Editor’s Note: With this issue of the HVAC-Talk.com e-newsletter, we introduce a new columnist: Joe Pulizzi , CEO of SocialTract, a blogging/social media service with the mission of helping HVAC contractors be more successful in their online marketing and promotion campaigns. In each issue, he will address a different aspect of social media, how it can work to your benefit, and what you need to do to get started.
Ladies and gentlemen, let me introduce you to the idea of “A blog.” I’m sure you’ve heard this term before, but just in case you haven’t, here’s a little definition: Blog comes from the term web log, and it’s really just a website or part of a website. A blog is an easy, effective way to get regular, informational content on your website. Period.
According to Wikipedia, “blogs are usually maintained by an individual with regular entries of commentary, descriptions of events, or other material such as graphics or video. Entries are commonly displayed in reverse-chronological order. Blog can also be used as a verb, meaning to maintain or add content to a blog."
Many contractors get caught up in the idea of a blog as "not for them" or simply a waste of time. However, try thinking of a blog in this way: it’s the easiest and fastest way to get new and relevant information to your customers on the web. It's one of the best ways to get "found" on the Internet. It’s incredible how easy blogging makes publishing content, just like Contracting Business.com magazine does.
When used correctly, blogs will make in impact on your business. Hubspot, a national search engine optimization software company, recently released their findings regarding small businesses that have blogs versus those that don't.
In their research on over 2,500 companies, they found:
• The more you blog, the more customers you get from the blog. In their research, every company they surveyed who blogged multiple times per day received direct business from the blog. And, for those that blogged 2-3 times per week, seven out of 10 received direct business and got about 75% more leads than those companies that don’t blog.
• Companies with blogs have almost double the amount of Twitter followers.
• Those organizations with blogs were four times more likely to be found on Google.
• Blogging organizations had double the amount of incoming links (very important in search engine optimization).
• Websites that have blogs attached to them receive 55% more traffic than those that don't.
Why is this happening? The answer is simple:
To be found on the Internet and to succeed with your social media strategy, a contractor must create consistent, relevant and valuable information online http://bit.ly/9hHrss. A blog is the easiest way to do that.
Many contractor websites are exactly the same: a picture of a warm or cool house, a family, the location, product/service descriptions and some coupons or special offers. That's what you call a glorified online brochure. This strategy does NOT attract prospects and customers to your site.
What does? Develop content that your customers care about. Consider talking about how to save energy now. Discuss what Indoor Air Quality (IAQ) really means and how it can impact families. Develop a guide on when to change filters or the importance of tune-ups?
Think about it this way as well:
1. You want to sell more annual service agreements. Yes, we all know that the majority of residential business comes in when something breaks. And, we all know that the better way to do business is to sign customers up for service and maintenance agreements. A blog can attract and retain the kind of customer who is looking for more than just a temporary fix-it operation.
2. You want to retain current customers. A great blog also positions you as a trusted partner to current customers. Wouldn’t it be nice to tell your customers on service agreements that you create at least two home comfort tips per week on your blog, and that they can count on you for ongoing information covering exactly what they need on a daily, monthly or annual basis?
3. You want to be the local home comfort expert. People want to do business with a leader. The leader is positioned to get the lion’s share of new and replacement equipment orders.
A blog isn't a replacement for your other marketing programs, but it’s essential to everything you do from a marketing standpoint today and into the future. Those contractors that are first to market with their blogs will have a clear competitive advantage in both social media and overall online marketing traction. This is happening now.
Who knew that the secret ingredient for Facebook, Twitter and getting found in Google was publishing information through a blog?
If you would like more details on the study Joe mentions in this article. Check out the full story here: http://bit.ly/bxag25 .
Joe Pulizzi is CEO of SocialTract , a blogging/social media service for HVACR contractors. Joe is also co-author of Get Content Get Customers, which details how companies can publish content to drive revenues. SocialTract is a division of Z Squared Media, LLC . Joe can be reached at [email protected] . For speaking needs - http://joepulizzi.com.