: HVAC Webmasters

The World With Coronavirus (COVID-19), and How HVAC Pros Can Respond

What a strange time we’re living in! While COVID-19 introduces its own flurry of anxiety and panic, it’s important to remember that we’ve been here before. With every health, financial, and security crisis our nation has faced, there’s always been service professionals dedicated to helping get back to our day to day normal.

As people hunker down and brace for whatever the Coronavirus may throw their city’s way, your heating and cooling company has a unique opportunity to comfort them with considerate and timely service. It’s going to require careful planning, strategy, and empathy. But your business can make a difference! Here’s how…

Continue Your Online Marketing

When people are scared to even go out to the mailbox for fear of COVID-19, opportunities to get your physical brand in front of consumers are limited. On the other hand, more Americans are going online than ever before. Thousands of people in your community are working from home now, meaning you have an even larger window to harness search marketing and reach them.

Your company needs to continue advertising and optimizing organically as much as possible during this period.

If your website isn’t fully optimized for local search yet, you need to get that taken care of yesterday! If you haven’t done so already, check the findings from our latest HVAC consumer research article “Survey Says: Communication & Customer Reviews“. We offer some awesome data on what website features and communication channels people are wanting most these days.

There’s a couple challenges you’re business will need to master even before your start marketing your services. Nail them however, and you’ll create some exceptionally long-lasting goodwill with clients.

Update: Google has temporarily suspended local GMB reviews – this includes collecting and responding to them – to protect companies from Covid-19 related claims. In the meantime, continue to provide exceptional service. You might also want to keep track of clients you support during this time, so that you can request reviews when the suspension is lifted in the future.

Empathizing With HVAC Consumers

Perhaps you’re scared to death of going outside, but you’re locked into working anyway. Maybe you could care less about COVID-19, and everything feels like business as usual. Whatever end of the spectrum you fall on, remember how most consumers are feeling these days: worried. Many people are terrified of opening up the doors of their homes, but they also need help.

How your technicians handle service visits in these next couple of months could determine the future of your business for years to come.

Training for How to Wash Hands and Protect Against COVID-19
Frequent Hand Washing is Just One Tool to Halt COVID-19. Source: Johns Hopkins Med.

If you take extra steps to reassure your clients, they’ll respond with enthusiastic praise for your service. Consider training your technicians how to maintain proper distancing from homeowners and their families. Take extra care with cleaning up work areas and wiping them down with disinfectant. When you take a break, ask if you can wash your hands. Make a visible effort to leave the area cleaner than you (or your technicians) found it.

Reordering Your Service Offerings

Homeowners are cutting down on visits outside their residence. They’re also going to limit the number of people coming into their home. That means emergency repairs and essential replacement projects are going to be more common in the coming months.

With the rising concerns about health however, their may be greater demand for air purification solutions. If your HVAC business offers humidity-controlling or air-purification products, these services are likely to see a bump in demand. Harness the trends to figure out which services you’ll need to sideline from advertising (for now), and which ones deserve a boost in spending.

Marketing Effectively With COVID-19

What’s most important is making sure your website shows up for people in your area. Everybody’s online, which mean your competition is frantically scrambling to follow. If you’ve already done the groundwork to optimize your website with quality service pages, great! If not, you need to build those keyword-rich, optimized service pages ASAP.

Compile all of your individual services into categories. These categories make for good top level (broad-topic) pages, where you can easily link to other specific services. Make sure you’ve optimized them with original writing, frequently asked questions, and formatting for easy reading.

Addressing the Elephant in the Room

COVID-19 has people scared of calling out for service. You should heavily consider creating a statement on your homepage about what action your team is taking to prevent spreading the disease. Make sure you back up your statements by training your staff and technicians on how to clean their work spaces.

Be Sure Your Techs Follow “The Five“. Customers Will Appreciate It.

You might also link to related articles about HVAC solutions helping prevent the spread of pollutants and antigens. Don’t make any 100% promises (or suggestions) about viral safety, but offer solutions that can help people keep their air clean. If you provide installation services for air purification equipment, now might be the perfect time to invest money towards PPC ad campaigns.

Speaking of ad campaigns, here’s an idea: essential businesses still need service too during this time. With fewer companies working in offices, you might save some money and nab a few more clients by narrowing the scope of your ad campaigns. See which counties have active shelter-in-place orders, and try to limit your spend in those areas. You might focus your commercial ads on other essential service companies that are still working.

Parting Thoughts

Be sure to follow recommended practices for preventing the spread of COVID-19, then share your efforts with prospective clients. Not only will it keep your technicians and local homeowners safer, but prospective clients will greatly appreciate your efforts!

In the meantime, keep advertising and promoting your business through local search. People stuck at home still need AC and heating services. Your company has a fantastic opportunity to earn long-term clients during this uncertain time. If you need help with the online marketing part, our team at HVAC Webmasters is always here to help! Call us anytime at (800) 353-3409.

Posted: | Updated: Mar 31, 2020 | Categories: Industry

How to Earn & Protect Your Google Reviews

What a strange and curious time we live in! This article was meant to be an invigorating reminder of how crucial Google Reviews are to your heating and cooling business, and why every professional should be zealously collecting them. As of last week however, Google released a community announcement that new Google Reviews, response capabilities for reviews, and FAQs will be suspended until the COVID-19 crisis is over.

However, we at HVAC Webmasters eagerly look forward to the day were society returns to happy, normal life! So, while your current ability to collect client reviews may be temporarily paused, look to this guide as a way to hit the ground running when normal life comes back with a vengeance.

Read (and/or listen) carefully, take notes, and start making your own HVAC Google Reviews plan! And of course…stay safe.

Key Takeaways for HVAC Professionals

  • Google Reviews are a crucial ranking factor for local SEO.
  • Reviews serve as a sign of trustworthiness, for Google & people alike.
  • Reviews also indicate your recent activity in the community.
  • Continually gathering new reviews protects you from negative ones.
  • Fake reviews are a non-starter. Avoid them at all costs!

You Need Google Reviews

No “if”, “and”, or “but” about it. Your business desperately needs reviews. While you should certainly collect them in a variety of online citation platforms – Facebook Recommendations, Yelp, and the BBB are great places to remember – Google Reviews (the platform) is the top priority for HVAC pros. There are a number of reasons why you need Google Reviews. Here’s two:

Most Visible Ratings for Clients

While Facebook Business certainly provides a number of prospects for your business, the vast majority come from Google Search. It’s the easiest and most prevalent way for locating essential services these days. That means that the most visible ratings / feedback about your services will be on your Google My Business profile.

These Google Reviews show up in two key situations:

  • When people directly search your company name or similar branded keywords, your GMB profile appears with reviews on the right side of of the search engine results page (SERP).
  • When your company pops up in a Google Maps listing, also known as the Local Map Pack. This show when you rank very well for localized service keywords.

If you aren’t familiar with these SERP features, be sure to watch our short guide on HVAC Search Marketing to get the gist! We explain each feature and what’s required to rank for them.

An Example of a Local Map Pack, Listings That Earn High Traffic.
Google Reviews Make it Much Easier to Rank Locally.

Necessary for Local SEO Results

Search engine optimization (SEO) has a heavy local element these days, especially when it comes to heating and cooling services. As Moz Search Scientist Russ Jones puts it…

“National SERPs are a myth — these days, everything is local.”

Every consumer gets their own custom search engine results based on where their query (their entered keywords) originated. Google’s localized search algorithm takes note of their location, and seeks to provide them with the most relevant business listings from the community. If you aren’t earning reviews within your service area, that indicates a lack of activity to Google.

“Hey! That’s not fair!” you might think, but consider it from a Google team’s perspective. How else will they know when and where you provide service? Anybody can claim to offer furnace repair in Bismarck, North Dakota, but only a handful of the most trusted services earn top placement. Those businesses optimize locally, and you can bet they collect reviews!

