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I often get asked, “How do you generate leads for plumbers?” I answer with, “It’s a process.” On my end it starts with research. In order to generate plumbing leads for my clients, I need information. How many residents are in the plumbers marketing area? How old are those homes? What is trending in that area?
Other things I need to know are how many customer emails do they have and are they using them to generate leads, referrals and reviews? How are they generating leads now?
Not to scary you off, this article will take you ten minutes to read, but it worth 100’s of thousands of dollars to you and your plumbing company.
If you want to build a lead generating, top plumbing business for yourself, keep reading.
In my client onboarding worksheet, I ask questions. What I find with this onboarding is most plumbers and other contractors for that matter, don’t have the answers to simple marketing questions.
So, I start with research.
The 9 steps to generate plumbing leads.
With these 9 steps your lead generation process will be bulletproof and profit driven.
How do you get customers for your plumbing business?
Did you know there are formulas for how many projects or leads are out there for you to get with your local marketing? Well, there is and it may be a little rough, but it is a good base to start with.
If homeowners replace their hot water heaters once every 12 years. We can get a percentage. Since all percentages are based on 100, we divide 100 by 12 and get 8.33. So, 12 represents 8.33%.
Now I research how many homes are in a given marketing are for the plumber. For this example, we will keep it easy. Say, 100,000 home. By using our 8.33% we can guesstimate 8,330 homes will have their hot water heaters replaced or serviced. That gives us a good ballpark number.
Now I research where the most likely homes are, using home construction data. Homes are normally built in sub-divisions or in clusters. This makes it easier.
My marketing area research for a plumbing contractor normally takes 4-6 hours, sometimes days. But it is well worth the time to get better results from ads and targeting.
Plus, other useful customer information.
Yes, you should check and see what the competition is doing. This gives you a good insight on what they lack.
Look at their websites, their social media, their ads if any. Plus, look at their Google My Business and read the reviews. The reviews are gold for the copywriting part of the marketing and lead generation process.
Competitive research keeps you from saying the same thing and becoming a commodity.
It also, when reading the reviews, the bad ones, tell you what you need to put on your website. If the majority of the reviews complain about no call backs or showing up late or leaving the place a mess.
You null these bad reviews or position yourself as the company the answers and returns all calls in X amount of time. You give time blocks for services. And you do a final walk through with customers to make sure things are good.
Now you may not think it is lead generation, but it is. It is lead generation, because it will convert more visitors into leads. You’ll have to trust me on this. It is a conversion optimization technique I have been using for years. Answer the customers questions and concerns on your website and more visitors will turn into customers.
Doing the research, you will now know where the market is, roughly how many leads there are, what your competition is doing or not doing and how to position your business in your marketing area.
Ok, let’s move on to the next lead generation topic.
When I work with any client and SEO audit is performed. But, while I am letting the software run the audits, I am looking at content or the lack of, in most cases.
Most plumbing contractor websites are weak on content. The content they have is the same as their competition. And it is all based on needing a plumber right now, as in emergency services.
Every plumbing website has the services standards. Hot water heater replacement, drains clogged, leaky pipes, etc. But what they don’t have is awareness content or customer research content.
Yeah, some people don’t wait until the hot water heater takes a dump.
They research them.
Content helps your website pages get ranked better.
You need well thought out content for all three stages of the buying process your service has.
Does your website have it?
The technical SEO parts of your website should be left to a professional. The software used to diagnosis the problems, along with a manual check and fix is what is needed if you find your website get to a certain point in the rankings then stall. Normally, you have maxed out what you are able to do, without a lot of time learning the different aspects of SEO.
As you rank higher you get more search traffic and a better chance of generating leads.
If you have been in business for any length of time, you have contact information. How are you using it to increase and grow your plumbing business? After all you have paid to get them in some way.
The best way I have found to use existing customers and prospects information is with newsletters. Not an email, but a newsletter.
With newsletters, you will be able to make spikes in sales, get more traffic to your website, more referrals, reviews and more interaction with your social media pages as well.
What I suggest is making a final inspection worksheet for your business.
You can gather important information for marketing, improving relationships and making more sales. It shows the customer you care and it is simple to do.
If you have the customers mobile number, you can send out quarterly text messages that is another way to get plumbing leads.
Say you live in an area where outside spigots freeze. You can send a text message asking if their spigots are ready for the big freeze. Or if you are fixing frozen pipes, send out a message that asks if their pipes are frozen or water is running slow.
You can get creative with text messages, just don’t spam or take advantage of it. Show you care or make it valuable.
In that questionnaire or work sheet I mentioned. You can even ask what month is the customers birthday. Then send out a birthday card the beginning of the month or a simple email.
