Plumbing Marketing Guide: 15 Tips and Strategies to Build Your Plumbing Business

Diana LamirandJune 1st, 2020
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Leaky faucets, clogged drains or broken water lines? No problem, your plumbing business handles it all. Next comes trying to increase net profits through plumber advertising, which requires a completely different plumber marketing skill set. 

Are you up to the task of plumbing company marketing?

In today’s digital world where online shopping reigns supreme, plumbing companies must be masters of their trade as well as conquer plumbing advertising if they want to stand out in a competitive online marketplace for home services.

Think plumber marketing seems like a moving target these days? Do you know which plumbing marketing strategies produce the highest ROI? 

Before e-commerce and the internet took over, plumbing companies could depend on the phone book, direct mail, and newspaper or radio advertising to reach customers in their service area. Today, they must navigate a plethora of plumbing advertising ideas on various digital platforms, often guessing at which avenues work best for attracting leads.

In this Guide to Plumbing Marketing, we remove the guesswork with 15 proven plumbing marketing ideas to grow your business.

Internet marketing for plumbers can result in more job leads, more calls and more booked appointments—all of which lead to more revenue for your plumbing company. Here’s a breakdown on how to accomplish each one:

1. Make your plumbing website mobile friendly.

  • Optimize your site for smartphones, tablets.

  • Put great reviews front and center.

  • Be where your customers are—on mobile devices.

What’s the first objective in your plumbing marketing plan? Make sure customers can find your mobile-friendly website quickly and easily from any smartphone or tablet. 

Why is a mobile-friendly website so important? It’s how today’s connected customers find plumbing company names online, read customer reviews and engage with plumbing marketing ideas. If your plumbing website isn’t fast, secure, easy to navigate and immediately accessible from that device consumers carry around all day, they’ll lose patience and move onto the next company with a better plumbing website design.

In 2019, American adults spent about 3 hours and 30 minutes a day using a mobile device to search online, and by 2021 that time is expected to increase to over 4 hours, according to a study conducted by Zenith Media.

Need a captive audience searching for “plumber near me?” Look no further than the smartphone in your hand for customers who are ready to buy.

» Read more tips on how to grow your plumbing business.

2. Optimize your plumbing website for SEO

  • 90 percent of consumers use the internet to find local businesses.

  • Think local when picking the best keywords.

  • Sprinkle variations of keywords throughout your website.

Think about today’s busy homeowner as you strategize plumbing advertising ideas to improve your company’s search engine optimization (SEO) rankings. Many people don’t even know their neighbors’ names, let alone communicate enough to ask for a plumber referral.

What do they do when they need a plumber? They pick up an electronic device—whether it’s a phone, mobile tablet, desktop computer or laptop—and search online for “plumbers near me” with good reviews. Ninety percent of consumers used the internet to find a local business in the last year, according to this 2019 Local Consumer Review Survey.

When someone types “plumber near me” and “unclog drain” or “fix water leak” into Google, Google’s algorithm searches for results most relevant to those keywords and closest to the online shopper’s geographic location. To get your plumbing company to appear on Page 1 of Google’s organic search results, think local when choosing the best keywords people use to find your services online.

If you’re a plumbing company in Charlotte, for instance, be sure to use “Charlotte toilet repair” as one of your main keywords. Sprinkle variations of the keywords on your website’s landing pages, content blogs, headlines, subheads, meta tags and meta descriptions to improve the SEO health of your website.

» Learn more about SEO with this complete beginner’s guide.

3. Set, manage and adjust your plumbing marketing budget

  • What percentage of sales should be dedicated to a marketing budget?

  • Options for that marketing spend, including traditional and digital.

  • Targeted campaigns, social media, and Google offer opportunities.

Establishing a plumbing marketing budget means committing a certain percentage of your sales revenue to plumber advertising, in whatever combination works best for your company to reach more customers. 

Experts in the industry say plumbing contractors need to dedicate at least 10 percent of sales toward their plumbing marketing budget, if they truly want to grow their business. A 5 percent marketing budget is considered a small “maintenance” budget that only yields minimal results.

Set your plumbing marketing budget, then take a look at the plumbing marketing costs and where you need to spend those dollars to maximize plumbing marketing profits. Options might include traditional advertising on TV, radio, newspapers and billboards, or printing and sending direct mail fliers.

