The experts aren’t lying: if you own a plumbing business these days, you’re going to need some sort of digital marketing outreach. That means leads. More than that, it means exclusive plumbing leads — you want to generate leads nobody else is getting their hands on.
The digital marketplace is, after all, the #1 way to generate exclusive leads for plumbing that turn into real, paying clients. Unfortunately, many contractors feel like this is entirely out of their skillset.
To help those of you with small plumbing businesses, we’ve put together this list of the 10 best ways you can use the internet for plumbing lead generation
Targeted Facebook Ads
It’s true that just about everybody is on Facebook right now, but the people actively using Facebook every day skews directly into the market that’s most likely to need a plumbers services. While younger generations are opting to spend more time on social media services like Twitter and Snapchat (giving Facebook the reputation of an older persons social media site), this means that the audience who is on Facebook everyday are precisely the people who have:
A) The money to spend on plumbing services
B) The need for plumbing services in the first place
The folks on Facebook are more likely to have a house because they’re older and they have more money. You can advertise to all of the 18 year olds you like — the vast, vast majority of them don’t own homes and obviously aren’t responsible for fixing their plumbing when something goes wrong.
They are your ideal leads.
Not only is Facebook where the target demographic lives though, but Facebook itself gives you the tools to precisely target exactly who you would like to see the ad. This lets you select an audience who is much more likely be responsive to your ad — while in the old days, you might put an ad in a newspaper and hope your ideal client sees it, here you can stop aiming scatter shot and dramatically up the chances that whoever reads the ad you’re paying for is going to be well suited for the plumbing services that you sell.
Additionally, Facebook’s marketing algorithms is technical wizardly of a different level to most other things on the internet. With good ads, you can push more effectively on Facebook than just about anywhere else, with the possible exception of Google’s Adsense program. Either way, you’re going to be getting A+ leads.
For more information on targeting Facebook ads to a specific audience, check out this guide
This is commonly called “content marketing”, and it works for a lot more industries than most people realize. Yes, that includes plumbing — and in generating leads for plumbing. The fact that 90% of the contractors you’re competing with don’t realize this means you now have an automatic leg up on them in acquiring those valuable leads.
Typically, what a business should be doing here is writing what’s known as “inbound marketing content”. Put simply, this is actionable advice for people who are struggling with the problem that you solve — that means writing articles based around your unique plumbing skills. How do you solve common problems? What myths are common about what you do? What hidden pitfalls do people not know about when they try to solve these problems themselves?
Rather than trying to get in front of people’s eyes in the traditional way (“outbound marketing”), this type of blog-based content marketing waits for people to come to you. The advantage is that the audience is naturally much warmer to your offer — they will discover your blog post because they were actively looking for the solutions you provide. By giving them useful information, you’re automatically positioning yourself as a useful figure of authority, and building a relationship with the potential customer.
A common complaint that people within the plumbing industry raise with this is that such blog-based content marketing really “gives away the whole game”. The fear is that by giving away so much information, a plumbing business is actually reducing the value of their services.
This could not be more false.
What a plumbing business is instead doing is establishing themselves as Top Of Mind for their potential customers — by setting yourself up as the authority figure, you set yourself up as who the customer turns to in an emergency. Remember: most people will happily hire you do a job even if you explain how to do it to them. All you’ve done is prove your knowledge.
Lastly, it must be remembered that the winning strategy here is to go as local as possible — this means leveraging what’s called SEO to make sure that your blog posts are focused on your local area, thus making sure that it’s the people within your local area who see you when they search for plumbing-related issues. After all, it’s no good if your potential customer is 5 states away.
For more information on content marketing, check out the video below:
Google AdWords For Exclusive Plumbing Leads
This is one of the oldest forms of advertising on the internet, but it’s still one of the most powerful — and that applies to lead generation too. Remember, Google is by far the most visited site on the internet; almost everyone uses it on a daily basis. Putting Pay-Per-Click (PPC) ads on various content via Google is an even more reliable advertising method than Facebook; they’ve had decades to refine their system, after all.
In fact, many contractor-based businesses survive entirely on PPC ads through Google. Again, this is possible by going as local with your positioning as possible — you want to make sure that your plumbing business is not wasting any money on customers who are too far away to access your services. Local leads are really the only thing that’s valuable to you here.
