social media selling in field service blog

Social Media for HVAC Contractors & Field Service Companies

Social Media for HVAC Contractors & Field Service Companies

Social media is very powerful, and has changed the sales and marketing games in numerous, noticeable ways. As of this summer, the global population was around 7.5 billion people. 3.7 billion people have Internet access, and of those people, 2.3 billion are on some form of social media. The math shows us that only about 42% of the global population is on the Internet. Among that 42%, 72% percent of people are active on some form of social media.

Social media is clearly a force and something to pay attention to, now. For example, here in America, we may have just seen a national election completely shifted by social media use. Although it is a powerful medium, the problem with social media for HVAC contractors and other businesses is the same: the return on investment is hard to measure.

There are 34.6 million results on Google when you search for “social media and field service,” but the fact of the matter is this: many field service organizations are not on social media, and the ones that are tend to post sparingly and in an unfocused manner.

Why are social media posts for HVAC contractors so few and far between you ask? Well, admittedly these companies are busy with other workday tasks like serving customers and taking fix and repair calls. Along with helping clients, these businesses often run into other concerns such as:

  • Not knowing which social media networks to join
  • Being unsure of who should manage these social media platforms for the company
  • Wondering what content should be posted
  • Being concerned about how social media posts for HVAC contractors can work if the business does not have any unique content
  • Thinking, “Why should we prioritize this if it won’t help us get new customers?”
  • Simply not knowing where to begin

Another factor that causes field service businesses to shy away from using social media is the concept of social selling.

First, a definition:

Social selling means selling your business’s core product or service directly via social media.

Social selling for field service organizations means having one of your employees sell your business’s services or products to a contact made on a social media site such as Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, or Instagram.

A large-scale example of social selling is as follows:

Midway through 2016, one of the biggest companies in the world, Microsoft, purchased LinkedIn for $26 billion. At that time, LinkedIn had 400 million users, but only 25% of these people used the social media service each month. Although 100 million users is still a good base from which to work, if you are trying to contact a person via LinkedIn who is (a) busy or (b) does not plan on job-hunting anytime soon, there is a strong chance that this person is not logging into his or her LinkedIn account regularly. It is not a good way to market your business’s products and services to this person due to his or her lack of time spent logging on to this social media website. People not regularly signing on to their social media accounts is one problem with social selling and social media for HVAC contractors.

We live in an era now where it is easier than ever to identify customers when using social media for HVAC contractor marketing purposes, but it is harder than ever to get in touch with them. There is a ton of noise from sales and marketing departments coming at potential customers from all different angles, so even though social selling seems like a relatively straightforward concept, it can be a full-time job for field services businesses.

Again, going back to Microsoft purchasing LinkedIn for one second: $26 billion was spent to buy this social media platform. That is a lot of money. There are a lot of smart people working on LinkedIn to get it to that valuation. Most likely, if there was a way to turn a LinkedIn message into a sale, someone would have figured it out by now. The company has an entire suite of sales products, but nothing guarantees the sale.

Tying back in to social media for HVAC contractors, that is where the rubber meets the road with social selling: it cannot exist on its own. You have to pick up the phone, take the potential client to lunch, and follow through with the sale. Social selling in the field service industry is only the first step, and you have to follow up after the initial social media post or message. Consider consulting online articles about social selling, including “How Smart People Do Social Selling” and “Social Selling Works, But Not How You Really Think” to learn more about effective social media posts for HVAC contractors.

Although social selling might be a long way off, there are certainly ways to make social media work for your field service organization. The best place to start is to understand the different networks, their purposes, their user bases, and how your field service business can benefit from being on each platform. Social media for HVAC contractors and other field service organizations is a reasonable approach to growth, retention, and customer service.

Does creating and using social media to promote your fields service business sound like something that you would be interested in? If so, we have put together an eBook that walks you through these basic social media concepts:

Selecting social media networks

What to post on your social media accounts
How to post when your company does not write its own content
How to gain customers using social media

The first steps to social media usage and success
Along with social media posts for HVAC contractors, there are a ton of different marketing mediums you could be pursuing, and some that your field service management software can help you out with. Many field service businesses are new to social media and online marketing, and it seems like a baseline understanding of where to be and what to do is a good place to start. Our eBook helps you understand the ins and outs of the online marketing and selling world in relation to field service businesses.

