GROW YOUR BUSINESS WITH DIGITAL MARKETING

Long gone are the days of marketing your HVAC business through the Yellow Pages, direct mail, or door knockers. In today’s competitive, 24/7 online space, the best way to market your business is by using digital marketing strategies, which provide better quality and cost-effective leads. Digital marketing is constantly changing, so you have to stay abreast of the newest trends to ensure you are getting the most out of your digital presence.  Here are some trends to be aware of as you market your business this summer and fall.

1. Launch a Secure Website (“HTTPS”)

In the last two years, over 40 percent of all page one search rankings are now HTTPS, meaning the websites are secured vs unsecured. In 2014, Google started giving ranking boosts to secure websites, which means a secured website will show up higher on organic search. Given recent trends and Google’s push for site security, part of your HVAC digital marketing campaign should without a doubt include moving your website to HTTPS protocol*.

2. Sign Up for Local Service Ads (LSA)

In 2017, Google began running a new paid advertising platform for home service professionals called Local Service Ads.  HVAC service is one of the categories using this type of advertising. LSAs are actively running in many metropolitan areas and beta testing in others, but by the end of 2018 chances are you’ll want to advertise on this platform. LSA is a pay per lead platform where rankings are determined by the business’ ratings and reputation.  You have to apply and go through a screening process to be included. If LSA is running in your area, get in it.  It’s based on your Google My Business profile, so get signed up for that right away and start getting some reviews.

3. Create SEO Monster Pages

To rank higher for specific terms (for example, “HVAC contractor, Orlando”), you can create what is called a monster page. A monster page is an SEO-focused page that uses fully developed content and designed to rank higher organically in search engines.  It works well for informational searches and can also rank well for geo-targeted searches. You can create these pages for all the services you’d like to rank for in your area, increasing the free, organic traffic to your site.

4. Invest in Content Marketing

Content marketing is the process of creating, publishing, and sharing web pages, blogs, videos, images, social media posts, and other content to advertise your company’s products and services. In an HVAC digital marketing campaign, your website and your social media pages are the most popular places to publish new web pages and blog posts, you can also show off your latest products, images of your team, and company profile videos. It’s an easy way to showcase your company to current and potential customers and it’s basically free

5. Embrace Video Internet Marketing for Your Company

If you are not using video marketing for your business, you need to start. It is one of the most effective tools to broaden your online presence and stand out. Contrary to popular belief, a video does not have to be expensive. Today, video production costs are low thanks to technological advances. In many cases, you can make simple videos from your smartphone. And, when you post to your website, social media, and YouTube, you’ll increase your SEO rankings, which will mean more customers will see your company.

6. Invest in Opt-in Email Marketing

Opt-in email marketing is a highly effective way to grow your HVAC business. And it’s easy to build a list from your current customer database, as well the customers who inquire on your website via your contact form. To ensure you stay out of trouble with the email marketing laws, simply add a checkbox to your contact forms for visitors to opt-in to your email marketing campaign. Email marketing allows you to nurture unclosed leads and keep in touch with past customers, and it can easily be automated.

 

 

 

GROW YOUR BUSINESS: SELL SMART HOME SOLUTIONS

The market for smart home technology products continues to grow, and this trend will continue for the foreseeable future. According to a report from Markets and Markets, the Internet of Things (IoT) is estimated to grow from $157.05 billion in 2016 to $661.74 billion by 2021.

Homeowners have become more familiar and comfortable with the smart home concept and it is now an expected feature in new homes and is part of the decision-making process when replacing an HVAC system or adding a home security system. For HVAC contractors, the increasing demand for home automation represents an opportunity to increase revenues, provide new levels of service to their customers, and differentiate themselves from their competition.

As a trusted HVAC contractor, you can assist your customers in making smart choices about smart home products such as thermostats, ventilation systems, and home area network hubs. When you can offer them tech-savvy, money-saving products, you will become their contractor of choice. In turn, they will reward your knowledge and assistance with loyal, repeat business and customer referrals.

