Running a plumbing business has its unique challenges: different from other industries, plumbers can’t target a specific audience or rely on some seasonal upticks. So, how can you bring in a steady stream of customers and then some healthy cash flow to grow your own plumbing business?
The answer is simple – plumber marketing! With such a competitive plumbing market, one-size-fits-all solutions are no longer compatible. To ignite your profitability, you need specific marketing strategies to let your services well-recognized and highly appreciated.
Online Marketing Strategies For Plumbers:
Nowadays, the Internet is ubiquitous, and as a result, traditional marketing efforts have increasingly expanded into the digital realm.
1. Build A Solid Online Presence With A Website:
Maybe the first and the foremost thing any business owner needs these days is a functional website that is ready to attract customers. Having a website not only builds your online visibility but also earns trust in the minds of your visitors.
To design your own stunning website, there are a few things that you should keep in mind:
- Plan and design your website’s layout the right way: make it aesthetically appealing and navigable so that it’s ready to target the right customers.
- Make sure all the contact information, such as your current address, email address, and your phone number mentioned on the website, are up to date. You wouldn’t expect to see customers landing on your website, but then losing all the leads just because you made a typo on your contact information, would you?
SmartInsights’s findings suggest that in the year 2017, mobile minutes spent online in the USA comprises around 71% of the total digital minutes spent, which has a tendency to increase a lot more the following year. This figure speaks volumes about the significance of having a responsive website design. Thus, it’s more than essential to invest serious efforts into a building fast, secure yet mobile-friendly website.
For do-it-yourself (DIY) website creation, try Squarespace or Wix, both of which have drag-and-drop functionality so you can create a plumbing site that fits your brand without hiring a developer or a designer. You find it too challenging to do this on your own? It’s alright, look for a professional web designing company to get your task done.
2. Submit Your Site To Local Directories
Plumbing being a local business, your prospective customers are going to find you through local business listings, which explains why claiming your business listed in local directories is more than vital. No one saves the hard copies of local business directories like Yellow Page book to look for local business. Customers have shifted the way they search for businesses – they rely more on trusted online business directories.
Adding your business to these directories will establish credibility and enhance your chances of getting found easily by your customer. Besides Google, Facebook, Linkedin, or Twitter, there are other popular online local listing business directories that are worth your attention:
- Angie’s List
If you have ever searched for “plumbers + [your city]” in Google, you’ve likely noticed directory sites like Angie’s List dominating the first page of organic search results. No longer are Angie’s List commercials just taking up televisions and radio ads, but they’re ranking—and ranking well—online where your website could be ranked. More than that, Angie’s List is a lead generation tool; if you’re looking to generate traffic to your website or foster your brand awareness, then Angie’s List is going to be a good match for you.
When looking for a local home service company, you probably look for reviews. And understandably, your customers do the same thing! Yelp is one of the most popular directory sites due to its easy-to-use mobile app and its focus on reviews. It goes without saying that a large number of positive reviews are important for ranking well on directories and in search engine results, as well, so being found on a site that does emphasize reviews can be helpful.
Making data-driven and strategic changes to your website will not go without benefit, but it takes time before these changes do affect your search rankings. As a result, you probably won’t see an increase in leads overnight. That’s why many businesses choose to invest in pay-per-lead services like HomeAdvisor. Not only will such a service increase the odds of ranking on the first page of Google, but it’s an easy way to generate sales leads more quickly. Designed to automatically connect homeowners with prescreened plumbers who offer the specific service they’re looking for, HomeAdvisor is actually amongst your most ideal choices.
3. Promote Your Social Media Marketing
The tremendous explosion of social networks as well as the utmost importance of social media marketing are no longer a matter of controversy. Nowadays, if you are not using social media marketing for your business, of course, you are losing a big chunk of the pie!
Social media is an ideal place to interact with your customers, through which you will posisbly strengthen the relations with them and then win their trust. By engaging your customers on social media, not only can you increase your brand awareness, build loyalty, get better insights into their’s purchasing decision but you also get more leads and convert those valuable leads into customers.
So the question is: What can plumbers possibly do for winning social media marketing ?
