Tag Archives: Internet Marketing

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.

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.

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 (800) 353-3409 to learn more.

Resources From HVAC Webmasters

Related Articles and Podcasts
True Client Stories: Almost Great HVAC Marketing (Podcast)
Understanding Your HVAC Brand Online (Podcast)
Should You Halt SEO During Slow Seasons? (Podcast)
HVAC Case Study #1: Rocky HVAC (Article)

Helpful Webmasters Services
HVAC Internet Marketing
HVAC Brand Development

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.
https://youtu.be/oE4yYIaceVA

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

True Client Stories: I Failed Online So I’m Joining a Franchise…

Franchises off some alluring benefits to HVAC professionals just starting off, but not all brands are created equal. Is joining on truly the best move for your business, or could you earn better growth through other means?

Jason and Nolen reveal a true tale of a heating and cooling contractor thrust into this difficult choice. Be sure to listen in if you’ve considered joining a franchise.

Helpful Lessons for HVAC Professionals

  • The main value of franchise marketing is brand recognition.
  • Franchise marketing doesn’t work if your community isn’t familiar with the brand your company operates under.
  • Always check to see if the franchise already ranks well organically!
https://youtu.be/17gmaWrkQnA

Joining a Franchise

Starting an heating and cooling company is tough work! Raising it off the ground into a developed brand is an even more difficult task, with many professionals never overcoming the challenge. That’s what makes joining a franchise such an enticing solution for HVAC professionals.

By taking on the name and guidance of a parent brand, they gain access to certain marketing perks that could help them earn more leads.

Franchising Benefits

Joining a Franchise: The Pros

Brand recognition is huge when it comes to online marketing. When people search your brand directly in Google, their odds of converting into customers jumps way up over keyword searches. Many fresh-faced contractors are particularly keen to win that recognition when they sign up as a franchisee.

In addition to this brand access, many franchises offer specialized marketing tools for connecting with potential leads. These may include email templates, physical collateral (like pamphlets), and other digital marketing resources. This makes it easier for technicians who have little to no experience with advertising online.

The Costs of Franchising

Joining a Franchise: The Cons

First, franchise brands take a percentage of your income. That money typically doesn’t come out after taxes either; it comes from your gross profits. This means tens of thousands of dollars withdrawn every year. You’ll feel the loss during seasons of aggressive growth, and you’ll definitely notice it during slow seasons.

Parent brands also exercise significant control over their franchisees. This could mean your company is obligated to only work with certain marketing agencies, or that you have to pay fees for help from the parent brand. It might seem like a lot of money, but it could add up over time.

Franchising Decision Time

The guiding principle and goal behind franchising is to strengthen the overarching brand while providing better sales for the ground level contractors. In theory, an HVAC professional who becomes a franchisee should earn more money than they did before because people are comfortable with the brand. This natural raises a crucial question:

What if no one is familiar with the franchise brand?

If no one in your community recognizes the brand you’ve associated your services with, then they have no built up trust with that name. Even worse, that means that the brand has little-to-no organic presence in local search. If homeowners and commercial clients can’t even find your website, then how are they going to hire your services?

Adding to this concern is the fact that many franchises tightly control who you can use for your online marketing services. If they have a preferred (mandatory) partnership with an ineffective marketing agency, that could leave you stuck with mediocre results for the long-term. Now, all these concerns may be for naught if your franchising company is a household name, but then you’d also be paying more for the franchise rights each year.

Local Results Showing Organic and Paid Listings
Google Prefers to List Local Businesses, So Franchises Often Rely on Expensive Ads.

Is Joining a Franchise Worth It?

If you can secure a relationship with a widely known brand at a decent profit percentage, joining a franchise may be worth it. If the company that you’re considering doesn’t have brand recognition (in your area) or strong local rankings, then there’s no reason to join them. You could do better on your own with an optimized website, consistent reviews, and citations! Google prefers showing local businesses anyway, meaning you have a great chance of winning quality search ranks.

Looking to Grow Organically?

