Plumbing Business Tip: Strategies for Effective Local Marketing
Updated: Jul 11, 2019
Plumbing business marketing can seem overwhelming for small business owners who are kept busy with countless tasks. Running a small business is full of challenges, and marketing a plumbing business can be one of the most difficult.
Plumbers and drain cleaners are not marketers by trade, and often do not have the resources to dedicate to marketing that a large corporation might. We know you’re always looking for ways to go about marketing a plumbing business to attract new customers while also being able to focus on your business as a whole.
Below are some effective strategies that are time and cost sensitive:
If you live in a small city or town, a local publication can be a great source for plumbing business marketing. Getting hyper local means that you are reaching people in your immediate area. The cost of running an ad in the local paper is less than larger publications with wide distributions and will be seen by many members of the community with a more specialized reach.
If you have a flair for writing you may want to consider going past standard advertising as well. Contact your local paper, community website, or circular and offer to write an article giving plumbing advice to the locals. The topic of your article could be related to common questions your customers ask you every day. Examples might be items to never flush, plumbing sounds to be concerned about, and how to extend the life of your pipes.
Be sure to think outside of a local newspaper as well. Run an ad in a different type of publication. Online communities like Patch are great for local businesses. Community organizations often look for sponsors – community theatre playbills and sports team booklets are a great place to start. Local organization newsletters often have ad space and you may even be able to place an ad in the high school yearbook.
Getting NEW customers to book with you can be a difficult but important step in plumbing business marketing. Once inside, you can wow them with your great customer service, quality workmanship, and work ethic to earn repeat business. But how do you get them to take the first step?
Coupons are a great way to encourage first-time customers to give your business a try. New customers are more likely to use your service if they have an initial deal; and customers can even be lured away from competitors with coupons.
Coupons can also be a great way to gather customer information. Ask for the customer’s information (such as email and home address) when they are redeeming your coupon. Keep a record of what deal they redeemed so you can track if your coupon is working or not!
If you are not already, you should start collecting customer’s email addresses whenever you can – even if it is a manual process at first. Email marketing is one of the most effective marketing methods and it can be done in a budget friendly way. Start a monthly email newsletter offering up valuable information to your customers like plumbing tips, home maintenance guidance, or even a heads up about local events. Studies have shown that consumers prefer marketing communication delivered via email over all other types of communication.
Have a regular schedule for sending your newsletters and put reminders on the calendar so that you don’t forget. Make them simple to start so that it isn’t an overwhelming time commitment.
When you’re ready, be sure to start collecting email addresses from your website in addition to paper forms. Ask customers to enter their email in exchange for a coupon for a first time booking. A simple email capture form from your email provider on a website landing page can do the trick to start.
One note, if you do email marketing you must use a marketing email provider and not blind copy your email addresses from a regular email. There are many free and inexpensive email marketing services that will take care of your email list and give you lots of nice designs to choose from. There are many options: MailChimp is very flexible and easy to use and Constant Contact works hard to stay on top of newest email trends.
Your email list can be used for promotions in the future and over time, more email subscribers will become customers.
There is power in partnership! Find local owners with whom you can form a mutual friendship and agree to cross-promote each other’s business. Contractors, electricians, masons, interior decorators, realtors, and leasing agents are just some to consider for helping your plumbing business marketing.
Don’t be afraid to get creative when you branch out. An interesting partnership can provide a compelling reason for customers to check out your business. And referrals from trusted business owners can go a long way during customer decision time.
If you aren’t sure how to find potential partners, join a professional group. The group can be focused on your industry, or a business related group like the local Chamber of Commerce. You will make valuable connections, which will help with networking and finding potential partners with whom to cross-promote.
Make sure you have business cards on hand. There are many low-cost printing services available online, so you can hand out quality cards without breaking your budget.
Networking is not only free and highly effective, it can also be one of the most fun ways of marketing a plumbing business. The more people you meet who know your name and what you do, the better.
Get involved in a local organization and attend public events and introduce yourself to others. If you can’t find any local events to attend, no worries! Create your own networking event to get the ball rolling.
Become an Expert
Becoming a recognized expert in your field is an excellent strategy for marketing a plumbing business. Offer to give speeches on your specialty at local events. Start volunteering for a local charity to help them with their plumbing challenges to create positive buzz for you and your business.
Take Care of Your Current Customers
Referrals from past customers are highly valuable. Sites like Yelp and Angie’s List are powerful components in plumbing business marketing when customers are deciding which vendor to hire.
Help your customers easily review you with gentle email reminders. A simple thank you or promo in return for a review can help get reviews going. A small discount off a future service or even $5 gift card to a coffee shop can do the trick. Most sites allow businesses to give their customers something in exchange for a review as long as the gift is not only for GOOD reviews, and you cannot dictate the language or manipulate the review in any way. If you thank all reviews equally, good and bad, providing an incentive to review is usually okay. However, be sure to double check the regulations of the site or your area before you do so.
When you do get a negative review, try not to take it personally. Reach out to the customer and attempt to resolve the issue. At the very least respond online with an apology that they weren’t happy and offer a solution in a professional manner. Then be sure to investigate the job and see where things could have been improved.
Other ways to make your customers feel appreciated and more likely to refer you is with extra special touches. As all grandmas know, nothing says you care like a handwritten note or simple thank you email after the job is done. Send out personal “thank you” cards to first-time and loyal customers. Try “miss you” messages for top customers you haven’t heard from in a while.
Taking the time to reach out in such a personal way shows customers you care, helping to create customer loyalty and build valuable repeat business.
When looking for goods and services, many people go online to find what they need. To help customers find your business, you will want to create an online presence.
Having a website for your business is a must. There are many affordable options out there; keep it simple and straightforward with all your important information.
Make sure your business is registered with a search engine like Google. And creating a Yelp account (with positive reviews of course) will encourage customers to check out your business.
Finally, social media sites such as Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram are free to join, and can offer tons of marketing opportunities. Creating accounts is easy, but know that these sites may take more time than you anticipate. Social media marketing takes effort every day to keep patrons updated and interested in your business. Experts suggest starting with just one or two sites and then expanding after you get familiar with how they work.
Have an Elevator Speech Ready
Always be ready to talk about your business! You never know who you might meet. Potential clients and partners are out there all the time, waiting to meet you.
Your marketing should be easier if you follow the strategies above. Start with just one or two and see how it goes! A little bit of marketing is better than none at all and, with time, you can bring in new clients, hold on to existing ones, and build relationships with confidence. Marketing your plumbing business may have seemed like an impossible task, but now you know it’s well within your grasp.
What plumbing business marketing strategies have worked for you? Share with us!
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