The answer may surprise you.
So, you have a website. You focus on content. You focus on rankings and SEO. Do you think that this alone is the key to success? – No. While all of these are important, each is just one piece of a much larger puzzle.
What if I told you that 85% of the people searching for an HVAC company were actually looking specifically for a company they had used before or had been referred to? It may shock you or it may not, but we’ve found it to be statistically true. The overwhelming majority of traffic looking for an HVAC company already have their minds made up who they are looking for. Now, this may sound like I’m anti-selling what we do here at Online-Access, but I think I’m doing anything but that. I’m just trying to paint you an honest picture of your role and ours. Since 85% of the traffic already knows what and who they are looking for, the remaining 15% is “up for grabs” by you and your competition. We can build you a beautiful website, focus on SEO and get you rankings, but do you know what gets you clicked on? Do you know what makes that person call or not call? Your real world reputation does.
I hope that truth-bomb didn’t injure your ego but it’s true. Think about it. When people don’t know who to turn to for something, it makes them uncomfortable. The majority of people in this situation are already stressed out by the dread of having to pay for a large expense they didn’t anticipate. They want to get back into their comfort zone ASAP.
Let’s get you out of your contractor shoes and into regular consumer shoes again…
Let’s say you’re driving down the road and your vehicle starts having issues shifting. Unless you’re a masochist and look forward to vehicle repairs, you’re probably saying something along the lines of “Oh, fantastic… just what I needed…” Now, let’s assume that you don’t have a “guy” that you go to already for such things. You’ve asked around and your friends have recommended different people. You hop on Google and search for “transmission repair”. You’re probably going to look for something that rings a bell – some kind of familiarity (comfort zone). And then, you’re going to look for reviews (something to reassure you).
You can see in our example that you have to show up in search to be in the running, but it doesn’t end there. The familiarity factor and the reviews you have, have the greatest amount of impact here. We can provide you with opportunities and tools to help you get reviews, but it’s how you are perceived and perform in the real world that ultimately attracts and retains customers.
I think I’m the best, but how do I let the rest of my community know that?
Being the best means being just that. Sponsor a little league team. Get involved with your local soup kitchen. Donate your services or a furnace install to those who can’t afford it once or twice a year. Doing this type of work is a win/win. You feel better because you’re giving back to the community that’s given so much to you and the community recognizes how invested you are in them by how much you reinvest. You simply saying you’re the best doesn’t mean jack.
It’s your community that judges how good you really are. If the community doesn’t know either, you have to demonstrate it to them and publicize it, including on the Internet.
Being the best doesn’t mean being the cheapest. Often times, we come across many companies who are actually charging too little for their market to be profitable. Sell your value and be the best value. Convey your ideals and your company culture. Positioning yourself in this manner will help you grow your base with the type of customers you want and it will likely discourage the kinds of customers you don’t want. This is one of the beauties of Flat Rate Pricing in my opinion; it’s based on the same type of logic. Don’t be the guy who promotes himself by publicly slinging mud at his competitors unprovoked. Why should you be focusing your attention on someone that (going out on a limb here) isn’t who you want to be? Do you aspire to be more like them, or are you setting your sights on something higher?
At the end of the day, I guess I’d say that you could take a page out of our book. We try to take something that could be purely transactional (you need a website – we provide websites) and turn it into a genuine relationship. Your customers need heat, you help provide heat. But it doesn’t have to end there. Furthermore, it shouldn’t end there. Be the guy that your customers want to brag about to their friends. Turn their friends from being on the 15% side of the fence to the 85% side. When your customers sing your praises and the community recognizes not only you, but your character, the rest of the pieces to the puzzle will begin to fall into place.