14 Proven Techniques to Generate More Plumbing LeadsSherri Bohman
Having a strong plumbing lead generation system is key when you’re looking to attract new clients. Especially since 76% of local searches result in a phone call.
The question is, how do you attract those customers while maintaining a profitable return on investment (ROI)?
In this comprehensive article, you’ll learn 14 proven techniques to generate more plumbing leads and attract new customers. These plumbing lead generation techniques are fast and easy to implement. Plus, they offer more value than the traditional print media approach your competitors are stuck with.
Once you’ve read this article, you’ll have a complete toolkit to generate the best plumbing leads. Let’s get started!
- Google Local Search Listing
- Your Plumbing Lead Generation Website
- Join Local Referral Networks
- Build Trust with Reviews & Social Proof
- Add Value with Helpful
- Hyper-Targeting Your Audience Using Facebook Ads
- Capitalize on Search Traffic with PPC Ads
- Get in the Door with Direct Mail
- Sell to Your Customer’s Friends with Referral Programs
- Create Engaging Video Content
- Identify Older Homes
- Win Back Visitors with Remarketing & Retargeting
- Go Viral with Contests
- Create Engaging Social Media Content
1. Google Local Search Listing
When someone urgently needs a service, where do they head to? The answer: Google.
Which is why getting your local listing set up is a critical first step. For example, when you search for “plumber manhattan” you’re presented with a directory of local plumbers:
As well as a list of plumbers on Google Maps:
To get listed, head to Google My Business and click the “Start Now” button. Go through the wizard and fill in your details:
Then it’s time to optimize your listing, starting with My Business Posts. These act as little social media-style posts that appear under your listing:
To add a post, log in to My Business and select “Posts” from the left-hand navigation. Need ideas on what to post? Try some of the following:
- Events you’re hosting, both online and in-person
- Recent blog posts you’ve published
- New services you’re offering
- A simple “happy holidays” greeting
You can also let customers book using a Booking button:
There are dozens of tricks and techniques you can use to boost the effectiveness of your business listing. Check out Moz’s complete guide to learn more.
2. Your Plumbing Lead Generation Website
Once you have your local listing set up, you need a website that’s built to convert visitors into customers. What makes a good plumbing lead generation website? Ideally, your website should include the following elements:
- Easy-to-find telephone number: This is one of the most important elements to include! If people are looking for you in an emergency, they’re going to want help fast.
- List of services: Tell people how you can help them.
- Testimonials: You’ll learn how to generate reviews later in this article.
- Offers: Include any discounts and guarantees that you offer with your service.
- Social media: Include links to your social profiles.
- Call-to-action: Provide a way for people to book an appointment with you, e.g., “Request an Appointment.”
- Value proposition: Include a headline on your homepage that highlights what makes you different.
- Areas you serve: Be clear on the territories and regions you work in.
In the following example, Mr. Rooter has done a great job of injecting some personality into their website. You can see they include an emergency telephone number, as well as a clear call-to-action:
They also include timely discounts. This encourages new customers to take action by using urgency as a psychological trigger:
Turn your website into a lead generation machine by including offers in exchange for customer details (e.g., email addresses). In the example above, Mr. Rooter uses discounts as an incentive. This will allow you to stay in touch with your plumbing leads, nurturing them into long-term customers.
You can use this same process when generating commercial leads. Have a section on your website set up for businesses looking for commercial plumbing needs. Use this content as an opportunity to build trust with business owners that need your services.
3. Join Local Referral Networks
There are dozens of other local businesses with access to your ideal customer.
No, not other plumbers. I’m talking about:
Construction workers: Every new house needs plumbing installed. Many construction companies rely on contractors to get the job done.
Insurance companies: Can write checks, but not get the work done. They need a network of reliable plumbers to call on when things go wrong.
Real estate: When someone buys a home, that buyer is likely to need an upgrade on their pipes and fixtures.
Other tradespeople: Roofers, electricians and landscapers all serve similar clients as you.
Networking groups like BNI can help you forge these relationships. These groups are usually very selective with who they let in, and require you to give as much as you take.