Mastering digital plumbing advertising ideas—from targeted email campaigns and paid social media posts to Google Local Services ads and 5-star Google reviews—increases brand awareness for your plumbing company and helps you build an online reputation. 

Test a combination of traditional and digital for best results, or focus on one before adding another. Once you set your plumber marketing budget, manage and adjust it regularly by tracking results for each campaign.

4. Track reports for plumbing lead generation

  • Measure success with lead tracking and reporting.

  • Demand tracking details about every lead.

  • Accurately calculate cost and ROI.

Digital marketing consultant Chris Yano advises plumbers and other service companies to focus on lead tracking and reporting to truly measure success for digital marketing. 

And if your marketing agency isn’t helping you track data, it’s doing you a disservice, says Yano, the CEO of Ryno Strategic Solutions and co-host of the trade-focused “To the Point” podcast.

To make good decisions about how to best spend your plumbing marketing dollars, you need full transparency and specific details about all your leads, so you can accurately calculate the cost and determine your ROI. 

“You’ve got to know,” Yano says. “You have to know 100 percent where you stand.” 

» Need a better reporting system? Check out ServiceTitan plumbing software.

5. Demand transparency with call-tracking software

  • Listen to every customer call.

  • Tie calls to specific marketing campaigns.

  • Adjust marketing spend and training.

Utilize call-tracking software for full transparency into which plumbing calls convert to real job leads from actual customers. But keep in mind, simply deploying the software and listening to every third call won’t give you a clear picture.

Every call needs to be listened to and classified appropriately, Yano says. Separate new customers from repeat customers. Take referral leads out of the equation. Remove solicitations and missed calls. Filter requests for parts from calls tied to a direct mail campaign. 

Ryno listens to and categorizes each call by tracking date, time, location of caller, CSR name, booking status, objections, a call transcript and more. That level of detail identifies problems and training opportunities, and lets businesses solve problems. 

6. Tell your company’s story in videos or blogs

  • Build authority with your target audience.

  • Target high-ranking keywords in your market in key text.

  • Regularly update your company’s website with authentic content.

Get to know your plumbing customers by letting them get to know you. Frequently posting blogs or videos about your company helps build authority with your target audience, improves your search engine ranking, and increases organic traffic for your brand. It’s the best kind of plumber advertising and relatively inexpensive compared to other marketing tactics.

Use blogs and videos to target high-ranking keywords in your market, such as “fix leak” or “water heater repair,” and offer helpful information and tips. Include keywords in the headline, captions, subheads and throughout the content, as well as photo alt text and metadata fields. Be sure to share that content on plumbing social media ideas to drive more traffic to your website.

Regularly updated websites rank higher on Google and other search engines, and posting content with high-ranking keywords is a cost-effective way to improve your website’s SEO. Just make sure the content is authentic, and not simply overstuffed with keywords.

» Get more plumbing marketing tips here.

7. Make your plumbing brand sticky and disruptive

  • Do customers remember your plumbing company name or logo?

  • Make your brand unique, so it doesn’t get lost in the crowd.

  • Do customers feel at ease and find your company trustworthy?

Branding can make or break a small business, and in times of economic uncertainty, it’s imperative to set your brand apart from the herd, says Dan Antonelli, President and Creative Director of KickCharge Creative.

Start with creative plumbing company names and plumber logo ideas that tend to stick in the minds of potential customers, so they remember you the next time they need a plumber. 

How customers perceive your company also extends to your advertising campaigns, signs on your trucks and the uniforms your employees wear. Always strive to make your brand sticky and disruptive, Antonelli says.

“By sticky, we mean it stands out in their mind, they can remember who you are when they need to,” Antonelli says. “As contractors, we're trying to counter the fact that a lot of homeowners are scared about who's coming to their home, right? They want to figure out, who can I trust to be inside my home and fixing something of mine?”

Be disruptive by standing out from the crowd. Your plumbing brand should be unique, something that doesn’t blend in. 

Antonelli advises a good brand does the following to attract customers: 

  • Puts customers at ease.

  • Diffuses negative stereotypes or biases.

  • Aims to make people feel confident in their choice and reaffirms the company values.

  • Matches the company deliverables.

  • Takes control of the conversation and sets the tone to show customers why they should choose to do business with you.

Whether you’re leveraging the longevity of your brand, your trustworthiness, or catchy plumbing business names, just make sure your foundational branding stands strong. 

8. Ask plumbing customers for Google reviews

  • How to use Google My Business effectively.

