Regardless of your particular geographical location, competition in the plumbing industry is generally ever-present. This does not mean that if you own a small plumbing business or are just starting a plumbing company, you will not have a hope of establishing a solid customer base. In fact, you can build a thriving business and compete with many others in your area. However, you will need to employ effective marketing strategies to gain an edge on – and stay ahead of – your competitors.
One of the primary details you should know is that yesterday’s marketing tactics do not apply to the global marketplace of today. You might think that because your business is reliant on local business, the global marketplace does not apply to you. Not true. Remember that the internet really is a worldwide web. Since consumers now go online to find and research service businesses (or any business, for that matter), your marketing strategy must be designed with that crucial fact in mind.
You might also believe that if you operate a business that has been in your family for generations, you don’t need to worry about generating new leads on a continual basis. This is also a fallacy. You can retain the family-owned image for your brand, but you will still need to market it effectively to stay in business.
At this point, you may be thinking: Brand? I’m a plumber. Why would I need a “brand?” Well, businesses have always been marketed as brands. We may not have referred to a company’s image as a brand in previous decades, but the concept is the same. Your brand is your image, and your image reflects your ethos and track record as a business. Thus, you brand is critical in terms of marketing your plumbing business. Whether you are a sole proprietor, or you plan to expand and have representatives in several geographical areas, your brand is what current and prospective customers will use to identify your business.
This guide will provide you with an overview describing all of the ways that you might market your plumbing business. From networking in person, to building an effective website, to bringing your campaign to social media and beyond, you can use this guide as a framework for taking your marketing to the next level.
Quick Ways to Generate Leads
The first thing you should do is utilize some easy methods to start getting more leads. These are relatively simple tactics that do not involve intensive planning, and you can likely find the time to fit these tasks into your schedule.
Try these quick-start techniques to start bringing in new customers:
- Business Cards – No matter how developed your website is, you should always have business cards with you. You may meet new people on a daily basis, and every time you hand someone a business card, you are giving them a tangible first impression of your business. Supply people with your card as often as you can, from your friends to your neighbors to the owners of the local businesses that you frequent. Ask friends and family members to hand out your cards whenever they feel it is appropriate.
- “In-person” Networking – Find out when local trade shows are booked in your area, and attend them. By making your presence known at a trade show for the construction industry, for example, you could secure ongoing jobs with construction companies.
- Get Online – While it is important to market your business in person, you can further your efforts by doing some quick online marketing. You might start by posting an ad on Craigslist, which is free. You may also post ads on social media sites, such as Facebook (just be sure that you read and follow the rules for posting ads on each site, so you don’t get your account suspended or permanently blocked). By joining conversations that are relevant to your industry, you can also build relationships with customers on social media.
Now Let’s Talk About Your Website…
Once you have begun to market your plumbing business, you will need to direct some serious attention to your website. Your website should look good, of course – but creating a site that consistently generates leads for your business is about so much more than visual appeal.
First, consider the purpose of your website. You need a site that existing and potential customers can refer to when they want information about your company. However, people should find much more than this when they land on your site. Your website should not be a static place that customers visit once and never return to. If it is, then you are literally squandering endless opportunities to leverage your website as a vital marketing tool.
When customers locate your website, they should find a wealth of content that is both compelling and informative. By supplying your site visitors with relevant, interesting content that they can use, you will create a fan base for your website and your brand. The more that people return to your site, the more your business will remain in their minds. This means that when they are actively seeking the services you offer, they will be far more likely to use your company than some random plumbing business. They may even choose your business over a plumber they have used previously, especially if the experience wasn’t great.
Content that Makes a Difference
Now that you understand the significance of continually providing useful content, you will need to explore what kinds of content you should create. You can publish a broad spectrum of content online, but the first priority should be that your content actually reaches your intended audience. This means providing content across channels that your target demographics are likely to frequent.
If you employ effective search engine optimization (SEO), which we will discuss later in this guide, many of your customers should visit your website. Therefore, this is an excellent place to get started. You can use your own website to provide compelling blog posts on a regular basis. You might include any number of topics that relate to your industry. You could answer common customer questions, discuss the benefits of hiring a professional as opposed to DIY, and talk about the latest plumbing trends.