Additionally, again like Facebook, you’ll want to do everything you can to take advantage of Google’s robust PPC algorithms. These are among the most sophisticated in the world, but by using Google itself you should be able to find all sorts of tips and tricks for your plumbing business to stand out among the crowd.
YouTube Instructional Videos
The advantage of this form of digital outreach is that it simply has not been around for very long — although it might seem that YouTube has hours of content on every possible subject, video content is actually severely under-used as a marketing tool for the vast majority of businesses. Plumbing is not just similar in this way, it’s one of the best examples — along with other contractor-based services, not many businesses are using YouTube, which makes it even easier for you to be the one to dominate your market.
Similar to a blog, your YouTube should be focused on providing actionable content rather than simply being a traditional commercial. In fact, the more personal the better — the advantage of video-content over written content is that it gives your audience more of an opportunity to get to know you. So not only should you make sure you’re speaking to their specific complaints, you need to make sure you’re drawing from your specific experiences to do so and also make sure you’re showing a little personality while you do so.
Buying Email Leads With A JV Offer
It’s digital outreach tactics like this that will truly make you stand out among others in the plumbing field. While most plumbers entirely ignore digital outreach, there are still likely to be some who engage in intermittent marketing via social media, blogs, and coupon sites like Groupon. Very few engage with JV offers.
JV stands for Joint Venture, and it’s essentially a different form of email marketing — closer to buying plumbing leads than the other methods, but still much cheaper than going the direct route.
Rather than building your own list of emails, made up of both former and potential customers, with a JV email campaign you would piggyback off of the work of another person who has already built up an email list of your target customers. With a JV offer, you would work with this other person or company, and they would email out your details to their subscribers for a set fee. While the financial disadvantage is obvious, it should be remembered that this both massively accelerates your timeframe (as you don’t have to spend time building your email list from scratch) and can actually make you seem more credible in the eyes of your potential customers.
After all, if they’re already familiar with the person or business recommending you, your plumbing business will be perceived to have their seal of approval. In digital marketing, this is known as an effective tool to lowering your potential customers resistance, working to establish your plumbing business as an authority in the space.
The best customers here will naturally be local, meaning JV offers have to be worked out with businesses in your area. While other plumbing firms have no incentive to let you access their customers even for a fee, there is significant cross-over for other related industries — any contract-based home maintenance/improvement business should be friendly for contact.
Specifically, it’s recommended that if you want to be successful you should approach:
· Home renovation businesses
· Maintenance firms
· Multi-property landlords
An extra advantage here is that by making this initial contract with these businesses, you’re more likely to develop a working relationship with them. When they need someone to refer work to, it might just be your plumbing business that they remember, giving you a steady stream of plumbing contractor leads.
Offering A Referral Service
The old wisdom rings true in just about any business: repeat business is the best business.
That goes triple for contract-based businesses like plumbing.
The fact is that a satisfied customer is often the best advertising you can ask for. Having a satisfied customer refer to their friends or business partners immediately clears a common hurdle in a potential customers mind by establishing your credibility via social proof. After all, if their friend recommended you, you must be good, right? This is basic word of mouth marketing.
Of course, not everybody will naturally recommend you to their friends.
That’s why it can be smart to offer some level of incentivization.
By offering your customers a small referral fee, you’re giving them a reason to recommend you to their contacts beyond just good will. The beauty of it is: you’re still only offering this to your existing, satisfied customers. That means they’re still being entirely honest with their recommendation, even if they get something out of it, which is critical to any good marketing. Potential customers can smell even a hint of dishonesty from a mile away — and that will kill your leads, which will kill your intake of customers for your plumbing business.
When it comes to what our referral fee should be, there are a thousand different opinions. Some like to stick to a pre-determined number, others like to work out a percentage of the final bill…the important thing to remember is that once you stick a method, stick with it and be honest about how you offer it to all your customers! People talk, and you don’t want them talking about how you offered them different deals. It will only lead to bad blood.
This is most effective when it goes hand-in-hand with other methods on this list, but it doesn’t necessarily have to. Email marketing here refers to the practice of building up a list of email addresses, primarily previous clients but also just potential customers, to which you regularly email useful information too.