  • Appear on Page 1 of organic Google search results.

  • Develop a better strategy for securing positive reviews.

  • Make it easy for customers to leave a 5-star review.

Before asking customers for reviews, it’s important to verify your Google My Business page, formerly known as Google Local. It’s a simple thing to do, and it’s completely free. If your plumbing company operates multiple businesses, you can set up a Google My Business profile for each one, as long as you add different addresses and phone numbers for each. 

With a well-optimized website, glowing customer reviews and a verified Google My Business page, your plumbing company can gain more leads by showing up on Page 1 of organic Google results when a customer in your area searches online for plumbing services. Companies can also buy Pay-Per-Click digital ads for better visibility.

With more consumers shopping online today than ever before, your company’s plumbing marketing plan better include a strategy for managing online reviews. Your online reputation depends on it, says Travis Ringe.

Ringe co-owns ProSkill Services, a full-service air conditioning, electrical, plumbing, water heater, and water treatment home services company in Arizona. It’s a $14-million operation with more than 3,000 5-star Google reviews.

Ringe says he focused ProSkill’s marketing on getting more 5-star Google reviews by using ServiceTitan’s built-in survey tool to customize a personal message and ask customers specifically to leave a Google review. The plumbing software automates the process for better results.

When contractors provide awesome service and make it easy for customers to leave a review, they usually do, Ringe says. “We get between 5 and 15 Google reviews per day, on average.” 

With 82 percent of customers saying they read online reviews for local companies and more than half saying they won’t consider hiring a company with less than 4 stars, managing online reviews has become a vital part of doing business in today’s digital world.

» Learn more about how to ask customers for reviews to improve your online rankings.

9. Master local SEO by geo-targeting the right audience

  • Learn as much as you can about your service area.

  • Join local groups on platforms such as Nextdoor and Alignable.

  • Build awareness and trust for your business brand.

Remember how we discussed optimizing your plumbing website above? The same plumbing marketing tips apply to mastering local SEO, or identifying the right local audience for your company. It’s how you get in front of those local customers searching online for “plumbers near me.”

Do you know how many people own homes in your service area? Do you know your customers’ age, gender, average household income, and credit score? Do you know what specific plumbing keywords they search for most often in your locale?

Learn as much as you can about your customers before starting any plumber internet marketing campaign. Join local groups on platforms such as Nextdoor and Alignable to help build referral traffic, distribute a plumbing advertisement in local neighborhoods, or post a funny video to local Facebook groups to engage new customers.

The more your company appears in front of the right audience with the right message, the more awareness and trust you build in your brand.

» Learn more about local SEO here.

10. Send targeted plumbing email marketing campaigns 

  • Put the most relevant message in front of the right customers.

  • Segment your email audience based on relevant data.

  • Improve your customer relationship management to target appropriately.

Targeted plumbing email marketing is considered one of the most effective marketing channels today, earning $40 for every $1 spent. The best plumbing email marketing campaign gets your company’s name in front of the most customers with the most relevant message at the right time, says Megan Bedford of Mugyver Consulting.Many companies don’t do automated email marketing, she says, because they can’t manage it themselves or find a cost-effective provider to do it for them. Mass emails with generic messages don’t typically resonate with customers and lower conversion rates. 

Tools such as ServiceTitan Marketing Pro allow you to segment your email audience by zip code, age of equipment, date of last service, new homeowner, and more. Using data already collected in ServiceTitan, you can target previous customers with a “We Miss You!” email campaign, follow up with existing customers on unsold estimates, or offer a discount to new homeowners.

For Cody & Sons Plumbing, Heating & Air in Dallas, ServiceTitan Marketing Pro helped improve the company’s customer relationship management (CRM) system to target their own customers appropriately, says Robin Cody, the company’s Director of Marketing. 

“Before, we just didn’t have the time or tools to target existing customers,” she says. 

» Read more email marketing tips for plumbing companies.

11. Invest in Google Local Services plumber advertising

  • Google Local Services puts your digital ads atop search results.

  • Craft a snapshot of your business to sell your services.

  • Pay only when customers contact you through the ad.

While a well-optimized website can produce organic Google search results, buying Google Local Services digital ads makes it more likely your company appears at the top of Google search results, above PPC ads and organic listings. 

Local customers looking to hire a plumber can view a quick snapshot of your business—such as your plumbing company name, Google review rating, and years in business—to determine whether you fit their needs. 

