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Marketing for Plumbers: Strategies to Engage your Prospects

For the majority of small and independent residential plumbers, there are two sides to the market:

  1. The new customer who calls you panicked, dealing with an emergency at home, and needing help.
  2. The customer who is making planned improvements, or needs routine maintenance to their plumbing.

In the first case, the opportunity is immediate. When the emergency call-out customer needs help, they will look for the nearest option with a good reputation who can get there in a hurry. They’re influenced by top internet search results, near to hand service reviews, social recommendations, and word of mouth from their circle of family and friends.

The routine maintenance or upgrade customer, on the other hand, probably takes the time to do some research before reaching out to prospective plumbers. They may have asked one or more general contractors, manufacturers, or local store clerks for recommendations. They are also likely to have watched researched online to understand what’s involved in the job, and have almost assuredly comparison shopped for potential vendors price points, specialties, etc.

When you’re implementing strategies and tactics to market your plumbing business, you should always think about your end customer. What challenges are potential customers experiencing and what messages will resonate with them?

Many of your marketing strategies will address both the emergency call customer and researching customer. Other strategies will be more suited to one specific market. We take a look at marketing strategies that work for all prospects, along with a few strategies for each specific market below.

Addressing both markets

Whether you are marketing to customers who need help with an emergency job or marketing to the researcher, it’s always a good idea to make yourself “The plumber near me” on search engines. The top results in Google search tend to be those businesses that are listed on Google Maps. That’s why DaBrian Marketing and others recommend that “. . . the content on your website should be specific to your service region and consistently show your name, address, and phone . . . You should also include all of the services you offer within the region. This will help you to dominate in mobile searches.”

For more advice on getting your plumbing business to get to the top of Google, check out our full guide here.

To help stand out from the competition on search engines and social platforms like Facebook, make sure you develop a strategy to get positive online reviews on these channels. Looking for an easy way to get started? Send your customers a follow-up email after the service call or job is complete. This is a great way to let your customers know the work was done and you can get valuable feedback. If the feedback is positive, this is the time to ask for a review.

Finally, always keep in mind that most homeowners have at least one ‘go-to’ contractor of some sort they rely on for quick advice and referrals. The words “I can’t help you but I know someone good who can” mean a lot coming from a trusted source. To that end, get yourself networked with local electricians, carpenters, contractors etc.

Addressing the emergency market with call only ads

When you’re talking to the prospect who is dealing with an emergency, put yourself in their shoes. Someone dealing with an emergency wants to talk to someone who can help and they want to talk to them now. They don’t have time to research or time to fill out web forms. So, to appeal to the emergency call-out market, try using call-only online ad campaigns.

Marketing a plumbing business with a call only ad

These ads show up only on people’s smartphones and offer direct click-to-call functionality. This is a simple way to target your ad spend straight at the emergency call-out customer at the exact moment they need your services.

Addressing the researching market with content

Whereas emergency services are all about ‘being there’ when the customer is in critical need, more routine plumbing services are best marketed by building brand awareness and trust over time. Assume your prospect hasn’t found their ‘go-to’ plumber yet but is researching for future needs, or maybe trying to educate themself.

To address this market, a long-term strategy that includes content (blog posts, videos, photos, etc.) shared via your website and social media channels often do the job nicely. Over time, this builds trust in your brand and is a great way to talk to the “researchers”. With content, it’s important to note that this strategy takes time. A homeowner wanting a new bathroom may spend months in the planning and research stage. To earn their business over time, with this strategy, you have to earn their trust by providing branded knowledge that will make you front-of-mind when they finally do get around to asking for a quote or selecting a vendor.

Start marketing your plumbing business

Whether you’re the local incumbent, or the new kid on the block looking to break through as a residential plumber, there is a market niche out there you can talk to.

Figure out what’s unique about your company and make sure your messaging and tactics talk to your target market. Spend a little time each week to make yourself a better marketer, and you’ll do well.

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