Marketing Strategies for Winning Whole House Ventilation Jobs
Let’s preface this article by acknowledging that we, at Energy Circle, might be just a little bit fixated on the topic of ventilation these days... but in our defense, we’re not the only ones! Sure, those of us in the home performance, HVAC, and building science industries have long understood the importance of ventilation, but ever since the COVID-19 pandemic has placed our indoor environments and the air we breathe under a literal microscope, ventilation and indoor air quality have been thrust into the mainstream spotlight—and everyone, from The Atlantic and USA Today to average homeowners, is taking notice.
Over the last few months, we’ve even been taking an in-depth look at the HVAC/HRV system installed in Energy Circle’s Portland office, and considering the impact it has on the air quality in our working environment. And last month, we talked about the top 3 most significant ways that the Coronavirus crisis has changed the HVAC, home performance, and solar industries, along with recommendations for how to pivot digital marketing strategies to align with those changes. One of those major changes was—you guessed it—the dramatic increase in awareness around the important role that ventilation plays in indoor air quality among the general public.
In case you missed it, here’s what we had to say back in September about the impact COVID-19 has had on awareness around ventilation, and our recommendations for how best to shift your digital marketing strategy to leverage this trend and win more ventilation oriented home performance or HVAC projects.
Stay-At-Home Orders Shine a Light on IAQ & Ventilation
As guidance from health and safety authorities on the Coronavirus shifted its focus from surface transmission to airborne spread, we saw significant spikes on the digital marketing side in organic search interest around air purifiers, HVAC filters, indoor air quality, and finally - ventilation. This was probably not surprising to the general public, but in the HVAC and Healthy Home services industries, this is a trend we’ve been waiting and working for!
Between quarantine, social distancing, and offices and schools going all remote, people are spending more time inside their homes, using more energy to heat and cool them, cooking more, using more hot water, as well as breathing the air and noticing how all of these systems are impacting them physically, mentally, and financially. The pandemic has forced people to take a closer look at their indoor environments, and the better building and energy industries are seeing the effects of that rapidly rising awareness on their business.
The search data suggests that consumers are finally beginning to make the connection between indoor air quality and ventilation as it relates to their physical health and general respiratory safety. Where it used to take aggressive, long term content marketing efforts to educate consumers about the concept of a “healthy home” and its relation to home performance, COVID-19 has forced the issue to the surface in a more visible, accessible, and mainstream way than ever before. Governments, medical and health organizations, and the scientific community have all joined the conversation in a major way, shining a spotlight not only on the HVAC industry, but on the science behind the systems that power and ventilate our indoor environments.
The Marketing Shift:
Ride the rising awareness train to the top! Blog, video, landing page, repeat!
COVID-19, for better or worse, is helping to make the case for ventilation and healthy home solutions. Continue to publish blog content, FAQ landing pages, and educational videos on your website, YouTube, and Facebook pages that speak about ventilation and the science behind how fresh air ventilation, coupled with other building performance services and solutions, help improve IAQ and mitigate the spread of airborne particulates (careful about tone here—see #2!). When a homeowner in your service area is looking for answers to their healthy home or ventilation questions, you should pop up in their Google search results. Optimize your website content on your site to prioritize services and solutions around ventilation and indoor air quality to gain visibility in organic SERP. Remember, FAQs, structured snippets, and video results take up some of the most prominent real estate on Google’s first page of search results.
Marketing the healthy home concept has always been a challenge in education. While it’s unfortunate that it’s taken a serious crisis to boost awareness around these issues, nevertheless awareness is at an all time high. Traditional marketing channels like YouTube, Facebook, GMB, and your own website are all still excellent platforms for building and nurturing awareness and disseminating educational content. The advantage to getting this information out there now is, we don’t have to do so much of the hard work of drawing the audience in because they’re already looking for this information. Interest is high, so make sure your content is meeting that interest with helpful, relevant, comprehensive information.
What Else Can Be Said About Marketing Ventilation?
