According to the 2016 American Home Comfort Study by Decision Analyst, more than half of homeowners are using the Internet for research when it’s time to purchase home comfort systems. They’re going online to search for answers to their heating and cooling questions more often than relying on an HVAC contractor’s recommendation. For HVAC companies that want to thrive and grow, this shift in consumer behavior must be viewed not as a threat, but as an opportunity.
To transform your HVAC website into a true asset for your company, you have to improve your content. Put yourself in the shoes of the consumer.
Your HVAC company’s website is one of your most important assets. Many potential customers are turning to the Internet when making purchasing decisions, and you’re missing out if your website is missing the mark.
Is your company website delivering new sales and placing your business ahead of your competitors? If not, it’s time to transform your website into an asset that produces great returns. It’s easier and cheaper than you think.
Does Your Website Present the Right Information?
When a homeowner goes online to do HVAC research, they likely know a little bit of information already, but are seeking clarity and a betting understanding. Your HVAC website should position your business as the homeowner’s go-to source for heating and cooling information to fill in their knowledge gaps and make the homeowner feel more comfortable. If it doesn’t currently, make the following changes to improve your results.
Beef Up Your Content
Is your website missing informative content? Perhaps you have high-level content on your site, but is your site lacking the comprehensive details homeowners are searching for? To transform your HVAC website into a true asset for your company, you have to improve your content. Put yourself in the “shoes” of the consumer – someone that doesn’t know anything about heating and air conditioning – and create content that anticipates their questions and concerns.
Your HVAC website should position your business as the homeowner’s go-to source for heating and cooling information to fill in their knowledge gaps.
Expand the information that’s already on your website to include details. For example, instead of just listing “furnace installation” as one of your services, explain the customer experience from sales consultation through the install, expand upon what types and brands of heating systems your business installs, discuss your labor warranty, and tell people why your company is the best choice. Those are the topics homeowners are looking for when they search your website for information. They already know you perform furnace installation. This is your opportunity to differentiate yourself from your competitors, and take a more educational, consultative approach with your audience.
Mix Up Your Media
When adding content to your heating and cooling website, it’s easy to go too heavy on text. Websites which are too wordy and appear as huge blocks of text are hard to digest and a turn-off to readers.
Instead of filling your site with only written information, add other media which is informative, yet visually stimulating. Photos, infographics, and videos break up that heavy text look and provide information in a new format, which can be better for viewers who absorb information differently.
With the right CMS, you can easily upload new articles and pictures to your website or add customer testimonials to enhance your credibility.
• Images enhance text, and increase one’s willingness to read text content by 80 percent and improve one’s retention of information by 65 percent.1
• 90 percent of Internet users say that their purchase decisions are influenced by product videos. Video content is informative, memorable, and helps build consumer trust.2
Not only will better content improve customer understanding, it will also improve your website’s performance; increased visibility and better search rankings are benefits which will positively impact your business. Enhanced online content will deliver information which consumers are searching for, build your reputation as a knowledgeable industry resource, and bring new customers and sales to your company.
Is Your Website Affordable, Easy to Manage
No matter how motivated you are to take advantage of these trends in online consumer behavior by improving your online reputation and gaining new customers by enhancing your company website, you won’t do it if your website is expensive to operate and difficult to manage. Are you are paying hundreds or thousands of dollars per month to build and manage your website? Do you have to contact a website developer to make simple content updates? Does your current website not include the basics like a contact form, customer testimonials, completed job photos, or the ability for your customers to make online payments? If so, it’s time to make a change.
Get a Great CMS
A content management system (CMS) allows you to log in and make changes to the content on your website without the need for a programmer. With the right CMS, you can easily upload new articles and pictures to your website or add customer testimonials to enhance your credibility. There are many content management systems that are very capable and free to use once you pay for hosting and setup.
Is Your Website Mobile-friendly?
We can all agree that the use of mobile devices like phones and tablets is the new normal. Mobile internet browsing and research used to be a very small percentage of overall web traffic, but now the trend is for over half of internet traffic to come from a mobile device. Your website must be fully responsive, which means it automatically resizes to look good on any screen – desktop, laptop, tablet or phone. A mobile friendly site is proven to increase engagement and sales, and Google gives higher rankings (read: more traffic) to websites that are mobile friendly. A fully responsive mobile friendly site is considered “table stakes” in 2016 and beyond.
Make Your Website the Customer ‘Go-To’ Site
The trend of homeowners moving their research to the Internet should be viewed not as a threat, but as a huge opportunity for the savvy HVAC business owner. Your company website is one of your most important assets. By making the right investments in content and technology, you can position your contracting business to win in our increasingly “online” world.
Will Housh is the founder and CEO of HVAC.com and former owner of a successful residential and commercial HVAC contracting business. HVAC.com is dedicated to helping HVAC contractors become more productive and profitable through its membership program and access to its online Command Center, which includes the ability to create modern contractor websites that are easy to manage.