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How Much Does HVAC Digital Marketing Cost?


A question that we get all the time here at Rival Digital is “how much does HVAC digital marketing cost?” The short answer is “it depends.” There are a lot of variables that go into play when it comes to pricing our services. So before we can answer how much it will cost, we need to first understand these three things:

  • What are your business goals?
  • What is your marketing budget?
  • What pricing model makes most sense for you?

In this post, we are going to break down each of those three questions. Knowing the answer to these questions will help speed up the buying process for digital marketing services, and will allow you to avoid wasting your time with agencies that may not necessarily be a fit for your company.

Setting Goals For Your HVAC Business

Before we can even get started understanding how much money you should invest in marketing, we need to lay the foundation. Marketing without strategy is a complete waste of time and money. So, what are your business goals? We always try to coach prospective and present clients to set sales goals, and operations goals. The reason is because marketing is sales enablement, and sales fuel operations. Let’s create a few scenarios.

Creating HVAC Sales Goals

Let’s pretend that your HVAC business does $1 million in annual revenue, and you want to grow to a $5 million a year business. Awesome! There is your sales goal. Now, we need to create actionable monthly goals to achieve this. So, let’s just say that when you hit $1M in sales, you did:

  • 100 install jobs at an average of $8,000
  • 500 service jobs at an average of $400 per job

So, that means $800,000 in install sales, and $200,000 in service calls. Sweet, now we can divide those numbers by 12 to get our monthly goal. In order to hit $1M in annual revenue, you’ll need, on average 8.3 installs per month at an average of $8,000 and 41.7 service jobs at an average of $400 per job.

Knowing our monthly goals for $1M, we can calculate the $5M goal by multiplying those numbers by 5.

  • ~42 install jobs per month at an average of $8,000
  • ~209 service jobs per month at an average of $400

It may seem like a far stretch, but now you have actionable goals to hit. Now, there is always room for variance with this – because as we all know, install jobs and service jobs are sometimes more expensive or less expensive. This also isn’t taking value based up-sells into account. But you need to find the average cost for service and install and use that number as your cornerstone

Creating HVAC Operations Goals

Any good HVAC business operator knows that in order to make more money, you need to have the right people and processes in place. So what does your operations look like? If you want to hit that $5m goal, you’ll need roughly 42 installs a month and 209 service jobs per month. We know this from earlier. But, this number of jobs cannot be completed without having technicians to do the work.

If an install crew of two technicians can knock out an entire HVAC replacement in one day, and the average amount of days in a month is 30, then you’ll need 4 to 6 install technicians – at the very least.

If a service technician can complete a service call in 4 hours, and they are working 10 hours a day, we can estimate that they’ll get ~2.5 service jobs done each day. Which averages 75 service jobs per month. Divide 209 by 75 and you’ll see that you need roughly 3 service technicians – at the very least. 

We say ‘at the very least’ because we all know that sometimes service jobs take much longer than 4 hours, and can turn into HVAC replacement jobs. So before you’re able to realistically hit your sales goals, you will need to know how many technicians and office staff to hire.

Creating Your HVAC Marketing Budget

Marketing is sales enablement. Read that again! If you want to hit your sales goals, then you absolutely need to have an adequate marketing plan in place to get those phones ringing and get your technician in the home. We know how many install & service jobs we need to hit in order to achieve the goal of $5M, now we need to discover how make it happen.

How To Determine Your Marketing Budget

The easiest way to figure out your marketing budget is to take 10% of your annual revenue. So from our example, the company did $1M last year. Knowing this, we will allocate $100,000 towards marketing for the year. If you want to be really aggressive with your marketing, you can do more. At Rival Digital, we have seen some clients allocate as much as 20% to marketing. This is an investment!

If you are a dealer of a particular HVAC manufacturer, then you likely have a marketing co-op program that offers you marketing dollars. Use this to your advantage!

How to properly allocate your HVAC marketing budget

Based on your sales goals, and your budget, we will need to figure out the best way to invest these dollars in order to see the greatest return on investment (ROI). Here are a few things to think about before shopping for HVAC digital marketing services:

  • How is your current website?
  • What marketing has worked well in the past?
  • Do you want to do traditional advertising, digital advertising, or both?
  • What does your co-op program already offer you?

Once you have some of these questions answered, then you can better assess how to spend your money. If you’re co-op program offers Local Services Ads on Google, then you shouldn’t hire an outside agency to try doing the same thing. Instead, invest your marketing dollars in something that they don’t offer, like search engine optimization (SEO), or other online advertising. Remember, take advantage of what your manufacturer offers first!

If your website is a train-wreck, you’ll need to invest some of that budget into a new website. And vice-versa, if you’re website is incredible, then you can invest the money elsewhere. Pro-tip: if an HVAC marketing agency tells you that your website needs to be improved, ask them to provide evidence as to why it’s bad, and ask how they can make it better. Don’t just blindly purchase a new website.