- Set up your plumbing business Facebook page
A professional Facebook page is another way to boost your online visibility. Of all the social media platforms, Facebook has the most users and the most conversion-friendly features. In fact, this channel of social media is used every day by plumbing businesses like yours to generate qualified leads. Whereas it takes a combination of data-driven strategy and consistent effort to establish an effective Facebook marketing campaign, the outcome proves to be immensely rewarding!
- Earn your customers’ trust with video marketing
Video marketing is no longer a trend – it’s mainstream. Forbes’s survey reveals that online content will consist of 80 percent video marketing by 2019, and mobile consumption of video content continually rises by 100 percent annually. If you have yet started investing in video marketing, you’re already behind the top plumbing companies.
Consider sharing some DIY instructional videos to help your customers out on all of your social media channels. Now matter how simple this idea seems to be, your customers are likely to trust you more because of your expertise and transparency. Once they have a bigger plumbing emergency,which they can’t handle by themselves, it’s highly likely that they will give you a call!
- Offer giveaways, special deals and coupons, just for your social media followers
Giveaways are a great plumber marketing tactic because they take a low amount of capital yet have a high ROI (return on investment). Furthermore, it’s wise that you promote special offers for some ocassional times or in exchange for your followers’ email. Such personal contact information is like gold for any business, because you will be able to reach out to that customer (email) in future.
- Run social media contests and sweepstakes.
Just like Giveaways campaign, contests and sweepstakes offer golden chances for your plumbing business getting more exposed to the online world and then foster your brand awareness.
4. Consider Cross-Promotion
Cross-promotion is a good way to tap into a customer base that you were unable to reach to before. Not only does it promote your business by increasing your exposure and target an established audience, cross-promotion is going to save you a large amount of time and money. So, how can plumbers hit the ground running with cross-promotion marketing?
a. Use the power of Social media
Social media proves to be the most popular channel to collaborate with another business for cross-promotions.
- Find businesses that compliment your business and provides additional value to your customer base.
- Then reach out to each of them via a formal email asking whether they would like to partner with you to promote each other’s product/services on your social media.
Possibly, you can capture a video demonstrating your partner’s services in return for the same, or do some kind of giveaways when they connect with both of you on social media.
b. Advertise with shared cost in the same market
Sharing advertising costs makes high-quality printing and larger ads affordable. Even when you are doing online marketing you can have a joint banner with a landing page that directs people to either type of business.
c. Co-sponsor for a good cause
Co-sponsoring an event can be helpful as it cuts the cost into half while still giving you an opportunity to connect with other business’s customers. Once you have chosen a cross-promotion partner (for instance, a landscaper), see whether there are any public parks that need some plumbing service and want to upgrade their landscape. With such a joint collaboration, you will be able to advertise your services there and get some valuable PR.
Besides, consider hosting a joint seminar, show some DIY handy plumbing tricks and small hack and find something interesting and related to your partner’s business that will keep your audience engaged and can add value.
d. Offer a joint discount
Provide discounts on the invoice when someone purchases from both the businesses. For instance, anyone who purchases from both the business on the same invoice gets a 10% discount. That converts a customer into making a purchase because plumbing charges can be higher when there is a big emergency in the house
Who should you reach out to for cross-promotions?
Find out other businesses that share similar business interests as yours and reach out to them. “Picture” your ideal target customers: Think of who all needs your services – those who are living in houses, apartments, business (with a brick-and-mortar store), and so on. Now list all the other services that this target audience of yours would need. Find all the cleaning services, carpet cleaners, gutter cleaners, other contractors, repair companies, and other local businesses in your area and collaborate with them to cross-promote each other’s services.
5. Foster Online Community Engagement
Online interactions with users bring in a lot of traffic and qualified leads as people have started engaging in several Q&A communities as well as niche groups on social sites. Here’s a list of places where you can find questions people have related to plumbing, or join online groups, forums and then get involved in public discussions:
- Quora (Q&A community)
- Yahoo Answers
- Facebook groups related to plumbing
- Reddit (sub-reddits for plumbers)
Taking part in the online community grants you an opportunity to showcase your skills and expertise, establish credibility with your audience, and create brand awareness for your business. So, grab the chances!
6. Gather And Manage Online Reviews
There is no doubt about the importance of positive online reviews to the success of small businesses, especially home services like yours. You’re entering your customers’ home or business, after all, and often in unpleasant or stressful situations. Before they make a purchase from you, they need to trust you.
