The HVAC & plumbing companies that see the most growth use a well-balanced strategy of both organic inbound marketing and strategic paid ads. While paid ads take skill to implement properly, they can provide a positive ROI and pay large dividends when they are. For companies looking to maximize their ad performance, the use of analytics and A/B testing is critical to achieve maximum ROI.
All HVAC companies are after the same thing - quality leads! But when it comes to ads, your cost per acquisition of these leads will make or break you. Google ads can be extremely ROI positive for your business or extremely detrimental to your marketing budget. It's how you run these ads that makes all the difference. Here are the major points-of-focus for a successful Google Ad campaign:
- Keyword Targeting - The first step of every Google Ad campaign is to do keyword research, setting up ad groups for each unique service you want to attract leads for. Ad groups should consist of a small number of keywords, generally between five to twenty. Google will set these keywords to “broadly match” by default, but these keywords are sometimes very expensive and will send you untargeted traffic. When setting up your bids, use “phrase match” and “exact match” to avoid this unwanted traffic.
- Negative Keywords - The use of negative keywords allows you to dodge unwanted traffic that won't convert and depletes your budget. If your company doesn't install Goodman furnaces for example, you should place "Goodman" or any other manufacturer you don't install in your negative keyword list which will make sure you won't show up for a term like "Goodman Furnace Installation + your city".
- Location Targeting - Your company likely has a radius it needs to adhere to in order for jobs to remain profitable. By setting your geo-targeting radius to a realistic range, you can limit ad spend to only the areas you want to service. Start with a very small radius to start and then branch out only when you see positive results from your budget.
- Landing Page Per Ad Group - A common mistake companies make is directing all ad traffic to their homepage. This will not only result in a lower conversion rate than an optimized landing page for the intended keyword could provide, but it will also cause your Google quality score to drop considerably resulting in much higher cost-per-click prices.
- A/B Testing - Between the ad copy for each ad group and the design and content of your service specific landing page, chances are that you aren't going to get it perfect on the first try. By including A/B testing into your strategy, you can greatly increase your ad performance. This should be ongoing to always be improving your ROI.
- Analytics Tracking - The majority of companies that lose money on Google Ads do so because they don't use analytics to track and adjust performance. Turning off under-performing keywords, finding negative keywords, tracking conversion rates, and knowing your cost-per-acquisition and ROI are just a few of the key elements analytics can give your business a handle on.
- Give It Time - Even the best Google Ad specialists will tell you that it takes time to dial your performance in to get your cost-per-acquisition where it needs to be. We typically recommend 3-months, with necessary adjustments throughout and a keen eye on analytics to get a decent read on whether paid ads will work for your HVAC company.
Specials & Promos
Everyone loves a deal! By offering short-term seasonal specials and promotions, you not only incentivize customers to choose you over your competitors and add a sense of urgency — which will help to increase your overall conversion rate, but you also have a mechanism to retarget potential customers with after they've landed on and left your site. These specials can often times be subsidized by coop funds from your vendors, making it a no-brainer.
Every single visitor to your site costs you money, whether it be through Google Ads, SEO, branding, or even building your website in the first place. That's why retargeting to visitors is so important. Retargeting allows you to show ads to the people who visited but ultimately left your site without taking an action, such as filling out a contact form or completing a purchase. By simply getting in front of them again, your business can greatly increase your conversion rates.
Facebook Ads are great for certain industries. For HVAC we usually don't recommend running a constant ad campaign seeing people only seek you out when they really need you, but there are a few scenarios where we would highly recommend using a paid campaign budget for, including:
- Retargeting - As we've mentioned before, retargeting ads are a great way to bring past website prospects back into the fold so you can convert them into customers. Facebook retargeting offers more visibility and opportunity to increase your marketing ROI than other retargeting platforms.
- Seasonal Specials - Do you offer furnace or AC tune-ups? You can greatly increase the number of customers taking these offerings by targeting homeowners in your specific service area with ads before your busy season. "Make sure your Furnace is working properly before the Winter Cold! Get our $99 Tune-Up Special!
- Weather Related Ads - A great time to run ads is when the weather is making people miserable! Did it just jump from 80 to 100 deg? Then someone is regretting not having that AC unit, making it the perfect time to offer that 15% off AC installation.
Google Local Services Ads
Local Services Ads, also knowns as LSAs, are only available for local contractors that provide specific services. HVAC is included in the list of permitted services. Located in prime position above normal Google Ads, LSAs will show up for businesses that are "Google Guaranteed providers" in your local area. Ads include your business's hours, location, and rating based on recent Google Reviews — helping local consumers find a business close by that best helps them with their immediate need. This is a pay-per-lead service opposed to a pay-per-click service.
Pre-Roll Youtube Video Ads (Based on Search History)
Wow, that title was a mouth full, but these video ads can be extremely effective at getting in front of the right customers at the precise time they are looking for your services. When a user searches Google for your services, the next time they visit YouTube, they can be shown your ad based on their previous search history -- making this a very targeted video ad strategy.