We’ve yet to meet an HVAC business owner, chimney company owner, plumber, or other home service business owner who doesn’t want *one* thing: more leads. You’d be crazy not to want more leads, right? After all, when the leads stop coming, the phones stop ringing, and that’s when panic mode kicks in. It’s the nightmare every business owner tries to avoid.
Maybe you’ve invested in Google Local Service Ads (LSAs), Google Ads, Facebook organic and Ads, and a variety of other tactics and strategies to keep the phones ringing. Well marketing diversification is always a good strategy. But there’s one currently free and powerful opportunity that many HVAC businesses and plumbers miss: Google Business Profile (GBP, formerly GMB).
An optimized Google Business Profile/listing is one of the simplest and most effective ways to boost your HVAC business’s online presence and turn prospects into leads. And in this guide, we’re going to explain exactly why and how that is.
- What GBP is
- How GBP influences searchers in their quest to find an HVAC company
- What you need to do to optimize your Google Business Profile for lead generation in 2022
Let’s dive right in.
What Is Google Business Profile (GBP)?
Google Business Profile (GBP) is essentially a free business listing for local businesses. Unlike other listings you might have for your business — like Yelp or the Better Business Bureau (BBB) — with GBP, searchers don’t have to click out of Google to get more information on your business.
It’s no secret that Google wants to make things easier for searchers — and that’s because they want people to continue using their search engine. So the more info they can provide directly to searchers, without requiring searchers to leave search results, the happier they are.
That’s why Google made GBP listings so robust. They’ve added a host of categories and features so that business owners can provide searchers with all of the info they’re quickly looking to find. Things like:
- Your hours
- Your contact information (i.e. phone number, address)
- Your website
- More information about your business and the services you offer
- Photos and videos of your business and services
- Answers to commonly asked questions
- And more
Okay, but where exactly in search results does information from a GBP listing show up?
1. With a branded search (for example: a search for ‘Airbusters HVAC’), the GBP listing info will show up in a business knowledge graph on the right-hand side of search results, as shown below.
2. With a search for services in a particular location (for example: a search for ‘HVAC services, Smyrna, TN’), the GBP listing info will show up in the Local Pack, just below the map in search results, as shown below.
3. With a search for a company or service in Google Maps, a business’s GBP listing will be pulled into the Map Pack results, as shown below.
A note on Map Pack results: Many HVAC companies and service area businesses hide their address on Google. If you choose to do this, you can still show up in the Map Pack, but you may show up further down in results than companies with visible addresses.
How GBP Influences Searchers in Their Quest to Find an HVAC Company
Now that you know what a GBP listing is and where it shows up in search, it’s time to talk about what you *really* want and need to know: How GBP influences searchers and what needs to be done to optimize your listing for maximum leads.
So, how does a GBP listing influence searchers and their decisions?
Think about it: Every prospective client is searching on Google because they haven’t made up their minds yet on who they want to work with. They’re comparing you with your competitors. And most of the time, they want the comparison work to be fast and easy. Google Business profile is designed to make it so by allowing searchers to quickly find the info they need to make an informed decision.
- you don’t have a GBP listing for your HVAC business, chimney business, or other home service business
- it’s unclaimed and sparse
- it’s unhelpful
- or it’s riddled with inaccuracies
…you won’t look good. Searchers will click right back to your competitors’ GBP listings and you’ll be out of the running.
If, on the other hand, your GBP listing is fully filled out and provides searchers with all of the crucial information they’re looking for, you’re more likely to get the call, even if they never click over to your website.
In other words: a well-optimized GBP listing that is helpful to searchers and gives them a good idea of what you offer, why they should choose you, and what it’s like to work with you will ‘sell’ your business right in search results and turn prospects into leads.
So let’s get break down exactly what a well-optimized, lead-generating GBP listing looks like.
How to Optimize Your GBP Listing to Generate HVAC Leads
- # 1 Setup/claim your listing.
- #2 Make sure your name, address, phone number, and contact/booking info is accurate.
- #3 Check that your hours are accurate and up-to-date.
- #4 Write a quality description of your business.
- #5 Choose accurate, relevant categories.
- #6 Select attributes that apply to your business.
- #7 Add the services and products you offer (and pricing if possible).
- #8 Include a link to a website page.
