If you're looking for plumbing marketing strategies to boost your plumbing business, stop! And pay attention. Because the strategies you read about from hotshot marketing gurus likely aren't for you.
Most of the information floating around the internet are blog posts entitled "how to market your business" and "marketing tactics for you". But this information is often tailored towards businesses that sell things: work boots, sunglasses, pet supplies. Marketing strategies for product-based companies simply can't work for plumbing businesses - and we'll go into the two reasons why shortly.
But for now, we want to address your next burning question: is it worth allocating resources to marketing when you're a plumber? You bet. Because when your customers need a plumber, they often need one in a hurry. And if they know your name, you'll be the first person they call. The point of plumbing marketing is to make sure potential customers know who to call when they need you, and that's what we're here to discuss in this article.
The Importance Of A Good Marketing Strategy
Are you starting a plumbing business from scratch? Check out this guide to becoming the boss plumber! Among other handy hints, it will tell you that marketing is one of the most critical methods of growing any business. This is especially true for startups who, understandably, want to delegate their costs and resources directly to selling. Or trying to. But neglecting marketing can waste a significant amount of time and money. Who are you selling to if no one knows who you are?
The right marketing tools can support your business and significantly increase your chances of bringing in new loyal and long-term clients.
Plumbing Marketing and Sales
Let's be clear - marketing does not directly equal sales. But while your plumbing marketing tactic might not close deals directly, when done right, it creates a powerful brand that your customers will remember. When you nurture your brand and present yourself as an authoritative plumber, you'll be the first person your potential local clients will think of when they need you.
Two Reasons Why Plumbing Marketing Needs To Be Different
So, we talked about the fact that marketing strategies for plumbers need to be different to product-based marketing. Let's talk about why.
You Don't Have A Product To Put In Front Of Your Customers
Marketing a product is often easier than marketing a service. You can take gorgeous pictures of a product and splash it across social media, letting it speak for itself. People can touch it (smell it, hear it, use it etc.) and spread the word about how it functions. But when you're selling your skills, it's not so easy. Without a physical product to focus your marketing strategies on, you need to get more creative.
You Aren't On Their Radar Until They Really Need You
It's not like shopping for a new hammer drill. Your customers won't likely spend a great deal of time browsing different websites looking for the best deal on a plumber as they would a new tool. There are certainly people who pre-empt their need for a plumber, such as for renovation projects and new constructions, and these are the people who will spend time searching for the right plumber. But in most cases, your services aren't on their radar until something goes wrong and they need you. Fast.
Digital Marketing vs Traditional Marketing
You wouldn't try to sell your services far and wide – plumbing is very much a local fare. So, when considering marketing strategies, do you bother with the digital landscape? Or should you stick with the more traditional methods?
Like everything else in life, the answer is both. Traditional marketing will greatly increase your business's presence in your local community. But you can't underestimate the power of a well-executed digital marketing strategy. Because, how do people find you? That's right – they'll search on Google.
Best Marketing Ideas For Your Plumbing Business
For a successful plumbing marketing strategy, you'll need to consider all your potential customers. Your panic searchers when the kitchen pipe bursts, and your home renovation planners looking for the right local plumber. There's no universal strategy that will target all your potential customers at once. However, a number of plumbing marketing ideas can help you get your brand in front of the right customers at the right time.
1. Start A Customer Referral Program
People trust referrals from friends and family – they'll be more likely to try your services if a friend has recommended you, as it will save them time searching online. Word of mouth in a plumbing business is one of the most effective ways to market yourself, so give people a reason to tell all their friends about you.
How To Start A Customer Referral Program For Your Plumbing Business
Build a refer-a-friend program for your plumbing business! It's easy; think of it as passive marketing. Print out coupons or cards with your offer and hand your customer a copy with your invoice every time you provide a plumbing service.
Hot tip: make sure to incentivise both parties with your offer. For example, any friend who uses your plumbing service might get a 10% discount, as will the person referring them. Then splash this offer across your social media!
2. Claim Your Google Business Listing
Claiming your Google Business Profile helps Google understand where you are. That way, your business will come up on local searches. In turn, this will grow traffic to your website, making it far easier for potential new clients to find you and your services.
What is a Google Business Profile?
Your Google Business Profile lets you take charge of how you appear on a Google search. It tells visitors what you do, offering a snapshot of your business and services, including:
- Your contact information
- Service area
- Service hours.
Most importantly, managing your Google Business profile gives you a place to store and show off customer reviews.
3. Build Your Brand (With A Good Reputation)
Building a brand for your plumbing business is the best way to impress and attract potential customers. It's also the easiest way to stand out from your local competition. You'll need to decide how you want to appear to customers, which means making decisions about your:
- Brand colours
- Brand fonts
- Tone of voice (ultra-casual, comedic, or business serious)
- Filters for your social media platforms.
Once you've decided on these elements, always use them consistently across your marketing platforms. You'll also want to ensure your invoices and quotes reflect the same brand style. When you do, you'll build a recognisable brand.
