Paying for marketing to bring in new clients can be an expensive business, but one of the most useful and low-cost things you can do to bring potential customers into your sales funnel is to start a blog.
If you already have a website – and these days you really should, with a number of people searching online for companies, products and services – then a blog is a natural extension of your home on the web.
5 reasons HVAC companies should have a blog:
1. It’s low-cost marketing
You could spend a fortune on Pay Per Click, expensive brochures or radio advertising, but, depending on the set up of your website, it’s a relatively easy and cheap process to add a blog and brand it to look exactly like the rest of your website. If you write the blog yourself, it won’t cost you anything but time.
2. Search Engine Optimisation (SEO)
A well-written blog that’s properly keyworded and regularly updated is perfect to take your website up the search engine rankings, naturally, and without any black hat SEO techniques that might get your site penalised.
3. Be seen as an authority in your field
Whether you’re a plumbing and heating engineer, a field service engineer, an electrical engineer or in HVAC, it really doesn’t matter. A blog is a great place to show off your expertise. You could write ‘how to’ guides, DIY tips, advice columns, what not to do posts, do short videos on particular techniques - the list is endless.
And every last piece of content you add will build potential customer confidence in you and your business.
4. Customer insights
If you check your blog analytics, you’ll be able to tell where your readers come from, what your most popular posts and topics are, and what posts get the most shares and comments, among other useful things. These are great statistics to use for shaping your blog content and improving your marketing.
5. Driving traffic
Great blog content will get shared on social media and found in the search engines, and that will drive traffic to your website. Even better, it will be highly targeted traffic with potential customers that found you because they were searching for the information on your blog, and are much more likely to have a problem that you can solve.
How to integrate a blog into your business
If you’re going to make a success of your blog, it really should be a part of your overall marketing strategy. You’ll need to know who your target market is for both your business and the blog, what your aims are for the blog, and who is going to actually write it.
If you’re not a keen writer, you might be better hiring a freelance writer to produce your content. It will cost more to do that, but it will be professional content that’s well written and meets your brief, to keep your blog running while you carry on playing to your strengths and building your business.
The search engines love fresh content so the more frequently you can post, the better, but you’ve got to balance that with everything else you need to do to run your business, and your own preferences and capabilities.
There’s no point in deciding you’ll post every single day if you know you won’t keep it up. An abandoned blog that hasn’t been updated in months looks far worse than no blog at all and gives the impression that your business isn’t current.
Where to start?
If you already have a website, and you’re using WordPress, adding a blog is as simple as adding a page, selecting ‘blog’ as the type, adding the page to your menu, and then starting to add posts.
If your site was built by a professional web designer, you’ll need to speak to them to ask them to add a blog for you and show you how to post.
If you prefer, you can use Blogger, or WordPress to build your blog, and there are plenty of other options like those. One thing to bear in mind if you do is that you won’t own your own platform, and if Google (who own Blogger) suddenly decided tomorrow that they were no longer running Blogger, for example, you could lose all the work you put in overnight.
The other disadvantage of using these sites is that instead of a short, tidy and professional domain name like ‘http://yoursite.com/blog/’, you’ll end up with an address that looks like this: http://yoursite.wordpress.com unless you pay extra. And there’s the obvious point that your blog would not be on your own domain, and you’d be driving traffic to the platform you use, rather than back to your own site.
Once you have everything set up and branded to suit your business, you can then start posting and you’re up and running!
Cons of having a blog
As with any marketing activity, there are pros and cons, and these will vary depending on your preferences and your business.
- Blogging is not a quick fix. You won’t instantly hit number one on Google, or attract streams of ideal customers overnight. Blogging takes time to see results, so if you urgently need customers now, blogging is not what you need to be focusing on.
- You have to be consistent and produce regular content to keep the search engines happy, and your customers coming back. You have to enjoy writing and thinking up new content ideas that fit in with your content strategy. For some people, this one is not a con at all, as they’ll genuinely enjoy doing all of that, but if you’re not keen it is something to bear in mind.
- You do need at least some knowledge of SEO to make the most of your blog and attract the kind of traffic you want.
- You’ll get more from your blog if you know how to build a content marketing strategy and integrate your blog into your overall marketing plan. While not necessarily a con, again it’s something to be aware of, as you may want to seek advice from a digital marketer.
- There is definitely a learning curve with blogging, from learning the platform that you’re blogging on to refining the type of content you produce over time.
Blogging can be a lot of work, and it’s a long-term marketing tactic, not a quick fix, but for establishing your expertise and pleasing the search engines, it really can’t be beaten.
As with any marketing, do your research, look at the pros and cons, and any costs, then work out what you want to achieve. Over time, you will start to receive highly targeted traffic from customers who are already looking to buy, and that really is priceless.
Do you already measure how your business is performing? Do you use the right metrics?