Be aware that content does not only involve text. You could also impart valuable information by way of photos and videos. You might tell a story in pictures and post it on Instagram. Your story might be about the danger of ignoring a plumbing leak, and you could end it by underscoring the importance of plumbing maintenance.
You can display infographics on your website. Just be sure that they address the needs of your customers. An infographic should present a common problem and solve it.
You could also post a series of videos on YouTube. The subject matter is virtually endless. You could offer a “How to Know if You Have a Plumbing Problem” series, for instance. Pay attention to the issues people discuss in social media conversations, and take your cue from those. If customers are always asking about water heater noises, you could narrate a video about that.
Getting the Most from Your Website Design
In addition to creating epic content for your website and other online real estate, you will also need to implement a variety of crucial digital marketing techniques. You cannot run an effective marketing campaign online without SEO. It’s also important that you use the right kind of SEO. Google does not look kindly upon aggressive SEO tactics that work to the detriment of online users.
Your website should not only be user friendly – it must be mobile friendly, as well. If you haven’t optimized your site to accommodate mobile users, you have to do this to be found via online search engines.
If you have been in business long enough to have at least one happy customer, add a portfolio and testimonials page to your website. Make sure that you display as many identifying details as your customers will allow, so visitors to your site may verify that the information is real and true. When you offer a balanced combination of text and images, potential customers will be able to gain a sense of the quality work you can provide for them.
You will also need to measure your results. This is done by performing analytics on your website, social media pages, and ad campaigns. If you don’t analyze the results of your marketing efforts, you will not know what is working and what is not. Doing routine analytics could help you to conserve money and other resources for your current and future marketing campaigns.
Another aspect of staying competitive is implementing location targeting. You will need to do this on your website, as well as throughout all of your content.
Doing all of these things will be incredibly helpful in terms of lead generation, and this is the entire point of marketing your plumbing business.
Remember the Real Estate
In addition to supplying your audience with content that keeps them coming back, you should make use of the wide range of online real estate available. Is your plumbing business currently listed in the major online directories? If not, it should be as soon as possible. You also must be sure that your contact information (also known as NAP, which stands for name, address, and phone number) is kept consistent across all of the directories.
We were able to dramatically increase leads for one of our clients (by 770%, to be exact) by using online real estate to get their name in front of the people who matter: customers. While we have also had plenty of other success stories, we think that a surge of 770% in leads speaks for itself!
In order to get the traffic needed to provide a continuous influx of leads, you should always take advantage of the real estate available online. In many cases, these options can be accessed free of charge. Be careful about offers to upgrade your listings. Many of these platforms will extend such offers, but often, such upgrades are not necessary to get your business name out there.
Making Digital Marketing Work for Your Business
One of the final, ongoing steps in your campaign will be to pull it all together by employing online marketing strategies that get results. Along with posting ads on social media platforms, you may also want to engage your customers in social media marketing campaigns. One way to do this is to ask customers to send success stories to your social media pages. You could also hold a contest on social media to see how many referrals your customers can send your way; the winner could be treated to a free maintenance visit.
As mentioned previously here, both SEO and location targeting are important. When you combine the two, you have the indispensable tool known as local SEO. This will ensure that your business is found when people search online for services in their specific geographical areas. One tool you can use is Google AdWords. The Google AdWords feature streamlines the process of advertising to people in your area.
You Are Not Alone
Feeling overwhelmed? Don’t despair. You don’t need to be a writer, videographer, or digital marketing expert to market your plumbing company. If you trained to work in the plumbing industry, no one expects you to be a digital marketing guru – and you shouldn’t expect it of yourself.
We have a wealth of experience in online marketing, and we have a solid track record to prove it. Leave the website design and marketing to us, so you can continue to work in your chosen field. We can take care of all of the online marketing details we’ve described here, from social media ads to YouTube videos to building an impressive website for your business. We can do this on an ongoing basis, and our team can help you to measure the results. We look forward to taking your digital marketing campaign to the next level.
