Sometimes trying to lock down an online marketing strategy feels like sailing a ship in choppy waters. While Google makes waves with new policies and features, smartphones and mobile technology are making it difficult for HVACR contractors to stay afloat. Unless, of course, you have a better boat.
Right now, the seas are stormy. Mobile technology is evolving at a breakneck speed and Google is making mobile search their number one priority. In all honesty, this has been in the making for years. Smartphone technology has been getting better and better. It was only a matter of time before it reached the HVACR industry.
According to a recent report, 70 percent of the total time Americans spend online happens on their mobile phones. People are browsing the internet mostly in the early morning and late afternoon – believe it or not, over 60 percent of Americans check their phones within 5 minutes of waking up.
Mobile technology is now an essential part of daily life. HVACR purchase decisions are being made online, on mobile. And that adds up to a lot of opportunities to reach potential customers. Over one third of homeowners start home improvement research on a search engine, which means a huge chunk of your target demographic is going to search for an HVACR solution on their smartphone.
How is one supposed to man a ship in such unpredictable waters? Since mobile usage is no longer in its infancy, we have a lot of data on what makes people call your HVACR company and what makes them lose interest. We have the tools to stay afloat, now all we need is a compass.
Consider the following a map of sorts, so you can get your company headed in the right direction and stand apart from the competition. Here are 5 mobile trends to watch and how each one is going to help you land more customers.
When smartphones first hit the market, you couldn’t stop young people from buying them up. That was over 10 years ago. Now, there are so many different types of smartphones on the market that it’s hard to tell the difference between them. Over 95 percent of Americans own a smartphone, and that number spans from fourth graders to retirees. Kids aren’t the only ones glued to their phones anymore.
Homeowners over 50 are the people most likely to buy a new heating or air conditioning unit, and these folks are using their phones all the time. 74 percent of the over 50 crowd own and use them on a regular basis. That means close to two thirds of your most promising HVACR prospects will probably use their phones to search for a contractor.
By being mobile-friendly, your company’s marketing is more likely to attract a prospect’s attention when they’re motivated to make an appointment and a purchasing decision. You’ll be there at the point of decision.
With more than half of search queries coming from mobile, Google recently started giving mobile optimized sites a higher search status than traditional sites. This is great news for HVACR contractors because mobile users are more likely to turn to their phones for heating and cooling solutions.
Here’s the thing: they may make a few stops along the way before they call. More and more users are starting their research on one device and finishing it on another, which means you need to be there when they’re ready to call.
You can make a homeowner remember your HVACR business by giving your ads all the bells and whistles. There is only so much space on a mobile screen — if your ad maximizes that space, you’re going to boost your chances of getting clicked on. Better, fuller ads get higher quality scores, and the higher your ad performs, the more calls you’ll get.
Google’s move to mobile search also comes with more visibility for local companies. According to Hubspot, 78 percent of local mobile searches result in offline purchases. At Keyword Connects, we call this hyperlocal targeting. Instead of targeting a broad swath of people, you can target people living in the exact areas you service.
HVACR companies are perfect candidates for hyperlocal targeting because it thrives on the local level. To stand out, companies can target their ads based on the season and the heating and cooling preferences of the area. If your company is in the south, you could feature humidity control in your ad. If you’re in the northeast, you might find success advertising natural gas furnaces.
When you use a hyperlocal strategy, your ad gets more real estate on the search results page, which means you’re going to appear more often to homeowners looking for local HVACR help.
Smartphones are tools for communication — people use them to post on social media, text friends, call loved ones and even to find a partner. In a matter of seconds, you can say exactly what you want to say and send it to whomever you want.
Since mobile users are so comfortable with quick communication, you want to make it as easy as possible for them to call you. Homeowners, especially those looking for heating and cooling help, want a solution ASAP. To accommodate this, you need a tap-to-call option on your ads and landing page.
Once you get them to call you, the challenge is keeping them on the line. In the HVACR industry, good phone work is still essential. With most companies offering 24/7 emergency service, it’s important for a prospect to get an immediate callback or — even better — have a real person answer the phone.
When you don’t handle your phone work well, homeowners are just going to scroll down to the next competitor on Google and call them. If they answer before you, you’ve just lost a lead. By maintaining strong and responsive phone skills alongside your mobile strategy, you’ll be able to capture the leads who convert on your ad.
Now that Google is a “mobile-first” search engine, all websites need to adjust to the size and shape of any mobile phone or tablet automatically. This is known as responsive design.
If you have a mobile-responsive website, you’re going to improve your search ranking and boost your quality score, which will help you be the first ad or listing homeowners see when they search for HVACR replacement.
If you’re not sure if your company’s website is mobile-responsive, there is an easy way to find out. Type in the URL on your smartphone’s browser, and wait for it to load. Is it easy to read the words on the screen? Can you navigate from page to page without needing to zoom in with your fingers? Can you tap on the phone number and call?
If not, now is the time to invest in responsive design. Designers have really worked out the kinks, and it will do wonders for your lead volume.
A great number of your prospects may not have the time or patience to call your business. That’s why we have web forms. Web forms typically ask for the prospect’s name, phone number and zip code. When the company receives that information, they call the prospect back to discuss goals and set an appointment.
This seems like a roundabout way to talk on the phone, doesn’t it? Well, that’s because it’s not a well-designed web form. In order for web forms to be valuable and efficient, they need to have specific features.
Adding appointment scheduling to your web forms, for example, offers a number of benefits. Homeowners who self-schedule their appointments are more likely to complete a web form and less likely to become no shows. That means more money in your pocket and less time wasted in the field.
Because homeowners under 35 have grown up with technology, they expect to be able to set up and manage their appointments through their smartphones. As more and more Millennials purchase homes, there is going to be a significant demand for intuitive, self-scheduling web forms. Getting ahead of the curve now can help you lock down leads in the future.
The internet is now wireless — almost everywhere we go, we can shop, chat, deposit checks, find directions and even get a ride. Your HVACR company’s marketing strategy should be just as flexible. Being able to capture the attention of mobile users is going to make a difference in your bottom line.
Mobile advertising is designed to benefit local businesses, which means HVACR contractors have a huge opportunity to dominate their markets, expand their territories and beat out their competition. Mobile marketing is an essential tool for HVACR companies looking to grow and scale.
Based on our own clients’ experiences, we can see how important local mobile targeting is and we haven’t even finished the summer season. Even campaigns with limited budgets saw sustainable results. Mobile really does produce high quality leads.
Think about the revenue you get from each new unit you install and do the math — mobile marketing is worth the time and effort. HVACR contractors who are willing to put in the work are going to see results. Sounds like smooth sailing to me.
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