Archive for the ‘Plumber Marketing’ Category

Focus On the Fundamentals for Marketing your Plumbing Business

Tuesday, February 12th, 2013

As I talk with Plumbers & Plumbing contractors across the United States I have come to realize that a vast majority of you tend to skip strait past the fundamentals of your marketing strategy and want to go strait to tactics (SEO, Pay-per-click adverting, YellowPages, Direct mail, etc).

So what do I mean when I say “Fundamentals”? Well, all marketing has 3 core components:

 

 

  1. Message
  2. Market
  3. Media

You have to have a unique “Message” (who you are, what you do, what makes you unique, and why someone would hire you rather than some other plumber) a specifically defined “Market” (who you sell to and who your BEST customers are) and THEN look at “Media” (where you can reach those BEST customers). The tactics (Pay-per-click, SEO, Social Media, Direct Mail, etc) fall into the “Media” category.

If all you do is focus on the Media or Tactics you will probably fail regardless of how well selected that Media is. With that said, you need to go back to the fundamental. You need to invest the time and energy to flesh out your “Message” and figure out who your “Market” is. By doing so, ALL of your Media choices will be vastly more effective. So how can you do that?

Spend a few minutes and THINK. Take out a scratch pad and answer these questions:

Message:

  • What do I do that is unique and different then my competition? (Maybe you offer a guaranteed time frame for your appointments. Maybe you offer written estimates prior to starting work and promise to stand by that estimate. Maybe you offer a guarantee for all your work and will repair any issues within a 1 year period after the work is complete. Maybe you have recognized that people want to meet with a Clean, Profession & Curious Plumber so your technicians are always dressed with crisp clean collared shirts.)
  • If you think about the psychology of a customer, what concerns or apprehensions do they have about hiring a plumber? (They won’t show up on time. So I will probably have to waist the whole day waiting around for them. The are going to be a crude mess and leave my place dirty. They are going to give me one price over the phone, tell me one thing when I get to the house and then charge me something VASTLY more once all is said and done.
  • How can you address those common concerns that your customers have in a unique way.

Market

  • Who is my ideal customer (Please realize that it’s not every one in your city and not everyone within a 25 mile radius of your office). You need to be more clear than that.
  • Take a look at your last 25 customers and evaluate who spent the most, had the highest profit margins and was genuinely pleased with your service.  What are the unique characteristics of those good customers? Are they home owners vs. renters? Do they live in a particular area of town? Do they have a higher income level?
  • Start to define who that idea customer is so that you can put a marketing plan in place to attract more of those idea customers.

Once you have fleshed out your Message and your Market then you can start to think about Media. In order to determine what media will be most effective for you need to think about where you can reach that IDEAL customer that we defined above.

  • If it is home owners over the age of 55 that are home owners…maybe the YellowPages is still a viable media.
  • If it is home owners that are higher income then maybe Angie’s list is a great play for you.
  • Maybe it’s new movers (people that just recently moved into your community). If that’s the case then direct mail to the new movers list could be a great play.

Remember, you need to start with the FUNDAMENTALS (Message, Market & Media) before running headstrong into any marketing endeavor.

About the Author: Josh Nelson is a guest blogger on our website and is the CEO of PlumberSEO. His specialty is in SEO for the Plumbing Industry and we work with him on several accounts.

Competing with Unlicensed Plumbers

Saturday, June 30th, 2012

You worked hard to get your Plumbing License by learning the trade and proving those skills. Unlicensed Plumbers on the other hand operate outside the law and create an unfair competition. Unlicensed plumbers often bid jobs lower because the work is done without permits, inspections, or necessary insurance. This results in a lower cost with a hidden risk that the customer often does not understand. One job for your marketing is to help the consumer understand why that low bid maybe the most expensive option they have.

Promote Your License

Putting your license upfront in your marketing it will cause some clients to ask your competitor for their license. Make sure that your website and marketing materials push the value of using a licensed plumber and make it easy for people to verify. Find how consumers can verify licenses in your state and find your license in the system. Then connect your site directly to that page so it’s just one click to validate your license. You worked hard to get licensed and you need to really promote this.

Action Item: Include Your License on business cards and quotes

Promote Checking Licenses

Verifying a license Very few home owners are looking for unlicensed plumbers and most of the time it is simply that they fail to check. Make sure on your quotes, business cards, and other items that you are likely to give the home owner that you include how to check a license.