Choosing The Right Pricing Model For Digital Marketing Services

We are in the home stretch of this article. Now it is time for you to determine what pricing model is best for you! You can’t answer this question until you know your business goals, and have determined a marketing budget. So, there are 3 pricing models that most agencies offer: hourly rate pricing, project-based pricing, and monthly retainer pricing. Let’s break these down.

Hourly Rate Pricing

Entrepreneur.com surveyed freelancers from 16 different countries and found they typically charge $50-$100/hour. However, we’ve found that high quality freelancers in the United States start at $100/hour and go up to $250/hour depending on their level of expertise.

With hourly rates, every hour spent on your project is a billable hour regardless of the task performed. So answering email, time in meetings, and actual hands-on marketing work will all end up on your monthly invoice. The pros to hourly rate work is that you only pay for what you use. The downside is that you may pay way more than you budgeted for if you aren’t careful.

Project-Based Pricing

Project-based work is very popular in the digital marketing industry, and often found with website design. The price you will pay will be one-time, and follow-up work will require additional payment.

The pros of this model is that your expenses are capped, theoretically, and you won’t have to pay more than one-time. The downside of this model is that if you don’t have someone in-house to manage or maintain the deliverable, you may end up having to pay more down the road when you need maintenance and updates done.

Monthly Retainer Pricing

The monthly retainer pricing model is far more favorable for the growth-minded business operator. This model allows you to account for your monthly expenses, and never have to worry about being charged more when more work is required.

The scope of work and monthly cost is often determined up front. If you need additional services provided, a new scope of work and contract can be created. But this model allows you access to unlimited work each month within the scope of work.

However, the downside to this model is that you will get a bill every month. With the HVAC industry, some regions experience slower seasons due to climate, so this model can be less than ideal during those slower months. If you have a full-time need for marketing, this is the right option for you.

Choosing The Right HVAC Digital Marketing Agency

There a lot of different options out there for you to trust with your digital marketing. When looking for an agency, keep in mind that your business is unique, business goals are unique, and your marketing should be unique. And always remember – you get what you pay for! Just because a company is the cheapest, doesn’t always mean that they are the best option for you.

At Rival Digital, we only do HVAC digital marketing. We don’t serve every chuck in the world who is looking for digital marketing services. We exclusively service residential HVAC contractors only. We are HVAC marketing experts and would love the opportunity to prove it to you. For more information on working with us, contact us today.

We will set up a free digital marketing review and help you determine the best option for you based on your business goals, budget, and pricing model needs.

How To Use Long Tail and Short Tail Keywords

When it comes to on-page SEO, one of the most important factors in determining your success is thorough keyword research. It’s imperative to understand exactly what people are searching for so you can optimize your website and ad campaigns appropriately. We tell our clients all the time – if you truly want to win at search engine optimization and pay-per-click advertising, specific is terrific. In this post, we’re going to break down the difference between long tail and short tail keywords to help you better understand which is better for your specific business needs.

What’s the difference between Short Tail Keywords and Long Tail Keywords?

Before deciding which strategy is better for you, it’s important to understand the difference between the two.

  • Short tail keywords are typically three words or less and are very broad, generic search terms. For example “hand sanitizer” or “Gym routines” are examples of short tail keywords. These search queries are highly competitive and receive much more search volume on a monthly basis.
  • Long tail keywords are typically much longer, more specific search terms. For example “hand sanitizer bottles for your purse” or “at home gym workout routines.” These search queries are far less competitive terms to rank for, and receive a lower volume amount of search traffic.

There are pros and cons to targeting both types of keywords, so it’s important to first understand what the goals of your website are. When it comes to keyword research, there are five things to consider: Volume, Competition, Focus, Cost, and Conversion rate. Understanding how these components work in conjunction with long tail and short tail keywords will help you understand which one to optimize for.

  • Volume – The amount of monthly search queries that match or are similar to the search.
  • Competition – The amount of other websites or businesses targeting that search query.
  • Focus – The intent of the user who is performing the search query. (ex. “best at home workout plans for single parents” is a very high focus search term.)
  • Cost – How much the cost-per-click (CPC) would be if you were running Google Ads.
  • Conversion Rate – The rate at which the user completes a goal on the website (form fill, product purchase, free quote, etc).+

Now that we understand what long tail and short tail keywords are, and we understand the kind of traffic we are looking to get, now we can breakdown how to determine which is better suited for you.

Which is better, short tail or long tail keywords?

Using the factors that we listed out above, we are going to breakdown both forms of keywords so you can see which will benefit you more.

