Many people took notice when Kevin O’Leary (the rich guy from Shark Tank) told CNBC:
“Be a plumber; they get rich. Everybody has to have a plumber, even in a recession. After all, plumbing will always be in style, and it will always be in demand. Plus, the career is recession-proof. Every building on earth wants to have electricity and plumbing working. Think about it that way. I don’t care where you are; people are going to want your services.”
Many those people taking notice were plumbers, plumbers who know it’s not exactly that easy. Plumbing is a terrific profession, one which gives you a solid living, but the “getting rich” overnight thing isn’t so.
The average plumber earns just under $83,000 according to Indeed. That’s a nice living, but it won’t exactly make you rich. And that doesn’t even consider plumbers face stiff competition, just like every other contractor.
How Competitive Is Plumbing?
Finding new customers is no cakewalk, even in the best of circumstances. But it’s a lot harder when you work in an industry like plumbing where prospective customers have so many choices. At this moment, there are more than 27,000 plumbing companies in Australia. Even consumers in small towns who type “plumbers near me” into Google have 5 or 10 choices. With all that competition, what can your plumbing business do to get to the top of the heap?
Why Is Lead Generation So Important?
Generating new, quality leads (the kind that is likely to become customers) is the heart of your marketing program. In other words, if you don’t generate enough leads, you won’t have recipients for your emails, or prospective customers following you on social media sites, or visitors to your plumbing website—or new customers.
It’s the reason more than 60% of marketers worldwide say lead and website traffic generation is their most important marketing challenge. It’s also the reason you need a solid strategy to generate enough leads to fill your sales pipeline. The question, of course, is “what’s the best way to do that?”
What Are The Best Strategies To Generate Quality Leads?
Every business—including every plumbing business—is different, with different customers and different marketing challenges. Yet, here are the six tactics that are most likely to work for a plumbing business.
1. Build A Website That Works
A few years ago, HubSpot came out with an article you might want to take a look at—it’s called “17 Things People Absolutely Hate About Your Website.” Think of it as a type of checklist for the things you don’t want to do on your site—stuff like contact information that’s hard to find, a website that takes forever to load, or one that doesn’t work on a mobile device, or one with an “About Us” page that doesn’t say what your business does. But, if those are the things you shouldn’t do, what are the things you should? Here are a few:
Make it easy for customers to find your services: it’s good to have “Services” in your navigation bar and a drop-down menu so people can see right away all the services you offer. It’s also helpful to have a separate web page for every service (that lets you give more of the details customers want).
Show them your team: customers want to know who’s going to do the work for them. Show them the members of your team with a realistic team photo (using stock photography is a no-no). You can also detail what skills each team member has.
Tell them why you’re better: you need to give customers a reason to choose your plumbing business vs. one of your competitors.
Give them social proof: this could be things like how many other customers have used your business, or reviews and testimonials from satisfied customers.
Make it easy to get in touch: don’t hide your address and phone number. The best practice is to have a prominent header with your phone number in it.
A website that works will show customers why your business is better than your competitors. It will also push prospects to the web pages you need them to see—like the ones where they can give you their contact information in exchange for articles with the information they need. Every time someone gives you their contact information, you get a new lead.
2. Get A Google My Business Account
“Google My Business” is a free tool that will put your business in front of local customers through Google Search and Google Maps. After you register for your free account, customers who type specific keywords (like “local plumbers”) into Google will notice a map with the location of your business and a listing with a link to your website, as well as your contact information. That will significantly increase your reach in your local community and traffic to your website—and help you generate more leads.
3. Use Online Reviews
Consumers encounter many ads—by one estimate as many as 5,000 a day. That makes it hard for them to tell what’s true and what isn’t. Increasingly, to break through the noise, they seek online reviews. Almost 90% of plumbing customers check out reviews before they call a plumber. That means your business needs to be prominent on sites like Angie’s List, Yelp, and TripAdvisor, among others.
4. Keep In Touch With Email Marketing
Emails are an excellent way to get new leads and to nurture the leads you already have. For example, you can use emails as “lead magnets.” A lead magnet is a tool that gives consumers valuable information in exchange for their contact information.
Email marketing will also keep communications going with existing customers and remind older customers of your superior service (and customer service). You can also use software that automates your email marketing. These marketing tools will automatically send emails in response to individual customer actions, like when they visit one of your service pages, fill in a contact form or download valuable content on your website.
5. Get Referrals From Contractors And Satisfied Customers
There are plenty of contractors you don’t compete with—people like builders, for example. You can work with them to create a mutually beneficial referral program. In other words, a contractor can tell one of his clients, “if you need a skilled plumber, you should give (your business) a call,” and you can do the same for him.
You can also ask former and current satisfied customers to refer your plumbing services to a friend or family member. You’ll be surprised how many will be willing to help you out, and it’s a successful strategy—according to Nielsen, for example, people are four times more likely to use your services when a friend has referred them.
6. Harness The Power Of “Inbound Marketing”
Traditional marketing includes tactics that push intrusive ads in front of consumers—think things like TV commercials and telemarketers that most people don’t like. It’s one of the reasons they get TiVo to fast-forward through TV ads and register on “don’t call” lists to avoid telemarketers.
“Inbound marketing,” instead of pushing annoying ads at people, pulls them in by giving them information that answers their questions and solves their problems—and it’s valuable in building trust and generating new leads. Some of the most effective inbound marketing strategies are:
Social media marketing: about 75% of people who use Facebook are there for “professional purposes.” That’s a fancy way of saying they’re looking for products and services. Your business can generate quality leads with Facebook ads that go directly to consumers seeking services like your plumbing business offers.
Blogging: if your website doesn’t have a blog, it might be time to add one. That’s because businesses that blog are 13 times more likely to increase revenues compared to those that don’t. Your blog should answer frequently asked questions, provide information people need and want and, ideally, include engaging features (like video) people want to know. Also, make sure your blogs are more focused on helping customers than “selling your business.”
Plumbing can be a lucrative profession—but it’s also fierce. That means you need to create astute marketing strategies to acquire new, high-quality leads you can then convert from window shoppers into loyal customers.
Of course, generating leads, as vital as it can be both confusing and overwhelming. Fortunately, there are competent marketing agencies who know the best ways to create those kinds of leads for your business. To learn more about the way our 5R lead generation program will double your lead generation in less than 90 days—and triple it in your first year—contact us today.