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HVAC Contractor Marketing Plan & Strategy
The most important part of a HVAC company business plan is the HVAC contractor marketing plan. To keep one’s Heating and Air Conditioning business on course this plan must be geared toward the business’s mission—its product and service lines, its markets, its financial situation and marketing/sales tactics. The HVAC business owner must be aware of its strengths and weaknesses. The business must analyze its products and services from the viewpoint of the customer—outside-in thinking.
In this HVAC company marketing plan and strategy article we will cover the entire process so you can advertise, market and sell your HVAC services easier. But, you have to do the proper planning to get the results you want, there is no shortcuts.
We will give you the business templates we use;
- the market plan template,
- the buyer persona template, and
- the strategy template.
Marketing Strategy Meaning
“Marketing strategy is a process that can allow an organization to concentrate its limited resources on the greatest opportunities to increase sales and achieve a sustainable competitive advantage.”
If you seriously want to succeed. Then let’s dive in! It will be worth it to your HVAC business in the long run.
Table of Content
This article is a 7 minute read. The value is well worth the time. You can click on any item, to take you to that section of the article.
If you need help developing a marketing plan, feel free to reach out to us. Click the button below.
Why should your HVAC company have a marketing plan?
There is no single “right” way to approach a marketing plan. Your marketing plan should be part of an ongoing self-evaluation process and unique to your HVAC business. You will need to have your marketing plan down in writing to refer to and to track your results.
Your marketing plan will:
- Makes you aware of your strengths and weaknesses.
- Makes you analyze your products and services.
- Makes you analyze your target markets.
- You will see additional markets your business can tap into.
- See if there are additional products or services the business can add?
- You will know your competition, current and potential.
- You will identify the competitor’s strengths and weaknesses. This way your business can improve its position in the marketplace.
- Help make decisions on how can apply your HVAC business resources to the target market(s).
- It provides measurable goals. The business must select marketing/sales tactics that will allow it to achieve or surpass its goals.
Your business must implement the HVAC marketing plan (within an established budget) and then measure its success in terms of whether or not the goals were met or the extent to which they were.
The marketing plan is an ongoing tool designed to help your business compete in the market for customers. It should be re-visited, re-worked, and re-created often.
HVAC Business Mission Statement
There is a process to everything, a beginning and an end. With your business plan you start with the mission statement. Everything your company does should be guided by and consistent with your Mission Statement. This is a short (one or two paragraph) statement of the fundamental nature of your business, answering the questions:
- “What business are we in?”
- “Who do we serve?”
The mission statement is the one place you can be general, rather than specific. This is your vision of the business: it’s philosophy, and what makes it different from any other business. If you don’t already have a mission statement, write one down.
Refer to it often as you develop your marketing plan.
An opportunity that takes you away from your business mission is not a good opportunity for you. A strategy or tactic that does not carry the business towards fulfilling its mission is faulty and should be revised.
Diagnosis Your HVAC Business: Where are you right now?
Be honest with yourself if you lie, you are lying to only you.
In order to determine how to get where you want to be, you need an accurate, realistic picture of where you are now.
- Are you drowned by debt?
- Is your website lost on page 2 or even 3 when people search?
- Is your Google My Business being updated weekly?
- Do you have a real objective for posting on social media?
- Do you follow up with customers, prospects and keep in touch for the long run?
- Do you have with any certainty a process for generating new customers?
Make a paragraph or two about where you are right now in your business. Take a deep look at your business for the next week. Are there aspects you are not happy with?
Write them down. Make a list.
Your HVAC Products and Services
Identify each product and/or service in terms of name, brand, or other characteristic. What is your competitive advantage? How does your product or service differ from the competition in terms of exclusive processes or superior parts, or other features?
- What are your product and service strengths versus your competition’s?
- What are your weaknesses versus your competition’s?
- Determine the cost of each product and service.
- Determine the price you charge for each product and service.
- What is your product’s/service’s personality?
With the brands of HVAC units you install and work with, how are they perceived by the public? What are the marketing and advertising messages being used by the manufacture? (Nothing stops a Trane!)
How can you add to that for your HVAC business to set you apart from the competition selling the same product in your marketing space?
Your Local HVAC Contractor Marketing Area Information
Market research is an organized effort to gather information about target markets and customers: know about them, starting with who they are. It is an important component of business strategy and a major factor in maintaining competitiveness.
