While most of the dealers we work with are tech savvy when it comes to troubleshooting a compressor, when it comes to navigating the digital marketing landscape, contractors can understandably feel overwhelmed. A short decade ago, no one aside from Mark Zuckerberg would have predicted that Facebook would be the marketing juggernaut that it is today. Throw in Google rankings, SEO, and Social Media and it is easy to see why so many business owners are left scratching their heads and wondering where to start.

Not to worry, we are here to help! We’ve outlined 7 steps to help YOU become a Digital Dealer.

1. Update Your Info On Dealer Locators

One of the ways brand-specific homeowners find you is directly through manufacturers’ websites. Make sure that your information is pulling, and that your Name/Address/Phone number are all accurate. Our dealers can check out the locators on americanstandardair.com and mitsubishicomfort.com. If anything looks inaccurate, let us know and we’ll help you course correct.

Additionally, make sure that someone on your staff is following up on leads generated from manufacturer sites. Consumers today operate on short timelines, so a quick response could be the difference between closing a deal or missing out on a sale.

2. Claim Your Google My Business Page

Google has become the Kleenex or Xerox of search engines (when was the last time you used Yahoo or Bing?! Never? Same.) The increase of “Near Me” searches has exploded in recent years, and claiming your Google My Business page will ensure that you show up on a Google search map. If you have not claimed your Google My Business page, stop what you are doing and go to google.com/business and plant your flag!

3. Encourage Google Reviews

The increasing importance of Google reviews can’t be oversold. Think about it: if you are looking for a new dentist, are you going to go with the one who the one who has a 5-star average rating or a  2? Google ratings play into organic search results, so companies with more positive reviews get more leads, more leads get you more jobs.

How do you get more reviews? Ask! Make it a part of your sales process: after an install or service is complete, have your technicians and salespeople leave behind a Google Review postcard (we can help with that!). You can also follow up with an email containing the link to your Google reviews.

You may find it beneficial to offer a discount or a gift card to customers who leave a review — just build it into the price of your sale to offset the cost.

4. Create / Update Your Website

If your website has been dormant since the Bush administration, it’s time for an update!

Most web traffic these days is generated from mobile devices, so it is imperative that your site is mobile friendly. If you aren’t sure whether your site is mobile optimized, visit your website from your smartphone: do you have to pinch and zoom to see the menu?  If so, your website is not mobile friendly.

Keep in mind that simplicity and style are not diametrically opposed when it comes to web design. Much like your favorite pair of jeans and a crisp white shirt, you can have a simple, minimalist website that looks great and withstands the test of time.

When building your website, here are some considerations to built into the design:

-Name/ Address/ Phone number are highly visible
– A “contact” button that links to a form or an email
-A list of services that you provide as well as the locations where do business
-A list of brands that you carry (Mitsubishi and American Standard both offer embeddable product pages)

5. Manage Your Online Presence

Start by making sure your Name/Address/Phone are consistent everywhere. You want to be sure that the spelling of the business is exactly the same on each and every platform. For example, if your website says “Joe’s Plumbing and HVAC” but your Google listing says “Joe’s Plumbing, Heating, & Cooling”, this can create confusion in the marketplace. Online naming conventions may seem like much ado about nothing, but consistency helps increase your local search rankings and also ensures that potential customers can find and contact you.

Check out channels such as Yelp, Google, Facebook, Angie’s List, Home Advisor, etc. Don’t forget about print, too! Do your business cards, work shirts, and truck wraps match?

6. Get Social Media Savvy

Most people associate social media with millennials, but did you know that the fastest growing demographic on Facebook is grandparents? Not only is this a rapidly expanding market segment, seniors typically have more disposable income than millennials, and they are much more concerned about being comfortable in their homes — this makes Facebook a goldmine for marketing your HVAC business!

Stay connected with your customer base by posting job photos, current promotions, and product information. (Consider this our shameless plug to share some @CSIpgh content while you’re at it!)

7. Sign Up For Google Local Services

The next big thing in SEO is here. Google Local Services (GLS) puts trusted service providers at the top of the search rankings and gives customers the ability to book service directly through Google. Contractors within the GLS program are prescreened and backed by the Google Guarantee, meaning that customers can feel confident connecting with trusted service providers in their area.

As an advertiser, you have the ability to control your GLS parameters. For example, if your phone is ringing off the hook, you can turn off service requests and focus on installations only. For more information on GLS, we suggest listening to our podcast episode with our friends at Search Kings. For more information on GLS, as well as co-op eligibility, get in touch with us!

(Note that GLS is rolling out nationwide. It is currently available within the Pittsburgh, but depending on your zip code you may not be eligible– yet! To find out whether GLS is available in your service area, click here)

As always, if you need any help with marketing your business, drop us a line at marketing@csipgh.com.