Here’s some basic info on the smart home you’ll want to share with customers:

  1. Smart ThermostatsOne of the most important smart devices in the home is the smart thermostat. There are a wide variety of thermostats in the market. Smart thermostats break out into two categories:
  • Connected smart thermostatsThe term “connected” refers to WiFi-enabled smart thermostats that allow users to control temperature settings remotely from a smartphone or computer. While models on the market vary, most also offer touchscreen displays that track energy usage in real time and over given time intervals providing useful feedback and helping users save. WiFi-enabled units are especially useful for homeowners who often forget to pre-set their programmable thermostats or for owners of second/vacation homes.
  • Learning thermostatsThese WiFi-enabled thermostats learn daily habits and automatically schedule temperature levels accordingly. In addition, these models often come equipped with features such as sensors that monitor motion, light and humidity. If your customers are currently using an older, non-programmable thermostat, the energy savings they will reap from switching to a learning model could quickly offset its cost.
  1. Smart Ventilation Systems – The new smart ventilation systems are revolutionizing the way an HVAC system provides the right amount of airflow to ensure maximum comfort in a home. These systems manage the flow of air room by room through the automatic control of the vents and allow a resident to manage the airflow in a home based on a variety of factors. There are several benefits of installing a smart ventilation system for your customer such as:
  • Reductions in energy use and energy costs
  • Equivalent or enhanced Indoor Air Quality (IAQ)
  • Reductions in peak load (or equivalently time-of-use pricing)
  1. Smart Home Network Hubs – With the myriad of devices in the home and the need to connect them all for ease of use and management, the smart home network hub has become the brain of the smart home system. It is important to understand how these hubs work to make recommendations to your customers about the best network hub for their home and lifestyle. In addition, many hubs only work with their proprietary smart products, so it is important to understand the limitations of those types of network hubs.

Some things to consider when installing a smart home network hub are:

  • Wireless connectivity: A Wi-Fi-enabled hub that doesn’t need to be physically connected to a router is a good bet, as this gives more options as to where it can be placed in the home.
  • Expansion capability: The higher the number of products/devices it can support, the better.
  • Protocol compatibility: A hub that can communicate with the major home automation protocols — Zigbee, Z-Wave, Wi-Fi and Bluetooth LE — is important.
  • App control: While a website interface is nice to have, make sure the hub has an app that is compatible with a smartphone. An automated home works far more smoothly from the palm of your hand than from behind a computer screen.
  • Scheduling/Automation System: The hub’s software should be able to set up schedules for all devices and create actions to connect different devices.
  • Alerts/Messaging: The software should be able to send alerts when chosen actions are completed, such as an alert when someone opens the front door with a unique code.

To take the lead in the smart home space, today’s HVAC contractors need to ensure they provide the knowledge and the products to their customers now and in the future, which means staying abreast of industry trends.  Look to Source 1™ HVAC supply to assist you in carrying a wide selection of smart home products and to provide the knowledge and information you will need to succeed in the connected building environment.

How You Can Incorporate Additional Services to Enhance Revenue

As every business owner knows, the economy is not predictable and the constant fluctuations can wreak havoc on your business. Although many business experts predict that 2018 will be a good year for HVAC/R contractors, many are adding or expanding services to help combat the unpredictability of consumer spending habits. Since most contractors have a loyal customer base, it is relatively easy to add new home services to their portfolio and reap the benefits of having additional streams of revenue.

According to an article in The News recently, Paul Stalknecht, CEO, ACCA, stated, “We’re really excited about the fact that more and more contractors are recognizing the need and the mindset to ‘own the home.’ We’re seeing more contractors getting involved in more areas of the home, like the whole-house building envelope, home automation, security systems, and even some that are getting involved in media and sound systems for the home. Those of them that do that have a tremendous upside in their business for the coming year.”

