Plumbing is not easily marketable. You can’t Instagram a highly-filtered picture of a sewer clog and wait for the world to beat down your door. Celebrities likely aren’t willing to talk about their backed-up septic tanks and how quickly you came to their rescue. Cleaning out pipes isn’t glamorous, so it’s hard to sell with sizzle.
But that doesn’t mean you can’t leverage technology to bring in new customers. Or even use some non-technological methods to market your business. With as much competition as the plumbing contractor world has, you need to market yourself, and it might be easier than you think. From writing a blog (yes, plumbers need blogs too) to working with lawyers, here are ten ways to market a plumbing business.
Create a Memorable logo, and Put It Everywhere
You might think plumbing isn’t exactly the industry where you’d use an adorable talking gecko to market your business. But that kind of marketing WORKS. Take the time and/or money to create a logo that looks nothing like any other plumbing company’s, make it eye-catching, then put it everywhere. Put it on your car. Put it on fliers. Put it all over social media. So when people think about which plumber to call, all they’ll remember is your funny-looking sewer rat.
Place Business Cards Strategically
Homeowners new to the area are a serious source of new business. So think about what other services people buying a home in a new place might need. A real estate agent for one, but also title insurance, real estate attorneys, furniture sales, landscaping, and other things associated with buying and preparing a home. See if you can place business cards in any of these businesses, or develop relationships with them so you can benefit each other.
Partner With the Right People
While partnering with businesses is useful, you should also look into partnering with organizations that can be sources of new business. Talk to HOAs, trade associations or chambers of commerce, and leave brochures at apartment complexes or office parks. Homebuilders and construction companies can also throw loads of business your way, and if you keep your rates reasonable they can help you get some subcontracting work too.
Create Content, Then Market It
“Content marketing” isn’t exactly a word thrown around the plumbing world. But since everyone who’s ever touched a $5 plunger thinks he’s an amateur plumber, people will look up how to fix things themselves before they ever call you. So your website should be the place they land when they go to look it up. Start a blog and offer tips on stuff like unclogging drains with a snake, plunging toilets, and which solvents to use. Or make videos and create a YouTube channel full of plumbing tips. When people find your helpful guides, and still can’t solve the problem themselves, the handy phone number at the end of their instructions can lead them to a qualified professional. And that professional should be you.
Make Yourself an Online Expert
Take content marketing a step further, and make yourself a presence on DIY forums and help guides. Your knowledge will breed trust among other participants, and when they have a big job, hiring you will almost feel like bringing in a celebrity expert. Also, create a couple of “white papers,” or extensive guides on specific plumbing topics. This is a much more in-depth approach to content marketing, which can help build your brand immeasurably.
Maximize Your Google Rankings for plumbers
Though word of mouth, referrals, and online reviews are probably far more effective, the most common thing people do to find plumbers is Google “best plumbers in my city.” And chances are if you’re on the first page of that list, you’ll get thrown some serious business. When it comes to trades, paying for search ads is definitely worth the investment. Hiring an SEO expert is also worth the money for plumbers. Basically whatever the investment to get you near the top of the page, make it. Also, register with Google: My Business, a site created by Google that will help increase your reach online..
Make Sure Your Website is Ready
SEO can only lead people to you, it can’t convert them into customers. And if your website looks like some kind of 7th grade computer class project gone horribly wrong, well, you’ve just wasted all that SEO investment. You don’t need a site with crazy graphics and animation, just something clean and clear, with your phone number, address, email address, and hours of operation at the top of the home screen. Also include a FAQ section, some customer testimonials, your area of coverage, and even some pricing info if you have it. And put a clear call to action at the bottom like “Call us now for a free estimate.”
Answer Emails from Customers
Though there’s no ACTUAL science to back it up, “actually picking up the phone to call somebody” has probably eclipsed public speaking and death as the most common human fear. So people may well email you with service requests, and if you don’t respond, you’ve just left money on the table. If you don’t have time to monitor your customer service emails, find someone who does. Because if you don’t respond to those initial emails, that person is going to hire whoever writes back first.
Own Your Online Reviews
Just like with restaurants, hotels, or bars, online reviews have become critically important to the success of home-repair trades. Look at Angie’s List and other sites to see what people are saying about you, and respond quickly and publicly to anything negative. Remember, even if 98% of the people love you, those two bad reviews out of 100 will be the most-read on any site.
Scout the Competition … and Beat Them
Plumbing is an interesting field. It’s a highly saturated market, but has a nearly infinite demand. Which means new competition will always be sprouting up, and it’s up to you to see what they’re doing to out-market you. If someone offers a discount, offer a bigger one. If someone has a cool logo, make a better one. Follow all your competitors on social media, subscribe to their newsletters, and regularly visit their websites. And don’t be afraid to run Internet searches to see what new players have entered the market.