Why You Should be Thinking About the Slow Season While it’s Still Busy
Summer is here, and I’m well aware many HVAC dealers have more business than they can even handle. But the HVAC slow season is really only a few short months away, and dealers should already be thinking about how to generate HVAC business in the fall and early winter, even during the height of summer.
I speak with HVAC dealers every day, and their chief complaint during the slower seasons is that their business is too slow, and they have to start sending their techs home early. If you want year-round performance, there’s no time like the present to start thinking about normalizing your revenue and growing your brand, even during the slow season. So how can you get started? The first step is simple: If you’re too slow in the off-season, begin by looking at your internet presence.
Ongoing Marketing Activities to Drive Leads
Most HVAC dealers are just relying on extremes of weather — the dog days of summer and the coldest days of winter — to drive calls to their business. So when the slower seasons roll around or unseasonably mild weather occurs, they don’t have any ongoing marketing activities to help drive leads.
This is a major area of opportunity I see with our clients all the time. Your online marketing presence can be optimized to keep your brand front and center during the slower seasons. The trick is to build on the momentum of your busy season as a head start before the HVAC slow season hits.
For your marketing campaign to reach full maturity, it takes a number of months. In fact, it can take 4 to 6 months for your SEO to start showing results. And while Google AdWords advertising can start driving leads and traffic more quickly, it also can take a number of weeks and months to fully refine and optimize your campaigns so they’re reaching their full potential. If you wait until the last possible moment, when you’re already slow and hurting for business, it’s probably not going to move the needle quickly enough to make the difference that you need.
Also, I’d advise you to think about this: Your top competitors definitely have high-performing internet marketing campaigns that are being refined and optimized at this very minute. They’re going to be ready for the HVAC slow season, but if you aren’t, all that potential market share will go right into their pockets instead of yours.
Paid vs. Organic: Learn the Difference to Normalize Revenue
Normalizing your revenue starts with normalizing your traffic. You need to continually invest in the fundamentals to establish a real baseline. However, to realize the maximum potential of your investment, you need to understand the difference between organic and paid traffic, and how they work together to deliver leads to your door.
Paid Traffic: Increased Flexibility and Control for Your Business Model
Your internet marketing campaign’s paid elements — including AdWords, Google Display Network, and paid social ads — are indispensable in terms of the flexibility and control they offer. Paid marketing activities can be turned on and off to maximize your impression share in terms of the available search volume, and you can align them dynamically with your business model.
Many of our clients choose to keep the gas pedal down all the time, but you can decide what’s right according to your needs and ability to scale. My point is that paid internet channels are flexible; you can adjust either to take advantage of the higher search volume of your busy season or reallocate that money to get more search share and drive increased business during the softer seasons.
Organic Traffic: A Long-term Investment to Lower Your Cost Per Lead
The organic pieces of your internet marketing campaign (content marketing, search engine optimization, unpaid social media content, etc.) also play an important role. But they take much longer to reach maturity.
They’re a constant investment to help compress your overall cost per lead over time. Treat your organic channels as a long-term investment, and your website’s digital footprint will continue to grow and lower your overall cost per acquisition. At the end of the day, organic and paid traffic are interdependent; I know there are a lot of pieces to this puzzle, but each piece has its place and you can’t ignore any of them.
Beyond Your Internet Presence: Taking the Next Steps
So let’s say for a moment that you already have a strong internet marketing presence. You have a healthy impression share with in the top four paid search results, you have a strong presence in the local map pack, and you’re showing up on page one for a range of organic search terms. Perhaps most importantly, your website is generating a steady stream of leads!
But you still need to think about advertising in the off-season too. I’ve said this before, but there’s a reason that Coca-Cola advertises year-round instead of just running ads in the summer when the demand for soft drinks is high. Make sure your fundamentals are sound (i.e. your internet presence), and then you can focus on growing your market share via strategically planned radio, television, outdoor advertising, and direct mail campaigns.
Holistic Internet Marketing Campaigns to Maximize Any Season
Ultimately, though, your internet presence is the first place to look if you need to normalize your revenue and weather the slow seasons. Does this mean that your off-season is going to be as busy of your peak season? Of course not. HVAC is a seasonal business, and extreme weather is always going to be a major driver of business. However, the goal should be to improve your year-over-year lead generation and sales.
To accomplish this, you don’t just need a website. You need a holistic internet marketing campaign that includes all the major marketing channels — on-page and off-page SEO, paid search and display, social media, content marketing, customer review acquisition, and local optimization. When combined, these different channels elevate one another and work together to drive the performance of your website into a lead-generating asset for your HVAC business. That’s exactly what LeadBuilder® v10 is designed to do.
Right now, it’s peak season for the HVAC business. I know your business is probably firing on all cylinders and it may seem like you don’t even need marketing or advertising. But if you don’t want to depend on the summer heat alone to drive your business, then it’s important to start thinking about your internet marketing presence now. Contact us today so we can get started discussing a specific market analysis and custom marketing plan for your business.
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.
Image via Thinkstock
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