If you have some social media accounts but never really use them, are brand new to social media for HVAC contracting purposes, or have been kicking around the idea of using social media for marketing and selling, our eBook is a good resource for you. Download it now and, as always, contact us with any questions.

In short: are you going to replace the rest of your marketing with just social media? Probably not. However, social media for HVAC contractors is still a valuable investment that can help take your field service business into the digital age.

Social Media Marketing

Field Service Software

Sending Holiday Cards to Customers Using Field Service Software

Sending Holiday Cards to Customers Using Field Service Software

The idea of sending holiday cards to customers is mixed when you research it — this article from Small Business Trends, for example, is careful to tell you what NOT to do when sending holiday cards to clients. Between mobile, digital, and traditional mail — not to mention email marketing, which is obviously an aspect of “digital” — people get 100’s of holiday cards every November/December. It can be a valuable strategy for your business, though. You just need to make sure you stand out among the 242 other holiday cards they may receive in different mediums.

How do you do that?

Use Field Service Management (FSM) Software

Ah-ha! You think field service management software is only for running your business? No. It’s for the fun stuff too, like sending holiday cards to clients. Let’s say you’re predominantly paper-based still. If you want to send holiday cards, here’s the issue: your data on clients is probably everywhere, and to send the holiday cards, you need to get it all together (time-consuming) and then hand-write everything (also time-consuming). Remember: you’re doing this while you’re also running your business day-to-day. Finding the time is hard.

With FSM integration, all your customer information is already available. You have their physical address and can mail-merge to create labels, and you also (in all likelihood) have their email address. Those can be loaded into a program such as Paperless Post to create solid email holiday cards. You have two options, and you can grab everything right from the software package you’re using day-to-day anyway.

If Traditional Mail: Stand Out

This would involve cool-looking envelopes, nice stationery, or some personal touch — maybe a small Starbucks gift card or movie pass. Handwrite an aspect of the card, but keep it fairly generic. Wish them the best for 2017. Remember what we said above: most of your clients will get 100’s of these in a two-week span in December. So, you want to stand out.

If Email: Strong Subject Line

This is really important. If your subject line is generic — i.e. “Happy holidays from (company name)!” — no one will open it. If they have a Gmail account, there’s a good chance their “Promotions” tab (where email marketing goes) will have 11 emails at the same time in it with that subject line. You want to create a subject line that will catch attention. 2016 was a rough year for many with divisive politics and celebrity passing’s, so you could try something like “2016 wasn’t great, but you are!” (a little cheesy) or “2016 was … well, we’re excited about 2017!” These are subject lines with a greater chance of being opened. Maybe give them an offer to redeem inside the email, and then you can monitor the click-through rate.

In Both Cases: Send by December 10th

That’s just logistical. The way the calendar is this year, December 19th is a Monday. That week and the following week (12/26), very few people will be active in responding to email, especially for non-emergencies. So aim for the 10th, or sometime during the week of December 12th.

Sending holiday cards is one of the cheaper — and potentially most creative — ways to get at successful marketing and customer retention. A lot of small business FSOs don’t concern themselves as much with marketing, largely because of (a) budgets or (b) focusing in other areas, like service operations. This is a mistake, because solid marketing can drive your business forward. If you want some ideas on turbo-charging your marketing (many of which can be done from field service software solutions), we put together an eBook on that topic here. Check it out and, as always, contact us with any questions.

Kickstart Marketing

FSM Marketing

The Best Marketing a Service Business Can Do

The Best Marketing a Service Business Can Do

We talk a lot about marketing within business. How do you market yourself? How do you position yourself? What will differentiate you? Marketing a service business can be a challenge.

There are many answers to these questions, and the scope is more complex than a simple blog post on a website. But if you’re on this particular website, you likely run — or work at — a service business. Perhaps you’ve even read our guide to kickstarting marketing in field service. But in a service business, one of the major differentiators is, well, the service. More specifically, it’s a combination of the service and the people providing the service. In your case, it would be the technicians of whatever business you run (HVAC, electrical, computer service, plumbing, etc.)