How to Collect Google Reviews

Collecting reviews is the simplest marketing activity you will every have to do. Just ask for them! That’s all there is to gather Google Reviews for your business. Now there are a handful of handy tips to rapidly expand your collection:

  • Ask happy clients for them immediately after providing service.
  • Emphasize how essential their review is to your company.
  • Provide a card, text, or email with the appropriate review links.
  • Consider an automated request and tagging system, like BrandREVU.

Never stop asking for reviews. They’re essential for prospective clients and Google alike. They also provide one of the purest representations of your customer service, something you want to keep as untainted as possible. Of course, problems are a natural part of business, which leads us to our next segment…

How to Beat Negative Reviews

Negative reviews suck. Not only do they leave a gross taste in our mouth, they feel very personal when directed at your business. When someone leaves harsh feedback on your Google Reviews profile, it’s easy to lash out and/or make excuses. It’s also easy to panic!

Here’s how to take negative Google Reviews and transform them into branding opportunities.

Cool Down, Then Respond.

First off, don’t do anything. Stand up, walk away for a few minutes and try to take the situation into perspective. Once you’ve cooled off a bit, take a moment to carefully analyze the complaint. Is it a genuine problem submitted by a real client? If not, you might be able to flag it for Google. The same applies if the review has any foul or abusive language.

An HVAC Company Responds to a Customer Complaint.
This Company Does a Good Job of Responding to Complaints! (Name Removed)

Odds are however, you’ll need to address this negative feedback.

In many cases, you can flip a negative review on its head and turn it into an advantage. This is how to respond to negative reviews (successfully). You’ll need to carry out the following steps very carefully to achieve this:

  • First, courteously respond to the client on the review platform.
  • Explain how quality customer service is important to your business, and that you’re very sorry to hear of their poor experience.

Note: even if your technician has done nothing wrong, it’s okay to be sorry. After all, you want all your clients to be happy!

  • Next, offer to listen to more of the situation that lead to their satisfaction.
  • Take the discussion off the reviews platform, via email or phone call.

You do not want this conversation unfolding on the reviews page. It’s not appropriate, and prospective clients don’t need to know all the details of the situation. Most clients respond best to a phone call or email.

  • Once you’ve gathered the details of the complaint, see if you can provide a solution that satisfies the customer (within reason).
  • Provide the supplementary service, repair, rebate, etc.

This last step is absolutely crucial. Once you are confident the client feels satisfied (happy is better), you can move onto this next step.

  • Politely remind the client that their review is important to the success of your business.
  • Ask the client if they would feel comfortable either changing their review to a higher star rating, or removing it entirely.

If you master this process, you will successfully turn a percentage of negative reviews into higher ratings. More importantly, you will actively prove to existing and future clients that you are 100 percent dedicated to your superior customer service. That’s branding gold, and good business.

Continue Providing Superior Service.

Even if you can’t resolve every single negative Google Review that falls on your plate, you can lessen their impact on your profitability. Again, gathering positive reviews makes it much easier to protect against the few angry clients who complain. Just continue providing outstanding service and asking for reviews.

Again, reviews do not happen by accident! You must actively request them from all your happy clients. No one else can do it for you.

Self-Destructing With Fake Reviews

Pew Research recently conducted a study that showed most Americans rely on their own personal research most when making important decisions. In our own recent survey project, we discovered that client reviews are one of the most important factors for a consumer considering a new HVAC company. This makes sense! After all, Google Reviews and other feedback platforms show a relatively unbiased picture of your company services.

Or do they? With the rise of fake reviews, consumers face uncertainty whenever they try to learn who’s worth their business (and who’s worth running away from). Fake reviews don’t just hurt consumers though. They hurt your business.

The Cost to Your Business

Reviews are about trust. If people can’t trust your reviews, they’ll look elsewhere to find their services. Google’s analytical tools continue to improve their ability to identify fake reviews. However, prospective clients know how to spot shady-looking entries even better.

If they suspect your business of paying for five star reviews, you’ll almost certainly lose out on their patronage. In fact, they may even accuse you in a public forum, like social media, or flag the questionable entries on Google Reviews. The result would be substantial, long-term damage to your brand. If Google catches your business in the act, you might even lose your GMB account and your ability to rank for local search. That’s tens of thousands of dollars lost, at minimum. That kind of loss has cost many HVAC professionals their businesses.

In short: don’t use fake reviews (paid or otherwise)!

Closing Points to Remember

Are Google Reviews important for business. YES! Consumers rely heavily on them when choosing whether or not to try your services. Google uses them as proof of activity and trustworthiness. You need Google Reviews!

Example of Where Google Reviews are Located on GMB Listing
Your GMB Account Showcases Your Google Reviews.

Continue collecting client feedback as often as possible, especially after successful service visits. When possible, try to resolve negative reviews on your GMB account, as this dramatically improves your perceived service quality. Finally, steer clear of fake reviews. They aren’t worth the risk to your business.

Our team at HVAC Webmasters makes it so much easier to collect and empower your Google Reviews. Thanks to our BrandREVU tool and custom website design solutions, we’ve helped numerous HVAC professionals earn substantial growth in local search, even brand new businesses! To learn more, contact our team at (800) 353-3409.

Other Resources From HVAC Webmasters

Related Articles and Videos
So You’re Starting an HVAC Company (Podcast)
Survey Says: Communication & Customer Reviews (Research)
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Related Services
Google Reviews for HVAC
Google My Business for HVAC
HVAC Local Search Marketing

Posted: | Updated: Mar 24, 2020 | Categories: Podcast

Survey Says: Communication & Customer Reviews (Study)

Connecting With Consumers

Hunting for new contractors seems like everyone’s least favorite pastime, and for good reason. It’s stressful, time-consuming, and filled with pitfalls. “Are these companies trustworthy? Can I trust the customer reviews on their website?” These are the sort of questions flooding our mind as we shop around online.

At HVAC Webmasters, we continually strive to better understand the consumer search process so that we can deliver stronger results for our SEO clients. We recently conducted a research project to uncover insights into how homeowners (and commercial prospects) overcome search fright to find the next HVAC contractor for their property. We also delved into preferred contact methods for interacting with heating and AC contractors.

We specifically hunted for insights into the following questions:

  • How do consumers prefer to contact an HVAC pro when it’s their first encounter?
  • What device(s) are they most likely to use?
  • Do consumers conduct additional site research before calling for the first time?
  • What website features encourage consumers most when they consider a new HVAC contractor?
Local Pack Listings With Lots of Customer Reviews
Do Most HVAC Consumers Visit a Site First or Call Immediately?

Online analysts and consumer experts continue to describe shifts towards consistent personal research. In a Pew Research study conducted in 2018, 81% of the Americans surveyed said “before making an important decision…they rely a lot on their own research”. That number was significantly higher than the percentage of people consulting friends, family, and even industry professionals. Reviews play a huge part in that personal research process. One Statista report states that that 82% of consumer decisions to use a local business are affected by negative reviews (91% for positive reviews).

Even before the surveys, our researchers knew how important online search is for HVAC consumers, especially the process of consulting customer reviews. With the data we gathered however, we were able to understand even more how testimonials affect the behavior of prospective clients. Our data also reinforced the necessity of maintaining the proper communication channels!

Crucial Findings From Our Consumer Surveys

Key Findings on Customer Reviews and Contact Preferences
Sources: surveys.google.com, www.statista.com, www.pewresearch.com

Our Survey Process

Using Google’s streamlined survey tool, our team conducted a series of surveys designed to tackle some of the crucial questions we listed above. Each survey was released to a sample group of 300+ individuals, spread across the continental United States. Since we specifically needed data from consumers who might require heating and air conditioning services, we confined the respondent age group to the 35+ year range, male and female.

