With your busy days down the drain, marketing for contractors might be an afterthought. Use this plumber marketing guide to save you from countless hours of research and guesswork.
In this guide, you’ll find out everything you need to know about marketing your plumbing business:
- Define your plumber marketing plan in 10 simple steps
- Reveal the top strategies professionals use when marketing for contractors
- Explore internet marketing for plumbers who haven’t started leveraging the web to find new business
- Give you a foundation to maximize your marketing budget using PPC (pay per click) marketing for contractors
Now, let’s get started with the only ultimate plumber marketing guide you’ll need for your business!
Part I: The Basics of Marketing for Contractors
1. Develop Your Brand Voice
How you sound matters.
Your brand voice is often the first impression you make with any potential client. The tricky part about developing your brand voice is there is no one correct voice. But that’s also the fun of it.
Your brand could be snarky and fun, or it could be earnest and straight forward.
Really the only wrong way to develop a brand voice is to be outwardly mean or condescending towards your customers.
As an exercise, write down five to seven words that might describe your desired brand voice. For example, if you want your brand to be seen as fun, include words like “humorous,” “light,” and “upbeat.”
Use this list of words to guide your marketing writing and materials. Make sure your plumber marketing is aligned with your overarching voice category!
You can tweak your brand voice as you go, but repeated or harsh pivots in how your brand sounds to strangers can become confusing. You want to create consistency across all your plumber marketing materials over time.
2. Build Your Plumber Website
We know that marketing for contractors isn’t always top of mind. That’s why we recommend you consider the breadcrumb approach to creating your company’s website. Spend a few minutes each week to build up your web presence. Over time, you might find this approach yields the best results.
Secure your domain with a registrar like GoDaddy, BlueHost, or any of the other great web hosting companies. And build with a CMS (content management system) like WordPress, Wix, or Squarespace. These CMS platforms are all user friendly, and allow you to create a professional site without any coding experience!
Grab any of the thousands of free WordPress, Wix or Squarespace templates. Check out ITs Guru for a great selection of plumber website designs for inspiration.
With a CMS you can create a basic homepage with contact info in an afternoon – all through simple-to-navigate menus and prompts.
Plus, if you have any questions, just write them in YouTube’s search bar. You’ll likely find an easy-to-follow walkthrough for any common CMS issues.
If you’ve never created a plumber website of your own, we advise you to start small, and include just the basic info. Focus your design on contact reachability.
Essential Information to Include:
- Service Location
- Summary of service (residential vs. commercial, etc.)
- Service Request Form
Grow your site over time by adding a content marketing blog. This helps attract visitors through natural search rankings for keywords that you include in your blog posts.
When your links appear naturally in search results, you don’t have to pay for each click. Over time, this could save you hundreds, if not thousands of dollars!
Create evergreen content that remains relevant for years to come, and each piece you publish can draw eyeballs again and again – at no cost to you (aside from the cost of keeping your site live on the web).
Pro Tip! If you have a little more money to invest into your plumbing business, then we suggest hiring a freelance web developer from a site like Fiverr or Upwork. This is a relatively lower cost option than hiring a private company.
3. Social Media Marketing for Contractors
You might take a hands-off approach to social media for your plumbing business, and you might have good reason to feel this way. After all, it seems like every other day that another company accidentally attracts attention for all the wrong reasons.
It’s true that you might easily offend someone, but social media is where the eyeballs are. There’s a huge upside to the minimal cost of advertising on these digital platforms. The key is to enter this fray authentically. Don’t jump in on hashtags you don’t understand, or engage in a hashtag just because it’s trending.
Focus on your brand voice, your plumber marketing message, and your target audience. You’ll find Facebook’s ad targeting tools are especially useful when focusing on exactly who you want to see your ads.
LinkedIn and Facebook can help find new members of your office staff. And Twitter is a perfect platform for quickly distributing service information to your existing customers.
Much like the advice we’ve given on building your plumber website, start small! You’re not going to be a viral sensation overnight, and honestly, you don’t want that! Build out your profiles, crosslink them with your website, and pick one or two platforms to focus on first.
4. Get Listed in Directories
Local business directories are not a replacement for having your own plumber website. However, many of these directories cost nothing to join, and may lead to new customers trickling in over time.
Just remember each listing you create, because you have to keep them all up to date. So any changes to location or contact info will need to be updated everywhere you’ve posted your info.
It just might help to keep a list of the lists where you’ve listed yourself!
Hubspot compiled a list of the 50 best local business directories. Don’t try to create a profile on each and every one. That would be far too unmanageable. We suggest you start with these three primary business directory profiles:
Your plumbing business is likely already appearing in Yelp’s listings. As a result, it’s important for you to go claim your existing business page. Once you do, you’ll gain access to a suite of free tools to manage your Yelp presence.
This includes the ability to:
- Respond to reviews
- Add a link to your company’s site
- Keep contact info correct
- Upload proper branding and logo
- Add quality photos of your business
Don’t leave your public image up to the hands of anonymous users on Yelp. You might as well make your business profile as functional and presentable as possible!