Bet they never had a service company do that before. It is memorable and another way to get more value at of existing customers.
Which either grows your business or decreases the amount of leads you need to buy with advertising.
Local is what most plumbing contractors are, a local service business. So, your website content should focus on the local expect of your business. You should also work on getting local links, citations that are local focused and if there are local listing directories, get listed there too.
You never know when someone looks hyper-local for a service business. I think you will see more of this as nationwide lead generation and the out of area guys build lead generation websites.
People want service, but they want local services, or community backed services.
Someone they know, like and trust. This is built on the local level.
You can find out more about the importance of local citations here.
Every local business needs a Google My Business account. If you don’t you are missing out on the power of this FREE tool Google give you.
You should be posting on your GMB often and with consistency.
If your Google My Business has problems such as a GMB suspension or duplicate accounts, you need to get them fixed.
You can read more about optimizing your Google My Business here.
Social media is one of those marketing tools not many contractors have figured out. They think it is a place to promote their business. It is, but it is also a way to interact with the community.
Notice, I did not mention promotion of your business. You do that as a by product of the three things above.
Organic traffic is almost dead on any social media platform. So it does pay to put some money on boosting some of your posts so more people are aware of the posts. This gets you more interaction and better organic growth as you gain followers, shares and comments.
Good focused social media content does this.
Nobody is going to share your before and after pictures. Or pictures or post about your work day. But, they will share a post about how much money a tankless water heater will save them or a 5 things to ask a plumber before you hire one.
To get people to like you, show your staff, show your human side. The nasty crawlspaces you have to go in. Show things that people normally would not see. Like how clogged a galvanized drain gets or how roots get into a sewer line.
You build trust by posting trust building posts. Like a testimonial, or recommendation. You also build trust with a timeline type post.
Show your crew arriving at a job, then post doing the job, then post project complete. It is time stamped and shows you “Get the Job Done.” This is a subtle trust builder. It is implied without the need to say a word.
Along the way you will gain some local influencers or people who follow and comment on your page more than others.
You want to reward them in some manner. They will be your biggest advocates and like a bull horn, will help build your word of mouth on Facebook or Instagram and locally offline as well.
Stay with me, we are going to get into advertising and if you truly want to succeed, keep reading.
We are almost done.
I have never met anyone who likes spending money. Well, my ex, but that is another story.
Contractors frown when I mention spending money on ads. That is until, I explain to them the benefits and rewards of advertising to meet their goals.
When you understand the investment game of ads and see the results, you will never look back.
That is what ads do. They are an investment. The limit on what you can make with running ads is how big an area you can serve and how many employees you have to do the work.
That being said, even if you are small and want to stay that way, Google and Facebook ads are worth the investment.
Tell me what stock or investment can you put $100 in a make $500, 1000 or more in a day or week from putting in the investment? Not many, if any.
That is what ads do.
Local Services Ads (LSA) help you connect with people who search on Google for the plumbing services you offer. Your ads will show up for customers in your area, and you only pay if a customer contacts you directly through the ad.
Local Services Ads by Google receive 13.8% of local SERP clicks.
You’ll notice that these ads don’t contain links to websites and only have phone numbers as a form of communication. Remember that formula for how many customers are in your area from above? Now imagine getting 13.8% of those calls.
The ads appear above organic and regular paid search. And instead of going to a website, you can instantly call the business instead.
There are some hurdles to jump with Google to get the Google Guarantee Badge.
You Must Pass Google’s Checks.
For plumbers who don’t want to jump through the process to get the Google Guarantee Badge. Your option is regular old Google Ads, formerly none as Google Adwords.
One of the things I see contractors do when their ads are failing is having the wrong landing page for the ads. They send the would-be customer to their home page or their services page. That is the wrong thing to do. You want to send them to the website page that is an exact match to the one the ad is geared for.
If your ad is for hot water heater repairs and replacements, send them to a hot water repair and replacement landing page. Don’t make them click through to it from other pages on your website. This reduces friction in the ad to lead process.
Google ads are a great way to add to your schedule and build up a good customer list. I won’t get into the entire process of Google ads for this article, but they work, when done right.
You should have a Google Ads account set-up and use it, when your schedule is low or empty. It is also a great way to grow your plumbing business.
Unlike Google ads where people have search intent to buy something or get a service. Facebook Ads are more a casual way to advertise. People are not on Facebook to get their hot water heater or sewer line replaced. But, they do ask for recommendations from others all the time. It is common on Facebook.
However, it is a great place to:
1) get your name in front of a lot of people in your area, cheap.
2) it is the perfect platform to sell certain types of services. Things like faucet replacements and other small services.
3) it is a great way to build up an email list for your monthly newsletter.
