Email, social, SEO — there are countless digital marketing channels for local HVAC businesses looking to grow. Managing and using them effectively can get a little overwhelming.
So adding yet another medium to that mix might seem counterproductive. But hear us out: SMS marketing is an underutilized channel for small HVAC businesses. With significantly better engagement rates than social and email, text message marketing is an excellent way to connect with your customers.
Let's explore how HVAC SMS marketing can generate more business. We'll also provide a few ideas for crafting personalized messaging that sets you apart from your competitors.
Why your local HVAC company needs SMS marketing
You probably already have an email list. You've certainly captured phone numbers from your customers to schedule and confirm service appointments.
If you haven't tried HVAC SMS marketing, you could be losing out on new leads and repeat business. Here are a few reasons why:
- 90% of customers open text messages within 3 minutes of receiving them.
- SMS has a 45% response rate and a 36% click-through rate — compared to just 8% and 3.4% for email respectively.
- Nearly half of customers prefer SMS to other channels for loyalty program updates from their favorite brands.
For a small HVAC business like yours, interacting with your customers through every avenue of communication is essential. Bite-sized text messages are one of the quickest ways to reach customers. With automation, you can send messages to thousands of contacts in seconds.
Let's take a look at how to build and segment your list, plus a few clever ideas for crafting personalized messages for your HVAC SMS marketing campaigns.
How to capture contact information to build your list
Chances are you're starting out with a decent-sized list of current and past customers. Here are a few things you can do to grow that list.
Promote SMS-exclusive offers on other channels
Let's say you're running a discount for your SMS customers. Why not let your Facebook fans, Twitter followers, and email subscribers know, too? After all, they've already opted in to your marketing on those other channels.
Run ads promoting offers for SMS subscribers
Ads are a great way to expand your reach, grow your followers and subscribers, and attract new customers. It's easier to target your ideal customer through ads, too.
Post flyers in your shop
Local HVAC companies have all sorts of fancy digital marketing tech to promote their business. But never doubt the power of traditional marketing. Post a flyer in your shop advertising your SMS offers. You might be surprised at how many subscribers you'll earn from it!
Best practices for building your SMS contact list
There is a right and wrong way to go about building your SMS list. Let's look at the best ways to build a list for your HVAC SMS marketing campaigns.
Ask for consent
You might think it's safe to assume that customers know they're consenting to marketing when they provide their information. But transparency is essential for earning your customers' trust. (And asking for consent, even from your existing contacts, is also mandatory.)
Make sure your customers know they're opting in to SMS marketing whenever they provide their phone number. Better yet, add a opt-in message like, "I agree to receive marketing updates from [HVAC company] via text message".
You may also want to include a note about what you won't use their number for — such as unsolicited calling or selling their information to third parties.
Let your customers know what you're offering and how many messages they'll receive
When it comes to local HVAC SMS marketing, less is always more. We don't need to tell you that bombarding your customers with text messages every day isn't a good idea.
On your sign-up form, make sure to clarify exactly how many text messages subscribers will receive from you and what those text messages will contain. Example: "We'll send you one exclusive offer or maintenance tip every month."
Sure, most customers might not bother to read the fine print. But consumers' rights include full disclosure on how companies use their data. Again, this is a mandatory requirement, not just for HVAC SMS marketing, but for every brand.
Inform your customers of potential charges
These days, many phone plans include unlimited text messages, but not all do. Be sure your customers know that SMS message rates may apply.
Provide a painless way to opt out
Not all of your customers will want to receive marketing messages from you. Or they might change their mind.
Make it easy for your customers to opt out of your messaging. You might include a note at the bottom of the text like, "Reply STOP to opt out".
Remember, easy opt-outs are also mandatory according to standard SMS compliance laws.
Clean up your list regularly
The number of total subscribers matters a whole lot less than the number of engaged subscribers on your list. Review your list regularly and remove contacts who never open your messages. Also, be sure to look for delivery errors to landline numbers and those out of service.
Segment your list to craft relevant messaging for different customer groups
Over 70% of customers say will interact only with personalized messages.Sending the same SMS blast to all of your customers has consequences. You risk delivering irrelevant messaging to the wrong customers and losing subscribers.
Segmenting your list ensures your customers receive messages they're most likely to interact with.
How to segment your contact list
Here are a few examples of how to bucket your subscribers:
- By how much they spent — $1,000+, $500+, $200+
- By which service they chose — furnace tune-up, A/C repair, etc.
- By when they were last serviced — 2 years, 1 year, 6 months
- By customer persona — homeowner, commercial, etc.
- By their activity on your website*
*Integrations between your CRM and SMS messaging platform can show you how your SMS subscribers use your website.
These are just a few ideas to get you started. Avoid segmenting into too many groups — this creates more work for you when it comes to crafting different messages. And if the same customer is in several buckets, you risk bombarding them with several messages at once.
How to customize your messaging for segmented lists
Promoting SMS-exclusive discounts and special offers is a given. Here are a few more specific ways you can create valuable, personalized messaging for your HVAC SMS marketing campaigns.
Offer a $0 dispatch fee for high-paying customers
Let's say you've grouped your customers by how much they've spent. You might offer customers who have spent $1,000 or more in the past 6 months a $0 dispatch fee on their next appointment. This not only saves them money, but it also shows your appreciation for their business.
Send useful tips and advice
Providing value is the golden rule of effective marketing. It can be tempting to solely promote your business and services. But mix it up and give homeowners something they can use.
For instance, you might send a text reminding homeowners to check their air filters. Don't worry about going over the text character limit. Include a shortened link to a blog post or video tutorial so they can learn more.
This is why bucketing your customers according to when they were last serviced could really come in handy. You'll know when their units need maintenance or a tune-up. You could schedule reminders like these several months in advance. You won't have to think about it when the time comes, and your customer remembers to check on their heating and cooling system. It's a win-win!
Try sending the occasional fun fact
Who doesn't love a good piece of trivia? For example, did you know the ancient Romans invented the first central heating system? Known as a hypocaust, this system involved using fire to heat an open space below the floor. The hot air then traveled through flues, or vents, installed in each room.
This HVAC SMS marketing idea provides value and asks for nothing in return. It's sure to make you stand out from your competitors and get your customers talking!
Add a twist to seasonal messaging
This is a clever way to increase open rates and book repeat business.
Here's an example. Let's say you send out a "Merry Christmas" message in July. That's sure to get your customers' attention, right?
Then, once you've hooked them, remind them to book an earlybird furnace tune-up. Offer some money off or perhaps a credit if they book their appointment anytime during the month of July.
Consider adding a little urgency to the message — let your customers know your appointment book fills up quickly during the fall. If they book now, not only will they get a discount, but they'll also avoid the disappointment of missing out on an appointment with their preferred technician.
This works for several reasons:
- It gets your customers' attention because it's quirky and unexpected.
- It puts cash back in their pocket and takes one more task off their to-do list months in advance.
- It helps prevent major HVAC repairs and ensures your customers stay toasty warm throughout the holidays.
Aside from the value it provides your customers, it also means your appointment schedule will be full for the fall and winter!
HVAC SMS marketing ideas and best practices: wrapping up
SMS is an underrated marketing strategy for local HVAC companies. Text message marketing boasts some of the best engagement rates of all marketing channels.
If you haven't tried SMS marketing for your HVAC business, now's a good time to start. Contact us today to discover how SMS automation can boost brand visibility and get more customers in your books.