A plumbing system is a structure that manages the flow of some form of liquid. Plumbing systems are vital to the maintenance of proper sanitation and thus, public health. As a result, most plumbing work must comply with government regulations (generally through building codes) set forth to protect the public.
Plumbing businesses are generally regional or locally based; it is simply the nature of the business. Therefore, marketing efforts for a plumbing business should be directed to the specific location (i.e. the target market) that a plumbing business covers.
Gone are the days when consumers dusted off their trusted Yellow Pages directory and let their fingers do the walking when they needed a local plumber. In the digital age of the 21st Century, plumbing businesses can now take a new approach using the many digital tools and techniques designed to reach local and regional customers, without a need for heavy lifting. The narrative that follows details seven plumbing marketing ideas that have been time-tested. But first, a brief word about online business directories.
Digital Business Directories
The unmet needs that the Yellow Pages fulfilled years ago, still exist today. However, it is a rare occurrence to find a consumer reach for a book that weighs several pounds, to find one phone number among tens of thousands, or more. In our modern society, there are many online digital business directories for which a plumbing business can register, most often, without a fee.
- Yellow Pages (the digital version)
- The Better Business Bureau
- Angie’s List
Here is a thorough list of online business directories. Most directories are dedicated to one profession or a specific market niche. The trick is to find the right directory for your business.
7 Plumbing Marketing Ideas
#1 Create a Google My Business Listing
The modern consumer finds professionals through word-of-mouth or through business directories readily available online, as noted above. However, Google has created Google My Business listings, a business service that gives listed businesses a dual benefit –
- A Searchable Google My Business Listing on the Internet.
- A Searchable Google My Business Listing on Google Maps.
If you have not done so, it is important to claim your listing at business.google.com. Once claimed, it is imperative to complete the relevant data to be listed in your Google My Business profile. When finished, your plumbing business will appear when someone uses Google Maps in that locality or from a simple Internet search.
#2 Partner with a Local Hardware Business or a Home Improvement Contractor
Plumbing professionals work in tandem with many other home improvement specialists. Often, a plumber will work with contractors or a local hardware store in an effort to expand the sales of both businesses. History has shown that blending professional efforts is a crafty way to compete against retail giants.
Although the traditional go-to local hardware store is fast becoming yesterday’s news, there are still some dedicated owners willing to compete against the likes of Home Depot. To begin, contact the owner of a local hardware store (preferably the store you shop in), to set up an appointment where you can present your plumbing marketing idea.
If the owner is okay with your plan, bring several dozen donuts to the plumbing department’s staff meeting so you can introduce yourself, and talk about cutting edge-marketing trends. It is a way in which to establish a relationship with the staff members. The presentation is designed for the staff to get to know you, but more importantly, to begin to trust you. This might impact which plumber they use for future referrals, should they need to give out a future plumbing referral.
#3 Create How-to Plumbing Videos
Creating a how-to video is a great way to connect with potential customers. A short video with engaging content can attract the attention of soon-to-be customers. A how-to video offers the following advantages –
- It provides value as it imparts knowledge and know-how.
- It showcases your plumbing skills and knowledge.
- It offers sound, sight, color, and music; which makes it engaging.
- A video is easy to create.
- It is offered free of charge to potential customers through YouTube or other social media outlets.
#4 Remind Customers of an Impending Warranty Expiration
Many plumbing parts and equipment related to the plumbing business come with a manufacturer’s warranty. Examples of equipment that typically come with a manufacturer’s warranty are –
- A Water Heater.
- A Dishwasher.
- A Garbage Disposal.
- An Ice Maker, to name a few.
This equipment’s warranty will eventually expire in a month, in years, or anything in between. A smart plumbing marketing idea is as follows –
1. Note the expiration date.
2. Set up a simple list that includes the customer name, part/equipment, the date installed, and the expiration date.
3. Send out reminder emails notifying the customer of the upcoming expiration. There are many business support services with skills and software that can automate this entire process.
A similar plumbing marketing idea includes the purchase of professional labels with your contact information and license numbers that should be applied whenever possible to the equipment you install so when the plumbing fixture goes haywire, your plumbing company’s name will be front and center.
#5 Redesign Your Invoice
A plumbing transaction always ends with the provision of the dreaded invoice. The invoice is, therefore, something your customer will always see. So why not make it pop? Why not use it to reinforce your services and to thank your customers. Your redesigned invoice adds to the list of plumbing marketing ideas.
#6 Bounce-Back Coupons
Bounce-back coupons are left behind (or emailed/mailed) after you have completed a plumbing job. When you provide a Bounce-back coupon (with a discount), along with exceptional service, they combine to create a powerful, convincing marketing message that reminds each customer who to call when they need a plumber again. Remember, though, to omit an expiration date from the coupon. An expiration date will reduce the life span of this marketing campaign.
#7 Neighborhood Newcomers
Local governments now offer residents a list of people who are new to the area. This offers another great plumbing marketing idea. Area newcomers generally arrive without affiliation to any local business. This then becomes a terrific opportunity to make the first, first-impression.
Your first contact (generally done through the USPS) should be welcoming and offer some sort of discount, or free inspection of existing plumbing fixtures. This is also a great time to include a refrigerator magnet in the mailing.
If your town or city does not offer a list of new residents, many business support services, like SmallBiz (Powered by LegalShield and GoSmallBiz) are available to coordinate these marketing efforts or any other marketing initiatives you believe to be valuable. Monthly plans with unlimited legal and business consultations are priced starting at $59.