The HVAC business in the United States has seen unprecedented growth in the last few years. Innovative new products, government- backed tax rebates, and a renewed focus on indoor air quality and energy conservation are some of the main factors that have contributed to this growth. In addition to these factors, consumers are using the Internet to educate themselves about HVAC-related purchase decisions. They research different products and use social media to talk to other consumers before they make a purchase decision.
As an HVAC business owner, the increased use of social media by your customers and potential customers has opened up a lot of opportunities for you. You can use social media to do research as well as lead generation.
In terms of research, you can use social media websites to find out the following:
- What your current customers are saying about you.
- How people perceive your competitors.
- The types of offers that your competitors are offering.
- Who your potential customers could be.
- What your potential customers are looking for in a new HVAC system and after-sales service.
- How to reach potential customers.
The information that you gather from your research is very important. While it could take some time to get more educated about your customers and your competition, the knowledge that you gain can be used to create more effective messages for your traditional as well as your online advertising. For example, if you see a lot of people looking for proper after-sales service, you have the opportunity to reach out to them with effective service coupons that not only meet their needs, but also beat out offers from your competitors.
Once you have gathered all the information you need and are ready to start lead generation, you can use a number of resources to reach your target audience. Some of them are as follows:
- Online coupon sites like Groupon.com and LivingSocial.com: These sites have a large following and having your business featured on these can help you generate a large number of leads for a low cost. Since these sites promote themselves very well, you don't need to put in any additional efforts to promote your offers.
- Coupons on local newspaper, radio and television websites: Local media websites have started to promote a lot of local businesses recently because of tough economic times and the tendency of consumers to look for deals online.
- Facebook and Twitter: Use your Facebook and Twitter networks to promote special offers. A good offer can go viral very quickly.
- Your own website: Make special offers prominent on your website home page. Most of the time, visitors to your site already know what they want. Making offers more visible just aids them to make a faster decision to use your services.
- Yahoo and Google Local: Both Yahoo and Google Local are very popular sites to list your business. Most of the people searching for services related to your business will go to one of these sites and do a search. If your business listing shows up, it will drive more traffic to your site, where they can see special offers.
- Email: As you provide services to more people, try to collect their email addresses. Then, send out special offer emails to them about once a month. In that email, you can ask them to forward the offer to their family and friends. However, do not email them more than once a month. You don't want to be blacklisted. Another good way to collect email addresses is to have a signup form on your website. Ask people to sign up to receive monthly special offers.
- Local websites: If you do a search, you will find a number of blogs, forums and websites for your local area. These sites are very popular and people tend to talk about local businesses and special offers. Make a list of these sites and see how you can promote yourself there. Some websites will promote you for free while others may charge a nominal fee.
- Craigslist and Backpage: Both these sites are very popular for local deals. They are free to use. Post your special offers here about two times per week.
- Tracking: It is essential for you to track all your social media offers. Try to promote one offer at a time so that it is easy for your business to track them. If you track all your offers regularly, you will soon have a list of sites that are more effective than others. Then, you can focus your efforts on those sites.
- Offers: Another essential thing for you to remember is how you structure your offers. Make the offers relevant to the season and what people are looking for. You should also have your phone number and expiration date on all your coupons.
By using these methods, you can refresh your online advertising efforts and continue to generate leads for your business more efficiently. The HVAC business is very competitive but if you are organized and willing to use online marketing efficiently, you will see high returns at a low cost.