- #9 Get fresh, positive reviews and thoughtfully respond to all reviews (positive + negative).
- #10 Add quality photos and videos of your work and team.
- #11 Monitor & answer questions.
- #12 Create fresh posts.
- #13 Turn on messaging
P.S. Grab your GBP Optimization Cheat Sheet below.
# 1 Setup/claim your listing.
You can’t truly optimize your GBP listing until you’ve setup and claimed your listing. So if you don’t know if you have a GBP listing or you haven’t yet claimed yours, start there. Google outlines the process step-by-step, so we won’t go into it here. If you need to take care of this step, pin this page, and join us back here once you’re done.
#2 Make sure your name, address, phone number, and contact/booking info is accurate.
When searchers are vetting businesses and deciding who to work with, they want fast and easy. They want clarity. So your GBP listing needs to clearly and accurately display the information they’re looking for.
Nothing is more frustrating and time-consuming than parsing through conflicting information and digging for the basics, like how to reach you. So double and triple check that your business name is accurate, your address (if you make it visible) is accurate, and your phone number and booking info is accurate.
What business name do you use on your trucks and on your website? What address and phone number do you use on your business cards? You want your name, address, and phone number on your GBP listing to be identical to what you use elsewhere. If it’s not, you risk confusing and frustrating potential clients and turning away potential leads.
#3 Check that your hours are accurate and up-to-date.
When a potential client is considering doing business with your HVAC company, they don’t just want to know how they can reach you — they want to know when they can reach you. So fill out the hours on your GBP listing and make sure they’re accurate. You’ll also want to include any special hours for holidays.
A note on hours: Be honest about your hours. If someone isn’t available to answer your phones 24/7, don’t state that you’re open 24 hours a day on your GBP listing. Incorrect hours will only frustrate searchers and send people back on their quest to find the right home service business.
#4 Write a quality description of your business.
Remember, potential clients are doing a lot of comparing in search results. They’re looking for signs and signals that you’re the right — or the wrong — HVAC business, chimney business, plumber, or other home service business to call. Your business’s GBP description is one of the first signals they’re going to look to when assessing your company.
What would make someone choose your business? What could you say about who you are, what you do, and how you do it, that would sell your business and turn a curious searcher into a lead, even if they never landed on your website? Write that in your description.
You get 750 characters, so skip the flowery language and cut to the meat and potatoes. Cut to the things potential clients most care about. Clearly spell out why they should choose you over the competition. And make sure to sprinkle in some of the keywords and qualities searchers might be using in their search phrases.
#5 Choose accurate, relevant categories for your business.
There are many categories to choose from and you may offer multiple services, but you can only choose *one* primary category. Your primary category is the one that’s going to most influence ranking and show front and center when a searcher looks at your GBP listing, so choose the one that *best* represents your company.
In the GBP listing below, we went with ‘HVAC Contractor.’
You also get the opportunity to fill out secondary categories, which will influence when your listing is or isn’t shown in search results. So choose these carefully as well. Think about the most important services you offer, the problems you solve, and how your potential customers might search for you. And of course you can always check to see what your biggest competitors are using for their secondary categories as well.
A note on categories: Google periodically updates and adds categories, so check back frequently to make sure your primary and secondary categories are still the most accurate and relevant. You may also want to change your categories seasonally. But don’t change categories willy-nilly. Too many changes can trigger issues with Google.
#6 Select attributesthat apply to your business.
Google has added attributes to Google Business Profile, and these attributes allow business owners to highlight aspects and offerings of their business. They’re broken down into categories, like:
- Accessibility (wheelchair accessible restroom, seating, parking lot, and more)
- Accepted payments (cash only, checks, VISA, MasterCard, etc.)
- Languages spoken (English, Spanish, etc.)
- Veteran-led, Black-led, or Women-led
- Health & safety (mask required, reservations required, staff get temperature checks, staff required to disinfect surfaces between visits, and more)
- And more
There are a ton of attributes to choose from, some of which only apply to restaurants, hotels, or brick-and-mortar businesses. So, take a look around when you’re setting up or updating your Google Business Profile and choose the attributes that make the most sense for your business.
#7 Add the services you offer and pricing if possible.