According to the BNI website, there are over 3,700 BNI chapters across the United States:
Head over to their region list and search for one in your area. Tap into this networking opportunity and generate new plumbing jobs today.
4. Build Trust with Reviews & Social Proof
People are more likely to believe what others say about your business than what you say about it.
Which is why reviews and testimonials are so important. Acquiring them is a simple process:
- After you’ve completed a job, email the customer and ask if they were satisfied
- If they say yes, ask if they’re happy to provide a testimonial
- Add the best testimonials to your website and marketing material
For example, Hot Water Guys have a section dedicated to their most authoritative testimonials on the home page of their website:
Having reviews visible on your Google local listing can also help boost rankings and credibility. Instead of asking customers for a testimonial, ask them to leave a review on Google.
These reviews boost trust for prospects searching for your services. As a result, you’re more likely to attract them and convert them into customers.
5. Add Value with Helpful Content
Content marketing has become one of the most popular methods of growing a business and generating exclusive leads in recent years.
The philosophy behind it is simple: create valuable and entertaining content that solves your customer’s problem.
There’s a right and a wrong way to create content. For example, many businesses focus on content that talks about their business:
This rarely works, as people don’t care about you -- they care about solving their problems.
Another popular method is to create how-to plumbing content. For example, a blog post that shows customers how to unclog their own drains:
While this is better (as it provides practical value to the reader), it’s unlikely to attract your ideal clients.
Why? There are two reasons:
- This article attracts people from all over the world (not the locations that you serve)
- It also attracts people who want to fix the problem themselves (not those who want you to do it for them)
So, what’s the alternative? Create region-specific content that your audience cares about.
This content includes:
- Best restaurants and things to do in your region
- Upcoming events
- Local news
- Local issues
- Goodwill in your community
- Bathroom interior design
This may seem counterintuitive, but by providing local information for those in your target regions, you’ll quickly build trust with your community.
When the time comes to fix a plumbing issue, these people are likely to think of you first.
6. Hyper-Targeting Your Audience Using Facebook Ads
Everyone and their mother is on Facebook. And it’s likely they make the best customers.
Use Facebook ads to get in front of your local audience on the most popular social media channel on the web. Facebook ads are effective when generating plumbing leads because you’re able to directly target your audience with offers, discounts and content they care about.
So, what makes a great Facebook ad? Here are some guidelines to follow:
- Focused targeting: Facebook lets you laser-focus specific geographical locations to distribute your ads. You can also use lookalike audiences based on your list of email subscribers (or the email addresses of your customers).
- Use a compelling call-to-action: You must give people a reason to pay attention and click on your ad. A good offer is the foundation of a successful Facebook ad campaign.
- Scroll-stopping visuals: People have a short attention span when browsing Facebook. Your ad must use eye-catching imagery to grab their attention and stop them from scrolling through their feed.
- A strong headline: Your headline must quickly get to the point of your offer. Include an element of urgency (limited time offer) and focus on the pains of your audience.
- Tell a story: When creating ad copy, share stories instead of stating facts. This can include case studies or “plumbing horror stories” to get your audience’s attention.
For example, Carter’s My Plumber uses fun plumbing-related facts and engaging imagery to lead their Facebook ads:
When driving traffic to your website, make sure you use a custom landing page for your campaign. For example, if you’re offering a discount, make sure that the page you drive traffic to is easy to access.
7. Capitalize on Search Traffic with PPC Ads
Google Ads (formerly AdWords) is by far one of the best plumbing lead generation channels for a positive ROI.
Much like Facebook Ads, Google Ads allows you to target users searching for specific keywords, e.g. “plumber new york.” Furthermore, you can target the geographical area that you serve, ensuring you attract only the best clients.
Here’s a simple process to follow when setting up effective plumbing ads:
- Keyword research: Use Google’s Keyword Planner to identify new keywords and see how many people are searching each month. Focus on keywords with a high number of searches and low competition.
- Ad Copy: Just like Facebook Ads, use copy that grabs the searchers attention. The headline should include the target keyword, and the body copy should include offers, your USP and any other unique benefits.
