HVAC sales and services are extremely cyclical, and dealers inevitably find themselves facing periods of high traffic interspersed with slow seasons. When work is heavy and customer calls are flooding in, it’s easy to put marketing and advertising on the back burner. After all, you already have all the work you can handle.
In fact, this is something I hear all the time from HVAC dealers as temperatures spike and their phones start ringing more. From a business development standpoint, though, it’s crucial for dealers to stay the course with their advertising and marketing efforts, even during these busy times. Here’s a look at why year-round marketing is so important.
3 Reasons Year-Round HVAC Marketing and Advertising are Essential
Reason #1: The Sales Cycle Takes Time
A new HVAC system is a major investment, and one that many customers will take their time to decide. The research process for a new home comfort system can take months, so you can’t afford to drop out of the advertising space for any portion of the year. During your peak months, you may be so busy with service calls that you’re tempted to put off landing new customers. Meanwhile, there are shoppers out there who see that their air conditioner is on its last legs and want to start investigating replacements.
If your marketing campaign stays strong throughout the season, you’ll be front and center when those shoppers start making notes about who to call in the future. While you may not hear from them until the fall, your summer advertising will have planted the seeds for a new customer relationship. And continued advertising through the slow season will ensure you close the deal.
The trick is staying in front of your customers all year long. I tell this to our clients all the time: It’s not a race, and the busy season is not the finish line. The sales cycle extends beyond the busy season, and the buyer’s journey (particularly for high-ticket items like HVAC systems) can take a number of months before customers are ready to make a purchase. To achieve real growth, you can’t just shut down your advertising during the high (or low) points of your sales cycle.
Reason#2: Post-Sale Retention and Brand Advocacy are Critical
Landing a one-time sale with a new customer is only the beginning. You want to establish a long-term relationship with these homeowners. In the HVAC space, you have the opportunity to build a lasting relationship, becoming an essential point of contact that customers will turn to for everything from annual maintenance visits to critical repairs to complete installations.
Advertising increases your chances of post-sale retention. The right marketing campaign will inspire brand advocacy and increase the lifetime value of your individual customers. When you consider it that way, year-round advertising is a strategic commitment to keeping your customer base profitable.
Reason #3: You Need to Build a Brand
Your HVAC company is more than your products and services. It’s a distinctive brand. Developing and marketing a brand is a year-round job. Your brand is a valuable asset for your business. Building your brand is just as important as gaining leads, but you can’t let it go stagnant.
Coca-cola is easily the most recognizable brand in the world. The company probably could do just fine from a profitability standpoint were it not to run ads in the summertime, when soft drink sales are at a statistical high anyway. But Coke advertises all year long, even during the busy season. Why do you think the company does that?
The answer is simple. During this time, competition is also at its peak, and failing to run advertising and marketing during your busy season means potentially handing over market share to Coke’s competitors.
Keep your brand in front of your customers, and the more likely it is to become ingrained in their brains. And the more likely your business is to hang onto its corner of the market and even expand it.
Again, it bears repeating that, when your sales are at their peak, competition is, too. You’re not the only HVAC company experiencing these busy periods. Though you may feel that this is a safe time to ease up on your marketing campaigns, backing away from the advertising space will give your competitors an edge. Meanwhile, you’re in danger of losing your footing and suffering in the slower seasons ahead.
Finding the Right Advertising and Marketing Mix
With a well-rounded advertising and marketing mix, you can balance your efforts to suit the season, while maintaining a steady presence year-round.
For example, I was speaking to a client the other day, and we were discussing doing one of our comprehensive internet marketing LeadBuilder websites with some radio, direct mail and TV as well. His business is at a level where we were discussing a healthy marketing mix for his company that would generate both leads and build his brand. The client asked us about PPC and if it’s smart to turn the PPC up in the busier months or to just go with an even budget for even the slower months.
We told the potential client that, if he wants to maximize his busy season, then raising his PPC budget would make a lot of sense strategically. However, we wouldn’t want to completely discontinue running PPC in the slower months, because he still wants to get in front of the potential clients and get leads in the offseason.
When combined with year-round TV, a couple direct mail drops, and some radio, we were able to help him use his advertising dollars effectively to create a marketing mix that would get maximum visibility and leads for his business all year long.
To achieve real results, it’s all about finding the right mix for your market and your particular business cycle. We typically recommend you start with a strong internet marketing presence, but if the budget allows, we make additional recommendations to ensure maximum visibility for your brand.
Getting Ahead of the Slow Season During the Busy Season
When fall rolls around, the last thing you want to be doing is waiting for your phones to ring and wondering why they aren’t doing it. Now is the time to ensure your brand is visible to new customers and your existing client base. Use this time to educate customers and help them to begin a buyer’s journey that will ultimately end up with a new system purchase.
At the end of the day, HVAC is a business where you constantly have to reacquire both new and old business. If your competitors are running year-round advertising and marketing campaigns while you rest on your laurels, then you’re going to lose business that you’ve already spent time and money bringing into the fold. And you won’t be visible to new business when these homeowners are finding themselves needing to make a “time of need” purchasing decision.
Mediagistic’s holistic, year-round advertising marketing campaigns are built to create results. We’ve generated almost 2.5 million leads for our clients, and our focus is on growing your business according to your goals. Talk to our business development team today, and we’ll get you started on planning a customized HVAC advertising and marketing campaign that will generate real results to grow your business this year.
Ashley Garcia is an Account Development Manager at Mediagistic. She specializes in cultivating relationships with clients and gaining deep insight into their business to ultimately provide advertising solutions designed around their defined sales and marketing objectives. Connect with her on Linkedin.
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