If you’re looking to add additional home services to your business portfolio, here are some things to keep in mind:

  1. Customer ResearchThe first step is to conduct research by asking your customers what types of home services they are currently or will be looking for in the near future. Your customers are the best source of information when it comes to what they are going to do in their homes, so make sure that you’re leveraging that valuable resource to help you grow your business.
  2. Research the New Service OfferingMake sure you have a complete understanding of the new service you are considering so that you can assess the value of the service to your customer and your business.
  3. Become a Subject Matter Expert –You will need to have deep knowledge of the new service offering to ensure that your customers trust you and look to you as an expert.
  4. Know Your CompetitionTake a close look at the businesses currently offering the service you are considering, in order to understand how they are positioned in the market and what their strengths and weaknesses are.
  5. Staffing vs. Partnerships –Since the new services you are considering may require a different skill set than your current staff currently offers, consider the costs, timing and availability of talent that will be associated with hiring new employees versus creating partnerships with contractors who already provide the service.
  6. Marketing the Services Make sure you know how potential customers look for the services you are adding to your portfolio, to ensure that you’re marketing to the right channels.
  7. Sales Process –Take a look at your current sales process and determine the best way to position your new service offerings to encourage your existing customers to hire you for a wider portfolio of services.
  8. Customer Service is Key –As with everything that comes with owning a service business, customer service is integral in ensuring that the customers are satisfied with all services delivered. When you add a new service, it’s important that your customer service team pay close attention to how these services are performed to make sure your loyal customers become raving fans.

The benefits of adding ancillary services to your business are huge. Many contractors who have added electrical, security, technology and home automation services have reported that their accounts increased dramatically year over year. In addition, contractors report that employee retention increases by being able to hire a variety of skilled tradesmen.

Source 1™ HVAC Supply Centers have access to a wide variety of products and can assist you in determining the best products to use for expanding your service portfolio. Visit www.source1hvacsupply.com to find your local store and get started today.

Selling HVAC Service Agreements to Customers

Selling customers maintenance agreements is an excellent way to create loyal customers and a recurring revenue stream for your business. They’re essentially paying you money every month to come back and sell them something else. Service agreements offer a multitude of benefits for both customers and contractors. They are a great way to create customer loyalty, offer special incentives and deliver peace of mind. For the contractor, service agreements give you revenue year-round, ensuring a steady cash flow during the slow seasons. Of course, sales of service agreements are the key to your success. Here’s a simple system to turbocharge your crew to become service agreement selling fans.

1. Provide Great Value – Your service agreement must provide your customers with great value or they won’t purchase it. You should take a look at every feature and benefit your agreement offers and give it the “would I buy it” test. If you wouldn’t buy it, why would your customers? Keep in mind that people purchase service plans when value exceeds price, so make sure yours does exactly that. One way to ensure your agreement has everything it needs is to research what your competition and other HVAC companies offer. After you’ve done your research, compile a list of the best offers and compare it to yours to ensure you are giving your customers the best deal.

2. Training Your Techs & Salespeople Once you feel you’ve got a great offer, it’s time to train the techs and salespeople on the feature and benefits of the plan. To ensure the team understands how the service plan works, have them take on the role of customer and sales rep. As each pair goes through the process, you’ll be able to see where any potential issues are with the plan’s features and correct them. It may take several training sessions to ensure that everyone is ready to present the information. If you want abundant agreement sales, only move on when everyone can give a polished presentation, it’s that important.

3. Offer a VIP Experience – One reason customers buy maintenance agreements is to feel special, like a VIP. In order to deliver on that expectation, you must create a plan that offers a portfolio of services for an excellent value and ensure that your customer service staff and technicians provide customers with VIP service. Therefore, it’s imperative that every employee learns how to thrill their customers by giving them the best quality care. The VIP experience starts at the customer service staff, so implement a process for handling your service agreement customers that makes them feel special.