- Landing Page: Finally, create a dedicated landing page for your ads. For example, if you’re targeting keywords related to “plumbers in brooklyn,” then make sure you address searchers coming from Brooklyn.
In the example below, Boris Mechanical put their target keyword at the front of the headline to show relevancy. They then use the body copy to highlight their USP and the services they offer:
It’s important you have custom landing pages for each campaign. For example, Roto-Rooter creates specific pages for every location they serve:
This shows searchers they’re in the right place, increasing the likelihood they’ll contact you.
8. Get in The Door with Direct Mail
While direct mail can be expensive, it can also be insanely profitable. Not only that, your competitors won’t know what you’re doing as these “ads” aren’t in the public domain.
The goal is to get your direct mail into the “keep” pile. That is, the pile of mail that people actually want to read.
In this example from Realty Austin, not only do they use compelling copy to get the attention of any potential home-buyers, but they also have a list of interesting events (which is likely to be kept for later reference):
When executing a direct mail campaign, ensure you follow these seven best practices:
- Narrow your market: Are there certain neighborhoods that make better clients? Target these areas to maximize your results.
- Focus on benefits: Focus not on the services you provide, but why they matter to your potential customers. Talk about your prompt arrival and how many people in the area you’ve served.
- Use a simple call-to-action: What do you want people to do once they’ve read your direct mail, dial a phone number or visit your website to book an appointment? Make this clear in your copy.
- Test your offer: Before you roll out to your entire target audience, test on a small segment first to gauge interest before spending your entire budget.
- Use an omnichannel approach: Don’t use direct mail alone. Jab them with several hits across social media, paid ads and other channels where your clients can be found.
- Personalize: Add a personal touch as much as possible. You can do this by simply mentioning the area you’re targeting in your copy.
- Follow-up: Remember, your audience won’t always respond to the first mail. Have one to two follow-up letters spread over the course of several weeks to remind them about your offer.
Direct mail is a great way to get your message directly in front of your audience. Ensure you’re targeting the right audience with benefit-rich copy and you’ll see great results.
9. Sell to Your Customer’s Friends with Referral Programs
Your customer’s friends and family are one of the most promising sources of new clients you can access. Indeed, it’s likely they share similar traits to your ideal customer segments.
For example, Putman Plumbing creates a win-win referral program for their customers by offering them cash incentives for every new customer they refer:
Setting up a referral system is simple:
- Decide how you want to reward your customers for every referral. Do you want to offer a cash incentive or credit on services?
- Create a page that explains your referral program on your website. Make it easy to access by including a call-to-action on your homepage. Check out the example from Putman for inspiration.
- Be sure to let all your customers know about your referral program. Do this after you’ve completed a job or taken an appointment with them. Ask customers for permission to email them with details, so they have easy access.
If you have more than a dozen interested customers, some tools can make this easy for you. ReferralCandy, for example, provides an end-to-end referral marketing system that’s easy to use:
10. Create Engaging Video Content
Video has become a popular marketing channel for businesses. It provides an opportunity to connect with your customers and provide them with value on a personal level.
Furthermore, it’s become cheap and easy to execute. All you need is a smartphone and free editing software to do the job.
For example, Fred Smith uses video to showcase their work and record testimonials of happy customers:
Ways you can use video in your marketing include:
- How to fix certain problems
- Talk about service benefits
Create a personal connection with your plumbing leads by getting in front of the camera and letting your personality and expertise shine.
11. Identify Older Homes
While even the newest homes can experience plumbing issues, it’s usually older properties that experience the most issues.
You can identify these homes using the data provided by real estate search engine Zillow. Start by running a search for your geographical target location:
On the results page, select the “More” drop-down and refine the “Year Built” filter to search for homes older than five years (or more):
You now have access to a list of homes that are most likely to need plumbing assistance. Use this data to fuel the targeting for your Facebook ads and direct mail campaigns.
12. Win Back Visitors with Remarketing & Retargeting
Not everyone who visits your website is going to become a customer. However, that doesn’t mean you can’t try and entice them back.