All in all, we ended up collecting responses from over 1200 individuals. Thanks to Google’s tool, we achieved a well-spread sampling across genders, age groups, and US region. For the purpose of our post-survey analysis, respondents were broken into four age groups: 35 to 44 years old, 45 to 54 years, 55 to 64 years, and 65+.

Our Consumer Questions

Research

You discover a new, well-rated heating/AC company on Google Search. The company’s phone number and website address are both listed. Assuming you needed service, would you…

  • Immediately call their listed phone number
  • Wait and visit their website first

Comfort

You’re visiting the website of a heating/AC company that you’ve never used before. Which of the following make you feel the most comfortable with choosing their services?

  • Testimonials from happy customers
  • Clear descriptions of the company services
  • Approval badges from HomeAdvisor
  • Pictures of the company owner & crew
  • Videos of recent AC/heating projects

Contact

You’re on the website of a heating & cooling service you’ve never used before. You’re about to contact them for the first time. Which method would you prefer most?

  • A direct call
  • An email link
  • A contact form
  • A direct messaging (DM) box

Device

Which of the following devices are you most likely to use when you contact a heating/AC service?

  • A mobile phone
  • A desktop or laptop computer
  • A tablet
  • A voice-controlled personal assistant

Key Lessons for HVAC Pros

Lesson #1: Testimonials Take Priority.

When asked which website features made them feel most comfortable with choosing the services of an unfamiliar heating/AC company, 43% of respondents said that happy customer testimonials took priority. This lines up with the findings of numerous industry researchers from the last few years.

According to a study late last year, the average US consumer reads through 10 reviews before they trust a business. Younger polled age groups were likely to read an even greater number (Statista.com). This seemingly high number of testimonials is likely related to the growing distrust towards online reviews. Fake reviews in ecommerce fueled much of the problem, but that distrust has spread to other industries as well.

A Graph Showing Preference of Customer Reviews Over Other Website Features
Testimonials and Clear Service Descriptions Ranked Highest Among the Website Features Listed.

Despite this, customer reviews clearly still play a crucial role in client adoption rates. Among the popular features listed in our survey, testimonials outweighed most by a wide margin. That margin widened even more for the women polled in the survey, as seen in the table below.

A Gender Statistic Analysis on Customer Reviews and Other Website Features
Women Were More Likely to Prioritize Reviews.

While features like HomeAdvisor badges, original company images, and project videos took priority for a number of consumers, clear service descriptions (more on this later) and testimonials consistently took top placement across each age bracket.

Actionable Takeaways for HVAC Pros

Keep collecting those reviews! Not only do they provide evidence of your company’s trustworthiness, they also serve as a significant ranking factor in SEO. New reviews are especially valuable for prospective clients who haven’t utilized your services before.

Nothing makes a business more attractive than glowing testimonials of excellent customer service.

While testimonials showcased on your website may not be quite as genuine as those on Google Reviews, they still boost consumer confidence. So post away! Get those happy stories front and center on your website. You’ll notice a difference in your site KPIs.

Customer Reviews and Clear Service Descriptions are Touted as Top Website Features for Adoption
Service Pages are an Easy Way to Present More Details About Your Solutions.

Lesson #2: Consumers Need Clear Descriptions.

In one of our recent podcasts, Creative Director Jason Landry stated that website design ultimately breaks down into two key elements: information and presentation.

According to our study, clear descriptions of a company’s services are essential for higher conversions. That’s especially true among men and younger demographics, who may not have as much experience interacting with home service companies. How HVAC companies present their service information makes a significant different in adoption.

Consumers continually show keen interest in personal research. According to the Pew Research study we mentioned earlier, personal research is even more important than recommendations than friends, families, and industry professionals to many consumers. This lines up with the findings in our next survey.

Respondents Say They Will Usually Visit a New Service's Website Before Calling.
Consumers Stating They Prefer to Visit a Site First
Reading Through a Website is an Important Part of Service Shopping for Many Consumers.

When asked whether they’d immediately call an HVAC provider or visit their website first, polled consumers showed clear desire to research the website. For one, this enables prospective clients to dig more into the services available from the provider. Second, the additional research allows the consumers to craft a fully perspective of the company in question.

If the consumers were worried soley about star ratings, fewer would click through to the site. After all, local map packs (the primary source of traffic for many service keywords), showcase Google Reviews aggregate ratings for each listed business. They also desire a better understanding of the company’s services.

To-Do’s for HVAC Companies

If service detail is what your prospective clients want, give it to them! Write full, keyword-optimized service pages for every one of your solutions. Your clients will appreciate the helpful information and reward you with higher conversion rates.

Keyword-rich service pages also enable rankings for a much larger variety of terms. In other words, that’s more people coming to your website for specific services you provide! So many HVAC companies injure themselves my skipping this process in favor of a cheap bullet list on the homepage. That doesn’t work for SEO, and it won’t work for your prospective customers either.

Get those customer reviews! Write those service pages (or have a professional do them for you). Of consumers say it’s important, it matters.

Consumers Stating They'd Use a Mobile Phone to Contact an HVAC Company.
Make It Easy for People to Find and Contact Your Business on Mobile.

Lesson #3: Get Even More Mobile-Friendly

Desktop computers continue to fall by the wayside as consumers eagerly harness mobile technology. Google even recognized the user shift in July 2019 when they switched to mobile-first indexing. Since most search engine users rely on mobile devices for their browsing, it’s no wonder direct calling is their preferred choice when it comes to reaching out to your business!

75% of our surveyed consumers said they’d most likely use a mobile phone to contact their HVAC service provider.

At near 17%, men were the most likely of the sexes to reach out on a desktop computer, while only 8% of women said the same. Tablets followed in the 8-10% range, and voice-controlled personal assistants (PAs) came in dead last with a 4% average. We’ll discuss these devices more later.

This high usage rate for mobile phones just re-emphasizes the importance of adopting truly responsive design. If your website doesn’t conform to user devices, then you’re missing out on a lot of traffic!

Key Action Items for Mobile Usage

Be sure your design caters to a mobile audience. Features these make browsing much easier:

  • Clickable / tap-able phone numbers
  • Sandwich menus
  • Direct messaging / texting tools
  • Large font

Adding these elements to your web design allows people to read and call on the go. For an even more convenient user experience, ensure that all your CTAs (calls to action) are clearly visible and hyperlinked.

Lesson #4: Go Beyond Direct Calls

“But you just said…” True. Direct calls are the most preferred method of contacting HVAC professionals. However, take a moment to consider the results from our last survey.

A Chart Showing Preference on How Consumers Contact HVAC Pros for the First Time From Their Website
Contact Device Preferences by Age Group
42% of Respondents Preferred Methods Besides a Direct Call.

While approximately 58% of consumers preferred direct calls for contacting a new HVAC company, over 42% said they’d rather use other means. Email and contact forms were the most selected runner ups to direct calls, at 20% and 14% respectively. 8% of respondents – these were mostly from the 35 to 44 age bracket – were very interested in direct messaging as their first interaction tool of choice.

Potential To-Do Items for HVAC Pros

Expand the number of ways first time prospects can contact your business. A large portion on the consumer base we polled would rather contact your company through email and/or contact forms. Even if you’ve already provided these contact channels, consider whether or not they’re visible enough on your site.

Summing Things Up

For many consumers, the company website serves as a first point of interaction. Consumers are hungry for information, more so than ever before, when it comes to key purchase decisions. Beyond visual design and graphics, there’s an obvious need for encouragement from client testimonials. Equally important is the provision of detailed descriptions of your services.

Most of our findings boil down to two key issues: comfort and contact.