Short Tail Keywords

  • Volume: HIGH
  • Competition: HIGH
  • Focus: LOW
  • Cost: HIGH
  • Conversion Rate: LOW

So in short, if you are looking for increased traffic to the site, short tail keywords would work for you. You will pay a much larger cost per click on your paid search campaigns, as the keywords are far more competitive.

Long Tail Keywords

  • Volume: LOW
  • Competition: LOW
  • Focus: HIGH
  • Cost: LOW
  • Conversion Rate: HIGH

It’s pretty easy to notice that long tail keywords are best for higher conversions at a lower cost. So if the goal of your website is to convert highly focused users, this is your best bet.

Check out this video provided by ahrefs about long-tail keywords.

4 Ways To Improve Your Local SEO in 2020

When you’re looking for a new restaurant to check out, or a place to take your dress clothes to get dry cleaned – how do you find the best place to go? Do you bust out the old phone book and go the Yellow Pages section? My guess is probably not. You probably pull the little touch screen know-it-all out of your pocket and search “Best *fill in the blank* near me.” or Places to *fill in the blank* in *city name.*

According to HubSpot, 46% of all Google searches are looking for local information. So it’s quite obvious that you need to have a solid Local SEO strategy in place for your business so that you can be found by users. But where do you start? What are the best ways to stand out on local search? In this post, I’m going to break down my top 4 ways to boost your local SEO.

Claim and optimize your Google My Business listing

If you have a local business, this is quite possibly the most important step in getting found on Google. You have to have a Google My Business listing, and more importantly, you must actively optimize and keep your listing up to date to provide users with the most accurate information possible.

How to claim a Google My Business Listing

To begin setting up your Google My Business (GMB) listing, go to Google My Business on your computer (or smartphone) and sign in. Once you’re there, you’ll need to either sign in to your Google account or create one. From there, you will need to follow the prompts on the page to set up your account. Google provides a much more detailed description of what information is needed to set up your account.

Once you created or claimed your listing, you will need to verify that you are the rightful owner. To do this, Google will send a verification postcard to the business address that you list on your account and you will have to verify the business by entering the code.

Optimize and utilize your listing

It is imperative that you remain actively engaged with your GMB listing. Google is constantly trying to verify that the information that they provide users is accurate and relevant. This can be done by keeping your contact information, hours of operation, and service area all up to date.

It’s also crucial for you to actively engage with customers on GMB. When a customer leaves a raving 5 star review, go thank them! If they leave a negative review, go resolve the issue head on, or clear the air. Potential customers read these comments, and if you ignore the negative reviews, they’ll assume it’s true. Always respond to reviews – good or bad!

Create location pages on your website

A great way to enhance your local SEO is to create location specific pages on your website, and providing location specific content on those pages. So if you’re a service based business, it will help you out monumentally to create a ‘Service Area’ page that displays all of the areas that you service, and then creating individual location pages for those cities/towns.

When you create these location pages, always try your best to provide location specific content, such as photos of work you’ve done in that city, community involvement in that city, and a Google Map of city.

Pro Tip: if you’re going to create these pages, make sure that you structure the URLs correctly. Always have the location page nested behind the service area page. For example, https://yourwebsitename.com/service-area/richmond/

Having an organized URL Structure is KEY!

Ensure your Name, Address, and Phone Number are consistent online

Name, Address, and Phone Number (NAP) is one of the most important details of every online citation. This is how your potential customers know how to get in touch with you. It is extremely imperative to have consistent NAP information across all digital channels.  Remember earlier when we said that Google is constantly working to make sure that they provide the most accurate and relevant information to their users? Your NAP information is one of the most important ways that they do this!

If your business name is Bob’s Home Renovations, then your business name better be Bob’s Home Renovations on every single online directory. PERIOD! If you can claim the listing, claim it. If you can’t claim it, optimize your other listings and website better so that those aggregators know what to list.

The best way to ensure that this information is accurately aggregated across the internet is to start with your website. Put your Name, Address, and Phone Number in the Header/Footer of your website. This is global information and will be displayed on every web page.

Build local inbound links

Building inbound links from local businesses and associations is a bit more difficult than the other three tips, because you can’t necessarily control this information. So to do this, you need to get involved with the local community. Here are a few ways you can get involved that may lead to some inbound links:

  • Sponsor a little league team
  • Register a booth at a local home show/local event
  • Sponsor a parade float
  • Join your local Chamber of Commerce

These aren’t guaranteed links, but most of the time, these groups will have community websites where they will list their sponsors/members. If you are listed on these websites, reach out to them and just ask them to link to your website! The worst they can do is say no. But we’ve found that most often they’ll say yes!


There are several other factors that play into a successful local SEO strategy, but these are just a few of the ones that we’ve found are the most effective for creating a solid foundation! If you have any questions about anything we covered in this article, or need help crushing your local SEO, give us a shout! We can schedule a time to walk through

How is your digital marketing performing against other HVAC companies?

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