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Advertising, Marketing & the Internet

So you’ve got your license, you’ve got your truck and now you need some customers. Or perhaps you’ve been in business for a while and need to grow to pay for the new mechanic you just hired.

Marketing, advertising and promotion of your business is part art and part science. We can help you a little with both.

 


Understanding Websites

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The key to understanding what the internet can do for your businessUnderstanding how a websites works really isn't that hard, it's just confusing. First off while you were in boot camp, playing football or perhaps kissing a girl, that pasty skinned band geek/mathlete, set down his Atari game controller long enough to begin understanding computers, website construction and the internet.

Come on, look at Bill Gates, he was probably a millionaire before his first kiss. My goal is to help you (1) understand what a website can and can't do (2) help you effectively communicate with your own personal web-geek, so that you can get the most out of your online endeavors with the least possible pain. 

New Rules, New Realities

If you are a control freak, you are never going to like the internet or your website.

One: You cannot control your reputation online.

Even without the Angie's Lists and other business rating websites it is easy to find out about the quality of your services and products. Any complaints or criticisms of your business are just a few clicks away on your favorite search engine. Just type in the name of your business and the word complaints, scam, shoddy work, etc... If you're not doing this already, start, and while some people are just nasty and ungrateful, most are not.

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How Do Search Engines Work

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The internet and your HVAC businessEach day, millions of people are typing keyword phrases into search engines, such as Google and Bing, being near to the top of these, Search Engine Results Pages (SERP) is by far the most effective ways to promote and drive traffic to your websites. No other form of online promotion has anywhere’s near this potential.

So how do search engines work?

First: A search engine sends out programs to crawl or explore the content of the internet. These programs often called BOTS, Web Bots, Spider Bots, Spiders or Web Crawlers report their findings back to the search engine, which then stores and the indexes these web-pages in their database.

Second: A web surfer (human) types a word or phrase (both referred to as Key Word Phrases by the techno-geeks) in to a search engine query-box, sending a request for most relevant web pages to the search engine.

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Websites & The Internet for HVAC Businesses

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My Wife Threw Out the Yellow Pages

I do not have a copy of the yellow pages; my wife throws them out, and we look everything up on line, even restaurant menus. If and when my furnace or air conditioning breaks, or if I'm looking to make renovations or upgrades, I'll go to the Internet. If your HVAC business isn't on-line, you have no hope of getting my business. I'll end up calling one of your competitors who is on-line.

My wife and I are not alone, most of our friends, all home and business owners in their late twenties to mid-forties, do everything on-line. If you want to attract customers under the age of forty-five you need a website.

Don't cancel you're Yellow Page ad quite yet, my parents still use it (well at least some times when there waiting for me to fix their computer).

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Does This Really Apply To My Business-Advertising?

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Wasted Advertising DollarsI am going to warn you, much of what you are about to read will fly in the face everything you know, and it's going to go against the grain of what many of the trade magazine gurus tout as being the proper way of doing business. Here is what I have to say about the industry gurus; they are wrong.

Our industry is overflowing with self-proclaimed experts. These experts tell us how to do everything, from dealing with our customers, to ordering paperclips, and everything in between. They do this using our trade magazines as their soapbox. Granted, they're not always wrong, but they're wrong often enough to do damage. How can I say such a thing?

Actually, it's easy. All you have to do is step back and ask yourself; does this advice really apply to my profession?  All too often you'll find it doesn't. Is the advice bad? Not necessarily, it's just not geared toward our industry. Why is this happening? Simple, there's only so much to say about anything in this world, and if you run out of fresh ideas, you run out of subscribers to your publication. The solution? Recycle ideas from other industry's that are kinda-sorta like ours, change a few words to suit the trade, and viola! New content for the masses.

Am I suggesting people are deliberately recycling irrelevant information that doesn't apply? Not all of them. It's like looking at people on a side walk from the roof of a hundred story building; they all look like ants. It's the same with the trades; if you're far enough removed from a business you dont see the differences, you just see people wearing hard hats. Just remember; before you jump on board the latest business craze ask yourself one thing- "Does this really apply to my business?"

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