Reduce the barriers between your prospective clients and their choosing your services by making them more comfortable with your brand.

  • Take the time to gather original, unmanipulated consumer reviews from your happy customers. Again, 43% of polled individuals stated that happy customer testimonials are the most important feature for making them comfortable with an unfamiliar HVAC company.
  • Instead of lazily dropping all your services into a homepage bullet list, craft informative and keyword-rich pages for each one. This may be a standard practice in organic SEO, but it’s also matters very much to your would-be clients! Remember, the customer is (almost) always right.
  • Finally, consider expanding your customer contact options beyond direct phone calls. Not every method is appropriate for everyone, but additional options could help some prospects reach the conversion threshold. Be sure to consider all the contact tools that lie outside of your website too, such as direct messaging tool on your GMB profile. Experiment, analyze, and adapt the tools that work for your business!

A Note From the Team

The infographic and all related charts from our consumer research will be available in an upcoming HVAC Marketing Statistics page (in development). Some charts may have been altered for better visualization, but no data was changed. Our study focused on consumers within 35-65+ years of age to improve representation of the average homeowner. Younger demographics may have different browsing habits, and merit further study.

If you own or manage a heating/AC company in need of SEO services, our team at HVAC Webmasters would love to assist you. Ask about our lead-driven solutions at (800) 353-3409.

A Beginner’s Guide to Social Media Marketing – 3 Essentials for HVAC Pros

Social media is a fascinating, malleable industry that changes every time you look at it. Budding HVAC companies spend years getting lost within its many folds, only to resurface without a clue towards what happened. Despite the challenging environment, social media marketing promises a fantastic hoard of leads to those who learn how to unlock its treasures.

That’s what we’ll be doing today!

Listen in as we discuss how heating and cooling professionals can dip their toes into the waters of social media marketing without sinking their budgets. With the right tools (and the right attitude), your business could earn a healthy new channel of revenue. Be sure to take notes!

Helpful Lessons for HVAC Pros

  • Ideal platforms vary from company to company. Experiment & adapt!
  • Not every platform offers the same audience targeting capabilities.
  • Social media marketing is not a replacement for organic SEO.
  • Keep your goals in order. Focus on sales, not popularity.

Marketing Through Social Media

When it comes social media marketing, many HVAC professionals simply want to know one thing. “Why?”

Why take the time, money, and effort to promote your business in one of the most chaotic environments around? Why do advertisers consistently push these channels, and how does social media marketing affect sales?

The answer to these questions: targeted exposure. With the right social media channels and the right advertising tools, HVAC professionals can drastically increase the exposure of their brand and meet new, qualified prospects in need of service. As HVAC social media marketing matures, the opportunities for supplemental revenue grow increasingly easier to grasp.

You just need the right place(s) to start!

What Does Social Media Marketing Cost?

A lot of heating and cooling professionals want to know how much social media marketing (SMM) costs. That depends on a handful of factors.

Factors affecting the cost of SMM:

  • Size of your local community / service area(s)
  • Concentration of free activities vs paid advertising
  • Keywords used
  • Style of advertising
  • Degree of target audience specificity

With that being said, you can develop a very productive advertising strategy across a handful of platforms for a monthly rate in the low hundreds. It’s all about finding your ideal platforms and experimenting to see what works for your business. Below, we’ve crafted a bare essentials kit to tackle social media marketing for HVAC beginners.

Where to Start Social Media Marketing

Facebook

Facebook Advertising Strategy

Facebook is the perfect place to kick off a SMM campaign. It offers plenty of free and paid options for promoting your business. More importantly, the tech giant offers access to thousands of active accounts in your local community! First, you’ll need to claim your Facebook Business profile.

Provide as much detail regarding your company as possible. Operating hours, services offered, FAQs, prices (if you feel comfortable), contact information. Upload plenty of original photos and videos too! Once the profile is launched, you can always use it to post timed promotions and other marketing projects.

Paid Advertising: Unless you have a sophisticated and productive content marketing strategy in action, don’t worry about post promotions (“boosting”) just yet. Focus your time on getting acquainted with Facebook Ad Manager, which offers exceptional customization for your campaigns. It also helps you control where, when, and to whom your ads show up.

Instagram

Promoting Through Instagram

Get visual! Instagram harnesses the power of pictures, stories, and other forms of visual media to engage with millions of viewers throughout the world. On the free side of the SMM platform, you can upload fresh images and video of your projects. That’s a fantastic way to help first time homeowners discover exciting solutions for their heating/AC needs.

Instagram caters to a younger demographic than its parent company Facebook. It also promotes a more whimsical environment, meaning it’s okay to to present a more relaxed side of your crew and staff. In fact, prospective clients might enjoy a more personable side of your team!

Paid Advertising: Again, stick with Instagram Ad Manager, unless you’ve already developed a substantial following in your target market. You’ll have plenty of opportunity to select an audience within your community, set your budget, and test ad styles. Stick with Instagram Stories or colorful still ads as you start out.

YouTube

Advertising on YouTube

As one of the fastest growing platforms in social media marketing, YouTube has exploded into the marketing world with more force than anyone could have predicted. People spend hours at a time watching their favorite streamers, original TV shows, and how-to guides. That’s a huge window to get your brand in front of their eyes!

Before you jump into advertising, get in a little practice. Start filming your repair projects. Ask a spouse or loved one to hold a camera while you try giving a branded talk. Experiment with tripods, or even a selfie-stick. Just don’t get too carried away during a service call!

Paid Advertising: As a Google property, YouTube Advertising has far-reaching potential for connecting with the perfect (qualified and enthusiastic) audience. Start with simple video ads. You might show how to identify a common fault in an AC unit, and offer a promotion on professional repairs. Don’t worry about producing studio quality footage. Master the basics and you can earn some fresh leads for your HVAC team!

SMM Ad Experts

If you lack the time or energy to manage your own social media marketing campaigns, there’s always the professional option. A person with years of experience can make all the difference in connecting with the right audience, especially on a limited budget! When you choose an agency, just make sure they do their research.

Our social media advertising team at HVAC Webmasters offers customized campaign management for maximum return on your ad spend. Talk with us about your budget and goals, and see if our services might be the perfect fit for your company. To learn more, call us at (800) 353-3409!

Additional Resources From HVAC Webmasters

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Posted: | Updated: Mar 17, 2020 | Categories: Podcast

The Nitty Gritty of Web Design: An Interview With Jason Landry

When it comes to casting a creative vision for your website, it’s easy to get carried away with artistic license and expressionistic design. When it comes down to brass tacks however, web design should ultimately balance the needs of the business with the experience of users. Successful design is practical above all else, and nobody knows this better than Jason Landry of the Webmasters.

We sat down with the Creative Director to get his two bits on developing a productive service business-to-consumer (B2C) website. Bust out your pen and paper (or phone), because you’ll want to take notes!

Key Takeaways for HVAC Professionals

  • Website design goes way beyond visual aesthetics!
  • Site visitors prefer familiarity over artistic expression.
  • Personalized photos are incredibly valuable, for SEO and branding.
  • Design breaks down into two segments: information & presentation.

Design: Making a Difference

The average consumer’s first exposure to your company brand won’t be sitting off the freeway or driving through the neighborhood. It won’t be ingrained in a catchy tune on the radio, and it certainly won’t be smiling back through a cable television ad. Can you guess where they might see your brand?

Most consumers (residential or commercial) discover your brand online via local search.

That means the majority of first impressions are made on your website. If that impression says anything other than “professional, relatable, and reliable”, customers are going to bounce long before you have the chance to make your case in person. On the other hand, you can paint a generous portrait of your brand and make true connections with a first-rate website design.

