Being a plumber requires expertise – from you, your technicians and your call center. Being a successful plumbing business, however, requires more than just simply doing a good job. Word of mouth will only get you so far. Your plumbing business needs a digital marketing strategy to take the next step.
But what goes into plumbing marketing?
It’s a simple question. The answer isn’t so simple – there’s quite a bit to consider. Here are nine of the most important things every plumber should be doing with their digital marketing.
Optimize Your Plumbing Website For SEO And Local
Your website is the heart of your digital marketing strategy – and search engine optimization, or SEO, is what keeps the blood pumping. You likely know what SEO is, or have at least heard of it, by this point. In a nutshell, search engine optimization is what helps your website rank higher when someone searches “plumber near me” or some other plumbing-related keyword. This is how potential customers find your business in 2023.
Doing SEO the right way involves a LOT of work. There are so many factors, including keyword research, keyword placement and site speed, to name a few. The goal, of course, is to be as close to the top of the organic search results for your core keywords as possible. When you run an SEO report, you want it to look like this:
That’s the ranking report for a plumbing client of ours here at Leadhub, and the results are even better the further you dive in. They rank #1 on Google right now for their 32 most important keywords.
You may have noticed we mentioned “doing SEO the right way” a bit earlier. There’s a reason for that. You’re likely going to come across a lot of people claiming to be SEO experts who promise you the moon in a very short amount of time. Those who say they will produce amazing results in no time at all are likely going to break as many of Google’s rules as possible. By the time Google catches on and punishes your business, those “SEO experts” are long gone with your money – leaving you (or your next SEO partner) to clean up the massive mess they created.
Bottom line: Do your due diligence before picking your SEO partner. Read their reviews. Look at their long-term results. And, if you’re a plumber, go with a marketing company that specializes in the trades, such as Leadhub.
Last – but not least – every plumbing website needs to be optimized for local. This means your service area must be featured in different ways on your website. If you’re a plumber in San Antonio, for instance, that means your service area includes Alamo Heights, Olmos Park, Hollywood Park, Helotes and every other suburb in the area.
Your website needs service area pages for every town or neighborhood you service – with specific keywords for those locations. This is the first step in your website showing up in organic search when a homeowner uses their specific two or neighborhood in a search query.
Make Sure Your Plumbing Website Is Mobile Friendly
One of the most important SEO factors deserves its own section on this list. How does your plumbing website perform on a mobile device? According to the latest surveys, more than 60% of Google searches are happening on either a phone or tablet these days. In addition, people searching on a mobile device are much more likely to use local keywords in their search queries, which is huge for the trades and plumbers.
What does that mean for you? For starters, you can rest assured that a giant portion of your website traffic is happening on a very small screen.
How does your website perform on a mobile device? Put yourself in the mindset of a homeowner looking for a plumber. How long did it take for the site to load? What’s the user experience like? Is the phone number clickable? Do your forms function on a small screen?
If you don’t know the answer to those questions, you need to pull out your phone and check.
Turn Your Plumbing Website Into A Lead Generator
Speaking of forms, any quality plumber website should feature one, which allows potential customers to submit their information and get a callback. These forms, when done well, can turn into major lead generators.
Just as an example, we pulled up the last year of data for one of our plumber clients. For 2022, they received 468 form submissions. That’s nearly 40 leads a month – just from their website.
Here’s the catch with website forms. You must monitor them and respond to them. It spells disaster if potential customers are requesting a call or trying to schedule an appointment through your website, but you don’t know forms are coming in or where they’re going. You’re simply ignoring leads at that point and wasting the time of someone looking for your business.
Another factor of forms is making sure they say the right thing. What’s the call to action? We’ve previously detailed a tweak we made to a new client’s form CTA – switching “Contact Us” to “Request Service.” This simple, yet important, change resulted in a 181% increase in conversion rate. That equals more revenue for their business.
Finally, there are other options beyond the form for website lead generation. Text and chat boxes are incredibly effective – and can be tied directly to your customer relationship management tool. Again, the key with any of these is to properly monitor them and respond quickly.
Pick The Right CRM Software For Your Plumbing Business
We just mentioned customer relational management tools, otherwise known as CRMs. There are a ton of CRM options for plumbers – but we use ServiceTitan as the CRM for most of our plumbing clients. (In fact, Leadhub is one of only five ServiceTitan Certified Marketing Partners. We had to pass nearly 30 exams to show our knowledge and expertise with ServiceTitan to earn this honor.)
Your CRM is at the core of your operation. Among many other things, it handles phone calls, incoming leads, dispatching and customer records. Your CRM should be driving your business and helping you be more efficient and make more money.
Trust us – not all CRMs are created equal. Don’t take this choice lightly. Make sure you have the right tool working for you.
Invest In Google Local Services, Google PPC And Yelp Ads
When it comes to search ads, your mind immediately goes to Google, right? There’s a good reason for that. Google controls about 90% of the search market, so you naturally want ads for your plumbing business to show up where people are searching for plumbers.
Google offers many different kinds of ads, but the two most prevalent are PPC and LSA ads. PPC, or pay-per-click, ads are the more traditional form of Google ads. This type utilizes keyword bidding to determine if your ad will be shown or not on specific search queries. If you’re one of the top bidders for that keyword and someone searches for it, your ad will show up near the top of the search results.
