Every Contractor or Equipment Manufacturer, Distributor/supplier has a web presence of sorts, whether they be Solopreneurs, Large or Small Businesses, and whether they have a Brochure type website, a Facebook Page or a full blown online Shop.
Thats great but whats the purpose of your Online Marketing? Whats your Objective? Why have you got an online presence? Why have a Blog? The answer is simply dependant on how much importance you consider your web presence to be as part of your Business Development. People have different views about the need for some sort of Web Presence.
Customers Can “Check You Out”
At the very basic level its a way for potential customers to “Check you Out”. Where you are based, what you do, whats in it for me. Going deeper, they will want to know that your Business has the knowledge and expertise to help them fix their Aermec chiller, Armstrong Pressurisation unit, Protech Fire Alarm, Riello UPS or Schindler escalator etc. etc.
There’s a good chance they are unhappy with their incumbent provider and they want to know they can trust you. Your website needs to have those type keywords (obviously the ones based around your own products/services) as well as the area where you work. i.e. “Aermec Chiller Repairs Leeds”
Manufacturers may see it as a place for customers to get Product and Technical Information. Contractors may use it as a place to show their latest installation etc. However for the vast majority of “brochure type” website sit there doing nothing, Sitting on page 4 million and twenty! So I often say to myself – why bother? Why spend money on a website that has no benefit to anyone, will never get found (nobody searches past page 2!)
Most Brochure Website Fail to deliver
We all have different reasons – like Local Contractors who want to attract Local Customers or National Distributors who need to tell Nationwide Specifiers and Contractors about their new and current products. Others want to increase their Brand exposure and some want to sell you their stuff!
However from the research we have undertaken it seems like those Building Services Businesses that have a Brochure site fail to address the problems, needs and challenges of their Ideal Customers.
Posting the typical “We sell HVAC systems” isn’t going to work but posting/sharing heating/cooling tips on saving Energy on their Commercial HVAC system. WILL produce a following – and those followers will think of you when they need work done. Claremont make a great job of stating what the purpose of their Blog is and what their Business does and for whom.
How to “Hang-Out” where your Clients “Hang-Out”
I’m going to show you how understanding, finding and engaging your target audience online will bring you traffic that you never though possible.
How You Can Do It
It really is quite easy to do regardless of your target market or niche. – Basically if you want to increase your page rankings as well as providing useful Tips and information to your Ideal clients – then you need to provide new, fresh regular content. In other words via your Blog
- Use the blog primarily as a method of improving your SEO results, given that the vast majority of the clients who find your company online will probably do so through paid or organic search results.
- On every occasion make the blog content something of value to the HVAC client – i.e. how to service their units, the best equipment for different types of properties, HVAC unit comparisons, etc.
- Share the blog articles everywhere, and take chunks of each blog article that have snippets of value and post them as standalone social media posts. Be everywhere, be present across all platforms, it helps gives a business more social proof and more visibility.
Building Services, M&E, HVAC aren’t topics aren’t the most conducive to gaining lots of raving fans and I’d honestly say that it may be difficult to get weekly blog posts that continue to provide new and informative content over and over without getting repetitive.
Posting where your Customers hang-out online
In our experience those people likely to buy (or be able to influence the purchase) of your Products or Services will be people with titles such as Contract Managers, Project Managers, Facilities Managers, Building Services Managers, Building Managers etc. and those with Purchasing or Buyer in their job title. They will probably work for one of these type businesses i.e. Building Services Engineers, M&E Consultants, Managing Agents, Facilities managers or be and End user occupier.
These people hang out in LinkedIn (particularly in niche Groups) such as BIFM, CIBSE, and other FM groups. They also hang-out on Twitter and now with the growth and direction that Facebook for Business is taking, make no mistake they have got LinkedIn firmly in their sights – then once Businesses get familiar with that then there will be groups there too.
Don’t however join groups where your peers hang-out, such as niche groups like Refrigeration Engineers, or HVAC Groups, because all you will do is post stuff to your friends and possibly competitors. Sure they’re good for sharing technical issues or if you are looking for a solution to a technical problem, but if you want to grow your Business you won’t get it there. However just one Caveat. They are OK if you are a specialist sub-contractor looking for work from the main M&E contractors.
Use Your Blog Post to Build Trust
Building Services, M&E, HVAC or FM blog posts aren’t really meant to be shared on social media and go viral. It’s not going to happen. I’ve never had a client say they want more social media shares. Nor is that my goal when writing a post. Your clients need to build a trust in your Business. If they’ve never heard of you – even though you might have a website, then they won’t consider you.
Keep in mind that many Building Services, M&E, HVAC companies are extremely local. If the company is in a small town in Nottinghamshire, then visitors from Hull won’t do them much good because the end goal is to get website visitors to call the local HVAC company for repairs, installation, inspections, etc.
That means SEO plays a big part of every post you write. If we’re writing a post for a client about signs a commercial Boiler needs to be replaced, then I’m going to include the location of the Contractor in that post. So if the company is in Exeter, and people search for “Commercial Boiler replacement in Exeter,” hopefully that post will pop up on the first page. The trick is to do it in a way that sounds natural – like you’re writing for a human, not for the search engines.
Next to SEO, your second goal should be to educate. Give the visitors something of value. Write a post that tells them how to troubleshoot simple problems or make simple repairs. I spend A LOT of time doing research before I even begin to write a post for my HVAC clients. Luckily my team are all from a Building Services, HVAC or FM background so we know what we are talking about. Because of this, we are familiar with how Commercial Heating and AC units work, Fire Alarm systems, Lifts and escalators, BMS and UpS systems, hot water heaters and a lot of other basic plumbing stuff. Research is just as important, if not more, than actually writing the post.
The post should also have a call to action. There is a limit to what the average Facilities/Building Services Manager can do to their own Heating or AC systems. You don’t want to suggest something that can putt them in danger (or worse!). You need to tell them that A) it’s better to have a licensed professional do the work, and B) give reasons WHY your company can help them out.
If you write posts that overly sales-ish, you’re not going to be doing your company any favours. You want to portray the company as an authority and build trust. Do this by writing stuff that the average Facilities Manager will find useful.
How I Understood My Audience
Luckily as a successful online marketer, I have a good understanding of my audience.
Therefore as start all you have to do is browse around relevant blogs & forums for a while and you will see the same types of things over and over-
- People asking questions and getting the wrong answer
- People asking questions and getting generic answers that don’t really help
- A lot of ‘blanket’ advice that doesn’t get into any real details
- Rehashed / out dated information
We take the time to understand our customers audience before we create any content. As I went through I made a list of key concerns / problems / worry’s that peoples had with their Building and its services.
Over time they became a list of post ideas that directly address the key questions & issues ou target audience face – issues that we knew how to solve and did so on a daily basis in our own SEO activity’s.
Every piece of content we produce has to address all of those questions and concerns to ensure we engage the audience correctly.
Here are some links to a couple of articles that you will find useful and relevant even if you aren’t in HVAC as the same principles apply.
Your Web Presence should be the centrepiece to your Business Development. Employ these tactics at the best of your ability, and don’t try to eat an elephant in one go! Start with small steps until you have completed it and then move on to the next one. So as we asked at the beginning of this article ask yourself Whats the purpose of your Online Marketing? Answer that firstc and you can then start to change it for the better.
If all of this is just too much for you, then let us help. Call free on 0800 009 6349