Facebook ads are a long-term build game for plumbers in my opinion. Sure, you will get some immediate calls, messages and contacts. But I use it for clients as a way of local branding and keeping your business name top of mind and at a low advertising cost.
A sales funnel is a great way to keep prospective customers in your pipeline (no pun intended). The sales funnel process is great for plumbers when you have a strategic plan for it. You can sell just about any service you offer.
Using a formula of a homeowner getting a new faucet every 20 years (do they even last the long today?) That would mean that 5% of the homes in your area get a new faucet each year. So, if you have 100,000 homes, that is 5,000 faucet replacements a year. That is a lot of money to not get your hands on.
Using content marketing above, say you have an article on your website that is the “Top 10 Kitchen and Bathroom Faucets” you use that article as the “Awareness” top of the funnel attractor.
It is nothing salesy. Just informative and when you run that article on a boosted post on your Facebook business page, people will see it.
Now to reach all 100,000 home owners is impossible with any budget. But, let’s say you reach 20,000 (You can reach that many for about $200). Out of those 20,000 homeowners say 2% click the link and go to your article. That is 400 homeowners. Now we have a tripwire offer or other lead generation tool on that webpage.
That lead generation tool may pull 5% conversion and move the website visitors into the middle of the marketing funnel.
From my records you can expect to close about 50% of them. So that is 10 customers for an ad spend of $200.00 or $20 per lead. Not bad when HomeAdvisor, and other lead sellers are getting $35-100 for leads of this type.
Not only do you save money on the lead cost, but let’s look at it from an investment standpoint. You got 10 customers at let’s say $400 for a faucet replacement project.
That is $4,000 worth of work, you would not have gotten without running the ad, investing the $200.00. So for $200.00 you put into the machine, $4,000 gross revenue popped out.
If you run on 20% margins, $200.00 made you $800.00 net profit in a week or a few days.
The beauty of a good sales funnel is it will consistently produce projects as long as you keep the funnel advertising up and running. You can have several sales funnels for different services going at the same time and cover all your services.
Subtle sales make for mucho bucks over a long time period.
Account Based Marketing (ABM) is not like other marketing. It is where you pick the person, group or company you want to target and actively market to them.
It could be a realtor, a property management company or a general contractor. The key here is you are targeting them with your marketing and services.
The first step is gathering information. You may have a list of these people, groups or companies you want to target with an ABM system.
But for me I use a tool called ZoomInfo among others.
ZoomInfo is geared toward gathering the information you need to conduct ABM by allowing you to search by contact and company, then compile lists of individuals to contact within each target company.
Bonus features include tools to regularly clean your data and a chrome extension that displays contact info for anyone you’re researching on sites like LinkedIn.
You should grade your progress with each target.
That way you can see who, what group or company is worth the marketing efforts.
A well planned out Account Based Marketing strategy is a profit driven system to fill your plumbing company with leads.
Most contractors are horrible at follow-up. There I said it and it is true. They don’t follow up before the sale and not many follow-up after the sales.
I can’t count the times I contractors have told me, “The job is done. They won’t need another service for years. Why bother?”
If you put a lifetime value on a customer, you would change your mind. If you paid for the lead, get every dime you can out of that lead over time.
For customers you have worked for, keep in touch.
Say a customer over a 10 year period is worth $4,000. (hot water heater, clogged drain, toilet replacement, pipe leak, etc.)
That lead cost you $50 to get and you do a $500 project for them. Then you leave and never keep in touch. You made $450.
Now say you have a monthly or quarterly newsletter and mail out postcards twice a year.
Over ten years, that cost of the postcards at 50 cents a piece times twice a year, times 10 years is $10.
If you do the newsletter yourself, they have a minimum cost of $1 a year, so for 10 years you have $10.
All totaled together you have $20 over ten years or $2 per customer, per year.
Let’s add that $20 to the original lead cost of $50 and we have $70.
$70 dollars to get the $4,000.
So, you made $3,930, instead of the $450.
This doesn’t take into account the referrals over the years you will get.
If you want cheaper leads you should be doing follow-up marketing. Let’s look at the no follow-up costs to generate the same amount of money.
In this example you did a $500 job, for a $50 lead cost. With the no follow-up way, it costs you $400 to make the same $4,000.
A cost of $330 to make the same money.
This is not counting the referrals or FREE leads you will get and can FOLLOW-UP market to them as well.
Therefore, the profit is compounded immensely over the years.
How many of these lead generation tools, tips and tactics are you using? How many could you put into play and start compounding your business growth and profit?
If you have some ideas but can’t get a grasp on how to structure or execute them, get in touch, would love to discuss what your plans and goals are. Maybe we can work together. Get them up and running, making you money with a lead generation plan for your plumbing business.
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