You probably know all of the above already. None of that should be new, per se. But now the question is: How do you drive service quality up (the best form of marketing) and make more money in the process? That’s the ultimate 1-2 punch of goals in a field service business.

Despite what your technicians may tell you (sorry team), marketing is very much their job. In fact,it’s everyone’s job. But the only way technicians can be effective at the marketing side of the business is if their time is managed properly. Technicians are the connection between what you want your company to represent and what the client recognizes your company to represent.

Consider these two scenarios:

A technician arrives late for an appointment and lacks the right information about the customer and/or tools to do the job.
A technician arrives five minutes early with all the information and everything necessary loaded in the truck.

In bullet point No. 1, the technician is frazzled — and now has to run back to HQ or a warehouse in order to do the job successfully. There will be no sales, marketing, up-selling, or even retention or referral in this situation.

In bullet point No. 2, the technician is ready to work before the appointment even begins — and all of those other elements around marketing and sales have the potential to take place.

These are two polar-extreme examples of field service work, yes, but at many points in between these two points, technicians are either maximized time-wise or always feeling like they must catch up. This isn’t good for your clients, or for your employees’ work-life balance. If you’re worried about retention (like every service company ever), then you might want to start thinking about those little buzzwords.

So, here’s where we stand.

The best marketing is high-quality service being provided by your techs.
For that to happen, your techs’ time needs to be managed properly.
When that happens, you will make more money.

How do you get to this place?

One of the best ways is field service software, (fsm software, for short) which integrates the different aspects of your business together. (Think inventory, customer information, data, scheduling, invoicing, and more.) With an integrated fsm software, schedules become more optimized. First-time fix rate goes up. Your marketing plan — better service — works like a charm.

But, of course, this FSM software is going to cost you something. It’s not free.

How will you know it’s profitable in the end? Where is the ROI?

For that, simply download this eBook now. We walk through 10 profit-growing benefits of FSM software. (One of the 10 is tied to marketing, yes.)

FSM Profitable

KIckstart Marketing

Kickstart Your Marketing With Field Service Software

Kickstart Your Marketing With Field Service Software

One of the bigger challenges of being a small business field service shop is marketing yourself. Most (not all) small businesses tend to operate within a specific region, and there may be “major players” (i.e. big or enterprise-level businesses) within that same sector. As a smaller company, how do you compete? Enterprise-level businesses can afford to spend (potentially) millions on marketing and getting their name out, and you might not be able to. Are there other, more cost-effective approaches to improving your brand’s visibility and thus, booking more clients?

Yep. There are.

But if you’re smaller, you have less. Less of everything, really — including:

Cash on hand

When you have less, your decision-making has to be rooted in more.

That might not seem to make sense, so let us explain. See, when you have less resources or access, your decision-making needs to be better, smarter, sharper, and faster than anyone you may be competing with who has more. That’s the yin and yang of any business, but especially field service (electricians, plumbing, HVAC, etc.) Smaller companies rise up and big companies fall down, and while money is an important aspect of who has the power, it isn’t the only aspect. You can beat someone with more resources if you’re smarter about how you organize and decide things within your business. We’ve seen the underdog narrative for generations.

So what’s the path to being an effective small business FSO?

It’s all about organization, integration, decision-making, and making sure that all those elements are pointed towards happier customers.

The easiest path through that is a field service management (FSM) software program, because it will give you integrated capabilities around:

A CRM system
Invoicing and QuickBooks
Inventory management
Technician scheduling and routing
Mobile-first approaches

The overall concept with any field service software program is that it allows you to integrate all the different parts of your service business and then see if what you’re doing is actually working. Now scheduling, inventory, customer information, and QuickBooks all reside within the same system. This helps with information transparency (more people on your team know what’s happening and when), and it allows the different aspects you need to run your business to “speak” to each other, essentially. It’s crucial to be on-point when pushing out messages to potential customers, and it’s crucial to have everything together so that you’re organized and getting that first-time fix (and quick invoicing for cash flow) when you deal with customers.

If you’d like to learn a little bit more about how FSM software works in terms of driving marketing/growth but also internal organization of resources, check out our eBook below.

Kickstart Marketing