What Winning at Website Design Looks Like

In case you’re thinking “Bah, humbug!” and breaking out the mailer cards, you better hear what a quality website can offer first. An optimized site, even a simple one, will generate more leads for your HVAC company than all the billboards, car wraps, and newspaper clippings combined. In most cases, it will also outperform television, radio, and printed ads.

Not only does professional web design and SEO generate more leads, it produces them at higher quality. Forget about paying a shot at leads a dozen other companies are fighting for. These are your exclusive leads to pursue, and they’re much more likely to convert into sales than those from other channels.

Winning at web design means securing a reliable channel of calls for your services. If that’s not worth investing in, what is?

Making a Productive Website

Does it seem like most successful HVAC websites look suspiciously familiar? That’s because most heating and cooling service companies utilize the same basic concepts for design. That could be a problem for flashier, artistic industries. But consumers don’t demand a lot of pomp from their AC mechanic. They only want convenient, accessible service.

That’s why the most profitable websites are rarely the most original. You will find several practical features that link them together:

  • Easy paths to service pages
  • Clear logos and phone numbers at the page top
  • Informative, well-ordered content in each page
  • No-nonsense menus

As Creative Director Jason puts it, “Web design is all about information and presentation.” If you can provide the right information about your services in a presentation style that’s easy to digest, you’re golden.

Frequently Asked Questions

Managing SEO

What design elements matter most for SEO?

Simply having dedicated, optimized pages for all your services makes a huge difference in SEO! Many HVAC professionals shoot themselves in the foot by creating a handful of pages and relying on a bullet list of services. That simply doesn’t work for search. Frankly, it doesn’t work for anyone.

Schema markup and structured data make it easier for Google to crawl your website. Original photos also add more juice to your strategy, beating out sites that rely on stock images. Finally, content formatting (headers, bullets, and alt tags, for example) elevates your material for stronger search results.

Pleasing Users

Which design aspects are important for users?

Make it ridiculously easy for people to find the services they need. On top of the standard dropdown menu, sprinkle related services throughout each page. Add schema lists, and put breadcrumb labels at the top of every service page. Any given prospect should be able to find the exact service they need within 30 seconds.

Beyond that, be sure to provide your office number throughout the site. For phone-shy individuals, consider a contact form and/or email link. If you cling to a pleasant, convenient user experience, you’ll intuitively find areas to better serve your customers!

Finding Balance

How do you balance SEO and user experience?

Google may be technological super-company with revenue in the billions every year, but it still takes the time to pursue a positive user experience. Simply put: if your site visitors are happy, Google’s happy too! Continue researching your industry keywords and carefully infuse them into your conversational writing.

Take time to listen to common client questions address them in your pages / blogs. If you can’t remember any, try your luck in the People also ask section of Google Search results. You can also find helpful tools like Answer the Public, who conveniently do the work for you!

Practical design takes your business out of the backside of Google Search and onto the front pages. It’s not about fluffy visuals or fancy tools. It’s all about serving the customer as best you can.

If you’ve struggled to develop a successful website, our team at HVAC Webmasters would love to help! Thanks to our custom sites, hundreds of professionals are earning fantastic leads from local search. We provide sustainable brand growth, all at very reasonable cost.

To learn more, schedule a free consultation at (800) 353-3409!

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Posted: | Updated: Mar 9, 2020 | Categories: Podcast

What Content Writing is All About: An Interview With Shabnam Kuraishi

Developing fresh, insightful, and optimized content can be a challenge for many businesses. This week we sat down with Shabnam Kuraishi, one of our seasoned content writers at HVAC Webmasters, to talk about her approach to crafting valuable content.

Watch the whole video of the interview on YouTube, or check out our Content Marketing page for more information.

Meeting With Shabnam Kuraishi

Madison: Hi, HVAC professionals. Welcome back to another episode of the HVAC Webmasters Podcast! I’m Madison McClure, and today we have with us a special guest: Shabnam Kuraishi.

Shabnam: Thanks for having me!

Madison: Yes! She is one of our spunky content writers here at the Webmasters, and she’s been with us…has it been a year yet?

Shabnam: Yeah! Over a year.

Madison: I still remember when you, Kellie, and the gang got here, and I’m like “Oh my gosh! Fresh blood!” It’s great.

Shabnam: Or new friends! You know, whichever one.

Madison: Yes, we were very happy to have you. Now, speaking of background, I wanted to hear a little bit about what led up to you joining the Webmasters.

Shabnam: Of course. Well, I graduated with a degree in Anthropology…

Madison: Anthropology?!

Shabnam: Ya, the connection is not quite there. But then I did social media marketing and blogging for some businesses.

Madison: Okay, so you really got some applicable experience there. That’s really cool though! It’s always fun to see writers come from a different background because it adds more flavor whenever they start writing about the different topics. Whether it’s blogging or a service page, it usually ends up being more flavorful, which is always great. Of course, that translates to more sales for your business, which is…what matters to HVAC professionals.

We went on to talk a little more about Shabnam’s two years of experience with writing. Then we broke into the writing process for developing content on a website.

The Writing Process

Getting Started on Content Writing

Madison: I want to go through and learn about your process as a content writer. Let’s start small. Say you’re starting with a service page, like “AC repair.” Now, how are you going to go through the process of planning and writing that page?

Shabnam: First I develop a skeleton. All the possible questions that relate to AC problems that could warrant a repair being done. Of course, you have to hit those keywords in the SEO, so I make sure to list them down as well, along with the topics. Basically, you wanna research your information to support those topics. A little background never hurts anyone.

You also want to add in those links. Hyperlinking to another page; I feel that’s a good way to get started as you flush out the page.

Madison: Okay, so you’ve definitely outlined and know what you’re going to talk about before you actually start writing it.

Shabnam: Yes! That’s important. That way you don’t get lost.

Maximizing Lead Conversion Potential

Madison: Now conversion is such a huge part of writing and making sure that you’re maximizing your chances of a prospect turning into a sale. ‘Cause that’s ultimately what our HVAC professionals are concerned about. Now what are you going to do to make sure that while you’re writing it that you’re maximizing that conversion potential?

Shabnam: It’s important to keep that sales mindset whenever your writing anything, ’cause you are essential doing web marketing essentially. So you’re going to put a list of the services that pertain to that particular page, as well as a call to action. If they have any questions, want to set up an appointment, give a phone number or in other cases connect to the Contact Us page as well.

A Good Call to Action

Madison: Ya! Call to action is very important. For yourself, what is the makings of a really good call to action?

Shabnam: I would say, have a call to action in the intro as well as the final paragraph. You always want to put in the phone number in those two places. If you want to spread that out throughout the page, go for it. It’s really up to you.

Something that’s encouraging… If you’re having trouble or having a problem figuring something out, reach out to us. We can help you. We’re the answer to your problem.

Madison: Okay, so you’re personalizing it a little bit and making it easier for the reader to find it?

Shabnam: Exactly.

Finding a Balanced Voice

Madison: Now a lot of HVAC company websites struggle with finding a balance on their service pages. Some are just like “Oh, we just want to be friendly with everybody. We’re not going to push them too much.” And others go the opposite direction and say “You should buy from us. You should definitely buy. Sell! Sell! Sell! Sell!”

That’s a real challenge to deal with for some people. Do you find that balancing that SEO with that natural reading experience, is that a challenge for you?

Shabnam: I think it was in the beginning! When you’re new to writing, you’re trying to figure out how not to sound robotic, because it can come off that way when a certain SEO [keyword phrase] is grammatically incorrect. You want to try to fit that in there. So try to blend it in there as best as you can. Make sure that the rest of the paragraph matches and try to keep a steady reading flow.

Madison: It sounds like you’ve gotten a really good hang of balancing those two. I know for myself, I think I was on the opposite end of the spectrum. I didn’t want to try to sell too much. As a result, my writing was like “Well, you know you can do this if you really want to.”

