Top 10 Strategies to Grow Your HVAC/Mechanical Business
ABOUT THIS GUIDE
The focus of this guide is to identify key areas that can have the biggest impact on your marketing performance and revenue. You’ll see a variety of hands-on strategies, tools, and advice to help you cut through the noise, achieving higher online visibility while outperforming your competitors. Speaking of competitors, we’ll show you how to research and spy on your competitors’ marketing and advertising activities to beat them at their own game!
Competitor Research: Using a few online tools, you’ll be able to see what tech your competitors are using and the audiences they’re targeting
Search Engine Optimization: Learn about keywords and on-page optimization, video content optimization, backlinks, google search console, and keywords rank tracking
Content: Content is king and the best way to snipe traffic from your competition is to find their top converting content pieces and DO IT BETTER.
Website User Experience: See how your website visitors are using your website and use it to identify trends to make decisions and influence their behavior.
Lead Generation: A steady flow of incoming leads is crucial for the business to thrive. Make sure you’re laser focused on the tactics of attracting new business
Influential Placement: Exploit the obvious and undercover areas of Google for higher visibility plus placement on the top online directories you can’t afford to miss out on
Local Pay-Per-Click Ads: We’re going to demystify the PPC game for HVAC contractors. Get the strategies, the platforms, and securing competitor intel.
Social Media: You can’t stay competitive in this market without having an active presence. But active doesn’t mean time-consuming! Get the tips on how to manage.
Once you master your marketing, what’s the next step? Operations. From service to projects, streamlining your operations will drive revenue, save time, and impress your customers. We’d love to show you how.
TOP COMPETITIVE & AUDIENCE RESEARCH TOOLS
Check out these powerful tools that allow for competitive analysis. Even better, many of them are free, so you can get started right away.
1. BuiltWith – complete snapshot of all tools and marketing technology on a website
2. Moat – a tool that shows you all of the display ads your competition is using
3. SparkToro – the ultimate audience insights search engine
4. Taboola Insights – test your ad creative and call to action here
5. SemRush – get a snapshot of your competitor’s paid search success
Free access includes 10 competitor searches to see what technologies they are using. Viewing everything that was or is connected to your competition’s website is tracked by the builtwith.com engine for many years. Add you competitor’s domain and get insights across multiple categories: web analytics tools, marketing automation, media buying, social media, video hosting, website visits, advertising tools, email tools, and more.
Moat.com is the easiest way to discover how your competitors are running display ads. You don’t even need to register an account, just start typing the name of the brand you are interested in and instantly get results.
SparkToro requires quick registration, but you get a dozen free searches packed with audience insights. It’s a great tool if you want to understand where your audience resides in the online world. It takes seconds for the SparkToro engine to identify websites, YouTube channels, social media channels, and other places your audiences frequent. All of this data can be used to improve your advertising targeting – impacting Clickthru Rates (CTR), Cost per click (CPC), and Cost per lead (CPL).
Taboola Insights – https://trends.taboola.com – is another tool that requires no registration. Two must-have features to try are Titles and Images. Titles allow you to test multiple Call-to-Actions (CTRs) or titles and see which one has a higher %s for better CTRs. Images are a good source of inspiration on how to organize and improve click-through rates for your creatives. Simple visual optimizations and tweaks for your ads will guarantee to improve your CTR.
Semrush.com is a large marketing research and competitive insights platform with various functions including SEO, paid search, competitive display ads, content and keywords research, and more. A free account will get you the basics – Domain Overview (Screenshot of Domain Overview is below – with key highlights of competitor website performance). Also, consider Organic Research and Organic Search Traffic (box number in blue) – if you click on this, it will reveal some of the top-performing keywords that are bringing the traffic to your competitor’s website from Google searches.
Search Engine Optimization (SEO) For Your Website
Over 90% of your potential customers will use the internet to find an HVAC service provider in their area. Google search and mobile devices are practically a reflex for most people and businesses today. HVAC service is highly competitive field so it should come as no surprise that your company website must be well optimized to have a chance to show up in Google search results. If one of your potential customers looks for “chiller repair” or “commercial contractors near me” it is up to Google and its algorithm to decide who is going to show up on the first page.