It will clearly be labeled as an ad, but it does have the similar look of a search result. If the searcher clicks on your ad, you get charged, which is why they’re called pay-per-click.
Google also offers an option called Local Services ads, or LSAs. They are different in many ways from PPC ads. They still show up in search results based on the keywords a person uses, but the LSA ads are the very first thing underneath the search query.
Google shows three businesses here in this LSA section. (How do you get featured in the top three? Google uses a bunch of factors to decide this, including the number of positive reviews and how often you or your marketing partner are active in the LSA dashboard.) Local Services ads also show the Google Guarantee designation, which a plumber (or any other business) applies for. This is granted based on several things, including proof of insurance, licensure and requiring background checks.
Perhaps the most important difference between PPC ads and LSA ads is how you’re charged. Remember, you pay for every click with PPC ads. However, Google charges you per lead with LSA ads. That means your business is only charged when a potential customer calls, emails or submits a form. LSA ad charges can also be disputed if the lead ends up not being relevant.
Finally, don’t sleep on Yelp ads. Yelp is still very much a major player for contractors. Yes, it’s a review site – but Yelp users end up using the platform as a search engine in many ways. Yelp still generates a ton of traffic (121 million visits in November 2022 alone) and is especially strong for businesses along the two coasts.
There are two ad options on Yelp (PPC ads and Yelp Connect) – and the results can be substantial. Leadhub is a Yelp partner, which unlocks all kinds of benefits for our clients. One plumbing client on the west coast got 460 leads in October 2022 just from Yelp.
Improve Customer Service With Call Tracking
Every marketing campaign your plumbing company takes part in should use call tracking. That means you have a specific phone number for each campaign source, which provides insight into whether that source is making the phones ring or not. You want to know if calls are coming from PPC ads, billboards or TV spots. Tracking each source helps you identify any problems with a particular campaign, which allows your marketing partner to correct issues – and save you money.
The good news is this call-tracking software may already be included in your CRM, like ServiceTitan’s Phones Pro feature. This software also allows you to listen to the calls and how they were handled. This is important for a few reasons.
- - It helps us determine which campaign sources are more relevant and profitable.
- - It allows us to ask for refunds on irrelevant LSA ad calls.
- - It improves customer service. Are your call center representatives following the playbook for speaking with customers? How is their customer service on the phone? Is there something stopping them from closing leads?
Listening to customer calls is fertile ground for call center training. It’s all about making sure as many leads as possible are converted, which means more revenue for your business.
Reach Homeowners With Email Marketing
Email marketing is incredibly effective and efficient. How effective? One of our plumbing clients generated nearly $500,000 in revenue from just 12 email blasts in 2022. HubSpot’s latest report found email campaigns, on average, result in $42 in revenue for every $1 spent – yet it’s a missed opportunity for many plumbers. Around 40% of small businesses don’t utilize email marketing.
Why is email so effective? It all comes down to specificity, typically. Whether it’s a newsletter or special offer, you can target the specific message (and offer) to the person receiving it and where they are on the buyer’s journey.
As a plumber, you’ll again have a choice to make with software if you take advantage of email marketing. There are options like Mailchimp, which is one of the most well-known softwares with a sole focus on email. But your CRM likely has email functionality, as well. ServiceTitan’s email service is part of the Marketing Pro feature, for instance.
ServiceTitan’s Marketing Pro also allows for drip campaigns via email, which automate emails with pinpoint targeting. You can remind customers when services are due or close a potential customer who is caught in the buyer’s journey and still on the fence – just to name a couple.
One of our plumbing clients is a big fan of drip campaigns, and you can see why. The two we have running right now have generated more than $300,000 in revenue in recent months.
Get Reviews For Your Plumbing Company
We mentioned earlier that word of mouth can only get your plumbing business so far, but don’t get that twisted – what your customers say about you is insanely important. You should be making it as easy as possible for customers to tell their stories on Google, Yelp and Facebook.
This starts internally. Quality customer service needs to be ingrained in everything each of your employees does – from the call center to technicians to billing. When your company provides a high level of work and service, your customers are going to have better things to say.
It's not always going to be this easy, however. No plumber is perfect. There are going to be bad reviews from time to time. It’s crucial to both monitor and respond to all reviews – positive and negative. It’s always a nice gesture to say thank you to homeowners who shared a story about a positive experience.
However, how you handle negative reviews sometimes says more about your company than a flood of positive reviews. Finding quick solutions to the occasional problem builds trust with other homeowners.
Make sure to include a link or location of the different review sites on invoices and emails or texts. Again, if your plumbing company is providing quality service, you want to make it as easy as possible for those homeowners to share their stories.
Find The Right Plumber Marketing Partner
Your mind is likely spinning all over the place right now. There’s so much to consider when it comes to marketing a plumbing business – and we’ve only scratched the surface here. That’s what makes your choice of the right plumbing marketing partner so vital.
Here at Leadhub, the trades are in our DNA. We were founded by the owner of a successful HVAC company. Other AC and plumbing businesses started begging him to help them, which led to the creation of Leadhub in 2011. From day one, our client base has consisted of plumbers, AC companies, roofers, pest control, window companies and so on. We work exclusively with the trades and focus 100% of our time and efforts on the specific needs of these industries. That way, you can rest easy knowing you’ve made the right decision.
Are you ready to partner with Leadhub and take your plumbing business to the next level? If so, schedule a free discovery call today.