Shabnam: Ya, you are selling. They say a passive tone for selling is just not going to hit it. But you don’t want to be too aggressive either. Find a middle ground is your safe bet.

Beyond the Text

Important Non-Text Page Elements

Madison: We’ve talked a lot about the textual elements. Obviously, that natural writing is very important. But there are many not-text elements that go into a page. What do you think are the most important non-text pieces going into that page?

Shabnam: You want to look outside the picture of the computer screen. What you’re gonna see, you don’t want it to overcrowd. So you want to put something in to break up the text. Images, page breaks, bullet points. That way you’re not everywhere. It’s so important to have good visualization.

Madison: It’s so important, oh my goodness. If you look at some of the pages that are ranking on the back end of Google, you’ll see those humongous walls of text. You can always tell whenever somebody doesn’t have that writing experience, because they don’t actually format it and take the time to break it up. You absolutely right; all those images, formatting, and bullet points makes it such an easier reading experience.

Too Long; Didn’t Read (TLDR)

Madison: There is a saying nowadays that’s grown in popularity. It’s called TLDR, and it stands for “Too Long; Didn’t Read”. That can apply to an email. It can apply to a service page on a website. How are you making sure that your content is juicy enough, concise enough, and formatted correctly that people actually want to read through?

Shabnam: Have a voice that’s encouraging. Don’t be too pedantic with information. You’re not a professor instructing a student. You’re there to give them the bullet points of a service. If you want to bold information…once again, hyperlink information, that will get them to be engaged and maybe check another page out. Which is great for getting leads into the website.

User Friendly Page Elements

Madison: You’ve definitely established the setting for a wonderful reading experience there. For the average site visitor going onto a page, what do you think are the most important elements to keep them motivated to continue their search? What do you think keeps them on the hunt for their solutions and not bouncing back to Google for another website?

Shabnam: You want to make sure to answer all their questions that they have regarding that service. That way, all the answers are on one page instead of them being confused and going off the site, which is what we don’t want.

Madison: That’s a great point. I think that’s one of the reasons why we’ve seen a rise in the number of FAQs (the frequently asked questions) sections that are going into service pages. Those you’ll see pop up on Google Search results, because people know just how much value there is to…”Okay, what are people asking? Am I just speaking about what I want them to know or am I actually answering the questions that they have?”

And that’s one reason why when you answer those questions, people are much more likely to pick up the phone and contact your business.

A Larger Perspective

We took some time to expand the scope of the content writing process and explore ways to produce a fantastic writing standard for the entire website.

Madison: You’re working with dozens and dozens of pages across a single website – which can take weeks, by the way, to finish up – I know it’s very time consuming work sometimes. From a whole site perspective, what are you doing to make sure that our created content is successful? That it really resonates and it continues to make those sales as well?

Shabnam: The first thing that I make sure to have is consistency. I think that’s key. Whatever you’re doing as far as formatting, incorporating images / media, you want to have that spread out fairly evenly throughout the site. You also want to make sure that your voice is consistent throughout each page. Make sure to hyperlink throughout the pages as well.

Madison: That site structure / architecture is so important and a lot of research goes into, doesn’t it?

Shabnam: Yes, a lot. It’s important that you do it. Don’t skimp out on it, ’cause customers are keen about that. They’ll know if you’re just talking to get sales, vs you’re knowing what you’re doing but you’re also converting it to sales.

Madison: Mmhmm. Plus, if you’ve taken the time to organize things correctly, it makes it easier for people to actually find the services they want.

Final Thoughts on Content Writing

Madison: Let’s say someone came in at the last moment and they haven’t heard the rest of what we’ve talked about. If you have one thing for HVAC professionals to take away about content writing – whether it’s the process, the quality of content – what would you want them to hear?

Shabnam: For business and content writing, you want to make your business stand out from the others by providing a value to the customer. Why they should choose you vs the competitors. So, once again, make sure to know what you’re talking about. Be informative, yet concise.

Madison: That’s such a good point. I think a lot of HVAC professionals, they focus on what they do, not as much on why the person should select them. Because there’s dozens of people for them to choose from.

Shabnam: Exactly. There’s a lot of competition!

Closing

Madison: Shabnam, thank you so much for letting me interview you and ask you all these questions. Thank you, HVAC professionals for listening in. We’re happy to have you here. As always, if you need help with quality content writing, we’re here at the Webmasters to help you with that. So thanks for listening in. And thanks Shabs for being here.

We’ll see you next time!

Other Resources From HVAC Webmasters

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So You’re Starting An HVAC Company | The HVAC Marketing Plan Podcast

So you’ve taken the plunge and decided to start your own business in the heating and cooling industry. Congratulations! While there are miles ahead between you and a medium-sized company, good business sense will carry you through to the end. In our latest podcast, Nolen and Jason explain how frugal spending, do-it-yourself willpower, and cautious investments will make it so much easier to successfully launch your startup.

Key Takeaways for HVAC Professionals

  • Don’t invest in extra tools before you’ve developed a client base!
  • Keep your recurring expenses as low as possible in the beginning.
  • As much as possible, do the call handling and scheduling yourself.
  • Zealously protect your customer calls.
  • Don’t skimp on essentials: tax work, insurance, legal, and marketing.

How to Make a Clean Start

We’re all about common sense at HVAC Webmasters. Yet over the years, we’ve seen so many heating and cooling startups enthusiastically speed out of the gate without an ounce of it. The signs are obvious:

  • Buying tools, trucks, and toys before securing steady leads
  • Overinvesting in staff without the necessary revenue
  • Handing over customer calls to an untrained, rude family member
  • Denying the need for proper tax work, insurance, and marketing

That last point is especially difficult to see, because we know just how much heartache and frustration HVAC techs endure because they didn’t bother to invest in support services. Frankly, we’re tired of seeing it happen. That’s why we want to provide a simple guide for getting started in your new HVAC business!

Tip #1: Stay Frugal

So many heating and cooling services end before they even begin. What’s the number one reason? Finances. Just as poor financial compatibility dooms a large percentage of marriages across the United States, dumb spending practices kills thousands of startups every year.

There are several areas HVAC startups struggle in, but let’s take a look at the top 3 ways you can give your finances a fighting chance!

Equipment

EARN BEFORE YOU BUY

Unmerited optimism can sink a business faster than you can say “Where did our money go?” Many HVAC companies assume that homeowners will line up to use their services as soon as they incorporate, but that doesn’t happen. While it may feel tempting to buy extra tools at the start of your business, perform the following test first.

Ask yourself, “Can I continue working without these tools this month?”

Unless you absolutely cannot do your job without that fancy tool, hold off on buying it. That goes for that fancy new truck or service van too! Homeowners don’t care about your choice of vehicle (in most cases). As long as you dress neatly and keep your vehicle clean, clients will respect your skills enough to hire you in the future.

Hiring

HIRE OUT OF NECESSITY

While it may be tempting to rent out an office space and feel it with spunky staff members, odds are your startup can function just fine without them. That may require you to occasionally pause during a service visit to take a call, but you’ll save tens of thousands of dollars by scheduling visits yourself.

When you hire someone, hire out of necessity. When you start getting more service requests than you can fulfill by yourself, hire another tech. When you’re too busy to provide quality phone service, hire a customer service professional and train them. As long as you can continue your current level of customer service, skip the new hires.

DIY

D.I.Y. AS MUCH AS POSSIBLE

Do it yourself. That’s a phrase that excites just as much as it irritates. It’s also a practice that will easily save you thousands of dollars every month during your startup period. For one, it limits the number of people you have to hire to manage “the office” and scheduling. It also allows you to directly control the quality of your service.

What activities qualify for DIY?

