The Case for Contractor Marketing
Marketing can be intimidating, especially in the midst of everything else today’s HVAC contractor must worry about. Finances, company morale, hiring skilled talent — to name a few. And if a business is doing well enough, the “marketing department” might consist only of a sparsely-populated social media page.
But that’s a mistake. A well-formed marketing strategy is a must to ensuring your company makes profits for years to come. It will identify where you are spending your money to acquire customers, whether that method is working, and how your strategy’s return-on-investment and efficiency could be improved.
And while marketing’s focus is on the company’s relationship to its customers, marketing done right will also improve the company’s relationship with its employees. Correctly executed, a company’s marketing strategy will show that the business takes itself seriously and acts professionally, a quality that will attract serious, professional candidates to your job applicant pool. Plus, marketing done right will give your company and brand a personality, generating an identity that employees can connect with, and ultimately, be loyal toward.
Marketing generates a personality, because, at the end of the day, marketing is a story.
Marketing Is a Story
Marketing is the intentional process by which a company moves a customer from awareness to purchase to loyalty. In other words, your marketing is how your company answers this question: How do we get people to know we exist, then to buy a product/service from us, and then to recommend us to friends?
A marketing strategy, fully-fleshed, will be complex. It will tie together your finances, your social media, your employees, your customer service, your office space, and much more. But, at its simplest, marketing is telling a story. It’s casting a vision and telling people, implicitly and explicitly, what sort of experience they will have when they interact with your company.
Your company is a main character. Your company and brand will always have an identity and personality. This is the connotation people have with your company — the “taste” in their mouths when they hear a contractor’s name. The thoughts, emotions, and memories that spring to mind when they read your company’s name in the newspaper.
Your customer will associate a personality with your company. Even if it’s the first time they see your website or a company truck, they will immediately judge whether your company looks professional, profitable, and personable. In real-life conversations, we set first impressions of strangers in the first second. Your interactions with a customer are the exact same.
Your customer will judge your company. Marketing is your company controlling that image the customer has of you. And the more conscious you are of marketing, the more you can guide that brand image to where you want it to be.
And that image is critical. Primarily, people do not make decisions from the brain. They make them from the heart. An emotional connection with your business, built through experiences with employees and advertising, and then supplemented with low-cost financial incentives, will decide whether a potential customer goes to you or a competitor.
So How do I Market?
This series of blog posts, found on The ACHR NEWS’ Business Management Blog, will discuss how a person with limited (or no) professional marketing experience can still build an effective and profitable marketing strategy for their HVAC company.
For now, begin with this: A marketing strategy is just that. A strategy. It is an intentional plan to guide customers from awareness to purchase to loyalty, and every marketing decision should be made with this in mind. Instead of haphazardly posting on social media, ask, “What message do I want to convey about my company, and how I can write a post to convey that message?” Instead of spending money on an advertising campaign in the newspaper because you’ve done it for the past ten years, ask, “How many leads have I generated from this campaign in the past? Is the campaign worth continuing, or would those dollars be better spent elsewhere?”
Be strategic and realize that you have control of your company’s reputation through your marketing. And that reputation has a very significant, quantifiable role in how much profit your business generates.
That’s the first page in your company’s marketing story.