Content is what brings the Internet to life. It’s why we stay up until 2AM scrounging through Facebook and why funny pictures of cats have become so gosh-darn important. Content is what runs the Internet – it’s the reason we search, the reason we browse, and the reason we share with friends. Content is the reason we’re online. We’re searching for something, and we won’t know what it is until we find it.
People in your target market are searching for content every day. Does the content on your website answer their questions, or do you just provide a list of services?
Online searchers are looking for simple answers to common problems. Is your website the only resource they need, or will they have to look elsewhere?
Great content means the difference between a website that generates leads and one that eats up your marketing budget. We’ll show you why, and give some examples of local websites utilizing content to became the online leader in their marketplace.
How Great Content Brings in Leads
This is the most important part, right? If you’re going to take all that time to add content to your website, or hire someone to do it for you, it has to serve a profitable purpose.
Thankfully, it has a few:
- The first benefit of having genuinely helpful content on your website is that it educates your readers. As service professionals, we often assume that potential customers are knowledgeable enough to understand what our services are and what they do, but that’s not always the case. A list of your services might explain what you do, but a thorough explanation of those services explains what you can do for them. By answering questions your potential customers have – sometimes, before they even know they have them – you become an authority on your subject. Who are you more likely to call: the company who’s website answers your questions, or the company that provides a list of services?
- Content also keeps people on your website longer. With an abundance of great content, a visitor may land on your home page, check out a service page, click over to your blog, read a couple articles, go to your contact page, etc… This level of interaction in your website makes the viewer much more likely to give you a call or fill out a form.
- Updated content keeps them coming back. A frequently updated blog can explain changes in your marketplace, provide insight into current trends, and offer solutions to common problems people in your target market have. This frequent addition of new content gives readers a reason to keep coming back.
- More content = more website visitors. Content acts as a gateway to your website. Any time you publish something on your website, Google starts displaying the page in their search results. So, as an example, if you publish a page related to common problems found in modern heat pumps, Google will know that the page could be valuable to searchers looking for heat pump repair, installations, maintenance, etc… How high or low your website appears in the search results is determined by a practice called local search engine optimization. The more content you have on your website, the more chances you have for visitors to find your website on major search engines.
What Kind of Content Does Your Website Need?
I know what you’re thinking… What do I even write about? We handle all writing needs for our clients, but here’s what you’ll need if you’d like to do it yourself.
Let’s start simple. Write a list of each service you provide. Now explain in detail exactly what that service entails. Who is it for? What does it do? When do I know I need it? Where do you provide it? How can I get it? It’s also a good idea to incorporate a few pictures within the article. You can use pictures you’ve taken (work you’ve done, your company, portfolio pictures, etc…) or use free stock photos from a source like MorgueFile.
If you have a service area, you can write articles for each location you service. This is key in getting your website to show up in service locations outside the city your business is located in.
A blog can be utilized to inform visitors of upcoming events or discounts, talk about common trends, provide solutions to common problems, announce industry news and what it means to consumers, and a whole lot more. If you’re ever running out of ideas, type “(your industry) blog” in Google and get ideas from the biggest players in the market.
Example# 1: Local Contractor Uses Content to Drive Traffic
Miller’s Residential Creations is a custom home builder and general contractor located in Martinsburg, WV. They’re also one of our clients.
In December of 2014, their website averaged a paltry 37 US visitors per month. By the end of March 2015, they were averaging 324 US visitors monthly. That’s a 775.68% increase in relevant traffic.
This was accomplished with a major addition of helpful content. Google says they have 160 pages in their search results. You can find out how many you have by going to Google and typing in this search: “site:yourdomain.com” without the quotes.
The strategy was two-fold. First, we created pages for each service Miller’s provides, and created city specific landing pages for each service. You can view them in the bottom-right of their website. It is an essential part of telling Google that the company services multiple areas, and getting the website to show up for searches in those areas.
Second, we started a modest blog for them and shared it on their Facebook page. The articles were made to be both insightful and helpful, without promoting the company too much. It’s just these types of articles that get shared on social media – and they did.