Important variables to consider are keywords and on-page content optimization, content type, and backlinks. Pay attention to these 5 areas:
1. Keywords & On-Page Optimization – how to pick the right keywords and where to add them
2. Video Content – why video and how to optimize for the most traffic possible
3. Backlinks – what are they, why do you need them, what can they do for your business
4. Google Search Console – what is it and why it is critical to your business website
5. Keyword Rank Tracking – identify your rank on Google and other search engines
* Mini Tutorial – how to find out your competitor’s most web valuable content
KEYWORDS & OPTIMIZATION
Why should you even think about SEO? The answer is simple – the reward of a well-optimized website is FREE organic traffic from search engines like Google. Strong SEO results in more opportunities that Google will show your company website to relevant people (aka: your future customers!). Think of it as a form of free advertising that is going to bring you more business.
SEO title, meta description, titles on the page, keywords used in a website’s final URL – all these become some of the most important variables in determining how frequent your website is shown to people looking for your HVAC services. Considerations: Competition for keywords is stiff. Before you use a keyword in the title of the page, URL, text on the page, or even meta tags, ask yourself 1. What is the difficulty rating for this particular keyword and 2. What is the monthly search traffic volume for this keyword? Generally you will see the higher the search volume for a given keyword, the more difficult it is to rank. You can use Google Keywords Planner or an even easier option is Ahrefs keyword difficulty check (free tool):
Another good alternative for keyword difficulty and keyword volume research is the UberSuggest tool from Neil Patel. Let’s reuse the same “boiler repair” example here. If you scroll just a bit you will get to keyword ideas and can explore what options work best for your website – now factoring in the number of searches people make.
VIDEO CONTENT & SEO
Because there are less videos online than text, video content has a better chance of reaching audiences who search a keyword.
To be exact, videos are 45 times more likely to rank on the first page of Google than text results. YouTube’s user-friendliness, combined with the soaring popularity of video content, has made it the second largest search engine behind Google. With 3 billion searches per month, YouTube’s search volume is larger than that of Bing, Yahoo, AOL and Ask.com combined. (Source: Forbes.com).
But, most importantly video content incites action! KISSmetrics found that a call-to-action with a video produces 380% more clicks than a regular sidebar call-to-action. In other words, video boosts a user’s likelihood of taking action on what they see. Three most important areas to optimize for your YouTube video: keyword-optimized title for your video, description, and tags. Want to do some in-depth reading on this – just consider the 3PLAYMEDIA article on YouTube optimization – it’s a great place to start.
YouTube is free – just open a channel for your business and start populating it with content. Content could include interviews with your customers, how-to tutorials led by your field techs, or even maintenance tips on specific pieces of equipment. Don’t over think it!
Another important set of factors is the number of ‘likes’ and traffic that your videos are getting. The more you get, the better your video will rank in YouTube search results. Watch time and audience retention is another factor that helps with video ranking. Build useful and purposeful content and it will have a higher chance of getting better rankings in the long-term.
Also consider recency and frequency of content – Google and YouTube give “bonus points” to recent and fresh content. Once you start a video channel make sure to continue uploading new content to it.
A backlink is a link to your website from another website. This is also known as an inbound link. Backlinks are important because they show that other websites think your site is valuable and relevant. Google uses backlinks as one of the main ranking factors in its search algorithm. The more backlinks you have from reputable website, the higher your website will rank in search results.
There are many ways to get backlinks. You can create great content that other websites will want to link to, or you can reach out to other website owners and ask them to link to your site. You can also participate in online forums and post comments on other websites, which will often include a link back to your website.
Getting high-quality backlinks can be difficult, but it’s important to focus on creating quality content and building relationships with other websites if you want to improve your website’s search engine ranking. Want to know how many backlinks your domain or your competitors have? Use this free tool from Ahrefs.
Important: For maximum SEO juice, make sure your links have your important keywords in the text! Example: if you wrote an article on ‘commercial condenser service’ , make sure you link your URL to those exact keywords
GOOGLE SEARCH CONSOLE
Google Search Console is a free web service that allows website owners to check Google’s indexing status and optimize for increased Google visibility. It also provides data and tools for improving website performance in Google search results. Did you know that over 70% of your competitors in the construction industry are making the same mistake of not connecting Google Search Console to their website?
One of the main benefits of using Google Search Console is that it can help you identify and fix website errors that may be preventing your site from being indexed or appearing in Google search results. This can be extremely helpful in improving your site’s visibility and ranking in Google. Search Console also gives you access to your keyword ranking data – this is Google telling you where you rank for hundreds of different keywords!
Another benefit of using Google Search Console is that it provides detailed data and insights about your website’s traffic and performance in Google search results. This information can be extremely valuable in helping you to understand your website’s audience and how they are finding and using your site. Quick instructions on how to connect GSM to your website.