If you want your GBP listing to convert searchers into leads, it needs to show them the main problems you solve. So add the services/products you offer to your listing. Make it easy for them to quickly identify that yes, you’re the right HVAC company for their particular situation.
When it’s obvious you can solve their problem, they’re more likely to pick up the phone and call you. Plus, adding your products and services to your GBP listing increases your chances of showing up for those search terms, which means more leads’ eyes on your business.
#8 Include a link to a website page.
Yes, your GBP listing is a bit like a mini website directly in search results. And yes, people may solely use your GBP listing to research and assess your company. But you still need a website…
The #1 thing consumers do after reading reviews on a GBP listing is visit the business’s website. So make sure they can easily find yours by linking to it right there on your GBP listing.
We recommend linking to a page of your website that has your services, the areas you serve, and who you are/what you do/how you do it. That way, consumers can quickly find the additional information they need to confirm that you’re the right company for the job. For most HVAC companies, chimney companies, and home service businesses, that’s the home page.
#9 Get fresh, positive reviews and thoughtfully respond to all reviews (positive + negative).
There’s no denying it, when it comes to building trust and increasing conversions, reviews have serious power. Why? Because they’re social proof. They tell us that other people are choosing your company and having great experiences, and we should too.
Social proof can make us do all kinds of things, and we use it as a shortcut to help with everyday decisions — like choosing which HVAC company to call. To quote Dr. Robert B. Cialdini, expert on consumer psychology and author of the classic book, Influence:
“Without question, when people are uncertain, they are more likely to use others’ actions to decide how they themselves should act.”
Reviews are a powerful form of social proof, with 79% of consumers saying they trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations from friends or family.
What makes reviews so much more powerful than the things you, the business owner, say about your company and the customer experience is that they’re written by ordinary people.
“The principle of social proof operates most powerfully when we are observing the behavior of people just like us. It is the conduct of such people that gives us the greatest insight into what constitutes correct behavior for ourselves.”
Truth is, there’s a lot of uncertainty when comparing home service businesses. Who’s trustworthy? Who will charge a fair price? Which company is *really* better when it comes to quality and customer care? These are just some of the questions kicking around in your potential clients’ brains.
This explains why 87% of consumers looked at reviews for local businesses in 2020. They’re looking for social proof, a shortcut to make their decision easier, despite their uncertainty.
So yes, you want and need to get reviews for your HVAC company on Google. But here’s the kicker: 73% of consumers only pay attention to reviews written in the last month. So the effort to get new, fresh reviews should never stop.
We’ve put together some tips on how to get your HVAC customers to leave reviews, BUT there’s something you need to keep in mind: getting those reviews isn’t the only review-related thing you need to do to optimize your GBP listing for leads and conversions. You also need to respond to each and every one of the reviews that come in. If and how you respond to reviews can impact leads and conversion rates as well.
The consumers looking at your reviews for social proof as to whether or not you’re the right HVAC company for the job are also looking at your responses to those reviews.
They’re looking at how you handle satisfied and dissatisfied customers as clues as to what they can expect if they have a great or not so great experience with you.
They’re assessing your professionalism and looking for context around how you do business and how you treat those you do business with.
So take the time to respond to each and every review — good and bad. And always respond with future potential customers in mind. What will they get from your response? Will it turn them off or remove uncertainty and build trust? If you’re optimizing for leads and conversions, you’d better make sure your review responses do the latter.
#10 Add quality photos and videos of your work and team.
People love to see photos and videos of your work and your team — yes, even if you run an HVAC company. In fact, we’d argue that it’s even more important for HVAC companies, chimney companies, and other home service businesses to share quality photos and videos of their work and the people doing the work.
Why? Because searchers evaluating your company are considering inviting you into their home. They want to know who they’re inviting into their personal space if they call you and what they can expect in terms of how you do the work and how well you do the work.
Don’t just tell searchers what they can expect — show them!
What kind of photos and videos should you add to your GBP listing and how many do you need? This is a good start:
- At least one photo of each service or product you offer
- At least a few photos and videos of you and the other people in your company that clients will interact with
- Multiple photos of the outside and inside of your business, if clients can visit
Here are some examples of the types of photos and videos you might include on your GBP listing:
HVAC may not be a thrilling industry visually, but you can also encourage clients to upload photos of the work you’ve done for them OR to upload video testimonials after you’ve completed the work. Seeing real people rave about the way you solved their problems can seriously impact how many searchers turn into leads.
