Strike While the Iron (and the Weather) Is Hot: Preparing for Fall
Don’t just change with the seasons — be ready for the change before it happens! It has been one heck of a summer for us at Energy Circle as we have enjoyed the short warm weather season here in Maine. As much as we all want to hold on to the sunshine-filled days and cool summer nights for a few more months, we know that fall is nearly here, as well as all across the country. Which means it is time for the latest installation in a series of seasonal marketing tips for your solar, home performance, or HVAC business!
In case you missed last week’s webinar on preparing your marketing for the Fall (and the Game of Thrones references therein), here are the highlights of how to best prepare your digital marketing efforts for the change in seasons, as well as some tips on how and when to transition to fall messaging on your website, as well as your other digital channels.
The Seasonality of HVAC Demand
This is something we at Energy Circle have covered extensively (eg: Things are Heating Up: Essentials Of Seasonal Marketing for summer). But to put this into a “fall” leaning perspective, we use this illustration to show the end goal of preparing your seasonal marketing:
As temperatures begin to “fall”, demand for your relevant services will begin to ramp up. Preparing your marketing ahead of the curve will even out the demand, and ensure you don’t miss out on seasonal leads.
There is a distinct correlation between the temperature outside and traffic for certain search terms. When it comes to fall, searches for “furnace repair” will start to ramp up around a couple of factors, like a drop in outdoor temperature. After harvesting nearly 15 years of US search volume data, you can see that the seasonal trigger for fall was much more consistent than the seasonal trigger for summer:
No big surprises here — the beginning of September has been a consistent trigger for the end of summer (AKA: Labor Day). The consistency of this seasonal trigger enables you to set an end goal for your fall marketing prep so that you can capture the maximum traffic.
There are a few key events throughout the fall and into the winter to keep in mind:
Labor Day: The “cool” switch goes off on most thermostats. This, of course, is climate dependent.
The First Big Temperature Swing: There are few things more effective at motivating homeowners to take care of their furnace than a chill in the air.
Dead Zone: The last two weeks of December, or, as many call it, the Christmas Break.
Weather Events: Polar vortexes, snow/ice storms and severe cold can cause ice dams and other winter comfort issues.
March/ April: Things are beginning to warm up, and homeowners are thinking, “We can make it until spring!”
When you look at the total number of days from the start of fall marketing season (September 1st) until the end of the year, September and October become crucial. There are 70 days between September and January 1st, but if you subtract September and October along with the week of Thanksgiving and the last two weeks of December, that seasonal window takes a 57% drop, leaving only 30 days for you to book your fall jobs before the end of the year.
Our recommendation for capturing the maximum jobs/leads through all of these seasonal events: Make sure your fall marketing messaging is ready to rock by no later than September 1st.
Preparing Your Website for Fall
So, how can you optimize your website to capture the most leads in the fall season? We already know the when, but let’s get into the how.
Separate Your Services
How are your services separated on your site? This is an important factor in the way you present your services. In our opinion, separating your seasonal services streamlines not only how users find the information they need on your site, but it also provides more targeted landing pages for any PPC, Facebook, or GMB campaigns. Give heating and cooling (and insulation if necessary) their own sections in your primary navigation to better direct the traffic on your site.
Deepen Your Fall/Winter Content
Expand your site to include all of your services — do you provide furnace installation, maintenance and repair? Give them all their own sub-navigation page for targeted seasonal messaging. Do you have a blog or resource section on your site? Gear your blog topics and articles towards heating, furnace repair and maintenance, and energy-efficient heating equipment like mini splits and heat pumps.
Here’s a starting list of fall-themed blog topics:
4 Reasons It’s Not Too Early for Heating Maintenance
Why It’s Not Too Early To Start Thinking About Your Heating System
5 Reasons Why Heating Maintenance Is Key
Making Sure Your Boiler is Ready for Winter
Is Your Furnace Ready for Winter?
Our Heating System Maintenance Checklist
Promotion: $50 off a fall energy audit/furnace tune-up
Is Your Home Ready For Winter?
3 Ways to Winterize Your Home That You May Not Have Thought Of
Beyond the Website
Of course, your digital marketing includes more than just your website. You’ll want to make sure all of your digital marketing channels are consistent with your fall messaging. But there are some other easy tips and tricks that will keep your HVAC or home performance business more visible come September 1st.
Change Up Your GMB Category
This is especially relevant for the HVAC industry, but changing your primary GMB category to “furnace repair service” or “heating contractor” will give you the most traction as the season begins to change. What we do not mean is removing other less relevant services — simply rearrange the order so that your fall services are prioritized.
PPC & Google Ads
One of the beautiful benefits of paid-per-click advertising is in the name — you only pay for the clicks. So by targeting fall themed search terms early (before it gets cold), you are not putting your clickspend at risk. By getting your campaign set up beforehand the cost-per-click will be low as the traffic begins to ramp up, so you are likely to spend much less per click early on.
Take Advantage of Manufacturer Rebates
Many manufacturers and larger, established brands will run seasonal promotions. Like we talked about in last weeks blog on utilizing co-ops, use someone else’s money!
This Lennox rebate on new furnaces is aptly described, and links the potential savings with an easy to use form along the right hand side of the landing page.
Create a landing page describing the details of these manufacturer rebates, and make sure it is linked to the relevant services you provide that would include that product. And if there are no rebates or promotions that are relevant to your business, create your own promotion! Early promotions can stimulate the market to move, and even out your seasonal demand. And sometimes, all that humans need to spur us into action is a due date, even if the deadline for your promotion is arbitrary.
Is Fall Dragging Its Feet? Get Aggressive
There will be times when fall doesn't seem to want to cooperate with the seasonal norms. If the mild temperatures are maintaining deep into October, there are some more aggressive messaging tactics you can take with your hero image copy, calls to action, and social media postings. This can include overall readiness for cold temperatures, as well as fear that the local utility company may leave the customer high and dry (especially in the case of off-grid solar and generators).
Winter is coming!
Is your house ready for cold temperatures?
Cooler temps are on the way
Don’t wait ‘till the last minute
Get your generator before you need it
Avoid the cold shower
Free ____________ before November 15th
Flash sales with a deadline
Efficient water heaters
Tactics that are Fast to Deploy & Deliver Reach
When you need to get aggressive in a shorter fall season, these digital marketing tactics will distribute your fall themed messaging quickly, and deliver results.
Send a fall themed email to your existing customer list
Make a paid Facebook ad campaign using your existing custom audiences
Display advertising for “big” messages (promotions and rebates)
Paid Search/PPC – adjust your bids based on temperatures swings!
Don’t Change with the Seasons — Change Ahead of Them!
In closing, the big message here is: don’t wait until October to get ready for fall! Start early, get your digital marketing plan in place — and then once September hits, let it fly! A change in seasons provides you the opportunity to capture the search traffic associated with the temperature changes, but you can only maximize on this traffic for lead generation if your prepared ahead of time!