- By Shawn Cohen
Now, more than ever before, business owners and marketers have a seemingly endless variety of options when it comes to how they can build their brand and promote their services online. Google alone offers multiple products and solutions to help you market your company online — from paid advertising solutions through Google Ads or Local Service Ads to a countless array of organic tactics centered around SEO and visibility in local SERP. Not to mention all the social media and email marketing tactics at our disposal through Facebook, LinkedIn, and Instagram, and user-friendly e-marketing platforms like MailChimp and Constant Contact.
With all these solutions at our fingertips, it’s a great time to think about the digital marketing strategy and approach that will work best for your HVAC, solar, or home performance business.
Should you be aggressive and go all-in on one big tactic — like SEO, or SEM? Or should you spread out your marketing resources across a lot of different solutions and implement as many as you can?
The answer is... neither!
When you’re working with limited resources, budget, time, or all three — you need a marketing plan that leverages each tool in the most efficient way possible. Putting all your eggs in one basket could mean you’re missing an opportunity to better target higher quality and/or less expensive leads through another method. Similarly, utilizing too many tactics could risk spreading your limited resources too thin, making it unlikely you’ll achieve meaningful results from any one channel.
Instead, you should approach the formulation of your digital marketing strategy like you’re ordering dinner at a restaurant...
In this age of choice, it can be tempting to look at your digital marketing plan like you would an a-la-carte menu at a restaurant. You think you’re getting a great deal, right? Instead of committing to one dish, you get to try a lot of different items, picking and choosing only those dishes that sound good in the moment. But, at the end of the meal, you’re left strangely unsatisfied!
Turns out, none of the items really complemented each other or paired well with the wine selection, and you made the mistake of going all-in on the “bacon-wrapped-whatevers” because your friend Dave wouldn’t shut up about them while neglecting to order any veggies or anything of nutritional value. Plus, there’s always those couple of items left over that no one particularly cared for, while the best tasting dishes got gobbled up way too quickly. To top it off, when the check finally comes, you end up spending more on all the separate items than you would have if you’d just ordered one dish.
While we could belabour this metaphor all day — allow us to bring it full circle. Building an effective and efficient digital marketing plan means taking an integrated approach where each tactic is selected because it supports and complements the others, and, when permitted to all work together, they form one cohesive campaign which generates satisfying results that are worth the investment.
In other words — ditch the a-la-carte menu and commit to the full meal!
Even when executed in silos, individual marketing tactics — like SEO, content marketing, or PPC advertising — can still make progress toward achieving your lead generation or brand-building goals. After all, doing something is better than doing nothing when it comes to increasing traffic to your HVAC company’s website, or improving your rank and share of organic search results for queries like “insulation contractor” or “solar installer near me”. But, when executed together — as pieces in an integrated marketing strategy — the result can be so much greater than the sum of its parts.
An integrated marketing strategy is one that combines multiple digital marketing tactics into one unified plan, where each tactic is — at least in part — reliant on the other tactics to perform at its optimal level. Implementing tactics together delivers a seamless experience and consistent message to your target customers across multiple channels and platforms at the same time. This approach builds stronger brand awareness and recognition at a faster rate than if taking a fragmented (a-la-carte) approach to execution. Tactics are deliberately selected based on how well they complement each other, and how effectively their strengths can be leveraged to achieve key marketing objectives — instead of based on how popular they are (think back to the “bacon-wrapped-whatevers”), or how much (or little) money they require to implement.
By a tactic’s “strengths” we mean literally: the results that tactic is best at achieving. For example, Paid Search PPC ads through Google Ads are best at finding people who are actively looking for products or services you’re selling. The strength of PPC Marketing as a digital tactic is that it allows marketers to define their “ideal lead” (through strategic keyword and audience targeting) and serve them ads when they are most motivated.
But what if people aren’t actively looking for your target keywords? What if they’re not even aware that the services you offer exist?
When search volume is low (people aren’t actively searching for your services), you need to introduce a tactic that helps build awareness and educates your target customer base about why they need your services. Social media ads combined with display advertising and video marketing are all great tactics for building awareness — and with the cross-channel remarketing and audience building capabilities available through Facebook and YouTube — integrating social and video into your digital marketing strategy, as support for Paid Search advertising, is now more seamless and effective than ever.
Identifying the strengths and benefits of each digital marketing tactic at your disposal, and leveraging them together to form one cohesive marketing plan, is the definition of taking an integrated approach to digital marketing.
In order to set yourself up for success, it’s critical to build that integrated strategy on top of a strong foundation. For HVAC, home performance, and solar contractors who are looking to build their audience, and ultimately increase their lead volume, a strong digital foundation should contain (at least) three key components:
If you’re thinking about revamping your digital marketing strategy, or launching a brand new one, this is the place to start! Focus your planning around tactics that address these three foundational components.
Once you’ve established your digital foundation, begin layering additional tactics into the strategy to support the core components and improve the overall performance of your marketing efforts.
Here’s an example of how we, at Energy Circle, might recommend integrating additional digital marketing tactics into a marketing plan to support lead generation and brand building objectives:
Support the Website (and SEO) with Custom Landing Page UX/UI Design and Development - Implement custom designed templates for your site’s most important landing pages (like key service landing pages, your home page, or your about page). Enhanced, customized landing pages give the site’s theme some variety, and can be individually tailored and optimized to enhance the specific content on those pages, and better encourage engagement and conversion.
Support Content Marketing with Amplification through Facebook Ads - Developing new, fresh content for publication on your website is a great way to support the website as a foundational component. Further leverage and broaden the reach of that valuable content by promoting blog posts and case studies in boosted Facebook posts and paid ads.
Support Paid Search with Video Marketing - Paid search is an effective way to capture the attention of users who are actively searching for your services and drive them to your website’s landing pages… but they do have to actually search first. Build awareness and interest for your brand and services by running video ads and promos on streaming sites and platforms like YouTube or Hulu. Make your audience curious enough to google you with engaging branded video content, and then nab ’em with those paid search ads!
Whether you’re launching a brand new service or business, trying to build and grow your lead volume, or you’re just working on maintaining a connection with your core customer base, there is likely a digital marketing solution for you. But, no matter the objective, one fact remains — digital tactics are always stronger when they’re working together.