As a small business owner, learn how to compete with national brands for online leads through digital marketing.
Many homeowners know that when there are leaks or clogs, a trusted plumber suddenly becomes in high demand. Plumbing is an industry that continues to be an industry that will continue to rise. According to the Bureau of Labor, plumbers, pipefitters & steamfitters will be in demand by an 18% increase from 2018 to 2028. What does this mean to current plumbers? This means there will be a lot more noise to cut into for those calls. Trade schools will put a higher emphasis on promoting these jobs, which will make more plumbers through the years.
There are big corporations that have already established a brand presence and are spending top dollar on advertising. Though this may sound like bad news, here’s the good news: there is still room for a great local plumber to establish themselves in a local market with digital marketing. This article will cover the following components of digital marketing.
- Website Development
- Search Engine Optimization
- Local Listing
- Social Media Presence/Ads
Just like in plumbing work, the foundation is important for a project to be complete. Shaky ground could leave a mess and future issues. Apply those same principles to your web development. Your goal is to lead customers to your website and have them gain trust in your services, and then convert. Because of the growing number of mobile users as compared to desktop users, there is a high importance that your website is responsive on mobile. We could write a whole article about what is needed on your website, but here are some of the basics that should be covered:
- A clear description of who your company is
- A website domain that is simple to type
- An organized website with fluid navigation
- Easily accessible contact information
- Testimonials of happy customers
- A call-to-action
- Relevant & high quality content
- Secure hosting
- Superior readability & design.
Remember, your website is your hub for all the information that your future customers can go to if they are inquiring your services or want to become more knowledgeable about your company. Leave your customers with a great first impression.
Search Engine Optimization
You have probably heard this term before and have mixed feelings about it. Many plumbing businesses have been pitched on this process and the services that come with it, but haven’t necessarily seen the results. This is what SEO is not, a set-it-and-forget-it hack. SEO is a process that has to be consistently developed once a website has basic functionality. We put this component after website development because of how it builds off of website development. SEO is a process in which involves optimizing a website to receive and maximize non-paid (organic) traffic from the various search engines out there. The big one is Google, which accounts for ¾ths of all searches. Youtube, Bing, and Yahoo are other viable options to optimize your website for. Here are some of the benefits:
- People searching for your plumbing services online
- Quality leads that are more likely to convert
- Involves no paid advertising
- Rankings are 24/7 and sustainable
- Builds trust and authority for your business
Keep this in mind, search engine optimization is a long-term strategy for your business, which can take 12months to see true results. This is not to say how important it will be to adding value to the bottom-line of your business. Also remember this, people search local plumbers by location. An emphasis on how you have taken care of your local area will be an important factor for developing credibility.
Do you remember when customers used to refer to the phonebook to inquire for services? A local plumber should place that same importance to online directories to local listing websites. Consistency of your information is key. According to Bright Local, the top listing sites for your local plumbing services are:
- Google My Business
These are all companies that have tailored their sites to serve the local market and can be very important for local plumbers as well. This is a perfect example of how your local listings can defeat bigger companies who may not be putting an emphasis solely on a local community. Another benefit that comes from having local listings, is that each of these listings will have a URL linking back to your website. This is important because search engine results will take this into account and start ranking you higher because of an increase in quality links. There are several services out there that can assist with making sure your listings are all consistent.
Social Media Presence/Ads
Like the topics above, social media is not a new component of digital marketing. Even with the maturity of how long social media has been in the market, there is still severely missed opportunities for developing brand presence through social media with local plumbers. Social media presence could be vital for a local plumber who is looking to connect with their community. By conducting thorough research and applying listening skills, a local plumber can get critical insight of what their local customers interest, behaviors, and preferences are. This is done by searching your local city, place of interest, and key public figures social media pages to see what customers are talking about. Using this data, a personalized marketing strategy can be built on what people like to see on social media. A local plumber cannot go wrong by being informative of key talk talking points going on in their local community. Anything from the local high school football team to the new mayor being inducted into office, can be used to build authority and credibility that you are a business that is built to serve the local community.
We recommend starting with the popular applications just to keep it simple (Facebook, Instagram, and YouTube).
These platforms also have advertising platforms built into them as well so that a local plumber can begin targeting relevant interests and behaviors. This can be a great boost if you are just starting with social media content. Videos, infographics, testimonials, are all good options for content moving forward with your social media marketing strategy. A quick tip is to send out an email for those who are already in your CRM and past customers to announce that you will be starting a social media channel to stay connected with customers.
Online reviews have had a bigger impact on search engines and local listings. Local plumbers should make reviews a priority because of the social proof that it brings to their business, as well as the increased results in rankings. Remember this, Google, Yelp & Facebook want to send their users to the best companies. Why? Because they also want to build trust and credibility as the best site to send users to solve problems they are dealing with. It’s simple, the more volume & greater reviews, the higher the results. It is important to develop a system for you to receive reviews. Incentivizing and reminding your customers to leave a review through a text or email is effective to start collecting reviews. If you have little to no reviews, go through your database and send an email asking happy customers for a review. A company we have seen work really well for clients is Reviews.io.
As mentioned, digital marketing for local plumbers is still an opportunity because of the lack of execution in the market. Because local plumbers are always busy with their work, it may be helpful to hire a full-time-employee, agency, or freelancer to handle some or all of these tasks. This gives you the basics of what is needed to have an effective digital marketing foundation for local plumbers. Local plumbers will become more important, especially in areas that are starting to see a growth in population. Please do not be left behind with digital marketing components that you can take action on today. Digital marketing for local plumbers will also become increasingly important for results and to have the customer say, “I will hire this local plumber.”