If you want to grow your own business and keep your profits, then local search optimization is the way to go. Our team at HVAC Webmasters would love to support your business with optimized web design, professional writing, and powerful reputation management. We’ve helped countless professionals earn page 1 rankings and dominate local search!

To learn more about online marketing, or to consult with an expert and see if joining a franchise is right for you, call us at (800) 353-3409.

Other Resources from HVAC Webmasters

Articles and Podcasts for Further Study
Understanding Your HVAC Brand Online (Podcast)
You Don’t Have to Be Perfect to Win at HVAC SEO (Podcast)
The Untold Dangers of Website Templates (Article)

Related HVAC Web Services
HVAC Brand Development
HVAC Company Reviews
Content Marketing for HVAC Companies

Understanding Your HVAC Brand Online (Podcast)

In 2021, Branding for HVAC companies isn’t the same as it was two decades ago. When it comes to creating exposure for your HVAC business, nothing fights more challenging for your company than your online brand. If you want to earn more clients (who doesn’t?), you’ll need to understand Google’s local search process and how people find your brand.

On today’s podcast, Jason and Nolen dive into some of the general strategies behind online branding. Be sure to listen in if your business has struggled to make headway in local search ranking! Keep an ear open for these essential tips too.

Tips for HVAC Professionals:

  • Even Google needs help separating your business from others.
  • The search engine uses E-A-T to gauge your brand suitability.
  • Traditional advertising sees increasingly low ROIs.
  • Many companies see zero brand visibility without a GMB listing.
  • Google (currently) sees your website’s age as your company age.
https://youtu.be/D7Ir1H4Uafo

The Makeup of Your HVAC Brand

What is an “online brand” for an HVAC company?

  • The Domain Name (or .com)
  • The Google My Business Listing
  • All Company Reviews
  • Blogging and Other Content Updates
  • Branded / Direct Searches
  • Citations
  • Google Map Postings
  • Social Media Accounts / Activity

Google examines all of these signals to determine the value (or suitability) of your online brand. Keep in mind; the search engine has thousands of similar business listings to sort through and hundreds of millions of related pages on top of those! So even the catchiest brand name can get lost in the overwhelming number of industry competitors.

Let’s break down these branding facets into three different categories: Identity, Ability, and Activity.

Online Branding on an HVAC Website

Establishing Online Brand Identity

Your Target Branding Tools

  • GMB Listing
  • Domain Name
  • Citations
  • Social Media (Accounts)

Despite popular opinion to the contrary, Google is not an all-knowing force of the industry. The search engine’s understanding is limited to the information that users provide. Google can’t produce data from anything.

So if you think that Google knows about your 3rd generation plumbing company and overwhelming client satisfaction rate, you might be dead wrong.

A Star Brand is Born

Google My Business for Online Branding
Google My Business Makes it Easier to Earn Traffic!

Most (if not all) company online brands begin with listings and citations. Physical location, company age, operating hours, industry type, service area, and other data paint an essential portrait of your business. You’ll want to provide this data to as many established citation companies as possible.

When it comes to local search, the ideal place to kick off your brand is Google My Business (GMB). 

GMB listings are essential for appearing in local search results, but they also provide helpful interaction capabilities with potential clients via the Knowledge Graph tool. According to consumer research, 56% of search users who interact with your GMB listing use it to visit your website. Additionally, 24% use them to call your business directly (Statista).

Citations

Grab Those Citations

Of course, sharing your company information with citation sources like Yelp, Facebook, BBB, and Manta will further establish the identity of your online brand. They also facilitate the review process, a crucial part of establishing your services. We’ll talk more about this later.

For now, make sure that the information you provide across your sources is consistent. Even the way you abbreviate your physical address matters! If your HVAC business has the opportunity, you might also want to list it in relevant industry publications.

Domain Name

Stand Out With Your Domain

Another essential branding tool in your question for local search traffic is your domain name. What a make-or-break decision! While many companies mistake targeting generic keywords and city/state combinations, this tactic only makes your brand harder for Google to distinguish.