  • Service scheduling
  • Payroll and PTO
  • Inventory management
  • Calendar management
  • Service visits

Tip #2: Zealously Guard Customer Care

When literally dozens of companies provide the exact same services you do, what sets your business apart from the rest? Customer care. As long as you continue to provide courteous and convenient service, your clients will return again and again over the years. If your clients encounter a rude technician or staff member however, they’ll bounce faster than a toddler on a trampoline!

That’s why you need to do all you can to protect your customer experience. We’ve witnessed to many businesses bleed sales because they didn’t realize a staff member’s rude behavior was chasing away clients. From informational calls to final service visit, every aspect of your service should be imbued with friendliness and patience.

An Example of a Smart Accounting Service
Never Skimp Out on Tax Support, Including Payroll!

Tip #3: Invest in Support Services

When you first purchased your company phone, did customers automatically start calling your business? Of course not! You had to advertise your number and services first before people called. In the same way, you’ll have to invest in quality marketing service before HVAC leads start flowing into your business.

There are several services you can’t afford to skip out on. These include:

Some of these services help produce and regulate the flow of income, while others protect you from company-killing accidents. Skipping out on these services goes beyond tempting fate; it’s just stupid. Countless HVAC companies have been destroyed by tax violations or legal woes, while others never get off the ground without marketing.

Find support services that work just as hard as you do, and you’ll never have to lose a night’s sleep (at least due to tax problems). As far as digital marketing services go, our team at HVAC Webmasters is here for all your marketing needs. We’ve helped hundreds of startups over the years, and we can’t wait to serve you too! Call __PHONE__ to learn more.

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Posted: | Updated: Feb 4, 2020 | Categories: Podcast

True Client Stories: The $5000 Screw Job

Does it feel like your digital marketing company is trying to get away with something shady? Perhaps your marketing expenses seem to steadily climb without generating consistent leads. Hundreds, if not thousands of heating and cooling professionals are going through the exact same story. The only question is:

How will your story end?

In today’s HVAC Webmasters podcast, Jason and Nolen share some red flags that could shed some light on your marketing company’s sketchy practices. If you spot any of these tactics, it might be time to start shopping for a new marketing agency. Look for these following signs…

SEO for HVAC Pros: Red Flags

  • Blackbox pricing covering up where your ad money goes
  • Sudden bumps in results immediately after you call to complain
  • No visible evidence that your website has changed
  • 3rd party expense reporting not directly from Google

3 Signs You’re Getting Cheated

Marketing money is an amazing thing. On one hand, you can invest it into the perfectly tuned advertising campaign and earn a double return on your money! On the other hand, you can trust it to an enthusiastic management team, only to see it slowly disappear with little reward.

Sadly, the latter story is one we hear all the time from HVAC professionals around the country. Unless you have the time, energy, and experience needed to execute your own marketing plan however, you’ll probably have to find a dependable company to handle it for you. You may have already chosen a team, and find yourself wondering if they really have your interests at heart.

The easiest way to spot a shady firm is to look for these three red flags:

  • Blackbox pricing structure
  • Inconsistent payoffs
  • Lack of visible change in your website
A Google Analytics Report
Does Your Reporting Come Directly From Google, or a Source Recommended By Your Marketer?

Red Flag #1: Blackbox Pricing

Money is the ultimate test of character. You can tell a lot about a company by how willing they are to share their spending habits! In the same way, you can quickly get a feel for a marketing firm through their pricing structure.

If we could have our way, every digital marketing firm would have to bill month to month. That’s because monthly billing gives HVAC contractors the ability to examine results and judge whether their investment is paying off. It’s a challenging code to operate by (for a marketing business), but it motivates us to continually produce results!

Bundle Beware

Annual Bundle Deals

On the other side lies annual contracts. Annual billing (or even longer term contracts) takes away that flexibility from the client contractor and gives it to the marketing professional. Blackbox pricing further complicates the picture by preventing heating and cooling professions from seeing how their money is spent.

Say you purchase an annual service package with website design, SEO, GMB, and PPC. The company quickly puts up a basic website, PPC campaigns start up, and results start coming in. Can you actually tell how much of your package budget was spent on each segment? That brings us to our next concern: reporting.

Reporting

3rd Party Reporting

When you invest money in Google Ads, your reporting should only come from one source. Can you guess where? Google Ads. Handing the crucial task of reporting over to anyone besides Google, you’re asking for trouble.

Time and time again, we’ve heard of marketing firms (especially PPC-only companies) bumping click price above the actual cost, then pocketing the difference. That’s in addition to the money you’ve already paid them to manage your campaigns. If a client complains, the firm can easily manipulate the results.

Red Flag #2: Inconsistent Results

Have you ever called into your marketing firm and complained about lack of results, only to see a sudden uptick in leads? As consumers, we like to believe that our phone call is the driving force behind the change. It also makes it feel like we have a voice in the management of our investment.

In reality, it means that your marketing company had the power the entire time to affect those results, but didn’t until you called.

Inconsistent results in your lead generation can indicate shady practices in ad spending. If your leads started slowing down a couple months after your phone call, it’s very likely your PPC management team has reduced the amount of budget going into the campaigns. You could know this for certain, if you had access to the Google Ads account or the direct expense reports. But your marketer’s third party reporting company (if there is a third party at all) makes sure that you can’t know for certain.

A Snippet From an HVAC Blog Post
Regular Blogging is Extremely Helpful For SEO. Does Your Marketing Team Provide It?

Red Flag #3: No Visible Change

Blackbox pricing, shady reporting, and inconsistent results are all frustrating practices. What’s even more alarming is a complete lack of action in non-PPC related activities. There’s a reason why bundled marketing packages show mixed, but ultimately short-term results.

Time and time again, budget for website optimization gets sacrificed so that more money goes to PPC, which means more money can get siphoned out.

If you’ve seen very little or no change in your website design over the past few months (assuming you’ve paid for it), ask why. There’s no reason why a marketing firm couldn’t produce some timely website progress unless they simply didn’t care about it. We’ve seen a business left struggling to survive because their marketing firm never took the time to complete and verify their Google My Business account. That’s something that anyone can do.

Moving Forward

At HVAC Webmasters, we know the frustration and anger that comes with getting ripped off by a shady marketing firm. That’s why we started our business in the first place, to provide dependable (results-driven) service that earns your investment every month. And yes, we bill month to month.

If you’d like to see the difference we can make for your HVAC company, give us a call at (800) 353-3409!

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Posted: | Updated: Dec 16, 2019 | Categories: Podcast

HVAC SEO Conference 2020

The world of search marketing shifts and sways all the time. Even seasoned professionals work hard to keep up to date on the latest Google algorithm updates and industry strategies. That’s why our team invests the time, money, and energy to attend key conferences around the country.

In our latest podcast, Nolen and Jason share some of the insights they accumulated from their latest conference adventures! If you’ve struggled to cultivate your online brand this year, be sure to listen in.

Key Facts on SEO for HVAC Professionals

  • GMB plays a more active role now, allowing people to contact your business directly via messaging, phone, or Q&A entries.
  • SSL Certificates, custom code base, and mobile-ready design should be considered basics, but not every company provides these attributes.
  • Without a GMB account claimed and verified, it’s almost impossible to show up properly for local maps listings.

New Light on GMB

One of the most noticeable trends discussed these days is the rising prominence of GMB and the Knowledge Graph. Google My Business (GMB) is a free listing service that allows companies to show up in local searches. Businesses simply need to claim their free listing, provide their basic operational information, and verify their address with Google.

Once the account is active, Google generates a Knowledge Graph with contact information, hours of operation, and uploaded photos for your company.

A Mobile Knowledge Graph for HVAC SEO

Notice the buttons in the middle of the screenshot above. These enable streamlined communication with potential customers around the area. Not only can they easily call your business (even from the road), they can also request quotes via the messaging system. GMB creates high-value prospects without ever needing to send to your website.