4. Incentivizing Your Staff Once you’ve got a great offer and the staff and techs have the presentation down pat, you’ve got to get your team motivated to sell the service agreement. The best way to motivate the team is through offering them a commission or bonus for each sale. You should factor in this cost into the overall budget for the initiative and make sure it is worth it to the staff. Otherwise, they will not be interested in growing this part of the business. Also, you should promote the sales success throughout the company via displays in the office, in emails, the company newsletter and at weekly/monthly meetings. Make sure you are celebrating the sales successes with the entire team through public acknowledgment and additional rewards, such as gift cards and lunches. The friendly team competition will be highly effective at encouraging others to participate so that they look like they are helping to reach company goals.

5. Inspiring Your Technicians – Your technicians are key to the success of selling and maintaining your service agreement operation. One way to ensure that technicians are on board with the program is to attach the sale of the agreement to the technician who sold it. This means when a client calls in for more work, the tech who sold them the agreement takes the call. By attaching the sale to the technician, the sales lead becomes a hot commodity. When incoming calls slow down, the techs with the most agreements will still be busy. That’s because they’re getting their foot back in the door, fulfilling the promises made in the agreement, such as safety inspections, and they’re uncovering more needs and up-selling. Give your employees ownership of their leads, and they’ll maintain and grow your business.

As a leader in the HVAC/R industry, Source 1™ HVAC Supply Centers can provide you with the best products for your customers. To find out more about our multiple locations, contact your local store by visiting www.source1hvacsupply.com.

Is Your Marketing Ready for the Busy Season?

It’s officially spring, and that means the beginning of the busy season for HVAC professionals. To ensure that your business will be poised to enjoy success, you should put a marketing plan in place to make sure your business is top of mind with customers who need your service. Here are some tips for developing your marketing plan:

  1. Establish Your Marketing Budget & Lead Tracking System
    Before you get started, it’s a good idea to establish a marketing budget to ensure that you know how much you can afford to spend on marketing initiatives. A good rule of thumb for establishing the budget is to dedicate 4-6% of your sales toward marketing. After you have the budget, you should establish a way to track the leads generated to make sure your plan is working. There are many automated marketing tracking platforms that you can use that will provide analytics and reports to make sure your channels are working, so that you can easily adjust if something is not providing the expected results.
  1. Determine Your Best Marketing Channels
    After you have determined your marketing budget, the next step is to evaluate the best marketing and advertising channels that would best suit your business and market. The most successful advertising channels in the HVAC industry include community newspaper ads, radio, cable TV, direct mail, online listings (Yelp, Angie’s List, HomeAdvisor, Houzz, etc.), social media, digital banner ads and your company website. As you shop around for different advertising opportunities, request information about the number of readers or viewers your ad could reach to determine the best options.
  1. Develop a Promotional Offer
    It’s always a good idea to consider offering a discounted offer, such as a “Get Ready for Summer” tune-up service so that potential customers are aware of your company and they can call before it gets busy. This type of promotional offer is a great way to establish brand name awareness in the market, perform a much-needed check up on their system, and prevent a more urgent call in the busy season. In addition, customers who take advantage of a discount offer are more likely to promote your service to their friends personally and on social media.
  1. Update Your Website – Optimize for Mobile
    Websites are a valuable channel for displaying your work, explaining the services you provide, highlighting financing options, showing your certifications and industry credentials, and showcasing the value of your business. Now’s the best time to make sure that your website is updated to showcase your best work and highlight promo offers, staff credentials and experience.

    Almost 70% of people use their mobile devices to search for products and services, which means that it is highly likely that your potential customers are doing the same. You should make sure that your website is optimized for mobile responsiveness – meaning that your website should adjust to fit the device being used to view it. Research shows that most users will abandon a website if it is not mobile-friendly.

  1. Enhance Your Social Media
    Pew Internet Research found that roughly 71% of people online use Facebook. Online word-of-mouth is now one of the best ways to promote your business. Setting up and regularly updating a local Facebook business page enables users to engage with your business. The social media outlets you use should depend on the kind of customer you want to target and the niche you serve. If you only work on large industrial systems (as opposed to home HVAC systems), consider using LinkedIn to target other business owners with HVAC needs.