Every home in America has a heater of some sort, most likely an air conditioning unit as well. But not everyone is your customer. With each new client we get here at Contractor Marketing Network, one of the discovery call questions I make when talking to HVAC business owners is, describe your last 3 to 5 customers to me.
You must identify your customers.
We wrote two good articles on buyer personas.
So, who are your HVAC business customers?
- Male or female?
- How old are your customers?
- What education level?
- What type of work? Profession?
- What level of income?
- How knowledgeable about your product or service?
- What factors (e.g., price, availability, service, etc.) influence this customer’s purchase decisions?
- What other people (if any) influence the purchase decision?
- How would you describe your customers’ personality?
- Is there anything else unique about your customer?
Write down your last five customers fill out the questions in the above bullet points. This is your customer base.
You center your advertising and marketing around them. You actually target them with your advertising using this information.
Hey Google or Facebook, go find me more of these people, in this area. That is what online and digital advertising comes down to.
So, you need to know; you need to have these things in writing, not memory or I think. Written down to follow, to track, to measure.
Do you have a large customer base, or several smaller market segments?
You will want to write them down as well. The more information you have the better your marketing, the cheaper it will cost you to get leads as well. There will be little budget wasted.
Now that you are armed with who your customers are, answer these questions.
Meeting your HVAC customer needs:
- What are your customer’s real needs?
- What are your customers perceived needs
- Are you meeting either or both of these?
- If not, where do you fall short?
- What resistances do people have to buying your product or service?
Identify locations of your HVAC customers.
With the marketing plan for your HVAC company, you need to have a good knowledge of the locations your customers live. You need to know the types of homes, what the needs are of these homes. But for marketing purposes we need to know not only the towns or cities, but the neighborhoods as well. Your marketing assets from ads to content to SEO all are served well by knowing the locations with which you serve.
So, for your marketing plan, we like to have at least 10 areas that you serve. It could be 50 or a hundred, but getting 10 down on paper is a start. Think of the ripple effect when you throw a stone in a pond. This is how we like to do the location part of our marketing plan. Start at home base and work our way out.
Now there are a ton of areas that we may not want to target, that is fine. When we combine the location with our buyer personas from above, the less desirable areas will exclude themselves.
Identify the HVAC market trends in your area.
You will want to include information about market studies and test marketing you have done. Is your area looking for energy efficiency or are they looking for price? What other trends do you see in your marketing area that effect or could affect your HVAC business?
List factors that affect customer purchases such as:
- Seasonal (Sure thing with HVAC)
- Tax considerations (Any state or federal credits? How about dealer rebates?)
- Emotional considerations; e.g., prestige, status, fear, pleasure, etc.
- Any other factors you can think of
Write a brief paragraph that synthesizes all the factors that affect the purchase of your product and services.
HVAC Market Distribution: Marketing Process
Identify the most effective methods for getting products/services to customers in the target market. Now I am not talking the delivering the HVAC units to the homes, but the marketing and sales process.
- Is there a way your website can become an online store for HVAC services, repair parts and installations?
- Is there a way you make it easy for customers or potential customers to get to your product/service?
- How about a way to give out ballpark estimates to prospective customers?
With calculated form fields it is easy to create a form that helps the prospects, saves you time and aids in selling more of your products or services. In today’s digital marketing age, if you are running around giving estimates that take hours or days, you are doing it wrong and not using marketing automations.
Make it easy to sell 24 hours a day, 7 days a week…your customers will thank you for it.
Which brings us to the next question.
Have you made it easy for customers or potential customers to get more information about your product(s) or service(s)?
This process in the marketing plan also identifies the need for warehousing of products, scheduling services and vendor or distribution channels.
HVAC Marketing Plan: Promotional Strategy
Going back to your mission statement in the first part of the marketing plan. How does your HVAC business profile match up to the mission statement? What is your current image in your local marketplace? How are you perceived by your customers? Is this accurate?
- What would you like your image to be?
- Does everything in your organization consistently represent the image you want to project?
Does things like:
- Employee behavior
- Business atmosphere/systems
- Website and social communications
Do these items match your mission statement? Do you think any of these things have to do with the type of customers you attract?
With your HVAC marketing strategy, you are going to want to not only target your ideal buyers, but attract them as well.
You’ll want to list out the following, to get a good idea of your HVAC marketing strategy:
- What type of customers are you targeting with current marketing efforts?
- How are your HVAC leads followed up?
- Where/how do you get new business?
- Where/how do you get repeat business?
- What is the source of your most productive referrals? Are you doing everything you can to manage that source(s)?
