Tag Archives: PPC

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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.


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!

Other Resources From HVAC Webmasters

Related Articles and Podcasts
Streamlined SEO for HVAC Contractors: Tips and Traps (Article)
Should You Halt SEO During Slow Seasons? | Search Trends (Podcast)
You Don’t Have to Be Perfect to Win at HVAC SEO (Podcast)

Helpful Services From Our Team
HVAC Website Design
HVAC Local Search Marketing
PPC Advertising for HVAC Companies

  • plumbing heating and air alliance member
  • contractors of america best digital agency
  • expertise.com best seo agencies in fort worth

HVAC Marketing On The Cheap (Podcast)

Almost every business begins with little to no funds for marketing. As a result, even experienced companies can experience a dry season. However, a few steps could make all the difference in the coming years instead of battening down the hatches and doing nothing.

Today, Jason and Nolen discuss how to start up your HVAC marketing plan even if you don’t have lots of funds. They’ll focus primarily on growing your search presence, which gradually creates a steady influx of HVAC leads for your business. So if you’re operating on a tight budget, be sure to listen in.

HVAC Marketing Tips for Professionals:

  • Always begin by setting up your Google My Business account.
  • Buy a cheap template site to start developing your online presence.
  • Start asking for client reviews, and never stop!
  • Register your domain as close to your name as possible. Avoid generics.

Low Budget Marketing

Let’s not waste time. There’s an ideal way to do online search marketing, but sometimes a tight budget prevents people from choosing the best. That’s life. Thankfully, you don’t have to sit on your hands and hope that business will pick up enough to start getting online clients one day!

The following HVAC marketing plan focuses on free and extremely low-cost solutions that will build a foundation for your brand. We need to be extremely clear: you (probably) will not notice tremendous results from the start. However, your business will be in a much better place six months from now if you faithfully follow this process.

Here we go.

Step #1: Get Listed in GMB

Google My Business (GMB) offers free listings to help your business get started in local search. These listings are essential if you want any organic leads. According to a recent publication by Search Engine Journal and extensive research by Merkle, “Organic search produced 23% of all site visits in Q2 2019.” However, without registering your company with GMB, your company is unlikely to earn any leads from Google.

Steps for Registering Your GMB Account

  1. 1. Go to google.com/business/ and get started.
  2. 2. Submit your company name, location, and industry information.
  3. 3. Set your service radius from your business address (or home).
  4. 4. Submit your contact information.
  5. 5. Choose a method to confirm your listing with Google, then confirm.
Picture of HVAC GMB

Step #2: Build a Cheap Website

There’s a couple of sweet spots for getting the biggest bang for your marketing budget (or lack thereof) when it comes to website design. On the low end of the spectrum, we’ve found that it’s usually better for startups to begin with a free template design or something dirt cheap. There’s no illusion of fanciness or complicated optimization.

Many HVAC companies start experiencing problems when they move beyond the $100 threshold. Of course, you’d expect somewhat higher results and capabilities from a $300 website, but most companies who offer those design packages use a cheap template anyway. So you might as well save the money and invest it in another part of your business.

Cheap Website Templates for HVAC Marketing

Source: ThemeForest

Step #3: Register Your Domain

Your domain name (the address or URL) is one of the most crucial branding assets your company will ever claim. Of course, you must protect it at all costs, but most businesses don’t even know how to pick a compelling name. There are a few basic rules to follow when it comes to selecting and claiming your domain.

Aim for a very memorable and non-generic domain name!

Generic names are harder to rank for in search. Business listings with ultra-generic names (dallasheatingandcooling.com, for instance) may not even show up in search. People should remember your name and laugh, then for them not to remember your name at all!

On an equally important note, make sure that you own the domain name, not a hosting company. You don’t want any complications with your host trying to sell the domain to another business. Believe us; it’s happened too many times!

Reviews Can Make or Break Your Reputation. So always Ask Happy Customers for Feedback!

Domain Name Search

Step #4: Ask for Reviews

Reviews are a form of online currency, but they’re so much more. Client feedback is a testament to your team’s capabilities and your customer service. Unfortunately, most people forget to provide reviews unless they’ve had an awful experience. 

That’s why you and your team must consistently ask your clients for reviews. Don’t wait either! Ask immediately after concluding services. At the very latest, you might wish to wait a couple of days (say after an installation) to follow up and ask for reviews. Asking in person creates goodwill with the existing client and trust with prospective consumers.

