Just like personal New Year’s resolutions, most companies fail to execute their annual growth plans. As the president and CEO of a digital marketing company, it’s my job to make sure that growth plans get executed. It’s a new year, but this isn’t my first rodeo. Over the past 10 years, I’ve seen it all. When it comes to having a well-defined, clearly articulated digital marketing strategy, most people fall into one of three categories:
- You’ve got a plan. Hopefully my last column and Excel workbook helped. Now it’s time to focus on execution. Good news—this article is for you.
- You’re working on a plan. No worries—better late than never. Make sure you check out my previous column. Remember, the best plans are worthless if they’re not executed. Read on.
- You don’t have a plan. Again, read my last article and get going! But don’t panic. There’s still time—especially if you’re on a shifted fiscal year like some of the HVAC contractors I’ve worked with.
No matter which of these describes you, this article can help because a plan is only as good as the execution. The reason so many business owners fail to execute is because they neglect to put in place the right new habits.
Strong executors know that creating a goal and plan are, at best, a quarter of the challenge. To actually accomplish your goal, you need new habits to support your plan. That is what this column is going to help you do—develop new habits to grow faster in 2017.
Go to www.marketing-toolkit.com and download the 2017 Digital Marketing Checklist & Review.
Now, let’s walk through it together.
The 2017 Digital Marketing Checklist & Review
To successfully market your HVAC business online, at a minimum, you need to focus on the following:
- You’ve got to be found
- You’ve got to be accessible
- You’ve got to be informative
- You’ve got to be trustworthy
- You’ve got to keep in touch
The 2017 Digital Marketing Checklist & Review will help you keep these top-of-mind.
How easily can you be found online? The absolute first place you need to be found is on Google. Not only does Google drive 90% of global organic search traffic, but people using search engines have the intent to do something—like hire a contractor to replace their heat pump.
You might feel tripped up by the phrase “be found.” I’m not talking about what pops up in the search engine results when you simply type in your company’s name. Plug 200 keywords that relate to your top services into Google (like “furnace repair, Arvada, CO”). If you’re not found on the first page of Google for at least half of them, 2017 is the time to fix that. Maybe you’re not focusing enough effort on SEO or perhaps it’s time to invest more in Google AdWords. The key is you’ve got to monitor this stuff and hold yourself (or those you’ve hired to manage your digital marketing) accountable for getting you found.
The Digital Marketing Checklist & Review will further walk you through what it takes to be found not only on search engines, but also on social media. While you may not have a Facebook account, 79% of online U.S. adults do—including 84% of adults 30 – 49 and 72% of adults 50 – 64.
Once your business can be found, you want to make sure you’re accessible. User experience is one of the most important factors to your online success—if users can’t easily navigate your site or if the pages don’t load quickly enough, they’ll hit the back button and move on to the next company in the search results.
As you’ll see, first on the 2017 Digital Marketing Checklist & Review under the heading Be Accessible is mobile-friendliness. If you haven’t made your website mobile-friendly, now is the time. Per official statements from Google, more than 50% of online searches come from mobile devices.
Along with ensuring your site is optimized for mobile devices, there are a handful of additional components essential to being accessible. Refer to the 2017 Digital Marketing Checklist & Review for more details about keeping your site in good standing all year long—for the search engines and for your potential customers.
Your website needs to provide visitors with information about your company and the services you provide. As easy as this sounds, you’d be surprised how many HVAC contractors I’ve worked with that initially didn’t have websites with that information up-to-date.
Look at the 2017 Digital Marketing Checklist & Review you’ve downloaded. It lists the minimum you must do to have an informative website, but one thing I’ll mention here is the importance of blogging consistently. Your prospects and customers have questions. You are the expert. The best HVAC blog posts answer the most commonly asked questions. If you’re consistently creating informative content for your target customers, you will establish your company as an authority—and on the web, authority always wins.
If you don’t have a blog, make it a priority to add one to your website. If you do have a blog, how often are you updating it? Daily? Weekly? Monthly? Rarely—if ever? At a minimum, you should be adding new content twice a month, targeting the keyword phrases for which you want to appear on Google.
How can you ensure you’re blogging enough? Set a recurring task in your calendar to blog, and then do it (or pay someone else to).
If I were to ask you what separates your company from the rest, what would you say? Perhaps you’d note that you have a team of experienced HVAC contractors. It could be that you take pride in your many accreditations. But does your website clearly communicate who your company is?
There are several actions you can take to improve your trustworthiness online. As an HVAC contractor, you need to prove to prospects that they will feel comfortable having you in their home—and something as simple as an “About Us” page with pictures of you and your team can accomplish that.
Equally, if not more important, is making sure all your contact forms work. I can’t tell you how many times contact forms are broken and the HVAC company has no idea. If your customers can’t easily communicate with you, you’ve already lost them.
Keep in Touch
The final factor you need to focus on is staying in touch with your customers. Keeping new and existing customers in the loop is one of the easiest ways to stay top-of-mind throughout the year—even and especially when it’s not your peak season.
You’ll notice the 2017 Digital Marketing Checklist & Review highlights email marketing—and for good reason. When done right, email marketing is perhaps the lowest-cost way to increase referrals, upsells, leads, and booked jobs. Maybe you already send one—but are you sending it consistently? Are you adding exclusive offers and information your readers will find interesting? Do you update your mailing list regularly? Making a habit of these action items will help develop a relationship between you and your audience—and your business will come to mind when they need your services down the line.
Make It Happen
Execution is tough, but I’m sure you’ve heard the saying, “If you do what you always did, you’ll get what you always got.” If you really want to hit your 2017 business growth goals, set reminders to fill out the 2017 Digital Marketing Checklist & Review quarterly—at a minimum. For anything you aren’t able to fill out or check “yes” to now, make it a goal to change that by the end of the year.
Some of the items on the checklist may seem intimidating—especially if you’re new to this—but don’t be discouraged. If you want to see examples of a successful digital marketing strategy that will make completing the 2017 Digital Marketing Checklist & Review easy, drop me a line. I’m happy to help.
Here’s to a successful 2017!
After starting his career in online media, recruitment advertising, and software sales at HotJobs.com, Ben spent time in the telecommunications industry and later went on to become the East Coast regional manager of an advertising and marketing agency. Shortly thereafter, Ben met Bob Perini. Together, they developed the concept that would become Blue Corona.
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