With over a half million plumbers in the U.S., you have a lot of competition. Before you let other plumbing businesses throw a wrench in your growth plans, it’s a good idea to review your marketing strategies.
While you probably have a solid reputation in your local community and receive word-of-mouth referrals, you need to explore new ways to affordably and effectively promote your business for continued growth.
Online marketing is a great equalizer, giving you the same marketing resources as your largest competitors and helping you reach a new pool of customers. To keep your plumbing business running strong, here are some online marketing tips to help you distinguish your brand.
Construct a Website that Converts
The plumbing industry has grown over 20 percent since 2014. While you have greater competition, consumer demand is also expanding. Reach these new customers by putting yourself in their shoes and develop a website that speaks directly to them. Web.com makes it easy to build a new website with affordable do-it-yourself website builder packages that can get your business online quickly and efficiently.
Your website is the hub of your brand and means your business is always open – customers can learn more about your services 24 hours a day. It also allows you to promote your areas of expertise and other key information about your business.
Authenticity equals conversions. Develop a unique selling proposition (USP) that separates you from your competitors and highlight this in your website content. Prominently display your phone number, email address and other contact information. Typically, when customers are contacting you, they need your services quickly – make it easy for them to get in touch.
As part of building a credible web presence, you should always add customer testimonials to your website. A potential customer needs to know that you are trustworthy before inviting you into their home. Testimonials show that other people trust your company and the positive impression they make can play a major role in conversion.
Differentiate Your Business From the Competition
Be more than “just a plumber” to customers and potential customers; be a brand. What do you offer that sets your business apart – years of experience, award-winning service or new technologies and techniques? Look for opportunities to spotlight attributes of your business that your competitors can’t match.
Showcase your expertise by starting a blog. This will help you educate consumers about your trade and position you as an industry expert. Develop detailed content about specific aspects of plumbing and your areas of specialty.
No matter the size of your team, you can’t be everywhere at once. Maximize your opportunities and resources by investing in tools to better manage your business. Here are a few examples:
HouseCall Pro is a convenient option for you and your customers. With easy online booking, customer communication, account management, dispatching and a broad range of other features, it is a solid all-in-one software option for managing your plumbing business.
Wintac helps you manage customer accounts and employees in the field. It features an online time clock, dispatching, contract management and service history tracking, and it even lets you collect payments while in the field.
mHelpDesk allows you to automate payments, plan routes and manage work orders. It also accepts electronic signatures and handles quotes, estimates, billing and invoices.
These online tools make it easier to organize your schedule and ensure that you always meet your customers’ needs.
Use More Than Just Plumbing Tools
Like the tools you bring to the job, you need marketing and promotional resources to keep your business moving forward. Develop a customer referral program and reward people who provide you with leads and new business with discounts. Promote your program through social media channels like Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. It’s a great way to establish a network of loyal, satisfied customers who will provide you with repeat business.
Less than half of all U.S. small businesses have a website. Use this to your advantage by using pay-per-click (PPC) advertising which brings qualified leads to your site and helps convert them to customers. Efficient and effective for small business advertising budgets, PPC means you only pay when your ad is clicked.
Use SEO to Help Customers Find You
Over 90 percent of your customers will begin their plumbing search online – and in a plumbing emergency, they click the top listings on search directories like Google, Yelp and Bing. Including search engine optimization (SEO) keywords in your website and blog content ranks your business higher in online search directories, making it easier for customers to find you.
Identify keywords that will generate the most business for your company. For example, a keyword your customers might search for is “clogged drain” or “leaking pipe.” Review competitors’ websites to see what terms they are using for a starting point.
To make things easy for you, Web.com offers Simple SEO, a tool that generates a list of suggested prioritized actions for your business and industry. Answer a few quick questions and you will receive a list of actions to take within 24 to 48 hours. Designed to fit your small business budget, Simple SEO is affordably bundled with the resources included in the “Marketing” option of the Web.com “Marketing” website builder package.
Build Your Reputation
Your reputation is your brand and online reputation management is crucial to your company’s success. Today, online reviews carry as much weight as word of mouth. Monitor your online reviews on sites like Yelp, Home Advisor and Angie’s list.
If you notice a negative review, respond within 24 hours, acknowledge responsibility if you are at fault and offer to make things right. Treat these situations as an opportunity to learn more about your customers and improve your business. Conversely, if you see positive reviews, be sure to thank these customers for their support, encourage them to tell others about their experience and offer them a discount on their next service call.
By managing your reputation, you’ll build stronger relationships with your customers and build brand loyalty – a very important benefit in a highly competitive market.
In the growing and competitive plumbing industry, make marketing a priority. With these marketing tools and tips, you can generate more awareness about your plumbing business and develop an even wider pipeline of people who need your services.