This article was updated on February 8, 2023
Top Marketing Strategies for Plumbers
In the marketing world, plumbing services are considered somewhat of an unsought product, meaning that customers do not typically think about buying it. For plumbers, this means that plumbing marketing strategies require extra consideration because most consumers are not actively searching for their offerings. In today's digital landscape, you may be wondering where you should be allocating your marketing resources. If you own a business like a plumbing service, where your potential customers will all be local, should you be investing in digital avenues or should you be sticking to traditional methods?
Like most things in life, the answer is a balance between the two. Where traditional methods will greatly increase your business's presence in the community, you can't underestimate the power of a well-prepared digital marketing strategy. This is especially true, despite the local nature of your business, considering that people will always search for your business via the internet. Thus, local marketing using both traditional and digital methods in your marketing plan will benefit your practice plumbing business greatly.
Table of Contents
- Word-of-mouth marketing
- Your plumbing website
- Local search engine optimization
- Update your Google My Business and Google Local Service Ads
- Social media marketing
1. Word-of-Mouth Marketing
- Engagement with your community
- Equip your prospective customer with something to talk about
- Empower customers to interact with your company
To begin, let's discuss one of the most powerful forms of marketing: word-of-mouth marketing (WOMM). When clients are wowed by an experience, they're likely to recommend that company or brand to their friends and create prospective customers. Forbes writes:
Let's look at the facts. According to Nielsen, 92% of consumers believe recommendations from friends and family over all forms of advertising. This makes word-of-mouth marketing especially useful in overcoming the unsought product dilemma-- products like plumbing services can become readily known and trusted in a community by just a few happy customers sharing their positive experiences with friends. Given this great potential, the Word of Mouth Marketing Association (WOMMA) and the American Marketing Association (AMA) decided to find how much value brands saw in WOMM. In a recent study, 64% of marketing executives indicated that they believe word of mouth is the most effective form of marketing. However, only 6% say they have mastered it.
But how does one go about mastering the art of word-of-mouth marketing? Forbes continues that the three most important words are Engage, Equip, and Empower. Essentially, companies need to communicate with their audience, give the audience a reason to talk about the company, and then offer their audience a reason to interact with the brand in that exact order.
So where should you and your limited marketing budget begin?
Word-of-mouth plumbing marketing: Engagement
Marketing ends and begins with communication. If you want intimate communication with potential customers, you need to engage with them on a social channel that has 'intimacy' built-in.
Enter Nextdoor, your neighborhood hub.
Nextdoor is a place where neighbors talk to other neighbors and share local news, advice, and recommendations. With Nextdoor, Neighbors refer trusted goods and services to each other within the community.
To be that go-to plumber reference for your community, Nextdoor offers free Business Pages to better interact with nearby clientele. Claim your Business Page, communicate with your existing customers, and say "thank you" in a more direct way when they recommend you.
That's the power of proper engagement. That's the power of Nextdoor.
Word-of-mouth plumbing marketing: Equipping your customers
Now that you have a place for engagement, it's time to get your name out into the community and equip your audience with something to talk about. If you own a local business, traditional marketing strategies are the best methods to reach your local market, including:
- TV commercials - As the most expensive option marketing tactic, TV commercials have the highest risk-reward ratio. While they can quickly eat away at a marketing budget, they do demonstrate a level of prestige within the community and can easily reach a wide target audience of plumbing customers.
- Direct mail ads - This may come as a surprise, what with all the flashiness that comes from online marketing, but placing ads directly in your neighbors' mailboxes is a surefire way to grab new customers' attention. With limited space to sell your plumbing service, be sure to hone your messaging and offer value in the form of discounts.
- Print ads - Grabbing a spot in local papers and magazines is a relatively inexpensive way to spread the word about your growing plumbing business. If advertising in magazines, make sure they're relevant to plumbing (magazines revolving around home improvement, home design, building, and construction, etc.).
- Handing out business cards - The business card is one of the original word-of-mouth marketing tools. Not only does it reflect well on the business to have a professional business card, but it also provides staying power when it sits in potential customers' wallets.
Word-of-mouth plumbing marketing: Empowering
The final step of word-of-mouth marketing involves getting customers to interact with your business. For new customers, it is a great way to increase interaction by offering limited deals and discounts to create a sense of urgency.
Additionally, for return customers who have enjoyed your service, there are many ways you can empower them:
- You can offer a referral program. If they recommend your business to friends or other members of the community which results in a new customer, they can receive discounts themselves.
- Having customers post on their social media about your services is a great marketing strategy to boost your local social media presence. Some grateful clients will do this for free!
- Asking return customers to write a testimonial or review of your business is another great way to extend your services through word-of-mouth.
Once your business is spreading through the community like wildfire, you'll want to create a website where they can learn more about your company and your service offerings.
But how to perfect your website design?
2. Your Plumbing Website
There are a couple of crucial steps when it comes to setting up your plumbing business online:
- Set up your official website or Google Business profile.
- Use your website to apply AIDA
In the digital age, an online presence is a necessity. Website design is incredibly important for search engine optimization (SEO) and establishing your ranking on Google searches. Not only that, Pardot writes :
Once [buyers] begin to realize that they have a particular pain point, the research begins. For 72% of buyers, they'll turn to Google. The first stage of research begins with general search terms as buyers explore the options at their disposal. Buyers are usually looking for educational material, customer reviews, and testimonials at this stage.
The same is true for those who are looking for professional services like plumbing. When a potential client has a leaky pipe or broken sink, they often use Google to research and select a service provider. And if your website is not on the front page of Google, the chances of being seen are slim to none — only about 8% of users will click past to the second page.
