When you think of HVAC marketing, you probably picture social media marketing, SEO (search engine optimization), and local advertising. These are proven marketing tactics, so that’s all well and good.
But there’s one strategy deserving a top spot on this list that many HVAC contractors often overlook: email marketing.
Electronic mail, or ‘email’ as we know it today, is older than the internet itself. And in a world of smartphones, social media, instant messaging, and video chat, the humble email may seem archaic and obsolete.
This may be why some HVAC contractors never give email marketing a chance. But you’ll be surprised at what a few lines of text and an email contact list can do for your HVAC contracting business.
Email is not dead. Far from it, in fact—email is more alive than ever. If figures are any indication, the number of email users currently stands at 4.2 billion and is only growing.
In a marketing industry full of information clutter, email offers a low-cost, sustainable way to punch through the noise and speak directly to customers and prospects.
Let’s discuss how you can leverage this often-underrated marketing tool to promote your HVAC brand, generate high-value leads, engage customers, and encourage repeat business. But first, let’s see why HVAC email marketing is worth considering.
Does Your HVAC Company Really Need Email Marketing?
Today, more than half of the global population uses email. That alone provides a massive marketing audience for any business. Here are a few more statistics making a case for email marketing:
- More than 90% of marketing professionals say email marketing is “somewhat critical” to their company’s success, while 41% say it’s “very critical.” (Litmus)
- Sixty-three percent of email users check their inboxes at least once a day, while nearly 40% check their spam folders daily. (Mailgun)
- Seventy-nine percent of marketing experts rank email among their top three preferred marketing channels. (Litmus)
- Approximately 96% of the U.S. adult population (averaged across various age groups) use email. (Statista)
- Email marketing is incredibly low-cost with a strong ROI—returns up to $36 for every $1 spent. (Litmus)
- Email is the most preferred and dominant tool in business communications. (The American Genius)
In a nutshell, email marketing is highly effective yet surprisingly inexpensive. But what exactly can email marketing do for your HVAC company?
Engage and Inform Your HVAC Customers
Emailing is an excellent way to keep in touch with customers. As a marketing medium, email is subtle, and recipients can interact with it at their own convenience, so it’s not a nuisance either.
More importantly, email is a highly versatile marketing tool. HVAC email marketing content can relay all sorts of information to customers, including:
- Welcome messages
- Company news and events (via newsletters)
- Limited-time offers and discounts
- HVAC servicing/repair/upgrade reminders
- Up-selling and cross-selling messages
Additionally, you can use emails to collect valuable data about your local market and customer base through simple email surveys and polls.
Besides conveying information, emails can also encourage recipients to take a specific action.
Well-placed calls to action (CTAs) embedded in a promotional email can persuade the recipient to sign up for your HVAC offering, book HVAC inspection/servicing, or purchase any HVAC equipment you may happen to sell.
According to Mailchimp, the average email click-through rate (CTR) in the professional services industry is 2.55%. In this case, CTR is the percentage of recipients who click on buttons or links in your emails.
With a large enough audience, a 2.55% CTR is pretty good, given that each click is a business opportunity.
Target Customers with Personalized Messaging
Email marketing enables you to really hone in on your target HVAC market. You can even personalize your promotional messages since you know exactly who you’re emailing. Targeting specific audiences and speaking directly to them streamlines your marketing efforts and is more likely to yield the desired response.
A 2020 survey found that 78% of U.S. marketers use email for personalized marketing. Also, 71% of consumers expect customized business engagements, while 76% get frustrated by generic customer experiences.
Email marketing is the most practical way to address your potential and existing HVAC customers on a deeply personal level.
Track and Justify Your HVAC Marketing Efforts
Like most digital marketing campaigns, emailing is relatively easy to track. A host of third-party email clients and analytics tools can help you track various real-time metrics to gauge how well your email campaign is doing.
Common email metrics include:
- Open rate
- Bounce rate
- Click-through rate
- Clicks per link
- Conversion rate
- Spam complaints
- Forwarding rate
- Overall ROI
These data points provide insightful information on user activity and email marketing success. They tell you whether your campaign is hitting its mark and what to do if it’s not.
