Giving Our Contractors a Competitive Advantage

Did you know there are 2.4 million Google searches for “air conditioner repair” every year? How many of those searches are in your specific city? And how many of them are actually finding you?

It’s no secret that more homeowners use the Internet to find a contractor than ever before. In fact, according to the 2010 American Home Comfort Study, a good 32 percent of HVAC buyers go to the web for information. That’s a huge number compared to the 4 percent who use the Yellow Pages and 5 percent who use traditional advertising sources.

Yet, in NORDYNE’s own research, we found contractors spend the majority of their marketing budgets on Yellow Pages and traditional advertising.

That’s why we launched the Online Lead Generation Program – to help our contractors develop an optimized presence on the Web and close the marketing gap.

Online directory listings.
A major component of our Lead Generation program is enrolling contractors in multiple online directories so that they can be found in local searches for heating and cooling services.

Most contractors have an online directory listing created automatically through search engine technology, or created by a consumer who wants to share their experience. Unfortunately these listings are not verified for accuracy, optimized for local searches, or monitored for negative consumer or employee comments.

Our program goal is to help contractors take control of the process before it controls them.

In addition to search engine directories, we place contractors in the Angie’s List directory. Angie’s List is a word-of-mouth network with more than 1.5 million members nationwide. Members pay for access to peer reviews of contractors in more than 500 different categories.

NORDYNE has an exclusive partnership with Angie’s List in the HVAC category. We are also running national advertising through the Angie’s List site and in the Angie’s List publication.

New consumer websites.
We overhauled our consumer websites in late 2011 to make them more in line with a typical consumer shopping experience and to optimize them for search engines. The good news is that we are already seeing improvement among site visits and keyword listings.

The new websites also include an optimized contractor listing that can be customized by the contractor. Only contractors enrolled in the Lead Generation program will have listings on the websites.

Lead qualification process.
Leads that come through the consumer websites go to a central location for evaluation. Then the contractor is contacted with the necessary information to follow up on the lead. Consumer inquires that are not leads are handled at the customer service level. The process reduces nuisance calls to contractors.

What contractors say.
Here’s what a few of our Lead Generation contractors have said about the program.

Chris Traynoff from Comfort Plus recently shared that although he hasn’t received any leads from our customer service, his phone has been ringing thanks to the efforts of the online directory listings.

“At least twice a day I get phone calls from people that say they are experts at SEOing your site. But when you check into them, they are working out of their basement. Once I got into the Lead Generation Program, I saw my call volume increase. I knew NORDYNE had really done their research, and it showed.”

Bill Forbes from Alderwood Sheetmetal says this: “Experience with the program has been pretty good. Got some work out of it – couple of change-outs with furnaces and a couple of repairs. I would definitely recommend other dealers join.”

Jeff Brocious from Brocious Plumbing & Heating says, “I like the fact you got me the lead. I didn’t have to go out and find it. I love that it was a serious customer, not a tire kicker.  It was awesome. Highly recommend this program to anyone.  Send me more!”

Bottom line.
Consumers are making buying decisions that are heavily influenced by what they find on the Internet. Contractors who are active in how they are presented and found online have a better opportunity to maintain and grow their customer base.

Contractors who are interested in Lead Generation should talk to their distributor.