Your online presence also needs to be an accurate reflection of your business. Oftentimes the first impression a potential customer has with your brand is scouring the website (this is doubly important since your digital marketing efforts are going to bring people to your "internet front door"). Additionally, as more people are using their phone nowadays, creating a mobile version of your website is a must to boost your website visits. So, hire a professional website designer to help if you need it.
Ensure your website or Google business profile has your current and updated information and that the content is geared toward the right audience. Pay particular attention to your business's name, address, and phone number — these should be clearly visible on your website not only for prospective customers but for Google's SEO algorithm as well. From there, you can improve your site by adding landing pages for the specific services you offer and drafting your language for potential client conversions.
Using your website to convert: Understanding AIDA
Similar to Glengarry Glen Ross' infamous speech: "ABC. A - Always. B - Be. C - Closing. Always be closing," digital marketers have been using their own acronym to understand the typical consumer and convert them into paying clients. Their acronym is AIDA, and it works as a sales funnel.
- Awareness - The top of the sales funnel with the wide opening (your reach) is the "Awareness" factor. If people aren't aware of your business, there's a slim chance they're going to land on your page and request your services.
- Interest - With more potential clients visiting your website, it's time to build interest. Not everyone who clicks on a blog post or even clicks to your home page will necessarily want your services. However, you can generate that interest by having avenues to click through on your website. An email marketing strategy may utilize email leads from your website's contact form and provide potential customers with exclusive plumbing tips or offers. Sending an email with friendly tips on how to winterize your house and avoid broken pipes can enhance client interest and brand awareness.
- Desire - By connecting with the potential customer emotionally, you can build desire for your product or service. Try to touch on specific pain points of clients and explain how you would assist them in your own personal way.
- Action - Finally, a call to action (CTA) is needed to take the next step. Whether that's setting up a call or offering a free consultation, the CTA should be geared toward your brand and a specific pain point.
Once you have your website up and running, you can now try acquiring different digital marketing services and starting campaigns to pull in business from your community.
3. Local search engine optimization (SEO) for plumbing marketing
You may have heard of Search Engine Optimization. When Google ranks articles and web pages in a search query, the page's SEO is one of the primary factors that determine its rank. This applies to the plumbing industry too, in which there are plenty of plumbing SEO opportunities to take advantage of to drive more local traffic to your website. It takes into account everything from your domain authority to the relevancy of the keywords on the page to the initial search query. Creating blog posts can help build up your website's authority. In these blogs, you should be discussing relevant topics that will attract your target audience. It is important to spend some time strategizing which keywords or phrases would benefit your plumbing company.
What you may not have known is that Google is also optimized for LSEO, or local SEO. This internet marketing strategy allows small local businesses-restaurants, electricians, and yes, plumbers-to compete with the resources of larger companies and rank higher on the search engine result page.
Hint: One major aspect local SEO takes into account is location. So be sure to have your contact information updated on your website, social media pages, Nextdoor Business Page, and other channels to ensure the search engine can see it when it crawls your website.
4. Update your Google My Business (GMB) page and Google Local Service Ads
Have you ever searched for a business only to find the result in the answer box is missing a phone number, address, or hours? This likely stems from a lack of GMB page management. To help your business stand out on Google, you can claim and manage your GMB page. This page is the popup on the right-hand side of a Google search query.
It's a free way to up your local marketing game, according to Moz :
Getting on Google My Business can increase your chances of showing up in Google's Local Pack, Local Finder, Google Maps, and organic rankings in general.
While you're there, consider Google Local Service ads as well. This type of Google ad places your business in the search results for your local service area, and you only get charged if new customers call or message you directly from the ad. These pay-per-click ads, or PPC ads, can play a great part in enhancing your plumbing marketing strategy and growing your small business.
5. Social media marketing
Among the key plumbing marketing ideas, creating a social media presence to increase your reach is definitely near the top. It's inexpensive (free if you avoid paid ads), and there's no question that businesses that lack a social media presence in today's market lose marketing potential. If budget isn't an issue, creating a Twitter, Instagram, or Facebook ad campaign goes a long way in building your brand image and is one of the most beneficial approaches to online marketing. A social media platform offers you better visibility, credibility, and accessibility to find your services and is also a good place to do reputation management. Plus, you can use posts to show off previous work and happy clients. When posting on social media it is important to have a variety of content, such as videos. Uploading videos can be helpful for quick DIY plumbing issues, and the viewer may then contact you for other plumbing needs. For an unsought product like plumbing services, the shareability and visibility of social media posts can help your business be more present in local consumers' minds.
Marketing experts typically suggest that you focus on these social media channels:
From here, you'll have access to the majority of online social media users. Another social media marketing tool you may consider is social media ads such as Facebook ads. At the end of the day, keep it simple and select the social media channel(s) that your customers are using instead of being on every single one.
Putting it all together
Unlike coffee or beer, plumbing services don't sell themselves. This is because people generally don't consider their need for plumbing services until the toilet is clogged, a pipe is leaking, or the hot water heater fails. But when the need arises, you want to be the first plumbing business that comes to mind in local consumers' minds. For you as a plumber, this means that you will need to make a proactive effort to get consumers aware of the value and service your company offers. One of the best ways to do this is through word-of-mouth marketing, your website, and social channels. Consider your marketing budget, and allocate your money strategically in those areas to maximize your company profits. It is important to interweave your marketing efforts regardless of what you use. If you have a deal or a discount on certain services, be sure to update your website, your Nextdoor Business Page, and each of your social media channels. This way, you create consistency throughout your marketing campaign and never waste any potential opportunity.
Coming up with plumber marketing ideas can be tricky, but by combining both in-person and online plumbing marketing strategies, your business is sure to be the local community's go-to in no time.