This information can be actionable information (such as a link to your useful blog posts), reminders on special deals you have (or even links to a Groupon page), or even just reaching out to ask your audience questions. Remember, the more engaged your audience is with you, the more likely you’re going to convert that passive audience into active customers.
Typically, email addresses are gathered through the use of an opt-in page on your website, and one highly successful way of getting people to hand over that email address is to offer them a reward for doing so. A small PDF with useful information for them, that you’ll email over once they give you the address to do so, is all you need here — and again, that PDF should be as locally-focused as possible if you want massive success.
There are a number of tools to use when it comes to managing your email marketing, but you will likely end up paying some amount of money for services like MailChimp or Klayvio. Remember, the ROI on email marketing is typically large, and the small investment is usually more than slightly worth it.
Believe it or not, this still works.
For a lot of people, the first place they go to hire a contractor is still Craigslist. There’s a reason that as a company, they’re still very profitable, despite a plethora of other contenders that could be siphoning off their business.
In many ways, Craigslist is the digital replacement of the newspaper ads that would have sustained some plumbing and other contractor-based businesses in previous decades. For best results however, it’s best if you use Craigslist as a gateway marketing method to some of the other methods listed here — for example, you should post an ad that also links to your blog, or your YouTube videos. Craigslist is in fact often a great option for local and exclusive lead generation.
The myth that Groupon is best used for “experience” based businesses such as bars, clubs, restaurants, and sport-based activities has stopped many b usiness owners from using it. This is a grand mistake, and one that your plumbing business would be wise not to repeat.
The truth is; almost every sort of industry is well serviced by Groupon, and high-cost personal services like plumbing is no exception to that at all. In fact, while people are likely to splurge on things like nights out, it has actually been shown that the older, more financially restrained demographic who are more typically home owners will actually seek out coupons and online offers for longer when it comes to something they know they could potentially spend a lot of money on. Simply put — most people would rather save 20% on a bill totaling hundreds of dollars than 20% on dinner and a movie, and they know that Groupon is the place to find just that sort of deal.
If offering a significant discount to Groupon shoppers sounds unappealing, remember that a customers repeat business is usually worth far more than the profits you may have lost from their first visit. In fact, using Groupon deals as what’s called a ‘loss leader’ can be a very effective method of building up your customer base, even if the benefits may take several months to make themselves obvious.
Hire A Plumbing Pay Per Lead/Pay Per Call Marketing Agency
If you’re feeling a little overwhelmed by all this, we don’t blame you. In fact, one entirely natural impulse people have upon reading a list like this is to close the tab and distract themselves with something a little more clear cut.
The truth is, in the 21st century a plumbing business needs to have some online marketing presence if it’s going to thrive. It needs it go generate it’s leads.
But we also get that taking advantage of the sorts of thing we’ve been listed above can be technically demanding and time-consuming — after all, you need time to actually run your plumbing business. If marketing the business basically becomes your full time job, you’re never going to have time for the actual plumbing, and that’s another sure-fire way to ensure your business doesn’t survive.
That’s not even taking into account that sometimes these methods can get expensive, especially if you’re using something like Adsense and Facebook, where driving traffic to your site can end up costing thousands of dollars…
The solution here is to let someone else handle it.
That’s where Pay Per Lead Marketing Agencies come in, like agencies like Apicalmarketing.com excel at.
Rather than having you worry about all these moving parts, a Pay Per Lead agency takes care of your digital marketing for you. In other words, you don’t have to bother learning a thousand things about digital marketing and you get to fill every hour you can with actual plumbing contracts, maximizing your income.
The issue a lot of people have is with costs — not only do you typically have to pay a digital marketing agency, but you have to supply them with advertising costs (as in, the money to pay for the ad campaigns they’re going to run).
With a Pay-Per-Lead agency like Apical, things are different. You don’t pay anything upfront — you pay when the agency gets you a solid customer. You’re not paying for the potential, you pay when there’s real results. Additionally, the agency takes care of all the costs for any ad campaigns — you don’t have to hand over a cent.
This means there’s zero risk for a small business like yours — you’ll only pay when the service brings money right to your door.
If you’re interested in learning more about what a PPL Agency can do, check out Apical’s site.