Avoid The Buying Leads Pitfall, Invest in Your Own Brand | The HVAC Marketing Plan Podcast

Buying a lead is not the worst idea an HVAC contractor can think of. After all, leads drive your business. The problem is that in our experience when HVAC contractors do buy leads, the leads are expensive and the contractor is unhappy with the lead. But the issue with buying leads actually expands even further beyond the frequency of dissatisfaction associated with them. Buying leads on their own is a pitfall for you company and dissuades you from investing in the type of marketing resources that progressively increase your brand visibility and generate sales organically and in a manner that can be sustained over a longer period of time moving forward.

“I Hate My Lead Source”

If you are an heating & cooling contractor who has uttered these words you aren’t alone. In fact you are merely one of thousands of your contemporaries who share the same sentiment. Although leads as a concept are not foolish since the goal of every business is to make profit, the practice of lead buying is inferior to the theory. This is mostly due to poor quality lead distributors who offer “shared” leads rather than exclusives. But even with the best of the worst, leads can become a pitfall for HVAC companies who are climbing uphill vs local competitors.

“I Want More Leads”

Despite the well-documented disgust with lead sources many contractors continue to buy them. Why? Because at the end of the day they still want more leads. Because securing a lead brings money to their business it becomes a cyclical desire for the company. The profit is just enough to seem like it’s worth it for the heating & cooling business. Getting more leads can be a challenge especially with sources offering shared leads. Worse yet, it often distracts contractors from other forms of marketing that will actually end up producing more sales over the long-run.

Shifting Mentality: Invest in Yourself

When you purchase a lead from a platform it is them who benefits most. When the consumer purchases your services, the allegiance is to the lead platform and the lead platform is where they will likely return when they need another. This is true even of paying for clicks on Google Ads, Facebook, etc. The reality is that you are investing in these platforms (other people’s platforms) instead of your own. The goal should shift towards investing in your own brand and growing the allegiance of consumers towards your own likeness. This way, you will generate sustainable business for your company and not shell out hard-earned funds to conglomerates.

Custom Website

First thing you’ll need is a custom website with schema markup. A website can be the central hub of your HVAC company and create a foundation for subsequent web work. Most websites today are built with templates, either from a WordPress theme market or from DIY website builders like Wix, Weebly, and SquareSpace. While they have their advantages of course, they don’t have the type of long-term potential that custom sites do. They are limited in terms of organic optimization as well as long-term control of your brand which is what we want to avoid.

Google My Business

Nobody will take your company seriously without a Google My Business page. You might ask how this is different than a lead platform since you are investing in Google rather than yourself. First of all, you are not investing money. Google My Business is free to claim and match with your Google Maps listing. Second, GMB listings can be linked to your main website so that your own web property becomes associated with the Google listing as well as the Google Reviews and Google Maps placement that comes along with it. All of this is free of charge for companies.

Search Engine Optimization

The best leads actually come from organic clicks on Google. Ranking for terms like “ac repair” and similar phrases can drive searchers to your website or Google My Business Listing. In either case, if they are properly optimized for conversions with calls to action like phone numbers, you can really earn most of your profit organically. SEO is the best long-term strategy for online marketing since it is an investment in yourself and becomes a sustainable profit generator for years and decades to come. SEO can also be used together with paid advertising.

A Full Scale Approach

A single strategy may not always work out. In fact, it seldom does. It is the combination of several strategies that help HVAC companies earn sales online. What we can say though is that an investment in leads only is counterproductive to your overall web presence and is unlikely to keep you in business very long. If you want to buy leads, that option is still available to you. But make sure that while you’re doing so, you are also investing in your own brand and platform so that you can reap the long-term rewards of a full and robust web presence. Try partnering with a full digital marketing agency like HVAC Webmasters where every base is covered in 2019.

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