KEYWORD RANKING DATA
Once you’ve done all of the hard work on the SEO side, start tracking your success. A simple keyword tracking part of SemRush.com (a paid tool but a free trial is available) can take your list of most important keywords and tell you exactly where you rank whether it’s Google, Bing, or Yahoo, and what type of content you are ranking for (video, text, or image for example).
MINI TUTORIAL – HOW TO DISCOVER YOUR COMPETITORS MOST VALUABLE CONTENT
Sometimes all you need is just a few great content ideas to get the traffic going on your website. But, what type of content, what topics, and what keywords should you choose? Use SemRush to discover the best ideas from your competitors or other leading websites in your category. This “hack” requires no technical knowledge or coding skill and anyone can use it.
Learn how to replicate your competitor’s content success using the step-by-step guide below.
TOP CONTENT “HACK” WITH SEMRUSH
Register a paid account with SemRush.com. At the time of publishing, the entry-level plan is about $100 however you’ll only need one month’s subscription and it is well worth the price for this purpose alone. Once registered – navigate to search and type in a competitor’s website. You should see a result dashboard like this. Now, click on the blue number in the Organic Search Traffic box.
It will bring you to Organic search traffic data. On this page, you need to click on the Pages tab (see screenshot below). Doing this will generate the report that will highlight the most important and most visited website content on your competitor website.
In the report, there are two important options to check. First, make sure that you sort the list by the column that says Traffic (see highlighted filter on the screenshot below). This sorts all competitor content from highest traffic numbers to lowest. Second, you can filter to a specific section of the website. This is important if you want to limit your content research to just their most productive pieces of content located on their blog, for example.
When Google Analytics Is Not Enough… try HotJar
Google Analytics is goldmine of information, but did you know that the top 1000 construction companies in the U.S. use 2-3 analytics platforms on their website?
Behavior tracking platforms like HotJar are the second most implemented types of tools after Google Analytics. These powerful tools simplify the way you visualize your website visitors’ behavior on the website via heatmaps, scroll maps, and click maps. The data you collect on how your website visitors are interacting with your website allows you to optimize your website for high click rates, lower bounce rates, and more pages per session. Best of all, you don’t need to code or be an analytics expert. The tools simply break down what your customers or prospects do on your website, pointing out any gaps or missed opportunities that may result in additional traffic and revenue.
Take a look at the built in functionality of HotJar’s heat mapping. Instantly see and analyze where your visitors are navigating, paying special attention to your main call-to-action buttons and how far they scroll on your website. Even better, you can also record a random sample of your website traffic for playback to verify how your visitors are actually exploring your website.
Session recordings (also known as visitor recordings or session replays) are visual renderings of user browsing sessions, and they help you bring more clarity to some of the insights you pick up from a heat map. Instead of making assumptions about the path or logic of clicking, tapping, and/or scrolling you see on a heatmap, session replays give you the ability to see how your users actually interact with your site providing important contextual information.
MINI TUTORIAL – GET LEADS FROM YOUR WEBSITE TRAFFIC
Heads up, commercial service contractors! Chances are your business is not monitoring website traffic for leads.
97% of your website visitors will leave – if you are working with other businesses this is your chance to generate leads from your website instead of losing them.
WHAT’S WEB IDENTIFIED LEADS?
Head to a website like Leady.com and get their Free Trial – use your developer, agency, or marketer on the team to implement their tracking pixel (it’s 2 minutes of work). Once their tracking pixel is in – they will watch your website traffic and identify as much company-level traffic to your website as possible. IMPORTANT – even if these visitors never submitted the Contact Us type form on your website you get a chance to know who they are.
The great part of this technology is that not only it allows you to identify where your potential highest paying customers are coming from, but also what channel they have used to land on your website. Now you can find out if it’s Google Ads, search engine traffic, Facebook, Instagram, Bing, or any other channel.
RETARGETING – FOLLOW YOUR WEBSITE VISITORS ACROSS THE WEB WITH BANNER ADS
97% of your website visitors will leave without completing a contact form. That is why it is important to identify your website traffic & even more important, retarget this traffic with ads.
RETARGETING AND ADROLL
Google Ads is a good choice for beginner retargeting. When you’ve seen some success with your Google retargeting campaigns and want to go all in, consider a retargeting-specific platform like AdRoll. AdRoll expands your potential reach beyond just Google Display Network to Facebook traffic and a variety of other networks and traffic sources across the web. Important: you’ll want to use tested banner ad designs proven to convert before dipping your toe into AdRoll. Remember to look at moat.com for free competitive insights into banner ads used by some of your competitors.
Top 5 reasons why you should consider retargeting:
1. More brand awareness: Display retargeting allows you to show your ads to people who have already visited your website or interacted with your brand in some way. This allows you to increase brand awareness and reach potential customers who may not be familiar with your brand yet.