Optimization for GMB

As the capabilities grow for your Google My Business account, so does the responsibility of ensuring your listing stays accurate and up to date. We’ve seen too many businesses lose valuable leads over the years because of discrepancies in their GMB listings. In fact, we witnessed one outside company (a roofing contractor) lose over $2 million revenue in a single year because of a suspended listing.

It’s more important than ever to keep your account optimized. How can your business accomplish this?

Listing Settings

Initial Listing Setup

  • Make sure you’ve gone through the official verification process.
  • Use the same address (including abbreviations) for all other listings.
  • Update your GMB when you start offering new services.
  • Use your home address only if you don’t have an official office.
  • Answer as many GMB questions about your operations as possible.

Ongoing Activities

Ongoing Activities Good for HVAC SEO

  • Answer prospect questions in the Q&A section.
  • Create a short GMB post every week with new content or promotions.
  • Add team photos, interior views, exteriors shots, and job site pics.
  • Continue asking for reviews!

Big No-Nos

Bad SEO for HVAC Professionals

  • Don’t try to mess with other HVAC company websites!
  • Do not create fake locations to try to expand your service area.
  • Do not offer any sort of incentives or discounts for client reviews.
  • Do not get rid of your website domain (barring legal reasons).
  • Do not leave your GMB vacant after verifying it.

Keyword Strategy & HVAC SEO

Back in the day keyword optimization simply involved using a particular phrase three times for every 100 words. Unfortunately, this strategy created gobbity-gook messes that no one enjoyed reading. Nowadays, the Google Search algorithm does a much better job comprehending the meaning behind everyday speech. This allows the search giant to reward high quality content with the best rankings.

Keyword strategy plays a foundational role in SEO for HVAC company websites, but it also continues to slowly shift every year.

SEO conferences continue to speak what we already instinctively know: keyword diversity and natural writing produce the strongest results. That means incorporating synonyms and other phrases related to your primary keywords as your produce new content. Whether you’re re-writing a service page for the fifth time, or you’re constructing the latest guide for maintaining a home AC unit, keyword diversity makes for better reading and ranking.

Potential New Keywords From a Term Search
These Related Search Terms Add More Keyword Listings for Your Website.

If you aren’t sure which phrases best match keyword, try searching it in Google and looking at the blue phrases at the very bottom of the page. You can also try out helpful keyword tools, such as Answer the Public.

Looking for Stronger Search Results?

At HVAC Webmasters, we specialize in creating search-optimized websites for higher rankings and better leads. If you’ve been stuck with expensive lead channels or simply aren’t seeing the local search results you want, our team is here to help! Call (800) 353-3409 and get a free consultation for your HVAC SEO.

Other Resources From HVAC Webmasters

Podcasts and Related Articles
Understanding Your HVAC Brand Online (Podcast)
How HVAC Contractors Can Implement E-A-T (How-To Article)
True Client Stories: Almost Great HVAC Marketing (Podcast)

HVAC SEO Services
Google My Business for HVAC
HVAC Web Design
HVAC Crawling and Indexing Optimization

Posted: | Updated: Nov 26, 2019 | Categories: Podcast

True Client Stories: Almost Great HVAC Marketing

Do you find your business shackled to the same sort of non-productive marketing firm every couple of years? Time and time again, we hear stories of heating and cooling professionals regretting their relationships with shady sales-oriented marketers. Despite this, HVAC technicians continue to fall for the same old tricks.

Let’s try to put a stop to that today! Jason and Nolen discuss the story of an HVAC professional who never seems to escape from lousy marketing deals. Listen in for helpful lessons on finding a capable online team!

Key Lessons to Learn for HVAC Professionals

  • Marketing teams that hard-sell results tend to provide none.
  • Accountable pricing and billing make for stronger marketing results.
  • It’s rarely a good idea to sign on for annual or year plus contracts.

Something’s Shady

We’re back with another “Bob” for this story. Bob finds himself with a very well-to-do HVAC company. However, he’s continually unsatisfied with his marketing firm’s results. As he shops around, he contacts a familiar page 1 company: our team at HVAC Webmasters.

As Nolen answers, he quickly recognizes Bob. He’s already talked with him three times before!

A Familiar HVAC Marketing Ride

It turns out, Bob had called the Webmasters multiple times before, only to turn to a firm with a more flashy sales routine. We’re fine with contractors partnering with other firms, of course. Bob however, was finding himself in the exact same situation: unsatisfied with his current results.

Clearly, his criteria for choosing the right firm to handle his HVAC company marketing clearly wasn’t working. Bob isn’t alone either!

A Google Ads Dashboard
Shady Companies Hide Cost Per Click Markups by Managing Google Ads Billing For You.

How to Spot a Sham

Thankfully, there a plenty of red flags that can help you spot a marketing sham when so many others buy it hook, line, and sinker. Many firms resort to the same old tactics to extract a profit without putting in the effort to grow their clients’ businesses. Here’s a few ways they do it:

Ways to Spot a Shady Marketing Company

  • They’re quick to bundle everything together in one package, one price.
  • They push hard for annual contracts with upfront payments.
  • The company salesforce is larger than the rest of the business.
  • All your interactions begin and end with a sales specialist or relationship manager.
  • You hear buzzwords in every other sentence, and you rarely understand them.
  • The company guarantees precise levels of traffic or leads.

Look closely at your next marketing company prospect. Examine how they talk, how they price, and how they bundle.

The Lingo

They Speak in Weird Buzzwords

Sales professionals tend to speak in a buzzword-heavy, high-energy routine that’s quick to promise results. You might hear phrases like “social fortress” that sound flashy, but never get fully explained. Most digital marketing salesmen have just enough knowledge to sound like they know what they’re talking about.

The most dependable professionals can easily explain their services, in clear terms.

Exact Claims

They Promise Specific Search Numbers

Have you ever spoken with a marketing professional who promised an exact return on your investment? While some marketing fields can use predictive fields to determine an estimated ROI, no one controls Google Search. That means that even the smartest, most-experience industry professionals cannot deliver an exact number of website visitors, click-throughs, or sales.

The next time some guarantees a set volume of traffic to your website, courteously shake their hand, thank them for their time, and walk out the door. They aren’t worth the time or money.

Annual Contracts

They Only Offer Annual Package Deals

While it’s probably too much to claim that every annual marketing package is a bad deal, almost every annual marketing package is a bad deal! We hear time and time again how contractors sign up for an annual contract, get results for a few months, and never hear from their marketing management again for the rest of the year. You can bet they’ll be ready to talk you into another year, but results seem to come up short every time.

The most dependable companies price month to month, and they offer clear pricing guidelines so you know what you’re paying for.

Finding Great Results

Don’t let your heating and cooling business get sucked into a long-term marketing bust. Keep these red flags in mind as you move forward, and you can avoid those painful experiences that so many HVAC businesses suffer each year. Everything changes when you find the right marketing firm for your team!

At HVAC Webmasters, we have the experience, reputation, and results to earn your business. We skip the annual contracts in favor of month-to-month pricing, so you can rest assured we’re working hard to grow your company and online brand. Through custom web design, local SEO strategy, and crisp reputation management, we’ve managed to help hundreds of businesses find the online success they crave!

To learn more about our services, talk with one of our experts at (800) 353-3409.

Other Resources From HVAC Webmasters

Podcasts and Articles
HVAC Marketing on the Cheap (Podcast)
You Don’t Have to Be Perfect to Win at HVAC SEO (Podcast)
Streamlining SEO for HVAC Contractors: Tips and Traps (Article)

Related Services
HVAC Website Design
HVAC Brand Development
HVAC Blogging Services

Posted: | Updated: Nov 13, 2019 | Categories: Podcast