Is your message written in terms of what the customer needs and wants to hear, or in terms of what you want to say about your business, product, service?
Your HVAC marketing promotional strategy comprises blending and using each of the following components to the same end — that is, with the same message.
- Advertising and Website Copy & Content
- Personal Sales Message
- Sales Promotion, Social Media Message
HVAC marketing publicity and public relations: Does your advertising message follow the AIDA model?
That is, does it:
- Attract Attention?
- Create Interest?
- Arouse Desire?
- Call for Action?
List the promotional activities you are currently using:
- Personal Selling
- Sales Promotion (coupons, freebies, name recognition, etc.)
- Publicity and Public Relations
Are the benefits you offer being communicated effectively? (Indicate yes or no for each of the activities listed above). Review of Advertising: Does the audience for the media selected match your target market profile?
Review public relations activities. Are you sponsoring a local youth sporting team? How about a local charity or event?
- What are your plans?
- Can you generate any product publicity? How?
- Special programs
HVAC Marketing Plan: Competition (Direct and Indirect)
Too often when I talk with HVAC contractors or any contractors for that matter, they don’t seem to think competition is that important. Most times it is an old friend from school or maybe even an ex-employer or employee.
Competition matters. It matters because there is only so many HVAC projects in any given area per time period. Therefore, market share is an important factor to keep an eye on.
Competitive tracking in your marketing plan:
- Identify competitors by divisions, product lines and markets.
- Compare your marketing techniques with those of your competitors.
- If your prices are higher, do they provide the necessary “added value” to justify the higher price?
- If your prices are lower, do you know why they are, and is the lower price part of your marketing strategy?
- How price sensitive is your market — in other words, how much change occurs in buying behavior when prices rise or fall?
- Do your prices position you as “top of the line” or “bargain basement?” Are you happy with your position?
- Does your current marketing strategy support this price position?
If you had to, could you name all the local competition? How about those competitors on the fringes that pop in your market, could you name those?
What is your share of the local market and do you know with-in a reasonable range what your local market is worth?
HVAC Contractor Action Plan: Strategy Execution
Any good plan is garbage without action. Think about how many times you have had a good idea or thought and no action was taken, only later to realize or see someone else doing it and reaping the rewards.
Anyone can plan to be a millionaire or billionaire. It takes actions to make those and this HVAC marketing plan to work.
Actually, this is where Contractor Marketing Network comes in. Our slogan, our mission statement, is cloaked in the action part.
“We do the market tasks you know you need to succeed.”
Anyhow, your action plan section of your marketing plan is where thoughts get put into motion.
Identify your goal(s) for each segment or market. Your goals and objectives should be concrete, measurable and realistic.
- To increase sales volume by X% or Y$ within existing customer base.
- To increase sales volume by X% or Y$ generating new customers.
- To increase sales volume by X% or Y$ getting customers to use the product/service more often
- To enhance image, name recognition, reputation.
- To introduce a new product or service (same area, new area).
A strategy is the general approach you will take to achieve a goal. The following list of common marketing strategies may help your thinking:
- Personal sales calls to your network or past prospects.
- New logo, letterhead package, company brochure
- Direct mail, EDDM with an offer to a new location you want to break into.
- Monthly Newsletters to past customers for referrals, repeat business and reviews.
- Print advertising (newspapers, consumer magazines, trade journals)
- Media advertising (Google Ads, Facebook or Instagram Ads. radio, television, billboards, etc.)
- Trade show exhibits, Local Home Shows or Event Booths
- Public relations (trade press, speechmaking, feature articles, community relations/community activities)
- Networking and Affiliate Cross Promotion
- Discounts for large volume customers, like builders or apartment complexes.
Don’t try to implement all possible strategies at once. Choose one or two strategies to achieve each of your goals. In your selection, consider what you know about your product, competitors and customers, based on your information above. Also keep in mind your resources of time, budget and staff.
For example, although a major television campaign might increase visibility for your business, can you afford the production and airtime costs? Is television the most cost-efficient way to target your customers?
Develop a tactical plan for each goal:
- Strategy A:
- Strategy B:
- Budget & Timing:
- Strategy A:
- Strategy B:
- Budget & Timing:
- Strategy A:
- Strategy B:
- Budget & Timing:
A marketing plan help guide you as your journey through business hits snags and hurdles. Like a road map, it keeps you on course. The first steps are to sit down, access, write it down. Make the plan and then work the plan.
If this was helpful, share it with a friend or associate. Just don’t share it with the competition.
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