An HVAC system is the beating heart of a residential household or commercial building, but your customers don’t need large HVAC services all that often. Because of this, the competition for leads is fierce – and expensive.
How expensive? The average HVAC contractor spends between $200 and $300 to acquire a single customer, according to a report from the U.S. Department of Energy.
That’s a lot of investment cutting into your bottom line. So you need killer HVAC advertising and HVAC software to get enough leads, manage them, and to close those deals. Here are five tested strategies for driving your leads up and cost per acquisition down.
Any article that promises a magic bullet for lead generation is bunk. Old methods might work just as well as new ones. The art of entrepreneurship is in experimenting with both. See if you’re making the most of the following:
Direct mail and flyers stuck in the doors or mailboxes of your service area are one of the oldest methods of gaining new customer leads. If you’ve done these before, assess why they did or didn’t work? If you know the value of leads you’ve got from this kind of HVAC advertising and decided it was too high, see if there are ways you can tweak either efficiency or cost.For instance, cheaper physical mailers and either target a larger area of customers or a more focused, niche one might be right for your business. And don’t forget to get an honest critique of the design, either. You might just not be drawing the right people in.
It’s the 21st century. You need a killer website regardless of whether you’re selling remodels or water heaters. Take a serious look at your website to make sure it:
That’s the bare minimum. If you’re feeling particularly savvy, install a chatbot on your website to prompt users with commonly asked questions. This way you can start the lead generation process without lifting a finger.
What do people do when they’re looking HVAC services? They either ask their friends and network or they Google it. You’d better make sure you’re at the top of the heap when they make that search.So: How to do that? Your very first step is to make sure your business and business address is listed via Google’s My Business listings. This is critical for helping people find you and being able to quickly access key business information like recent reviews and the best way to contact you.It’ll also help your local Search Engine Optimization (SEO) ranking. You especially want to rank highly for search terms like “HVAC services near me.”Google is increasingly using web searchers’ “near me” term to link local business to your next potential customers. This means you also want to include your service area in the titles and body of your pages. If you offer HVAC services in Des Moines, be sure to list that.
When you’re staring down the barrel of a $300 cost per customer, it pays to try a variety of lead generators. Digital advertising can be a great, cost-effective way to attract new work as long as you’re smart about it (if not, it can run away from you quick).Try Local Services AdsIn addition to the regular search engine business, Google offers an ads platform designed specifically for service professionals. Local Services ads ensure that people searching for “HVAC services” will see your ad at the top of the search results page.When the user clicks on that ad, they can then either send you a message or call you directly. This puts them right in your sales pipeline. Local Services isn’t free, but it results in a warmer lead than a website sign-up and shortcuts getting leads through organic SEO.That’s not to say that it’s better than organic search, but the two work with each other to reduce your lead and customer acquisition cost over time.
Speaking of shortcuts, there are plenty of pre-existing lead funnels out there, from Thumbtack, to Angie’s List, to HomeAdvisor, to name a few. Or consider more specialized lead services like TheHomeFixers, which offers exclusive, phone-verified leads. If you’re an HVAC professional just starting out, you’re almost certainly on some of them.Ultimately, the goal is to own all your own lead generation rather than outsourcing it, but these services can be a great place to start. The cost of these services varies, but they do provide a valuable funnel with built-in bells and whistles you don’t have to create yourself.So, if they’re not working for you, try to evaluate why: Is your messaging off? Are you showing up in the wrong categories? Do you have too many bad reviews? Are you managing the leads effectively by calling right away and giving them great service?And if none of these things raise a red flag, consider moving from one platform to another and try your luck there. You can’t always predict what will hit.
At the end of the day, however, your very best lead generators should be the customers you already have.This works on a few levels. If you’re savvy, you should be asking your customers for reviews on the places we mentioned above, Google Business Reviews and whichever lead platform you’re focusing on. Include that in your invoice and your service follow-up. And consider using an automated service like NiceJob.That only works if you do great work, maintain a good attitude and customer relations, and fix problems that arise (since problems do happen –we’re only human after all) quickly, thoroughly, and professionally.Then, you can take the relationship once step further. Incentivize both your customer and the next customer to use your services,say, by offering a free annual service inspection for referrals, or a discount on the next service.Get creative about it. They already like you, so this just sweetens the pot. It’s a win for everyone.
With the high cost of acquiring customers, it’s important to make sure you’re using the right methods to generate leads. Try these strategies and find what works best for you. It could be some combination of them all, or maybe one strategy will really stand out.Whichever route you take, make sure to always look at what’s working and what’s not. Use those insights to fine tune how you’re marketing and generating leads. Over time, you’ll get the right mix and find the lowest cost, most effective ways to generate leads.