HVAC is a highly competitive industry with few differentiators to make one business distinguishable from another. The same goes for many other home service businesses. With all the competition, how do you get more eyes on your business, more clicks to your website, and more leads from search results? Is SEO the *only* option?
As a home services marketing company that specializes in SEO and has seen how much SEO and rankings impact local businesses, of course we’re going to say SEO should be a BIG part of your marketing strategy. But is it the only marketing tactic you can and should be investing in?
No way, Jose.
You should also consider investing in PPC or Pay-Per-Click ads in Google and maybe even Bing.
SEO can go a long way in helping to market your HVAC, chimney, or home service business — but when you pair it with a solid PPC strategy and budget, your marketing dollars will get you further, faster. A solid PPC strategy can be especially beneficial when you’re in a highly competitive market or your business is located outside of your service area or the area you most want to attract people from.
PPC ads can drive more of your target customers to your website by getting you in front of more potential leads when and where they’re searching. Plus, PPC can generate leads faster than other marketing methods, so you won’t have a lag in phone calls and leads while you’re waiting for SEO results.
But aside from bringing you more leads faster than other traditional marketing methods, what are the main benefits of Pay-Per-Click ads?
#1 You only pay when your ad is clicked.
As the name implies, with Pay-Per-Click ads, you only pay when someone clicks on your ad. Which means, you’re potentially getting your brand in front of a lot more eyeballs, but only paying for searchers with high intent.
#2 Cost is set by bidding.
Unlike many other marketing strategies, PPC marketing isn’t a fixed cost. It’s not a take it or leave it strategy. Instead, prices are set by bidding, which means you can customize your strategy to fit your budget. And, you can ramp up your budget or reel it in to reflect the current goals, needs, and circumstances of your business.
#3 Targeting is simple.
PPC makes it easy to only target those you think would be the best fit for your business. Which is great because no one wants to waste money on leads that are outside of their service area or target market.
With PPC, you can target specific locations, filter out those who are looking for services your company doesn’t offer, etc. So, in a way, PPC does some of the work of qualifying leads for you.
You can also retarget those who have already engaged with your brand in some way.
Truth is, there are a lot of ways you can use PPC to generate leads, build trust, and grow your home service business. And there are countless articles out there that go in depth on the ‘why’ of PPC ads.
But how do you get started? And what are the *best* PPC campaigns for HVAC companies, chimney companies, and other home service businesses?
That’s what we’re going to cover. Let’s dive in.
The 3 BEST PPC Campaigns for HVAC Businesses + Home Service Businesses Looking to Grow
Note: Every company is different, but generally these are the top campaigns you’ll want to run if you want to reach new customers and engage existing customers.
#1 Branded Keyword Campaigns
First things first, you’ll want to create a campaign to bid on your brand keywords. What do we mean by brand keywords? We just mean your name.
For example, if your company name is Stay COOL & Keep it HOT HVAC, bid on that exact keyword phrase.
It may seem counterintuitive — after all, if someone’s typing your brand name into search, of course your website is going to show up as the most relevant result. Why worry about competitors showing up?
Well, because while it’s true your website should be the most relevant result (assuming you have a solid, SEO-optimized website), your competitors can still show up ahead of you IF THEY’RE bidding on YOUR brand keywords.
It’s actually a common competitor tactic. Many competitors in the HVAC space will bid on their competitors’ names or use broad keywords targeting, without excluding competitor names for their targeting.
Which means, a warm lead could search for your business in Google, only to have an ad for one of your competitors pop up in the results.
Now, depending on how committed that lead is to working with you at that point, they may click on the competitor ad, giving your competitor a chance to steal that lead from you.
Woof. HVAC is competitive enough as is, without having to worry about your competitors swooping in and stealing potential customers who are actively searching *for you*.
So, don’t let ’em. Bid on your own brand keywords.
This PPC campaign is typically cheap, and because your business name matches the keywords you’re bidding on, you’re almost always guaranteed the top ad spot, as you’re the most relevant result.
Think of it as a simple and cost-effective way of protecting your branded searches and messaging, and keeping those warm leads for yourself. Which is why it’s one of the first PPC campaigns we recommend to HVAC businesses.
#2 Brand Awareness Campaigns
A brand awareness campaign is a campaign designed to get your brand out in front of potential customers, even when they’re not necessarily looking for your product or service. Running this type of campaign will build awareness and familiarity with your brand.
Why waste your time getting your brand in front of prospects if they aren’t actively looking for your services or products?
Because running a brand awareness campaign can work to keep your brand top of mind when the prospect IS in need of your services or products.
If they’re already familiar with your brand and the problems you solve, then they won’t have to head to Google to do any competitor comparisons.