Generate HVAC Leads and Retain Existing Clients
Ultimately, HVAC maintenance email marketing helps you retain customers and generate leads. One, constant engagements with customers binds them closer to your brand.
Two, personalized emails and persuasive CTAs generate convertible leads and sales. Either outcome will depend on your marketing goals. However, you can do both—and even more—by carefully segmenting your contacts. (More on this below.)
Top Tips for HVAC Email Marketing
The possibilities of email marketing are virtually endless. However, email marketing only works when done correctly. If you’re new to this, you might be wondering what email marketing for HVAC contractors looks like or where it even begins.
Well, we’ve got that covered. Here are 8 quick tips for starting and nurturing a successful HVAC email marketing campaign:
1. Define Your Goals
What exactly do you hope to achieve with email marketing? Before anything else, lay out your HVAC email marketing objectives. Do you want to inform, attract, engage, guide, nurture, or convert customers?
Actually, you can do all these things with a multi-segmented email campaign. You can generate leads from new prospects, resell your services to past clients, and keep existing customers engaged all at the same time.
Each of these objectives, of course, requires a unique email template.
But you might want to start with the basics. Identify your weakest marketing link or largest customer segment and focus on that. For example, if your current marketing priority is acquiring new customers, direct your email campaign toward lead generation.
Solid objectives form guardrails for your email strategy, keeping your goal-oriented action plan on track.
2. Build and Segment Your Email Contact List
The most crucial asset in email marketing is the contact list. Without it, you have nowhere to send promotional emails. An email list is something you create from scratch and slowly build over time.
The longer the email list, the wider the net cast by your emailing campaign. In other words, more contacts increase the chances of achieving your objectives.
But it’s not just about the list. The contacts on that list must be people with a genuine interest in your HVAC services. Otherwise, you’ll be sending emails down the drain.
Try the following tactics to build a useful email list for your HVAC business:
- Request email signups for web-based inquiries and customer services, such as HVAC service quotes and call-back requests on your site.
- Offer incentives to email subscribers (discounts, newsletters, service perks, exclusive notifications, etc.).
- Install lead capture tools, such as exit intent pop-ups or slide-ins, on your website that casually request visitors to leave their contact details.
- Create a customer loyalty program to make customers feel more comfortable sharing their email addresses.
- Leverage your contractor’s social media outlets to gather relevant emails.
- Have your customers fill in their email addresses in HVAC job contracts and other business documents.
The trick to collecting emails is not to be too upfront about it. Find creative, subtle ways to get your site visitors, social media followers, and local customers to willingly share their contact information.
Once you have your list, segment it based on each contact’s position on the customer journey, past job contracts, or their particular interest in your business.
3. Set Up Your Emailing Address
Promotional emails should look and feel professional. So, you’ll need a business email address to serve as the sender. The address should bear your HVAC business’s name so recipients can instantly recognize the email’s source.
If you already have an HVAC website, the domain comes with several business email options. If you don’t have a website (which you should), you can buy a domain just for the business email address. Something like “[email protected]” will do.
In addition to a distinct email address, you’ll need a digital system to automate and manage emails. It would be painstakingly difficult to manually handle dozens or hundreds of emails on, say, a weekly basis.
An email management tool neatly houses all your email operations under one roof and conveniently takes care of scheduling, auto-replies, auto-forwarding, and more. It also gives you insightful analytical data through detailed email activity reports.
Mailchimp is a good example of a robust emailing platform, though there are many others. Just choose the one that feels easy to use and has all the necessary features.
4. Make an Emailing Schedule
It’s important to send promotional emails on a regular schedule. For instance, newsletters can go out monthly, with reminders and check-ins every two weeks or so.
Don’t bombard your customers with too many unnecessary emails, or they’ll backlist your address.
There’s also such a thing as the right day and time to send emails. Research suggests that Friday is the best day to send business emails in the U.S., anytime between 6 a.m. and 6 p.m. Sunday is the worst.