Now, I bet you’re thinking, that must be it, right? There can’t possibly be anything else to say on the topic of ventilation! We respectfully disagree. In fact, last week, Energy Circle founder and CEO Peter Troast dove even deeper into the subject during his Wednesday Webinar entitled “Marketing Strategies for Winning Whole House Ventilation Jobs.” In addition to touching on some of the same observations and recommendations we’ve noted in past content about ventilation and marketing tactics to leverage the growing interest, Peter took it one step further and posed the question: How might HVAC, better building, and home performance businesses also shift their service offerings to meet growing consumer demand for ventilation solutions?
We have seen trends like this before. Marketing services and solutions to address the underlying consumer demand for a healthier indoor environment has long been a challenge for HVAC and home performance businesses. We’ve often explored this challenge as it relates to IAQ services in particular, like duct cleaning, insulation and air sealing, crawlspace encapsulation, and even home electrification. But these services are typically easier to market as stand alone solutions (even though we know they’re less effective when implemented that way). The path to more meaningful whole home projects aimed at improving IAQ has often been: start with a test! Homeowners are aware that their house has an impact on their health, but they need more evidence. An IAQ assessment, evaluation, or test helps homeowners understand the specific home performance issues that should be addressed to have a meaningful impact on the health of the air in their homes, so starting with an assessment is often the best way to win meaningful whole house IAQ jobs.
This then begs the question...
Will Homeowners Respond to a Ventilation Assessment?
Obviously, we think the answer is yes. Homeowners who are now becoming aware and interested in the impact that ventilation has on the health of their homes will benefit from a diagnostic process and report that pinpoints the specific home performance solutions which will improve their homes’ ventilation. In other words, like with IAQ trends of the past, we think homeowners will soon be looking for ventilation assessments as well.
How Should HVAC, Home Performance, and Better Building Contractors Start Marketing a Ventilation Assessment?
Peter spoke at length about some of the most effective digital marketing tactics for marketing assessments in his webinar. Here is a summary of the strategies he discussed:
Content: Think of the “Ventilation Assessment” as a brand new service offering. You know it’s best for SEO and conversion to have a dedicated landing page on your website for all of your priority services, and this is no different. You may talk about all the steps of the diagnostic process which will go into a ventilation assessment elsewhere on your site, but have it in one, easy-to-find location—don’t make your customers piece it together. Craft a dedicated, comprehensive, and engaging service landing page that helps homeowners understand what the assessment is, and why it’s the perfect starting point for addressing their ventilation concerns.
Keyword Strategy: Use common terminology that is more universally understood. You may be a building science expert, but your customers likely are not. When talking about ventilation on your website, or in your social or paid advertising, consider how the narrative around ventilation systems has shifted because of Covid and adapt. We know search volume first exploded around “air purifiers” and “filter” products, because homeowners understand the importance of fresh, clean, circulating air. Incorporate vocabulary around “fresh air systems” into your content and keyword strategies.
Lean on the Science and Defer to the Experts: You don’t have to start from scratch when forming your own ventilation assessment process. While there’s not a ton of guidance around residential ventilation systems or best practices that’s been updated in the age of COVID, there is definitely some helpful and reliable information out there. The DOE has released some recommendations for how best to evaluate ventilation systems, and the Building Performance Institute has come out with their own reference of Healthy Housing Principals, one of which is, of course, “Keep it Ventilated”.
Did we mention content? We know we did, but it bears repeating. There is always some amount of education and awareness building required when going after those more comprehensive, whole home jobs. And one of the most effective marketing tools at our disposal for building awareness is engaging and informative content. It doesn’t have to be blog post after blog post. Consider incorporating more visual content into the mix— interactive or animated graphics and video are all proven tactics for building awareness. When the topic involves the movement of air, what better way to convey the facts than with actual movement?
Any way you look at it, it’s evident that people are paying attention to ventilation more than they ever have before. This is an opportunity for HVAC and home performance experts to take control of the conversation, and lead the trend in the right direction by educating consumers about the most effective ways to upgrade and improve a home’s ventilation.