This example shows just how important content is in driving additional visitors to your website.
Example #2: Using Content to Become An Authority in Your Market
This example is in the heating and air conditioning niche. Take a look – Giffith Energy Services.
I love this website. It’s not our work, but they’re doing everything right.
I can order fuel online. Their service areas are clearly explains. I don’t know a thing about HVAC, but I can read about their diagnostic and repair services. I can learn about the products they offer and what they do. There’s videos, a regularly updated blog, and contact information clearly posted everywhere.
That’s what websites should do: take someone who has very little knowledge on a subject and explain the problems they’re having, and the solution they need.
You Can Do This All Yourself, Or You Can Hire a Professional
What you can’t do is ignore this information. Your 5-page “online business card” website isn’t competitive – or profitable – in the Internet of 2017. You need more, and we’re here to provide it.
Our websites come standard with great content, sometimes hundreds of pages: your services, the locations you serve, videos, blog posts, portfolio items, etc…
I’ve seen it a hundred times. Joe, the small business owner, spends upwards of $1,000 on a professional looking website for his business. He thinks it looks great – it’s simple, easy to navigate, and has his logo, address and phone number. What more do you need, right?
Weeks pass, and Joe’s wondering why he hasn’t noticed an increase in phone calls. “These things take time” he’s heard, so he waits patiently.
A couple months have gone by, and he can’t remember the last time a customer told him they found his business online. One or two phone calls isn’t bad though, so he remains optimistic.
Years later, without his website ever having noticeably increased his business, he has an epiphany: “It’s just outdated. Websites need to look fresh. I know… I’ll get it re-designed!” And the cycle starts all over.
What’s wrong with this picture?
Like many other business owners, Joe fell into the trap of thinking that how his website looks directly affects how many leads and sales it will bring in.
Myth: All You Need is a Nice Looking 5-Page Website
Let’s be frank. Your website needs to look great. With an average online consumer attention span of just 6 seconds, you have to grab their attention immediately lest they move on to the next site (ie. your competition’s). Virtually every web designer worth their salt should be able to provide a professional looking website at a reasonable price. But that’s not all it takes…
Much more importantly, your website needs to educate your visitors. That doesn’t mean just listing every service under the sun that you offer. That means:
- Helping visitors solve common small problems in your market
- Reviewing and recommending products that you believe in
- Answering common questions your customers have
- Explaining (in detail) each service that you offer
- Providing pricing information on major services
- Announcing new promotions, sales, or contests
- And anything else that could benefit your target market
The more pages you have on your website, the more you educate your visitors on making a buying decision and the more chances you have to attract visitors from major search engines. And guess what? From a web design standpoint, additional pages are extremely cheap and easy to produce… no matter what your previous web designer told you.
In every other form of media you have a limited amount of space. In radio advertising you have 15 seconds. Your local magazine, a quarter page. You get a single coupon in your local coupon book.
Your website allows you to provide as much useful information to your target market as you can, and actually encourages you to do so. With all of this potential, does it really make sense to settle for a simple 5 page online business card?
Week #1: How to Make Your Website Profitable
A common misconception business owners have is that it takes a long time before your website becomes profitable. While it’s true that nothing happens overnight, your website can become profitable in as little as a week with the right promotional campaign. This doesn’t cost an arm and a leg, nor does it take a marketing genius to put into action.
If you have a great, informative website, your market will want to see it. But they won’t just show up on their own. Here are a few non-technical things you can do right now to increase the amount of people coming to your website:
- Print your website address on all stationary. Business cards, invoices, the side of your truck, etc… This goes without saying but the easiest way to increase traffic is to increase the visibility of your website in your day to day operations. A few quick changes and customers can be seeing your web address every day of the week.
- Notify current customers of your new website. The easiest and most cost effective way to do this is through email. Pop your list of customers’ emails into a simple autoresponder like MailChimp and send out a broadcast to each email on the list. If you don’t have email addresses you can do the same via direct mail. Just be sure to include some type of special offer or discount to help recoup the cost of mailing.