2. Laser-targeted advertising: Display retargeting allows you to deliver your ads to people who have already shown an interest in what you have to offer. This makes your advertising more targeted and effective, as well as saving you money on wasted impressions.
3. Sky high conversion rates: Retargeted customers are 3x more likely to click on your ad than those that haven’t interacted with your business before. Retargeted ads get a 10x higher click rate than typical display ads.
4. Increased ROI: Because display retargeting is so effective, it also tend to result in a higher ROI than other forms of online advertising. This means that you can get more out of your advertising budget and see a greater return on your advertising spend.
5. Better brand recall: Finally, display retargeting can also help to improve brand recall. The average prospect will need at least 7 touchpoints before they internalize and act on one of your ads. Retargeting is another touchpoint that can run in the background of your more active campaigns.
The great part of using platforms like AdRoll and expanding beyond Google is that your campaign receive expanded reach to Google + Facebook + Twitter + Outbrain + other big publisher networks and/or social media channels.
Retargeting is a marketer’s best friend because it’s also one of the most cost-effective forms of advertising. The average cost for remarketing on Google is $0.66 to $1.23 per click. Compare this to average cost-per-click (CPC) on a keyword-bidding/prospecting campaign at $10 or more!
Google My Business Page and the Top Business Directories
VERIFY & PROMOTE YOUR PAGE
Start your Google My Business page, verify it, and begin gathering Reviews. Why?
1. Reviews Help Local SEO Rankings (This will help you get to the 1st page of Google)
Google My Business reviews are one of the many local search ranking factors that can help your business appear higher in search engine results pages (SERPs). In other words, more reviews can help you attract more website visitors, which can lead to more customers and sales.
2. Reviews Build Trust and Credibility
Prospects and future customers are more likely to trust and do business with companies that have positive reviews from other customers. So, if you want to build trust and credibility with future new business, it’s important to get positive reviews from current customers.
3. Reviews Help You Stand Out from the Competition
If two businesses have similar products or services (aka: all things being equal), future customers are more likely to choose the business with better reviews. So, if you want your business to stand out from the competition, it’s important to make sure you have a healthy number of positive reviews.
4. Reviews Give You Insights into Your Customers
In addition to helping you attract more website visitors and customers, reviews can also give you valuable insights into what your customers think about your products or services. This feedback can help you improve your service and thus create better retention and additional revenue opportunities.
5. Reviews Help You Stay on Google’s Good Side
Google takes customer satisfaction very seriously, and they have been known to penalize businesses that don’t provide a good customer experience. So, if you want to stay on Google’s good side and continue to be highly ranked, make sure your customers love you and that they are posting about it.
TOP 50 BUSINESS DIRECTORIES
HubSpot, one of the leading marketing automation platforms, recently wrote a great piece on the top 50 online local business directories. Registration is free, and many of them have the potential to generate extra traffic for your website. Access this list here.
What is Domain Rating?
Domain rating is a score that’s given to websites to reflect how well they rank on Google based on their backlink profile. The minimum score is 0 and the maximum score is 100. Domain rating is similar, but not the same as, domain authority. Domain Authority (DA), on the other hand, is a metric developed by Moz that is a predictor of how well websites will rank on search engines.
BASIC CALL TRACKING FOR YOUR CAMPAIGNS
CALL TRACKING + CALL RAIL
Call tracking is a great way to start seeing what campaigns are driving business-generating phone calls to you. With providers like CallRail starting at $50 a month – it’s easy to activate this technology. There are other call tracking tools available on the market too:
4. Contactology 5. Marchex
6. WhatConverts 7. CallStack
If you are going to look for a call tacking tool – here’s a list of features to keep in mind and be sure to take a demo before settling on a vendor partner.
1. Call Recording
One of the most important features of any call tracking solution is the ability to record phone calls. This allows businesses to listen back to calls and analyze them for insights into customer behavior.
2. Call Reporting
Another key feature of call tracking solutions is reporting that provides detailed information about each phone call, including the date, time, duration, and caller ID. This information can be used to track which advertising channels are driving phone calls, and also to identify trends in customer behavior.
3. Call Routing
Call routing allows businesses to route calls to different phone numbers, depending on the advertising channel that generated the call. This ensures that each call is handled by the most appropriate representative, and also allows businesses to track which advertising channels are driving the most calls.
4. Call Tracking Numbers
Call tracking numbers are unique phone numbers that are assigned to each advertising campaign. When a customer calls the tracking number, the call is routed to the appropriate call center agent and recorded. This allows businesses to track which advertising campaigns are driving phone calls and if they’re resulting in additional revenue.