Costs for Google Local Services ads vary based on market and targeted keywords, but you only pay when a customer contacts your business through your plumbing ads. This cuts down on useless job leads from customers simply price-shopping plumbing services online.

» Learn more about plumbing marketing with Google Local Services.

12. Leverage direct mail plumber marketing 

  • Make creative direct mail part of your brand strategy.

  • Catch customers’ attention with catchy slogans and incentives.

  • A marketing agency can help make your direct mail look professional.

Combining traditional direct mail marketing with plumbing social media posts and other plumbing digital marketing works well for many companies. You just have to find the right combination of plumbing business marketing that works best for you. 

Some companies get to know their customers better by giving back to the local community. This might include offering a free plumbing repair for a neighbor in need or donating funds to support a local Little League team. While charitable, these efforts also promote brand awareness and trust.

Creative direct mail marketing can also capture customers’ attention with catchy plumber logo ideas, unusual plumbing company names and interesting plumbing ads examples. Including an incentive or coupon to inspire action never hurts either.

Hire a plumbing marketing agency to help you create the most professional-looking plumbing marketing flyers, so customers remember your company the next time they need a plumber. Brainstorm creative incentives or campaigns to get new customers to call.

13. Use an app-based plumbing lead-generation service

  • Yelp, HomeAdvisor and others offer an additional marketing avenue.

  • Be careful with costs, make sure leads prove useful and cost-effective.

  • Do research to find which platform performs most effectively in your market.

Utilizing app-based plumbing lead-generation services, such as Yelp, HomeAdvisor, Thumbtack, and others, creates another avenue for plumbing marketing leads. The jury is still out, however, on how effective these lead-buying services really are for growing your business.

Some contractors say plumbing lead-generation services pay dividends, while others struggle to see their value when they find themselves, more often than not, paying for useless leads that never turn into real jobs.

With more than 90 percent of consumers using the internet to find a local business in the last year, listing your company on heavy-hitter websites such as Yelp or HomeAdvisor can help your plumbing company rise to the top of organic Google searches. 

Just be sure to read the fine print before signing up to know whether you’ll gain value from investing. Do some research to find out which platforms perform best in your market.

» Learn more about how sites like HomeAdvisor work.

14. Measure results for your plumbing marketing strategies

  • Make sure to review strategies for effectiveness, adjust accordingly.

  • Tie all new customers to the marketing campaign they used to find you.

  • Call-tracking software helps you figure cost per lead, ROI by source.

No matter which plumbing marketing tools or combination of tools your company deploys, what matters most is measuring the results and adjusting accordingly. 

Create a marketing scorecard of all current campaigns, then tie all new customers to the specific marketing campaign by which they found you, to see what’s working or not working. Boost spending on campaigns with higher returns, and drop channels with poor performance.

If your company uses call-tracking software, such as ServiceTitan Phones Pro, you can easily track the number of calls, booked appointments, sales, revenue, cost per lead, and ROI for each plumber advertising source. 

ServiceTitan Marketing Pro also makes sending targeted email campaigns a breeze, and allows users to track real ROI by measuring email performance and revenue attribution.

» Ready to market like a pro? Click here to learn more.

15. Deliver awesome customer service from start to finish

  • Getting 5-star Google reviews requires giving 5-star service.

  • Train every technician to go “the second mile.”

  • This simple, old-school method of marketing produces word-of-mouth referrals.

The best plumbing marketing ideas from industry leaders always include providing awesome customer service to every customer, from beginning to end. Even in today’s digital world, that’s how companies get more plumbing leads, more 5-star Google reviews, and more loyal customers.

A recent Service webinar video gave Operations Manager Shane Spiller a winning plumbing advertising idea for Roto-Rooter Plumbing & Drain Service in Baton Rouge, La.: Become known for delivering “second-mile service.”

In the webinar video, Travis Ringe of ProSkill Services explains how his CSRs and techs go above and beyond by always offering to do more, such as providing ladder service to help elderly customers change lightbulbs or smoke detector batteries, or simply bringing the trash can from the curb.

“The second-mile thing changed everything,” Spiller says.

ServiceTitan is a comprehensive plumbing business software solution built specifically to help service companies streamline their operations, boost revenue, and achieve growth. Our award-winning, cloud-based platform is trusted by more than 100,000+ contractors across the country.

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