A lot of HVAC companies brace themselves for a slow season by reducing their marketing efforts. But by doing that, their slow seasons become even slower. Here’s the good news: The slow season doesn’t have to be a drag on your HVAC business. You can continue to grow your business all year long. All you have to do is take the right steps to keep those new leads coming in while catering to your loyal customers.Whether you haven’t prepared for the downturns or you’re looking for ways to keep your team busy when fewer calls are coming in—we’ve got the tips you need to amp up your marketing efforts before you hit your slow season. Get ready to find new income streams during those downtimes when the phone normally stops ringing.
How to turn up your marketing in the slow seasons
We talk to home services companies all the time who are frustrated because they never have time to work on their business—because they’re too busy working in it.
Your slow season is the perfect time to fine-tune the backend of your business. Your office staff has time to refine their marketing communication, sales processes, billing, and accounting procedures. You have time to focus on one-on-one meetings that build up your relationships with your staff, have lunch or coffee with your best customers, ask for feedback, and set new long-term goals for your company.
Ready to jump in? Here are eight ways to make the most of your slow season and generate revenue all year long.
1. Sell service plans
No big secret here—offering recurring services is a simple way to up your income throughout the year. Service plans bring in some steady revenue that you can count on, even in your slowest months. Your new and existing HVAC customers can pay an annual fee to cover preventative checkups and tuneups. Service plans are a win-win for everyone.
For your customers, recurring service plans mean peace of mind, knowing their equipment stays in top shape. For your business, service plans mean guaranteed business through the length of the service contract.
And if you want to really sweeten the deal, you can always offer things like priority service, waived inspection fees, free quotes, and discounts in your recurring service plan package. Look for new ways to set yourself apart from the competition and keep your loyal customers, well, loyal.
2. Offer discounts to loyal customers
Speaking of those loyal customers, have you offered them any discount lately for sticking by your side? Give them a reason to renew their contract with you and not jump ship for the next competitor in town who sends them a 5% off postcard.
Sometimes, home service businesses spend so much time trying to get new customers in the door during the slow season that they forget to nurture the customers they already have. Customers who stick by you year after year should be rewarded—don’t take them for granted.
To help incentivize customers to use your services during the slow months, you can offer them discounts or give them a service upgrade for booking with you during a certain block of time. And don’t forget to send out a service anniversary coupon to mark their years of staying with you. It’s always a nice touch, no matter what season it is!
Generate steady revenue with service plans
Offering recurring services is a simple way to up your income all year long. We’ve got the tools to help you set up recurring service plans, remind customers they’re due for work, and get paid.
3. Target quiet customers
Another strategy that can produce fast results is reaching out to your existing (but really quiet) customers. As you know, it’s far less expensive and time-consuming to keep current customers than it is to win new ones. During your slow season, have your office staff review customer profiles and put together a list of people who mentioned additional projects they were considering tackling in the future. Then, have them call those folks!
If you don’t have that kind of data, have your staff pull records for customers who have systems that might soon need to be replaced. Then (you know what’s coming), have your team call those folks.
Don’t have any of that data, either? Develop a system to make sure you capture and record it in the future!
Remember: You lose every sale you don’t ask for, and you may be surprised by how many quiet customers will book a service or maintenance call just because you remind them your company exists.
4. Form strategic partnerships
Think about how you can partner up with other local businesses to serve your community well. But keep in mind, this isn’t about pitching your services; it’s about helping another business do well too. Join forces with a company from a different industry (like a local plumbing company) and come up with some kind of package deal.
Also, don’t be afraid to think outside the home services box here. Look for ways to build bridges with other local businesses in your community who want to increase their public awareness too.
5. Boost your social media content strategy
Working on brand awareness (through things like social media platforms and a blog) doesn’t always have a fast payoff, but you’ll see the effects for years to come. In other words, it matters! When you put some muscle behind your social media, you get:
- More people visiting your website
- Higher-quality interactions with your customers and community
- Improved customer service and customer loyalty
- Increased visibility
- Better insight into who your customers are and what they want so you can better solve their problems
Putting together social media content, blogs, and even email marketing strategies during your slow seasons gives you time to practice and refine them before things get super-busy again.
So what are you waiting for? Get a jumpstart on writing some emails to win back customers, schedule blog posts to be published in the future, and use a social media management program to queue up posts for months! Wouldn’t it be great to know you have a quarter’s worth of marketing content already done?
6. Update messaging to appeal to your ideal customer
Are the right people seeing your website, ads, and business listings? You may be looking to attract folks in certain income brackets or specific neighborhoods, homeowners ready for complete system replacements, or commercial clients in specific industries.
Slower seasons are a great time to tweak your message to attract ideal customers. Take the time to sit and think about who needs your services and who you want to attract to your business. Are you reaching them with the right words and marketing tools? You can easily customize the language on your website or create specific ads that appeal to the people you want to bring in.
And while you’re at it, it’s a good idea to hire a professional photographer to update your company photos. Having high-quality photos for social media, your website, direct mail campaigns, and everywhere else is really important when it comes to wowing quality customers.
Your team can help you brainstorm a desired shot list: photos of your staff, your trucks and equipment, your office, on-the-job and behind-the-scenes shots. And, of course, they can do the research (instead of you) to find someone who’ll knock your photos out of the park.
7. Respond to online reviews and ask for more of them
Have your staff check everywhere for reviews—Google, Yelp, Facebook—anywhere—to make sure every single review has received a personal response. These responses show prospective customers that your company appreciates customer feedback, whether it’s positive or negative.
If asking for reviews isn’t already part of your standard operating procedure, have your office staff reach out to every single customer from the past couple of months to ask for a review. And don’t forget to offer them a discount for taking a few moments of their time to do it.
8. Adopt HVAC service business software
If you really want to take your business to the next level during the slower months, it’s time to leave pen and paper in the past. Grow your business the easy way with HVAC software built with you in mind. HVAC jobs are complicated, but your software doesn’t have to be.
HVAC software by Housecall Pro lets you streamline and manage all the aspects of running your business by automating operations, improving efficiency, and enhancing customer service. So make the most of your slower season and give HVAC software a try. Take our free trial out for a spin and start enjoying the benefits of Housecall Pro today!