Google prefers reviews to come from various resources, so try to spread out the feedback between Google, Facebook, and other citations. By routinely asking happy clients for reviews, you’ll easily drown out any different sort of negative complaints from that odd customer.

Review Management Tool on an HVAC Website

Step #5: Review Your Progress

Once you gained some ground in local search, leads should start to come in at a much faster rate. That steady stream of business to your website means you’ll have better funds for future marketing ideas! You can even take some time to upgrade your website and strengthen your brand.

When that day comes, we hope you’ll partner with the HVAC Webmasters

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  • contractors of america best digital agency
  • expertise.com best seo agencies in fort worth

The 2024 Guide to HVAC Marketing: What’s Working Now

HVAC Marketing (Guide Cover)

HVAC marketing can be a loaded phrase. For a newer generation of contractors, it brings to mind digital marketing methods like SEO and Facebook Ads, while for traditionalists, it sparks images of billboards and newspaper ads.

Each of these things falls under the marketing umbrella, but which ones are best suited for your company depends on variables like size, location, budget, and goals.

I’m Nolen Walker, founder and CEO of HVAC Webmasters, a digital marketing agency for HVAC professionals. I’ve been doing this for 10+ years, and the marketing landscape continues to change.

When I first launched this agency in 2013, marketing an HVAC company online was like the Wild West. Marketing gurus used black-hat tactics to make their clients appear first on Google search results and gain more customers through various marketing channels.

As consumers grew more aware of scams and misleading promotional techniques, Google and other platforms altered their algorithms to protect users against fraudulent marketing practices. Today, the marketing landscape better reflects the needs and preferences of consumers.

I’ve written this guide to help HVAC companies hone in on proven marketing techniques that drive consistent results today. My insights are based on 10+ years of first-hand experience designing and executing marketing plans for local HVAC businesses across the United States.

The Purpose of HVAC Marketing

My experience working with thousands of business owners over the past decade has proven that most companies invest in marketing to generate HVAC leads and acquire new customers. While marketing has ancillary benefits, like building consumer trust, its true motivation is lead generation.

The Cost of HVAC Marketing

A standard marketing budget is 9.5% of your company’s revenue, which means the cost varies depending on how much you can afford to spend. Additionally, marketing costs vary depending on the type of channel you invest in, from Facebook Ads to a local radio spot.

  • SEO Services: $500-$3,000 per month
  • Website Hosting: $20-$100 per month
  • Facebook Ads: $150-$300 per month
  • Google Ads: $1,000-$10,000 per month
  • Billboards: $250-$4,000 per month
  • Print Ads: $250-$5,000 per month
  • Radio Ads: $800-$20,000 per month

Free Marketing Alternatives

Startup heating and cooling businesses can’t afford to invest 9.5% of nothing into paid marketing campaigns. While noticeable results will ultimately require financial investment, there are free alternatives you can use to lay a solid promotional foundation.

  • Google Business Profile
  • Social Media
  • NAP Citations
  • Word-of-Mouth

Top Marketing Channels for HVAC Companies in 2024

Search Engine Optimization

One of the most popular digital marketing techniques is HVAC SEO or search engine optimization. The strategy consists of refining web content, URLs, links, and user experience to rank more effectively on Google, naturally driving more traffic and business to your company.

SEO is a massive industry, and most local companies now invest in some form of SEO. There are right and wrong ways to execute search optimization, and HVAC contractors should invest in the right services to help them achieve their goals.

Importance of SEO (Infographic)

Pay Per Click Advertising

Advertising is a form of marketing, and pay-per-click (PPC) ads are the most popular digital advertising method. Most novice HVAC companies gravitate towards pay-per-click ads because they produce quick results without much effort.

While short-term lead generation is appealing, a long-term PPC investment can yield negative ROI without careful planning. In most cases, PPC works best as part of a broader digital marketing strategy that includes SEO, reputation management, and remarketing or pixel tracking.

Screenshot of Google PPC Results

Social Media Advertising

In addition to paying for Google ad clicks, contractors can invest in Facebook Ads, YouTube Ads, and even NextDoor Ads. Every social platform has an advertising platform for local businesses.

For HVAC companies, in particular, Facebook Ads have grown in popularity.

With Facebook advertising, companies can target consumers with discounts, offers, and seasonal specials. HVACR professionals can even invest in lead-gen ads that capture the user’s contact information on the spot.

Social Media Users (US Adults)

Remarketing / Pixel Tracking

As traditional marketers know, consumers rarely buy a service or product at first glance. The levers required to boost conversions often occur gradually after repeated exposure to a brand.