5. Local Number Portability
Local number portability (LNP) allows businesses to use local phone numbers for their tracking numbers. This can be beneficial for businesses with multiple locations, as it allows them to use the same tracking number in all of their advertising campaigns.
6. Call Recording and Archiving
Call recording and archiving allows businesses to store and playback recorded phone calls. Beyond needing for strictly marketing purposes, this feature can be great for businesses that want to review customer calls for quality assurance or training purposes.
7. Integration with CRM Systems
Some call tracking solutions offer integration with CRM systems, such as Salesforce or Zendesk. This allows businesses to route calls to the appropriate representative based on customer information stored in the CRM system. Additionally, it can provide valuable insights into customer behavior that can be used to improve customer service and even opportunity for upsell or cross-sell.
LOCAL PPC ADS ON GOOGLE AND BING
LOCAL PPC ADS WITH GOOGLE & BING
BINGLocal pay-per-click ads on Google can really boost your company’s ability to generate leads. One reason is that they can help you to target your audience more specifically. This means that you can make sure that the people who see your ad are more likely to be interested in what you have to offer. Another reason is that they can be an effective way to get your name out there. If you have a good ad, it can really help to increase your visibility and brand awareness. Finally, local pay-per-click ads can reach people who might not have otherwise seen your ad, which helps to increase your chances of generating leads and sales.
Start with a simple research of a competitor and leverage tools like SemRush.com to get insights into what keywords they are already targeting with their PPC ads.
Click on Advertising Research, type the website URL into the search bar, and SemRush will show you all of the keywords that your competitors are using today. You’ll also be able to see the approximate budget they are using for paid search ads on Google, total volume of paid traffic, and all of the keywords with a detailed stats (volume of searches per keyword, average bid price, level of competition, etc.).
Take the best ideas and create a test bidding campaign on Google Ads. Not sure where to start? Here is a great YouTube starter video that can show you how to set-up your first campaign.
LEVERAGE DALL-E TO CREATE IMAGES AND GRAPHICS ASSETS
DISCOVERING DALL-E AI FOR GRAPHICS
DALL-E is an artificial intelligence program that creates images from textual descriptions. It uses a 12 billion parameter training version of the GPT-3 transformer model to interpret the natural language inputs and generate corresponding images. All that to say, when provided with the text “construction building crane art painting”, it produces an image of a construction crane in a painterly style. Pretty cool, huh?
Dall-E can generate 3d rendered art, photo-realistic graphics, paintings, pixelated art, you name it. Atest account comes in with a couple to a few dozen image requests and you get 12 each months for free. This can help eliminate costs on purchasing high quality graphics.
SOCIAL MEDIA: FACEBOOK, INSTAGRAM, PINTEREST
USING FACEBOOK CAMPAIGNS
There are a number of ways that commercial HVAC companies can use Facebook ads to theiradvantage. For example, ads can be used to target potential customers in a specific geographic area.Additionally, Facebook ads can be used to promote special deals or discounts on their services.Finally, Facebook ads can drive brand awareness and attract new customers.
The average cost-per-click (CPC) for Facebook ads in the construction industry is $0.80. This means that construction companies will pay an average of $0.80 for each person who clicks on their ad. However, it is important to note that CPCs can vary depending on a number of factors, such as thetarget audience, the ad format, and the overall goals of the campaign. This can be a very cost effective way to reach out to your target audiences.
Zoom in on segments data via Facebook campaigns and target based on Demographics segments. For example, we want to target businesses only in Orlando area and 20mi around it. Focusing on businesses that are in Food and Restaurant industry segment, & we only want to target decision markers within these businesses. We are going to select Demographics = Management. You can now narrow down this search even further adding Interest Segments behavior – people interested in specific refrigeration brands or special type of commercial AC equipment.
You can see that even with the few targeting settings that we’ve selected audience is now defined and a total of 19K people in 20 mile radius around Orlando. $20 per day ad spend on Facebook I can now reach 1.2K to 3.4K new people every day.
PINTEREST AND INSTAGRAM
There are a number of ways that HVAC companies can use Pinterest and Instagram to their advantage. For example, they can use these platforms to showcase their work, share photos and videos of completed projects, and give future customers an inside look at their business.
Additionally, Pinterest and Instagram can be used to connect with other businesses in the industry, as well as to find new customers and clients. And don’t forget that these platforms constantly share up-to-date news and trends in the HVAC space (which should inspire you to create your own new content based on these topics).