It’s statistically proven that 70% of local consumers are confident about a business after reading an average of 10 online reviews, so don’t be discouraged if you’re just starting out. Here are a few tips to start generating high quality reviews:
- Send your customers a follow-up email after a job is complete. You can let them know the work is done and, while you’re still there, kindly ask for feedback.
- If the feedback is positive, send a polite request for a review with a link to your Google Business or Facebook page. Most people are pleased to leave a review if you just ask!
- Try to encourage customers to add some details rather than just a 5-star rating. Prompt them with questions such as “What did you like most about the service?” or “Why would you recommend us to your friends and family?”
7. Use Call-only Ads
Put yourself in your emergency customer’s shoes. Once getting panicked with a serious burst pipe, they don’t have time to research or fill out web forms – they want to speak to a real person who can help them out as soon as possible. If you’re considering online advertising, try using call-only online ad campaigns. It’s noteworthy that these ads show up only on people’s smartphones and offer direct click-to-call functionality. This is a simple way to target your ad spend straight at the emergency call-out customer at the exact moment they need your services.
Offline Marketing Strategies For Plumbers:
8. Use Excellent Customer Service As a Powerful Marketing Tool
Whereas advertising and social media are pieces of the marketing puzzle, delivering pleasant customer experiences is by far the most effective, cost-efficient, and long-term growth strategy for any plumbing business.
Great customer service can grow your business in two ways:
- You’ll earn repeat business, which is cheaper and more valuable in the long run, because you’ve already done the hard work capturing their attention and winning their trust.
- Well-satisfied customers will spread the words and send personal referrals to your plumbing services.
To use customer service as a marketing tool, get started by being a great communicator. Sending a simple “on my way” text message or reminder to leave the door unlocked can go a long way towards making your visit smooth and successful. During the job, take detailed notes and photos that relate to the job and the client. If they have other concerns at a later date or wants to request more services, they’ll be impressed with how meticulous you are and how easy it is to work with you. Don’t try doing this on pen and paper, though. You’d better use a CRM system (Customer Relationship Management) so you can track all these pieces of information in one place.
Other aspects of great customer service may include arriving on time, doing more than customers expect you to, ensuring clear and concise information, and cleaning up.
Word-of-mouth referrals are super powerful and the best practice for winning referral marketing is always an exceptional customer service.
9. Network In Local Community
Getting involved in the local community is a great way to let your brand and services well recognized. Not everyone is actively looking for your services today, but by being involved you can be in their context once they are looking. Besides, networking builds a lot of connections! Attend local events, corporate promotional events and meetings, take a bunch of business cards with you and then promote your business there.
Meetup.com is a great way to find local communities for plumbers, co-organize workshops or find existing meeting events in your area where you will be able to meet new people and establish new connections.
Plus, consider attending meetings even within your own neighborhood, or local schools and educate them about plumbing and teach them some basic techniques, so that they think of you first whenever they need one.
10. Offer Referral Discounts
Leveraging customer discounts is a brilliant idea when it comes to retaining your existing customer base and attracting new customers. Actually, referrals that are coming close relatives or trustworthy fellows are highly preferred than randomly selecting some unknown plumbing company off the internet which they know nothing about.
It’s proven that referral programs generate more leads than cold calling. Build a refer-a-friend program for your business, by offering cash credits for their future purchase! Anytime you are providing plumbing service, along with the invoice, hand them a copy of your referral program.
It’s advisable to design your referral program in which both of the involved parties can gain benefit from: the person being referred and the one who referred them are entitled to a discount. After all, as people feel they receive added value by making their referral to your business, they’re more than willing to do that.
11. Partner With A Builder
If you’re targeting the routine maintenance customer, who takes their time to research and compare plumbing companies to find the best fit for their project, then partnering with a builder is going to be your perfect course of action – it gets your hands laid on a big plumbing job!
Collaborating with builders who are expanding into newer areas can easily get you sub-contracting work for a large number of homes. Provide competitive rates and negotiate the terms and conditions with your partner, and you should be good to go!
The Bottom Line
Whether you’re a local incumbent, or “the new kid on the block” looking to break through as the ‘go-to plumber’, there are some strategies and tactics to reach out your soon-to-be customers. Set a time every week – to manage, track and maintain your strategies- and change them if a particular tactic doesn’t seem to work out for your audiences.