The best domain names combine HVAC terminology with something quirky or memorable. For instance, real-world company Main Street Heating & Cooling realized their domain name needed to be a little more distinct than their usual title. So they chose mainstreetcomfort.com, a domain name that Google can easily distinguish from other industry competitors.

On a side note, make sure you register your domain under your business’ name, not the hosting company’s, to avoid potential problems when your registration approaches expiration.

Proving Online Brand Ability

Your Target Branding Tools:

  • Website Content
  • Customer Reviews
  • Citations

Just about anyone can set up a website and claim to provide AC repairs. Thousands of professionals boast in their “best AC repairs” and “affordable furnace maintenance”, but Google only shows a handful in front page local results. So how does the search engine decide who gets picked?

E-A-T: Expertise, Authority, and Trustworthiness

In its Search Quality Evaluator Guidelines, Google has expressly stated that it looks for these qualities as it judges content. These brand values, however, can be evaluated even beyond the actual business website and service pages.

Reviews Build Credibility for Your Business and Confirm Your Service Offerings.

Online Branding Through Service Reviews
Reviews Build Credibility for Your Business and Confirm Your Service Offerings.

Matching Claims With Results

To prove your online brand’s trustworthiness, Google needs to match up the claims of your website (such as what services you provide) with the testimonies of relevant sources. One of the most powerful channels of information in the evaluation process is your client reviews. Not only do they speak to the general quality of your services, but they also verify that your company does what you say it does.

Having multiple citations enables reviews from a variety of sources. If you continue to ask for reviews after finished jobs, that means numerous sources will be confirming your brand’s abilities! As your team gains more experience and your website ages, Google will reward this proven ability with higher rankings in local search.

Engaging in Brand Activity

Your Target Branding Tools

  • Blogging
  • Customer Reviews
  • Direct Searches
  • Content Updates
  • Social Media (Posting)

Online branding is an ongoing process. While Coca-Cola and other multi-billion dollar brands can sit back and rest on their laurels, HVAC professionals have to fight to maintain their top position. Since Google doesn’t have real-world eyes watching as company’s open and close their business, the search engine relies on online branding activity to infer these details.

Content Marketing and Online Branding
Your Blog Can Be a Powerful Tool for Branding, if You Use it Right!

Managing Content & Reviews

When a site goes live, Google crawlers make their way through the pages to analyze the content. So Crawling is how Google creates an initial picture of what your business does. Later on, these same crawlers revisit the site, on the hunt for new content. The process goes on and on over the years.

If the bots repeatedly find no new content, Google might believe your business has closed down. That’s why so many HVAC companies who enjoyed top rankings find themselves on the back pages of local search.

So what online brand activity can your business use to stay up-to-date?

New Content

Content Marketing & Refurbishing

Blogging is the go-to tool for many HVAC businesses. Not only does it provide proof of continued activity, but it’s also the perfect way to earn featured listings and other high-traffic search results. Of course, Facebook Posts and Instagram posts also help, especially with original visual content.

Older content can spring back to life too. For example, some of your business’s most valuable assets are your service pages and handy guides. Take time every year to assess this valuable content and refurbish them for fresh value. You can even take advantage of this cyclical editing to amp up your keyword strategy!

Gather Reviews

Building a Review Bank

As we like to say, reviews are one of the purest forms of digital currency. Not only do they pay huge dividends with Google’s perception of your online brand, but they also encourage other consumers to try out your HVAC company! Most companies partly understand the value of customer feedback, but few make the necessary effort to collect it.

If you only take one lesson away from this discussion, let it be this: never stop asking for reviews! Train your team to ask for them immediately after repairs. Follow up with clients after installations and explain how important their feedback is to your business’ growth. You’ll be amazed just how much your online brand will climb the local search rankings.

Start Building Your Brand

Ready to start crafting a brand that lasts? Our team at HVAC Webmasters would love to help! Not only do our clients enjoy impressive rankings in local search, but they also earn higher quality leads. With years of experience in the industry, you can expect powerful results from our team of seasoned content writers, SEO specialists, website designers, and editors.