Angi (Angie’s List)
“Unlike homeowners, a business does not have to pay to get listed with a basic profile on Angie’s List,” notes the marketing firm Blue Corona.
Since Angi (formerly Angie’s List) appears organically in many search results for the service industry, it’s beneficial to at least create your free basic profile.
Within that basic profile, you can include a link to your company’s website. This way, you can focus your efforts on building up your plumber website without needing to focus much additional effort on building out this profile.
Google My Business Profile
If you want your plumbing business to appear within Google Maps, and have a rich snippet when users search for your business, you’ll need to create a Google My Business profile.
Here’s an example of what a Business’ Search Engine Results Page (SERP) rich snippet would look like:
This appears along the right side of the page, next to the normal text-link search results.
This is another free listing that just takes a few minutes of your time to set up. Plus, it helps your exposure immensely. Again, you want to appear where people are searching, and you want to control the information they see and how it gets presented.
Google requires a physical address for businesses to rank in Maps, and unfortunately UPS Store P.O. Box mailing addresses no longer cut it. You may use your home address and just hide it in your business listing, but you’ll need to disclose your location when setting up your My Business profile.
5. Respond to Both Negative and Positive Reviews
Every plumbing business wants great reviews, but only great businesses capitalize on bad reviews.
We know you only want five-star reviews. Also, we know you’ll do everything you can to deliver five-star service. However, sometimes you can’t please everyone.
According to Qualtrics, “93% of customers read online reviews before buying a product.” In other words, nearly everyone is seeking reviews on your plumbing business and looking to verify the quality of your service. Therefore, it’s in your best interest to maximize the impact of both positive and negative experiences.
And as much as you want to focus only on the glowing praise, Harvard Business Review found that timely responses are most suited for negative reviews. “The faster the manager responds to a negative online review, the faster the reviewer is appeased and prospective reviewers can see that the manager and the firm are dedicated to solving customer complaints in a timely fashion.”
When you have the inevitable dissatisfied customer take to Yelp or any other review site to vent their frustrations, this becomes your opportunity to shine!
Some may experience review blindness when scanning the musings of those satisfied with your work. “They’re looking at negative feedback for credibility, making sure that all your reviews, both good and bad, are genuine and can be trusted,” says Reviews.io.
Plus, Reviews.io found that customers are actually five times more likely to sort your company’s reviews by showing one-star reviews first. So when you get a one or two-star review and a salty screed from an unhappy camper, treat this as a chance to respond to that review with your top-notch customer service.
It may not be something that you hope happens, but you can leverage those reviews as another reason to choose your company over your competitors!
Part II: Advanced Internet Marketing for Contractors
6. Pay Per Click Marketing for Contractors
Pay Per Click (PPC) Marketing is among the most effective solutions to getting your name out there, generating fresh leads, and finding potential clients. If you’re just starting to dip your toes into paid plumber marketing, then this is a great method to try.
Take a look at some tips to save you some headaches and maximize your marketing dollars…
Long-Tail Keywords: Find the Sweet Spot on Cost vs Result
Since you’ll be charged each time someone clicks on your link, you want to make sure your link reaches the right target audience. After all, you don’t want errant clicks by people living far outside your service area.
That’s why broadly targeting generic key phrases may end up biting you square in the budget.
This is where the term “long-tail” proves its value. Lengthen out your targeted key phrase to include your locality, specialty or other qualifications you think might help narrow down the audience of your ad. For example, “emergency plumbers in Austin, Texas.”
However, keep in mind, not all localities are created equal – some are considerably more costly than others. It all comes down to the relative amounts of competition in your area.
This is why keyword research is important.
You’ll be given a cost per click estimate if you use tools like Semrush or Google Keyword Planner. Using these tools, you can workshop the best use of your plumber marketing dollars.
Service Range vs Punctuality
Always keep the locality of your messaging in mind when creating your content, and targeting your geography and keywords.
The attention you generate should be considerably close to where you can drive. You want to be able to be present and punctual to those who land on your page seeking your service and giving you a call.
Speaking of punctuality, see how FieldEdge can help organize and streamline your calendar of daily service calls. Book a personalized demo today!
7. Start Leveraging YouTube Videos for Plumber Marketing
You benefit from operating in an industry with a highly searchable and visual service. How-To videos for basic plumbing maintenance can generate tons of exposure and help get your name out there.
Roger Wakefield, a LEED AP certified plumber, elevates his YouTube videos to an art form.
His content includes:
- Fantastic tutorial videos
- Answering questions from viewers
- Offering great advice on marketing for contractors
When setting out to create your own video-marketing strategy on YouTube, remember these key tips:
- Keep your focus tight on your target market.
- Do you want to attract new clients?
- Do you want to grab the attention of fellow plumbers?
- Always respect the viewer’s time – make sure you present key information concisely!
- No long intro sequences or explanations.
Also, audio quality is more important than visual quality. In other words, viewers will suffer through an occasional blurry shot, but if you have any annoying audio glitches, or background noise in your videos, you will drive viewers away.
