People often need plumbers in an emergency; they don’t even have time to get a recommendation. They just need to find someone who will help out without poking big holes in their wallet. So, what do they do? They go online for answers and to find someone who looks legitimate (and close!) enough to come to their aid.
No one needs to tell you the plumbing industry is highly competitive. But all plumbers are not the same and the best plumbers need to be able to show how they can offer superior service through their website or other online marketing tactics. This is true of HVAC repair, electricians or any professional contractor who comes to your home to fix systems or appliances. If you’re reading this, you’re on the right path to finding online marketing tactics for plumbing and other local specialized services that can help you get noticed.
Focus on What Customers are Looking For
Service industries are different from most. People usually only think about them when their need is great. As a result – and with some justification – plumbers, roofers and other contractors have higher prices because they have to be able to respond and assess situations quickly – and then fix them.
If that’s the customer expectation, focus on informing potential customers of your efficiency and authority in your field first and foremost in all your internet marketing.
Just see how Jimmy John’s works wonders with their Freaky Fast delivery. They have pretty good sandwiches but there’s nothing out-of-this-world extraordinary about their food. But other than pizza, they are one of the very few companies to deliver food to your home or business. They have pushed people to understand that your need for speed is as great as the customer with the broken water main.
Jimmy John’s doesn’t bring a lot of skill with their jobs as a plumber does. With something more important like home repair, landscaping or remodelers, customers want to believe or even better, know, that the person they contact has skill and knowledge in the face of any eventuality. One comfortable and comforting way to do that is by writing articles on your website or blog that address the questions that customers will be searching for.
Content Marketing: Answer Your Customers Questions
Every time you make a call and leave a receipt, let people know clearly that you have a outletfull of tips and “Did You Knows?” about plumbing. This outlet can be housed anywhere that is easy to find. Maybe you have a full plumbing blog housed on your website, or you focus mainly on social sharing with bite-size tips and videos. You could also have a bi-monthly or monthly newsletter that curates the content into one place. Whatever your outlet is, make it your primary marketing focus – very visible – and mention its existence through social media outlets and traditional print advertising, as well. With 93% of people searching online before making a purchase, this can be the gateway to sales for you.
Creating content works on several levels:
Brand Awareness: It will keep your name out there and on the top of people’s minds when they need to call a plumber.
Authority: It will show potential and previous or current customers you have knowledge and skill in a wide variety of areas of the plumbing industry.
Education: It will educate those same customers about what you’re doing when you make a home visit – increasing that comfort level again.
Relevance: It will keep you learning-on-the-job and thinking about the emergencies you might not encounter every day in order to leverage those situations for future educational and marketing opportunities.
Trust: It will reflect the character of some of the people who work at your company and allow for a personal connection with clients.
Engagement: If you have the ability for one-click sharing, the really good and informative articles are likely to get delivered further beyond your email database.
Research and Brainstorming: You Already Have the Answers
You talk to customers all the time; they have questions. The next day or week you hear all those same questions again. If online habits are anything to go by, they already looked online and didn’t find an answer, or didn’t find a good answer that helped them.
Your site should be that place where they find the answers. That’s what informative content marketing is all about. If you make a list of all the questions you are asked, and then write a blog post or shoot a video or host a webinar on these subjects, you have a lot of content. And when I say content, I mean useful content. They may want video games, but it’s even better that they’ll get answers when they need them and you are the one to provide it to them.
Being useful builds on itself; one person finds the answer, they shoot a friend an e-mail or they tell someone they found out about, say, different O-Rings, at your site. More people looking online also find your content – especially if it’s properly optimized and marketed. Then, ideally, your customer base grows and you and your employees are kept busy or have to hire more people to handle the business.
That’s how traditional marketing worked; that’s how content marketing has, in many instances, replaced it.
Types of Content and How they Perform
The outlet you choose (blog, website, social media) can be the curated spot for all of the content you produce elsewhere. You can do a lot content marketing beyond articles. Contests, links to how-to videos specific to problem your customers face (very popular on Youtube), gift certificate programs, company announcements (hired two new plumbers; thanks customers for helping our business grow), coupons, quick tips, and photos all have their place.
Easy piece of content you talk about on your blog or website will also enhance people’s respect for not just what plumbers do, but more specifically what you do. When the bath cracks or the toilet starts overflowing, the trust you have engendered will put you miles ahead in the company they think of first.
If your content is housed on your website first (as well as YouTube, Facebook, etc) then you are also driving traffic to your site, where customers have the opportunity to also learn more about the history of your company, testimonials and more about your trusted workers. More information engenders trust, authority, and maybe eventually – a phone call or email.
Repurposing Content and the Importance of SEO
The reusing or re-purposing of your content gives it greater life and stretches the dollars and time you spent to get it there. People take in information in different ways. For instance, if you have a blog post that’s a year or so old – one in which all the information is still relevant – that can be re-introduced as an infographic or a video on the same subject. This increases your multimedia approach which Google spiders appreciate almost as much as visitors to your site will.
Marketing is about originality and about repetition. That is, you start with your own uniqueness and then deliver the message through several mediums over and over. That allows you to cover as many audiences as possible.
Search Engine Optimization needs to cover what people will be looking for, as well and put it front and center. If your content is on your website, you need to include for your local market:
- The cities you serve as keywords
- A list of services you offer
- Headlines with searchable terms (i.e. fix a toilet leak, etc)
- Multimedia elements
- Properly optimized images
- and so much more.
The combination of re-purposing and good SEO will ensure people searching for answers to those questions or researching subjects you talk about will be able to find them on your site. That’s your ultimate goal – to have people find you and pay you.