How Contractors Can Build Trust with Customers and Earn Their Business
By John Tyreman
When homeowners realize they have a problem with their heating or cooling units, the next step is to gather information that will help them fix it.
In the summer of 2020, my air conditioner was always running, but blowing warm air. I Googled dozens of different keyword phrases and found a range of issues to troubleshoot. Through research and process of elimination, I learned it was low on refrigerant.
I read blog posts to learn all of this. Most of them were published by HVAC service providers or manufacturers. These businesses were successful in reaching me with blog content written with a focus on keywords and phrases. I watched how-to videos demonstrating each brand’s personality. Some used humor to liven up routine fixes. Others focused on lighting and showing multiple angles so users can get a clear view of the details.
Educating buyers at scale like this builds trust and credibility.
A recent survey conducted by Silverback Strategies looked at how homeowners approach finding a contractor. The study reveals some key marketing actions service professionals should take.
This article is the second of a five-part series exploring each phase of the modern customer journey for buyers of Plumbing/HVAC services.
An Overview of a Service Buyer’s Journey
It’s helpful to understand the process a customer goes through before they contact you – and what they do afterward. We have identified five phases to this journey:
- Realization — when customers recognize they have a problem.
- Education — when customers gather the information they need to make a decision.
- Evaluation — when customers compare service providers.
- Decision — when customers decide on a contractor.
- Advocacy — when customers leave a rating or review online.
Contractors Can Build Trust By Demonstrating Expertise
The path to acquiring new customers is different than in the past. As younger generations become homeowners, service providers have an opportunity to educate buyers online with helpful content like the blog posts and YouTube videos mentioned above.
According to our research, more than 60% of buyers 55 or younger said they consume text-based content like blog posts to collect information before talking with a service provider. For blog post topic ideas, HVAC companies should consider their customers’ most frequently asked questions and write blog content addressing those concerns. Another way would be to Google keyphrases like “how to fix a broken AC unit” or “troubleshooting HVAC” to get inspiration.
Reinforce Educational Material on Social Media
Creating powerful how-to content is challenging in its own right. It can be just as hard to distribute that content to reach your target customers. Social media offers a solution.
Despite few buyers turning to social media when actively pursuing an HVAC provider, social media plays an important foundational role. In the Plumbing/HVAC industry, Facebook is the most popular social media platform for buyers. More than 70% reported using the site actively, at least once a week. YouTube and Instagram are second and third on that list, at 50% and 40% respectively.
However, building a robust social media presence does not happen overnight. Investing in promoted advertisements on these platforms can be a way to accelerate this kind of digital transformation. Ads focusing on helpful, educational content can be a good way to stand out and be memorable when buyers are ready to take action. Personally, I’ve clicked on a Twitter advertisement to book a construction demo for premium gutter guards (I also ended up purchasing). Some home service companies working with Silverback spend sizable budgets on brand awareness advertisements on platforms like Facebook and YouTube.
For contractors, investing in your digital brand is a vital part of your marketing strategy, especially if you want to target younger buyers. Showcase your technical expertise by creating informational how-to videos for routine fixes, or writing helpful blog articles homeowners can use to troubleshoot their HVAC problems. This will position your business as a helpful guide, and the homeowners who consume this content will be more likely to reach out to you not if, but when they need help.
About the Author
John Tyreman is a seasoned marketer with experience conducting market research focused on buyer behavior. John has appeared on webinars, podcasts, and authored hundreds of blog articles. Connect with him on LinkedIn.