#11 Monitor & answer questions.
Remember, the goal is to optimize your GBP listing for leads. The more objections, doubts, and uncertainties you can eliminate in the minds of searchers right there in search results, the more likely they are to take action and call you (aka turn into leads).
Answering FAQs on your GBP listing is a great way to tackle objections, doubts, and uncertainties around doing business with you. It’s also a great way to highlight things that make your HVAC business the best choice, so that the decision to choose you is easy.
One of the great things about the Q&A section of GBP is that you can wait for people to ask questions, but you can also add commonly asked questions yourself.
Keep in mind though, you’ll need to monitor and answer questions as they come in, or you’ll come off as inattentive and unhelpful.
Here’s an example of what the Q&A section of the GBP listing looks like when expanded:
#12 Create fresh posts that showcase services, specials, your team, and your brand’s values and personality.
Google Posts are another great way to engage searchers, showcase your business and unique value propositions, and encourage potential clients to take action. Posts can include videos, photos, and other visual and text elements. And because they don’t expire, you can think of them like social posts that stay with your GBP profile and increase the visibility and appeal of your brand. Definitely worth the time and effort to create! Plus, they can show up in Maps and on third-party sites.
So, what types of Google Posts should you create?
The best GBP posts are those that add value and meet people where they are in the buyer’s journey. Think about what potential clients might want to see. What might make them feel like they know you better? What might make their decision to hire you even easier? Post that.
There are technically four types of Google Posts. We’ll cover them below and include some ideas for each:
- What’s New – Think company updates, new products, new services you’re adding, new team members, new hours, educational blog posts, and other general business updates and information.
- Events – Are you hosting a family fun day or client appreciation event? An event post is a great way to get the word out.
- Offers – Have a seasonal HVAC special or a holiday offer? Offer posts can put your new offers front and center and turn a fence-sitter into a lead.
- COVID-19 – Have to temporarily close or need to update your clients on new safety precautions you’re taking? You’ll do that with a COVID-19 post.
Here are a couple of examples of Google Posts that educate potential HVAC clients through informational blog posts.
Note: While one of the examples above includes the business phone number in the Google Post, you’re no longer allowed to include phone numbers in posts per Google’s guidelines. Instead, use a click-to-call button.
Psst. Research shows that Google Posts with original photos perform better and get more clicks than posts with stock photos. So use original photos whenever you can!
Bonus #13: Turn on messaging.
Your GBP listing also has a messaging feature, which allows potential clients to message you directly through GBP.
If you’ve been around here in our Resource Center, you know we’re fans of giving potential clients multiple ways to reach you. So yes, we’re fans of the messaging feature in GBP. That said, we don’t automatically tell every client to turn on messaging.
You should only turn on messaging in your GBP listing IF you can monitor and respond in a reasonable amount of time. If you won’t be checking and responding regularly because you don’t have the bandwidth to do so, having messaging turned on will only frustrate potential customers more. They’ll be expecting a response that never comes or comes way too late.
Plus, if you don’t respond to all messages within 24 hours, Google will see that as providing a ‘bad user experience’ and will pause your messenger. So put some thought into it before you switch messaging on.
If you do choose to enable Google Business Profile messaging, simply log in to your listing and click on ‘Messages.’
What an Optimized GBP Listing Looks Like:
*Note: This HVAC company is relatively new, so they’re still working on getting reviews and they’ve opted not to turn on messaging.
Inch By Inch, GBP Optimization’s a Cinch
It could be argued that optimizing your GBP listing is one of the smartest — and simplest — things you can do to generate leads and boost conversions for your home service business. And as you can see from this piece of content, you don’t have to have a PhD to get it right. It just takes a little time and dedication.
So make GBP optimization a priority for your HVAC, plumbing, chimney, or other service business in 2022. Work on one feature at a time and you’ll have your GBP listing up to speed — and ready to convert searchers into leads — in a jiffy.
Want someone to manage your GBP listing and take care of local SEO and PPC for you, so you don’t have to worry about the leads stopping anytime soon? Sign up for your free Custom Online Marketing Playbook and find out what strategies we’d implement for you to keep the leads coming and the phones ringing all year long.