- State your website on company voice mail. Your website is the hub of information for your business. If you can’t be there to answer your customers’ questions personally, your website can pick up the slack 24/7.
- Advertise on Facebook. Sharing the link once won’t do the trick, but neither will advertising the site every other hour. Find the sweet spot of sharing your website a couple time a week. This is especially effective when you have a new informative blog post to promote.
These are quick and easy things you can do right now that will pay dividends for years to come. While you may not receive a flood of new traffic from these techniques alone, you will notice a gradual and significant increase in the amount of people coming to your website.
Increased Exposure = Increase in Leads, Phone Calls, and Sales
The more places your website is found online, the more visitors you will get. It’s that simple.
For most businesses, once their website is up and running – that’s it. No more work, no more promotion. They simply sit and wait for visitors to show up.
Smart business owners know better. Just like you market your business, you need to market your website.
The first thing you should do is make sure your site can be found on all of the major search engines; namely Google, Yahoo, and Bing. Each one of these search engines offers free premium listings for local businesses. They will each display your business name, logo, website, phone number, address, hours of operation, any pictures or videos you may have, your list of services, and so much more.
- Submit your business to Google My Business.
- Submit your business to Yahoo Local.
- Submit your business to Bing Local.
Each of these platforms will offer you to ‘upgrade’ your listing for additional exposure. In my experience this is rarely worth the cost. However, simply having your business details listed on these search engines increases your visitor count exponentially.
But don’t stop there. There are hundreds of other free online local business directories you can submit your business to. You may recognize some of these names: YellowBook, SuperPages, AngiesList, etc…
These listings are all free and include the same amount of detail as the three search engines above.
By submitting your business to as many of these directories as possible, you increase your exposure to local consumers online. What’s more, you even increase your website’s chance of showing up higher on Google for searches related to your business. Your only cost is your time. Granted, it may take a while to submit your business to hundreds of these local business directories, but there are very reputable companies out there (hint, hint) that can take care of the heavy lifting for you.
Track Everything to Ensure Success
Many business owners don’t know exactly how profitable their website is month in and out, so they truly don’t know if they should continue to invest in it. While free tools like Google Analytics can show you how many visitors you’ve been receiving (as well as where they’re coming from, how many pages they’re viewing, how long they stay on the website, etc…), it’s hard to know exactly how many of those visitors turn into real leads.
One way to calculate the effectiveness of your site is to track phone calls. This can be done by placing a tracking phone number on your website. This number is placed only on your site and forwards all calls to the main business line. Anytime you receive a call from that number, you know that it’s because a visitor saw your website and decided to call.
Another way is to place a free quote form on your contact page. Visitors fill out this form describing the nature of the problem they’re having and details are sent right to your email inbox.
Websites like This are More Cost Effective than You Might Think
There are hundreds of website providers out there. Some cost anywhere from $200-$500 per month. Some have flat fees of $1,000-$10,000. You’ll often get a fancy design (hopefully), domain name, and a few pages of content. Rarely will you find a provider that can give you everything you’ve read in this blog post.
LocalSight.net offers small businesses websites starting as low as $1,499. These websites include everything you’ve read above, and so much more. To find out more about this incredible offer, request a free no-pressure consultation.
The name of the game is getting traffic. The more visitors looking at your website, the more phone calls and emails you’re going to get.
This blog post is going to be short and sweet. Below is a list of places online you can submit your business details for free. You can add your business name, address, phone number, email, website and so much more. Many of them allow you to upload your logo, portfolio pictures, videos, and descriptions of the services you provide. You’ll want to fill out each listing as completely as possible. It’s VERY IMPORTANT to keep all of the essential details of your business exactly the same for each profile you create.
- Google My Business
- Yahoo Local
- Bing Local
You may have to search for your business before submitting your details. You may even already find your business information on one or more of these. Don’t be alarmed – that’s normal. You’ll still want to “claim your profile” (there will be a link on your listing page) and enter your full business details.
We submit to all of these and more for our clients.
To find out more, get in touch.