5. Write Emails Your Customers Want to Read
Write emails your target audience would actually want to read and possibly act upon. Use catchy subject lines that grab the reader’s attention and base the entire email on a thought-provoking topic.
Keep the message concise and peppered with captivating (but not overloaded) images, colors, and contrasts.
You can also sprinkle in some humor in every email. Everyone likes a good HVAC joke—maybe some word puns or sarcastic comments. Funny enough, humorous branding and messaging appeals quite strongly to consumers.
But humor’s not the only approach you can take. Just write “human” content that’s relevant and interesting to your audience. Focus on industry news, how your services benefit customers, and useful information about HVAC installation, maintenance, or repair.
6. Get Personal
With a good understanding of your audience, you can get really personal with your email marketing. Email personalization means addressing the recipient on a human level.
Simple cues, such as saluting the recipient by name, writing in a friendly tone, and making it seem like the email comes from you and not the business, can go a long way in driving open rates and engagements.
You can also personalize the email content by making it specifically relevant to just one person.
For instance, you can have trigger emails sent every time a new customer shares their email address, requests a quote, or leaves a review of your HVAC services on your website.
Checking in on past clients is another great way to personalize email marketing. Ask them how their HVAC system has been doing since you last installed, serviced, or repaired it.
And while you’re at it, subtly suggest other HVAC services the customer might be interested in.
7. Optimize Emails for Mobile
A survey on email client market share shows that 41.6% of emails are opened on mobile devices, mainly tablets and smartphones. So, make your promotional emails as mobile-friendly as possible to capture this vast user segment.
Emails designed for desktop computers may not be compatible with mobile platforms, given the differences in screen size and user interactions.
How do you make your HVAC emails mobile-friendly? Here are some tips for doing just that:
- Always include pre-header text, a secondary subject line that appears in the email’s preview on most mobile email apps.
- Keep the email copy brief and concise.
- Ensure the email is perfectly readable and interactive, even with the reader’s image feature turned off.
- Align your content to the center, especially the CTAs, links, and buttons.
- Allow enough touch space between links and buttons.
- Limit vertical scroll.
- Use responsive single-column email templates that scale seamlessly across various devices.
- Avoid tiny fonts.
8. Maximize Performance with A/B Testing
Fine-tuning email marketing takes some trial and error to get the desired results.
A/B testing is an email optimization strategy where you send different versions of the same email to see how certain changes in your HVAC email marketing content may affect the audience’s response.
For instance, you can play around with different subject lines, content layouts, and styles to get the most optimal blend of features. The smallest changes can significantly affect how customers perceive and respond to your HVAC marketing emails.
A/B testing is a continuous process that helps you nail down the secret sauce to a successful HVAC email marketing campaign.
Put Email Marketing to Work for You
Email marketing is undoubtedly a worthy addition to your HVAC marketing strategy. It has all the marks of a practical and rewarding marketing approach for professional contractors.
For one, it barely costs a thing. Second, it’s an effective marketing strategy with a proven track record of success.
However, it takes a fair bit of effort to get started. But once you have your email list and have worked out the winning email templates for the various contact segments, there’s not much left to do.
And you can expect amazing results as long as you keep sending carefully crafted emails. Email marketing can become incredibly simple and rewarding once you learn the ropes.
So, what’s stopping you from trying email marketing? Begin your HVAC maintenance email marketing today and start reaping the benefits of low-cost targeted marketing with these tips:
- Start building your email list today. You can do this by asking your customers to sign up for your mailing list or by purchasing a list of leads from a reputable source.
- Set some goals. Get clear on what you want to accomplish with your email marketing campaign. This will help you focus your efforts and ensure that your campaign is successful.
- Choose an email marketing platform. There are many great options out there, so do some research and choose the one that best fits your needs.
- Brainstorm content ideas. Great content is the most important part of your email marketing campaign, so take some time to brainstorm. Think of what will interest your customers and encourage them to take action.
- Test, test, test! Nothing’s worse than investing lots of time and effort into an email campaign that falls flat because of technical issues. Send yourself test emails to make sure everything looks good and the links work properly.