Marketing in Her Own Words: Key Points With WHVACR's Colleen Keyworth


Jessica Brant
September 19, 2019
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Like many women in the HVACR, electrical and plumbing industries, Women in HVACR Board Member Colleen Keyworth’s professional journey begins with her family roots. As the Director of Sales and Marketing for one of her family’s businesses, Online Access, she grows contracting companies by training hundreds of contractors across the country on how to better integrate web design and search engine optimization into their marketing plans. Keyworth recently shared some quick tips on how she approaches marketing in the HVAC industry from a family-owned perspective. 

Shake hands with your industry.  

“Working with contractors is great because they are some of the best people I know. Maybe it’s that family background or work ethic, but they are some of the most giving people. Sometimes you don’t see that until you’ve worked in another industry. The medical field, which I’ve worked in, is very dog-eat-dog and competitive. In the HVACR industry, it’s very rare to feel like you’re isolated.”

Coach clients correctly. 

“Because Online Access is so niche, and we only work with HVAC, electrical and plumbing contractors, a lot of what we do is coach the clients that we work with. Marketing is not just about providing a client with a website. Everyone working in marketing has a different opinion about how to navigate the process, but navigating it for this specific industry is very different.” 

Think bigger picture.

“You need to be able to create relationships with your clients outside of an immediate need, and it's very difficult to do. It’s not the same as having a hunting and fishing company or a hair salon, things people are passionate about following on blogs and always looking at. Trying to connect what we do, make it interesting to people, and bring them into our world is a big part of our industry marketing.” 

Build legacy through best practices. 

“There are a lot of families that we work with that have kids coming out of college and are joining the family business for the first time. When you graduate college, you think you know everything, because I was there once. But then you learn what marketing techniques actually work in the real world. So I will say there’s a discrepancy there, and we do spend a lot of time working with families on that. Through marketing, we do add to business legacies by being able to bring them into the industry through educating them on best practices. And a lot of what we do is partner with our contractors. That also goes back to being a part of their legacy.” 

Keyworth will speak at a breakout session during the 16th Annual Women in HVACR Conference in Boston, running from September 25-27. Watch for our follow-up interview with Keyworth, in which she will offer more information on the resources available through Women in HVACR and how the conference speaker line-up was organized according to the theme “Connect. Cultivate. Grow.”

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