In digital marketing, remarketing or pixel tracking helps companies achieve these goals. Users visit your website as their browser stores cookies that tag them to see your ads as they browse the internet.

Your target customers spend a lot of time on Facebook and other social media platforms, targeting them after leaving your website.

Retargeting Ad Process Chart


Research shows that billboards continue to produce substantial ROI in 2024. As a form of out-of-the-home advertising, billboards place your HVAC brand front and center for potential customers.

Like other forms of advertising, billboards work best in unison with different online and in-person marketing techniques.

The downside of billboards is the cost. After all, placing your company on a highway or main road will never be cheap.

Graphic Showcasing an Example of a Billboard Opportunity

Print Advertising

Newspapers and magazines have grown virtually obsolete in the past decade, and investing in advertising on these platforms might seem like a waste. However, those who continue to read newspapers trust them more than ever.

Research indicates that 82% of people trust print ads. If you can target local newspapers with HVACR advertisements, the ROI could prove surprisingly favorable.

HVAC Print Magazine

Radio Ads

While music streaming services seem to have replaced the radio, a surprising number of consumers still listen. A study shows that the average American still consumes 13+ hours of radio weekly.

Some of HVAC contractors’ most reliable clients have not entirely transitioned online and may need some coaxing to connect digitally.

Tracking radio ROI is simple and one of the reasons companies still invest in advertising.

TV Commercials

Let’s be clear: YouTube is now the top platform for video consumption worldwide. In 2018, digital ad spending officially overtook television ad spending. However, television ad sales increased by 5% in the same year.

The trend indicates that as the competition diminishes, the ROI increases. HVAC contractors looking to make a name for themselves in their local community may still benefit from a television spot.

My Keys to a Succesful HVAC Marketing Plan

I am passionate about helping HVAC companies develop a marketing plan that leads to sustainable success. With this in mind, I started my own podcast called the HVAC Marketing Plan Podcast.

While I encourage contractors to check out those episodes, I also want to outline my keys to a successful marketing plan in this guide.

You can see my keys below:

Key Performance Indicators (KPIs)

Defining how you measure the success of your marketing campaigns starts with KPIs or key performance indicators. Establishing KPIs before investing in promotional channels lets you objectively measure success or failure.

Examples of KPIs include:

  • Website Traffic
  • Leads Per Month
  • Conversion Rate
  • Reviews Per Month

Brand Clarity

I advise companies to clearly define the main elements of their brand, like their business name and areas of focus. Differentiating yourself in the marketplace is one key to success and allows you to implement strategies that align with your brand.

Examples of brand clarity include:

  • Company Name
  • Business Address / Service Area(s)
  • Domain Name
  • Expertise or Specialty Services

Target Market

One mistake companies make is failing to define their target market, especially regarding location. One client left our agency because they wanted to expand to a state on the other side of the country, which tanked their company.

Here are some examples of target markets:

  • Geographic Location
  • Pain Points
  • Seasonal Needs
  • Age and Living Status

Foundational Channels

No business can invest in every channel initially, so I recommend selecting a few “foundational” channels as part of your initial plan. There is plenty of room for flexibility moving forward, but certain channels are ideal for setting a long-term path to success.

Examples of foundational channels include:

  • Google Organic
  • Google Business Profile
  • Referral Program

Realistic Budgeting

Defining your current budget is different than projecting what you want your budget to be in the future. I recommend focusing on your budget today to determine which investments are realistic for your company.

Elements of a budget include:

  • Allocation
  • Cost Per Acquisition
  • Return on Investment

Adjustments and Flexibility

Think of your marketing plan as an evolving document with room for flexibility and adjustments. As you achieve wins and experience losses, you must adapt various aspects of your plan for sustainable success.

Examples of adjustment within a marketing plan include:

  • Analysis
  • Success Alterations
  • Failure Alterations

Ongoing HVAC Marketing Success

For newer companies, entering the marketing landscape can be overwhelming. My agency, HVAC Webmasters, will assist you with your needs. For those not ready to invest in professional services, I recommend starting by claiming your free Google Business Profile and building citations.

As your company grows, you’ll build a budget robust enough to invest in professional marketing services. Whether you target digital marketing channels like SEO or Facebook Ads or choose traditional forums like billboards and print ads, your company’s long-term success will involve strategic promotion.

I hope my marketing guide proves useful for your ongoing success. While it’s a lot to digest all at once, remember to consult it whenever you need guidance on your next promotional venture.