Start out by making videos using your phone’s camera, but be conscious of where you’re filming with your phone so you have a chance at recording decent audio.
When posting anything to YouTube, remember to fill out the video’s title, description and include many relevant hashtags. This is how YouTube knows what you’re uploading, and it will also help others find you through YouTube’s search.
Don’t forget that YouTube is owned by Google, so having a presence on the video platform will only help your overall visibility on Google’s search results as well!
For every video you release, be sure to write a corresponding blog post with the video embedded on your company’s site. This will help link your site with your video on YouTube, and hopefully show Google you are a voice of authority in your industry.
8. Quality Direct Mail Campaigns
You know those bundles of newsprint ads that include fast-food coupons and circulars from grocery stores? It’s easy to get blinded by that bulk of newsprint and assume any additional mail that remotely resembles an advertisement is also part of that destined-for-the-trash group.
You don’t want to spend a sizable chunk of your marketing budget to design, print and deliver any marketing collateral that will just roundly get rejected and wind up in the trash.
Quality mail campaigns offer an opportunity to land your messaging directly into someone’s hands. Physical contact with potential clients is a premium not to be neglected.
Key Questions of Your Direct Mail Campaign to Ask:
- What size and shape do you make it?
- How high quality of materials will you use?
- Which printing business will you partner with to create and send these mailers?
- What does your mailer do?
- Will you announce upcoming sales?
- Do you plan to present coupons?
What can you do to make your deliverable into something worth saving?
You’ve seen plenty of options before. A magnetized calendar, a novel approach to a scratch-off game with incentives to reveal. Maybe a fun two-part marketing campaign that requires saving the first piece to decode the second. The possibilities are limitless!
And in the end, sparking the interest to call is all your deliverable needs to create. Your customer service, professional staff, and incredible skill will close that loop and create die-hard allegiance.
9. Five-Arounds and Leave-Behinds
What are five arounds, you ask? As you’re wrapping up a service call, be sure to distribute plumbing flyers and/or door hangers to the neighboring houses on each side as well as the three houses across the street. In short, be sure to pass out your plumbing flyers to the five residences around the location you’ve just finished servicing!
Five-arounds are a tried-and-true service industry strategy that’s low-cost and can supercharge your referrals.
Also, you can get referrals if you leave a couple plumbing business cards with your clients – magnetic business cards are best so they can go on the fridge! But don’t overload your customers. Two or three cards will do. Give too many and they’re destined for the trash!
In fact, you can go the extra mile and maximize that post-purchase loyalty loop!
It doesn’t take much to leave a great impression. As a plumber, the satisfied experience of fixing a problem will linger with your customers.
The best way to keep that sensation alive in your existing customers is with a clever leave-behind. This is a small piece of functional swag that your customer can use somewhere in their house that includes your branding.
A pen, a magnet, a little business card/letter opener, a rubber jar grip. Maybe a water bottle, frisbee, something fun, functional and easy to store.
Anything that you can apply your branding, contact info and slogan on, consider creating and stowing in your vans. The cost of acquisition for new business can and likely will continue to creep higher. The cost of retaining your clients can withstand the price tag of a small trinket.
10. Test, Track, Rinse, Repeat
You’ll never know how your marketing efforts are performing without appropriate tests and benchmarks in place.
Spending tons of time making a single YouTube video that underperforms might not be the best use of your attention initially.
In addition, you also don’t want to neglect your Yelp or Google My Business profile to solely focus on your Angi (formerly Angie’s List) profile when no good customer leads have come from it.
Follow the 80/20 rule early on with your listings: get all of them 80 percent of the way there, then evaluate how your listings are doing before going back and polishing up that last 20 percent. This way, you’re not spending a ton of time on one avenue that might not provide any results.
Constantly test, constantly qualify each lead, and find out where you’re being found. See what quality leads come from what source.
This doesn’t mean you should quickly or fully abandon methods that aren’t working, you might just need to tweak your approach. However, tracking your efforts will help reveal when tweaking is needed.
Google Analytics is your weapon of choice for all things related to your business’ plumbing website. With Google’s tools you can discover who is coming to your site, from where, and what they’re viewing while they’re on your site.
Additionally, Google Analytics helps you see what on your site is performing well, and what needs tweaking. “If customers are clicking away from the landing page quickly, they are not finding the information they need and you are losing a sale,” says Diane Watkins for Chron.com.
Use This Plumber Marketing Guide to Level-Up Your Business
Marketing for contractors doesn’t have to feel like homework. Now, you have everything you need to level-up your marketing efforts and take your plumbing business to the next level.
Use this complete, easy-to-follow guide to help you conquer your plumber marketing goals:
- Develop your presence through a solid brand-voice direction
- Establish your web presence through a company site, social media and directory listings
- Increase awareness by adding five-arounds during your service calls
- Build customer retention with clever leave-behinds
- Capitalize on every review, both positive and negative
We promise, if you take advantage of this ultimate 10-step plumber marketing guide, you’ll have the power to find new and lasting ways to reach potential clients.