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

Buying a lead is not the worst idea for an HVAC contractor. 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 HVACR leads actually expands even further beyond the negativity surrounding them. Buying leads can be a pitfall for your company and might discourage you from investing in marketing resources that increase your brand visibility and generate sales sustainably.

“I Hate My Lead Source”

If you are a heating & cooling contractor who has uttered these words you aren’t alone. In fact, you are merely one of the 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 a 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 3rd party platform, they benefit 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

The 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 the 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 from a lead platform since you are investing in Google rather than yourself. First, 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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