Finding and retaining customers in the plumbing industry is on the forefront of every owner’s mind. The days of expensive television commercials, billboards, and phone book ads are gone, but the idea of growing your business through digital marketing can seem overwhelming. Fortunately, there are many simple strategies you can start today to increase web traffic and generate more customers. Read on to learn more about making the most of your digital marketing campaigns.
Why You Should Invest in Digital Marketing
Our industry is constantly shifting. From technology changes like the tankless water heater to aesthetic changes and global initiatives like water conservation. As we move to a more digital society, our approach to finding customers must shift as well. Traditional ads in newspapers, on television, and even direct mailers are expensive, and may no longer be as effective as they once were. In order to find new customers and retain existing customers, then, we must go where they are—online. These tips will help you to grow your business through simple digital marketing strategies.
Optimize Your Website for SEO and Local SEO
Because the majority of customers today look for service providers online, it’s critical that they find your plumbing business in a crowded market. If someone has a plumbing emergency, whether a leaking pipe, a broken water heater, or a clogged toilet, they probably aren’t going to scroll through several pages of results, researching multiple plumbers, so how can your website make it to the top of the list? Search Engine Optimization, or SEO, is essential to the process. A strong SEO strategy will help improve your online presence, bring more traffic to your site, and convert clicks to customers.
The ultimate goal of your SEO strategy will be higher rankings on search sites like Google. However, this can only be effective if your site has the content needed for customers to find you. Think about how your customers might search Google to find your business, whether they search “Leaky faucet Charlotte” or “Water heater repair Austin.” Service pages, then, are essential to SEO. Be sure the person in your city searching for help with a leaking faucet will find you through a dedicated service page for faucet repair, and anyone looking for what to do about a broken water heater can be directed to your site as well.
You may also want to increase your local SEO through location pages. Don’t just dedicate your site to the city your business resides, especially if you want to reach customers in surrounding areas. Having unique content for each city, town, or neighborhood you want to target will help generate customers as well. Don’t underestimate the usefulness of blogs either. Short, 1,000-word pieces that can be updated often are another effective way to help customers find you. It might seem intimidating to take on blogging, but it doesn’t need to be. Your team has a wealth of knowledge on a variety of plumbing subjects, from the latest gadgets, to simple repairs, and even seasonal plumbing issues. The increased traffic your blog generates will also help to optimize searches in the future.
Generate Leads with PPC (Pay-Per-Click)
Another cost-effective digital marketing strategy is PPC, or pay-per-click advertising. Unlike print media, where you will pay the same, often hefty, price for ad space regardless of how many people actually see it or act on it, PPC allows you to advertise your business on Google, but you’ll only pay an advertising cost when someone clicks on the ad! People tend to only research plumbing companies when they are in immediate need of service, which means you’ll pay for PPC only when there’s a high likelihood that you’ll generate business through the ad.
Not only is PPC cost effective, it’s extremely targeted. Your ad will only appear when potential customers search for plumbing services in your area. This means you’ll be reaching customers that are looking for service in the very near future, likely today. Unlike other digital marketing tools, you should see the results of your PPC right away, as well.
Humanize Your Business
In the plumbing industry, gaining and retaining customers is based on trust. People want to feel that they know their service providers and can trust them to do honest work. One way to establish trust with the community is to share your story. Every business has one. Use your digital marketing tools to explain how you got into plumbing and what drives your work ethic, as well as information about the team you’ve assembled to represent your brand.
One way to effectively humanize your business is through your blog. Showcase team members with years of experience and write about issues and trends in your service area. Use real photos rather than stock photos when possible, so customers can get to know you and your employees better. Find ways to serve your community as well. Volunteering your time or sponsoring a youth sports league are always beneficial to the neighborhoods you serve, but from a digital marketing perspective, you have options as well. Join local online forums and respond to questions in your skillset. Don’t simply provide your contact information, but add value to the conversation by giving experienced insight into common plumbing issues. When customers see you care about the community you serve, they are likely to remember your name when their own plumbing issue arises.
Establish a Brand Personality across Social Media Platforms
Most people today access at least one social media platform a day, and when utilized effectively, social media can be a great way to get your name out to potential customers. A strong presence on social media will help you get customers today and will keep you in the minds of prospective customers in the future.
These platforms can also be a quick and easy tool for communicated sales, promotions, or important news. Rather than updating your website, which can be time intensive, even for the tech savvy business owner, a simple post about discounts or promotions can be done in a matter of seconds, generating customers quickly. Most people immediately think of Facebook for promotion, but don’t underestimate Twitter, Instagram, and even YouTube. Once you’ve established your business on these platforms, be sure to include links in the footers of your website and emails as well.
Avoid Using Social Media Exclusively for Sales
While social media platforms are great tools for getting customers and promoting your business, it’s important to remember your long-term strategies and goals. You can certainly use your social media to communicate specials, but if that’s the only way you utilize these sites, you will lose the followers you worked hard to attain. Always remember to communicate your story to the community.
Use Facebook, for instance, to show the culture of your work family. It’s a great place to showcase a work anniversary or introduce a new employee. Instagram is the place to feature photos of recent installations, before and after shots, and new trends in the industry. People typically use Twitter to seek and share information, which gives your plumbing business the opportunity to provide general plumbing related tips, like which foods to avoid putting in a garbage disposal or even an article about how flushable wipes may really not be that flushable. Even YouTube can be used to engage the community by demonstrating some simple repairs. Use your customers as a guide. If they are asking the questions, chances are your followers have the same questions or concerns.
Utilize Email Marketing to Stay Top of Mind
Getting new customers is essential, but how can your plumbing business keep customers, especially when services calls are so infrequent? Fortunately, it can be easier, and often less expensive to retain existing customers. In addition to social media, email marketing is an effective strategy for customer retention. There’s no need to blast a customer’s inbox with spam, of course, but a simple monthly newsletter can be enough to keep you in the forefront of your customers’ minds. You can include monthly specials, publish your recent blog post, and even share reviews from satisfied customers. Subscribers will then know just where to go when a plumbing issue arises.
Growing Your Business through Digital Marketing
In today’s online economy, digital marketing is the best way to reach new customers and keep them as well. With so many people heading to the computer or smartphone to find service providers, it’s important to make it easy for them to find you in a crowded field. Utilizing SEO strategies, PPC, social media, and even email marketing will ensure customers find you the first time and return to you every time they need a trustworthy plumber.
Consider implementing some of these digital marketing strategies to grow your plumbing business today and if you’re reading this, connect with the Mechanical Hub team as they are leaders in the industry.
Author Bio: Alan Smith is the Marketing Coordinator of Spartan Plumbing, Heating & Air Conditioning. Spartan is a leading plumbing / HVAC company that assists all types of businesses and residences throughout the Washington D.C. region and parts of Maryland. Spartan has an A+ rating by the Better Business Bureau and was voted Best Plumber in D.C. for four years in a row.