Once you have your marketing plan in place, we look forward to providing your team with all the products and equipment you will need for the busy season. Visit www.source1hvacsupply.com to find your local store today!

ARE YOUR TRUCKS READY FOR THE BUSY SEASON?

With the busy season coming, it’s important to make sure that your company trucks are in good mechanical condition and well-stocked with all the parts, tools, and products to make sure your technicians can perform the necessary repairs as quickly as possible and maximize their time at each service appointment. This will reduce trips to suppliers, prevent callbacks, and increase productivity during the busy season.

For a service department to run smoothly and efficiently, trucks must be well stocked with the proper tools to diagnose problems, detect dangerous conditions, and make fast accurate repairs as well as a strategic list of parts that are likely to be needed. Technicians cannot sell parts they don’t have. Too often, a technician will see the opportunity to make additional repairs or upsell but won’t because they don’t have the parts. Rather than come back later, they just don’t mention the opportunity to the client. To ensure that your techs don’t miss these selling opportunities, here is an easy plan to make sure your trucks are ready for busy season:

1. Establish a Truck Stock List
You should create a truck stock list that includes parts and supplies that each technician will need based on the technician’s level of experience, expertise or truck configuration. Since trucks may differ in their capacity for storage, you should make sure that your truck stock list takes that into consideration. Ideally, you should keep enough inventory in your trucks that the tech should only need to restock once per week during the busy season.

2. Create a Tool Requirement List
Since the HVAC industry is very tool-intensive, it is important that you establish a clear written policy of what tools your technicians are expected to own and which ones the company will provide and how those tools are to be managed and replaced on your trucks. After you have determined the tool policy, you should create a list of tools that all technicians will be required to have in their possession. This list should be determined by job title or function to ensure that your technicians have the right tools based on their knowledge, expertise and experience level.

In addition, it is important to establish rules for who is financially responsible for tools that are lost or broken. Having the correct tools and diagnostic equipment on your trucks will increase the efficiency and overall profitability of your service calls.

3. Track Inventory by Warehouse and Bin
Since the truck inventory is a big part of your business expense, it is important to track truck inventory by vehicle, warehouse, and bin location so that you can have an accurate accounting, as well as by the cost of the inventory and the labor cost to determine your overall ROI. To keep it consistent and easy to track, each truck should be organized as similarly as possible based on the experience/job title of the technician. You may consider using one of the various HVAC business management software programs that makes tracking inventory by warehouse and truck quick and easy. Through the use of these types of programs, you can easily place orders with your local Source1™ HVAC Supply Center and can reduce trips to pick up supplies, increasing your productivity and profitability. In addition, by using online software programs, technicians will be able to see what parts (and equipment) are on which trucks to make sharing resources possible.

4. A Simple Reordering System
If you use mobile software, you will have some type of automatic reordering system or reports that will make the process easy. Since these platforms are online, technicians will have instant access to the inventory re-stocking information, which will allow them to better manage their service appointments – improving productivity, shortening service call times and increasing overall customer satisfaction.

If you are still using paper, you should come up with a simple, user-friendly system for your technicians to notify the purchasing manager to place an order for parts. A simple removable labeling system for all parts on the truck could be used. When the part is used, the technician would remove the label and place it on the service order. Your office can then use the service orders to create a re-stocking list and place an order over the phone. At the conclusion of your weekly meeting, each technician can pick up their box of restock items.

For restocking purposes, keep at least one full truck list of parts in your office or warehouse. You will draw on that list as necessary to avoid ordering from a supplier more often than necessary.

Source1™ HVAC Supply has all the parts, tools and products you need to keep your trucks fully stocked throughout the year. To prepare for the upcoming busy season, visit www.source1hvacsupply.com to find your local dealer and get started with your truck stocking plan today!