Google Ads and Facebook Ads both have retargeting abilities that serve ads to past website visitors. Here’s how they work:
- Google Ads: When someone visits and leaves your website, you can serve banner ads across Google’s Display Network. These ads will appear on any website that is a part of this network and serves ads.
- Facebook Ads: By using the Facebook Pixel, you can serve ads to website visitors right on their Facebook feed. Personalize ads based on the content they view. For example, if someone views a page about boiler replacements, you can serve them these kinds of ads right in their feed.
13. Go Viral with Contests
Competitions are a great way to build your email list and spread the word about your business.
Use viral contests to attract ideal clients by offering free plumbing services.Use a platform like KingSumo to set up your contest campaign easily. With it, you can create landing pages that take care of email capture and virality for you:
When selecting a prize, make it as relevant to your business as possible. For example, a years’ worth of plumbing services (minus materials and parts) will attract those who are most likely to become customers for life.
14. Create Engaging Social Media Content
Social media marketing can often seem like a dark art. But it doesn’t have to be that complicated.
By following these best practices, social media can become a plumbing lead generation machine on any platform you choose.
- Analyze the competition: What are your competitors doing (or not doing) on social media? Do they create content on a regular schedule or do they rarely publish? Look for gaps that you can fill.
- Go where your customers are: Does your audience use Facebook more than Snapchat? Do they prefer visual content on Instagram? Don’t spread yourself too thin and focus only on the channels where your customers can be found.
- Create engaging content: Depending on the platform you choose, you must create content that “fits” there. For example, Instagram favors high-quality photography and imagery. Text-based posts coupled with visuals work best on Facebook.
- Spark engagement: Each post must encourage people to like, comment and share. Do this by asking questions, creating humorous content, or documenting your day-to-day life.
- Track results: Not all social networks are made equal. Measure your results and double down on the platforms and content formats that work best for you.
Bob Hamilton uses Facebook to create content around the goodwill they spread in their community. These are causes their audience care about and generate a high amount of engagement as a result:
Tell a story with the social media content you create. This content doesn’t have to be plumbing-related. It must simply focus on what your customers care about.
Plumbers Can Get More Leads Easily, Just Don’t Buy Them!
Digital marketing has become a must-have for every plumber’s toolkit. Using the right channels, you can generate new plumbing leads with a very positive ROI. Unlike traditional media, the techniques shared here are easier to measure and faster to implement. You can supercharge the growth of your plumbing business by trying one or two today.
There are lots of ways plumbers can generate new business. Whatever you do DO NOT buy plumbing leads from a list vendor. Why? Because these lists are usually outdated. Furthermore, it’s unlikely anyone on that list has heard of you, meaning they’ll hit delete. If you ever did come across their list of potential plumbers in the future they’ll likely associate you with “spam”. Stick to the tips and tricks above to help your plumbing business gather new customers.
Feature Image: Unsplash/pan xiaozhen
All screenshots by author. Taken October 2018.
Image 1-2: Screenshot via Google
Image 3: Screenshot via Google My Business
Image 4: Via Search Engine Land
Image 5: Via Xanjero
Image 6-7: Via What Pixel
Image 8: Via BNI AmericaImage
Image 9: Via Hot Water Guys
Image 10: Via Google
Image 11: Screenshot via Harpers Plumbing
Image 12: Screenshot via Wisebread
Image 13, 23: Via Blue Corona
Image 14: Screenshot via Google Keyword Planner
Image 15: Via Roto-Rooter
Image 16: Via Kopy Writing Kourse
Image 17: Screenshot via Putman Plumbing
Image 18: Via Referral Candy
Image 19: Screenshot via Fred Smith Plumbing
Image 20-21: via Zillow
Image 22: via Celltob
Image 23: via Kingsumo
Sherri has over 7 years of business development and marketing experience in industries ranging from financial services and healthcare to her current focus in martech. She has her MBA in marketing and entrepreneurship from the University of Texas and is the Product Marketing lead for advertising solutions at Web.com.