And even if they do head to Google, as long as you don’t have any glaring issues — like a slew of negative reviews on your Google Business Profile — they’re still more likely to call you than they are to call a competitor, because of something called the familiarity bias.
I know you’re not as big of a nerd as I am, so I won’t go too deep into the familiarity bias, but here’s the general idea: We prefer what is familiar over what is unfamiliar.
It’s why we’re more likely to choose the brand name of a medicine over the generic. It’s not that we know anything more about the workings or effectiveness of one over the other — it’s that one is more familiar to us. And simply being exposed to one brand more often than another can switch on the familiarity bias.
So use the power of familiarity for your business by running brand awareness campaigns. Every HVAC business can benefit from a brand awareness campaign, but if you’re a new business or you’ve expanded your business to a new area, you’ll especially want to make use of brand awareness campaigns.
#3 Search Campaigns
Alright, last but not least, search campaigns. A search campaign is the ‘meat and potatoes’ of PPC campaigns and the type of campaign you’re likely already familiar with. This is the type of campaign where you’re bidding on keywords that are relevant to your business, your service area, the services you offer, and the problems you solve.
For example, you may bid on keywords like:
- HVAC repair
- HVAC near me
- HVAC replacement
- Air conditioning repair
- Heating repair
- Furnace repair
- Heating and cooling services
When deciding what keywords to bid on, you’ll need to consider what searchers are looking for and where they’re located. It’s a good idea to add geo-modifiers to your keyword search as well. For example, if you’re located in Birmingham, AL, you might bid on HVAC repair in Birmingham.
Of course, it’s also a good idea to bid on keywords your prospect might be typing into search when they’re troubleshooting a problem themselves or trying to decide whether or not to call someone.
For example, you might bid on the keyword phrase ‘furnace pilot light won’t stay lit’ or ‘how much does it cost to replace ductwork’ in your service area.
That way, you have a chance of getting your business name, phone number, and website out in front of potential clients when they’re searching for information and solutions to their problems.
To get more ideas on what keywords to target, check out the Google Ads Keywords Planner. Once you’ve created a Google Ads account, you’ll find it under the tools and settings at the top, just under the planning section. Select ‘Discover more keywords’ and list out your services.
You can also input your website URL and the tool will choose keywords from your website. Click ‘Get results’ and it will give you a long list of keywords related to the services and keywords you listed.
From there, you can see the search volume, the average big, and the competition level, etc. of each keyword. The best keywords will be those that have a good amount of search volume, but low competition. And remember, it can all change from location to location.
Common Mistakes HVAC, Chimney & Home Service Companies Make When Setting Up PPC Campaigns
Okay, so now you’ve got an idea of how PPC can help grow your business and you’re ready to give it a go yourself. What common mistakes should you be careful not to make?
Many business owners who run PPC ads on their own make the following mistakes:
- They target every keyword that applies to their industry.
- They target keywords that relate to services they don’t offer in areas they don’t work in.
- They run ads to the entire United States.
- They don’t set hours.
- They target every keyword that applies to their industry. Don’t waste your time and money bidding on every keyword for every service you offer. Be selective. Focus on the keywords that reflect high intent or the keywords that match your most important or commonly requested services. This will allow you to stretch your budget further and get more qualified leads.
- They target keywords that relate to services they don’t offer in areas they don’t work in. It may seem obvious, but if you indiscriminately bid on keywords just to get eyes on your business, you’re wasting money on leads who ultimately won’t turn into paying customers. Again, be selective.
- They run ads to the entire United States. As a local service business, you can only serve those in a designated area. But if you don’t specify where you’d like your ads to be shown, Google will run them to the entire country. Which means you’ll waste loads of marketing dollars targeting leads that are never going to become paying customers.
- They don’t use negative keywords. Negative keywords are keywords that you add to campaigns to filter out irrelevant searches as much as possible. By using negative keywords, you can prevent your ads from being shown to someone looking for services you don’t offer. That means, you won’t waste money showing ads to people you can’t help. For example, if you’re running an AC repair campaign, you may want to consider adding car manufacturers and vehicle models as negative keywords, to eliminate people searching for car ac repair.
- They don’t set hours. In many cases, it makes sense to only run ads during business hours, when you have someone there to answer the phone. Otherwise, you may be paying for leads who call, don’t get an answer, and move on to the next business on the list.
Alright, now you know what three campaign types to consider when you get started and what mistakes to avoid. You’re ready to go!
And just because we love you, here’s a bonus HVAC keyword list and a chimney keyword list to set you up for success. It’s always a good idea to do your own ongoing keyword research, but these lists will help spark some ideas and give you an idea of what keywords you might want to start with.
Good luck and godspeed! May you get fast, qualified leads within budget!
P.S. Want help managing your PPC ad strategy? We manage it all for our clients. It all starts with a quick phone call.