IS YOUR TEAM READY FOR THE BUSY SEASON?

cropped-cropped-source1-logo1.jpgThe summer season is upon us, and your customer service staff and technicians will soon be working long days and nights to keep your customers happy and their HVAC systems running smoothly. Being busy is a great thing, since it means that your business is having a successful and profitable year. However, when your staff gets overwhelmed, they can sometimes forget to follow basic customer service and safety guidelines that are important to the success of your business. Before your crew gets too busy, make sure to hold some training sessions to reinforce company policies around customer service and business operations. Following are some tips to share with your team:

Tips for Your HVAC Technicians

  1. Wear your gloves – To prevent refrigerant burns, cuts and potential electric shock, make sure you are wearing your gloves. Make wearing them a habit and you can minimize the possibility of cuts, burns or other issues that could seriously damage your hands.
  2. Safety glasses  They may not be attractive, but safety glasses are very important and can save you from flying debris, spewing refrigerant, oil or steam. Putting on your safety glasses before you do any work on an HVAC or refrigeration system is critical to preventing damage to your eyes.
  3. Proper placement of ladders Your extension ladder is an important part of your job. However, if it is improperly placed, it can be a real health hazard. Don’t be in a hurry to set up the ladder. Make sure it extends at least one foot for every three feet of height. This will prevent you from falling backwards. Also, make sure that the ladder extends at least three feet above the floor.
  4. Gas cylinders in trucks In the summer, your company truck can reach temperatures of 100 degrees and above. Combine that heat with a cylinder of R410A and you end up with a pressure of 366 psig. A large cylinder may be 1500 square inches, bringing the total pressure inside the cylinder to 549,000 psig. In these hot temperatures, if it falls and is damaged, the cylinder can take off like a rocket.
  5. Summer attire  If you wear cotton undershirts, you should try sweat-resistant athletic undershirts for the summer. They absorb the moisture in your skin and allow your pores to breathe.
  6. Hydrate to beat the heat The best way to keep yourself alert and stay safe this summer is to drink water or other electrolyte-rich drinks constantly throughout the day. You should avoid sugary, high caffeine drinks, as they will give you a temporary energy boost, but don’t provide the necessary electrolytes your body needs when working in the heat.

Tips for Your Customer Service Staff

The customer service person answering calls is the customer’s first impression of your company. Here are some tips to ensure that your customer service staff is ready for the busy season:

  1. Proper staffing Make sure you have assessed the call volume and have a staffing plan that will ensure you have a live person answering the telephone. When customers are dealing with a hot home or business and need their AC repaired, they want to speak to someone to make sure they will be getting their service call handled quickly.
  2. Always answer with a smile – The way you answer the phone forms the first indication of how you conduct your business. When it’s hectic and the phones are ringing off the hook and you’re dispatching lots of calls, it’s easy to carry that “negative tone” over to the next call. Make sure to stop for a few seconds and smile before answering the phone. The customer will feel the warmth and will become more relaxed too.
  3. Stay on script – When you’re busy, it’s easy to forget the training and cut corners on how to deal with customers. But, it’s more important than ever to keep the company procedures and policies nearby, so you can answer a customer’s questions quickly, efficiently and with confidence.
  4. Remain calm – but keep a sense of urgency It is critical that you remember that your customer’s home or business is very uncomfortable in the heat and they have a need for immediate relief. Even though that may not be a reality, you have to show the customer empathy about the situation and share their sense of urgency to respond to your customer’s needs.
  5. Prepare the customer for the service call Make sure the customer understands what to expect at the service call so that they have realistic expectations. If the customer is describing a situation where there could be a complete replacement, explain to them what that could entail. Rely on the marketing materials and company procedures for diagnosing a problem to assure the customer that their service call will be done as quickly and efficiently as possible.
  6. Use your authority to handle issues Always look at ways to provide customer satisfaction without “bending the rules,” but also try to avoid having to escalate issues if you can. If you feel that you don’t have the proper authority to satisfy a customer’s needs, make sure that your manager is aware of the issue so that new policies can be established to ensure that customers are given the best answer, as quickly as possible.

For more helpful hints on how to prepare your business for the busy season and stock up on all the parts and supplies your technicians will need to service your customers, please visit www.source1HVACsupply.com.