Building A Good Reputation
Part of building up a good reputation for your brand is asking for customer feedback which, really, acts like digital word of mouth. When selecting a plumber, people will often look online to find out what other customers have to say about their experience with you. Always always always ask customers for a Google review.
Hot tip! Get into the habit of requesting reviews at a specific part of the customer journey. This could be when you present an invoice or a week after you complete the job. Send your customers an email or text message with a link to your Google Business Profile where they can leave an honest review. This will boost your profile and build trust for new clients.
4. Create Useful Plumbing Content
How to replace a showerhead. How to connect a washing machine. How to relight a pilot light on a water heater. This is a pipe wrench, this is a basin wrench, and this is the difference between them. My toilet keeps running; what should I do?
We could go on and on. These are common pain points for plumbing clients, and thousands of people across the world type these questions into Google every day, looking for answers. Guess who has the answers - you do!
When you answer these questions through great digital content, you'll present yourself as an expert plumber who people want to use.
Furthermore, today's online audience wants to see what happens behind the scenes of any trade business to:
- Get to know the brand
- Get to know the people
- Recognise the company as an authority on the subject.
Now, you may be wondering how a quick video tutorial that teaches people to change a showerhead themselves can help your marketing. After all, won't that take business away from your company if you're teaching people to do the work themselves? Well, sure. But there are hundreds of videos online that will do the same. People who want to change their own showerhead will find the answers somewhere. However, next time they want their bathroom redone, or have a blocked laundry sink, who are they going to call? That's right, the friendly expert who taught them to change a showerhead!
5. Make Your Plumbing Website Mobile Friendly
Your plumbing website is your digital business card – it's the centre of your business's online presence. All your social media, print marketing and every word-of-mouth recommendation will lead back to your website, so it needs to:
- Be easy to navigate
- Be informative
- Tell a story
- Tell the customer who you are.
When someone wants to find a local plumber, how many of them do you think will boot up the office computer? Not many. Most people will just pull out their phones. So, when you're building a website for your plumbing marketing campaign, always ensure it scales down seamlessly to mobile phone size.
6. Invest In Local SEO
Search Engine Optimisation is a digital marketing strategy business owners use to get their website ranking higher on a search engine results page.
You can hire a local SEO agency to optimise your website for SEO purposes, making sure that people searching for plumbers in your area will find you. Now, those SEO wizards do amazing work behind the curtain, getting your website high in the rankings. The technical aspects of SEO are not easy to replicate yourself. However, there are some things you can do yourself to add SEO to your website to boost your plumbing marketing.
Ask yourself this: what do your customers search for when they look for a local plumber? They'll get into a search engine, likely Google, and type in "best plumber in Melbourne" or "24-hour plumber in Brisbane". By selecting a few (not too many!) of those phrases (known in the SEO world as keywords) and inputting those keywords into your website content, Google will read it and recognise it when people use those keywords to look for a plumber.
It's also a good idea to ensure your business name, contact information, and service areas are visible on every page of your plumbing website – putting that information into the footer area is a simple way to achieve this.
Finally, get your business listed on as many local directories as you can – Local Pages, Yellow Pages, and Service Seeking are just a few to consider.
7. Retarget Potential Customers
Any enquiries you get or people curious about your services should be treated as "leads" – potential customers. As often as you can, collect their email addresses so that you can conduct email marketing.
Email marketing for plumbers can be an effective way to keep your business top-of-mind for customers who may need your services later on. To make sure they don't unsubscribe, you'll need to create engaging content that they'll want to read. You could share:
- Deals/offers (such as your refer a friend program)
- Seasonal reminders of plumbing maintenance jobs
- Instructions for DIY plumbing work
- Before and after photos
- A few social media posts.
There are plenty of free email marketing apps you could use to keep in touch with prospective clients. All you'll need are their email addresses!
Cross-promotion is a good way to tap into a customer base that you might not have been able to access before. Cross-promoting your services with another business will increase your exposure and target an established audience. It's also a reasonably inexpensive plumbing marketing tactic, making it great for startup companies. You could collaborate with another business through social media, creating a video tutorial or running a sale together. Ensure you select a complementary business (tiler/fittings seller/painter) with a great social media following.
9. Write Blogs
Every business must have a blog on its website. That is your space to share company updates, write authoritative content, and connect with your customers.
Search engines love fresh content, so by regularly posting on your website, you'll have a better chance of ranking higher in searches.
As a plumbing company, you could write blogs on topics like:
- Saving money on water bills
- Fixing clogged drains
- DIY plumbing work.
Don't forget to think about those keywords!
Regularity is key to a successful plumbing marketing campaign
Targeting customers for local businesses like plumbers can be tricky, especially when you're starting out. But it's certainly not impossible. The ideas we've listed in this article are sure to get your brand in front of more potential customers, but they'll only work if you use them consistently. Just remember: post regularly, remain consistent with your branding, and create content that answers your customers' questions.