Action Item: Find State Website page to verify your license and connect to your website

Keep Track of Local Horror Stories

In marketing there is nothing more powerful than a great story. Almost every community has had the news story of something very bad happening because an unlicensed individual performed a task outside their skill set. Make sure you get copies of these stories and keep them as part of your presentation to prospective clients. Make sure you keep the internet page address (URL) so prospects can independently verify the story and keep a good quality full color print in your sales book.

Action Item: Build a book of local horror stories of unlicensed work and scams

Report Unlicensed Plumbers – the Bad Guys

Reporting Unlicensed Plumbers is a service to your industry and community and ultimately it’s good for your business. . If you lose a deal to an unknown competitor, especially when you lose big based on price; make sure you verify the license. If you find they are unlicensed; do your civic duty and report them. The complaint process is often designed for consumer reporting but you can provide what you factually know and let the enforcing agency gather the rest. If you want to stay out of the documentation most states will accept anonymous submissions in writing but not online.

Action Item: Report all work you suspect is being performed by Unlicensed Plumbers

Include Your License in Your Ads

AdWords has very little space but putting your license in one the body lines can do two things for you. First is that it separates your ad and makes it stand out and that can be good for you. This will need to be tested but it is one concept of how to leverage the license you worked very hard to get.

Vehicle Wraps – Mobile Billboards for Your Plumbing Business

Saturday, June 30th, 2012

If you need to jump start your plumbing business, the most logical rst step is to advertise. According to a study held by the American Trucking Association, 91% of people notice visuals and words displayed on trucks. Why not create a moving billboard? Turn your vehicle into a marketing machine!

Vehicle graphics replace expensive custom paint jobs. The lower cost solution is used to create “moving billboards” for those seeking to promote their business. Vinyl material is placed on the car, covering the paint surface. The material is designed for long term use, but can be professionally removed, if desired, after an advertising campaign is completed. Vehicle graphics can be completed on any type of vehicle, such as vans, box trucks, eet trucks, or everyday family cars. The typical cost for vehicle graphics ranges from $500 to $5,000, depending upon the amount of vinyl used and the complexity of the installation.

“Vehicle graphics are a cost eective way to promote your business,” said Paul Ferroggiaro, founder of GenoaGraphix, a premier vehicle graphics specialist. “We are excited to offer our customers a progressive way to advertise their business and create brand awareness everyday, all day, wherever they go. Graphics can be designed to produce eye-catching results. The image and message desired, as well as the vehicle make, shape, and size, will determine the style of graphics. Whether it is a conservative image, or even a humorous look you wish to convey, a professional company can create a design to be proud of.

When researching companies to wrap your vehicle, ask specic questions. Only top of the line materials should be used. Applications need to be completed only by trained professionals, preferably those who have earned the coveted 3M certication. Just as you want your customers to call you, the professional, when they have plumbing issues, be sure to contact an expert when transforming your vehicle into an advertising machine. For more information on vehicle graphics or email Paul Ferroggiaro

Making the Phone Ring

Friday, April 27th, 2012

Let’s face reality – we judge advertising performance based on the response, not the clicks. CTR and clicks are important to Google, but your Plumbing business is interested in making the phone ring.

The right keywords and ad copy is what gets to the click. Without the click, there is no web experience. However, there is a limit to what AdWords can really do with 95 letters and spaces.

It’s about the Web Experience

It’s the web experience that creates the true impression and the response.  Plumbers routinely want a phone call or a form completion. Most of the time in the Plumbing business, it’s all about getting the phone to ring. While we do recommend forms on websites, the reality is the best leads come in from the phone.  Form leads tend to be lower quality but if a person wants to respond that way then let them.

The web experience should be designed to get the phone call and you need to keep that in mind. You need to project a professional image and make them comfortable enough with your business to pick up the phone. Depending on the situation, Plumbing is either emergency or routine traffic. With the emergency traffic, the person will stop shopping as soon as they find the first site that seems to fit their needs. If they pick up the phone and call and get a person that convinces them that their problem will be handled, then they are done.  This means that every position below the first position is a risk that they will never get to you.

Routine traffic on the other hand, will shop until they are satisfied that they have found the deal they want. In this type of traffic, the key is to be high enough in the results to make it to the short list. The typical routine traffic will view 3-10 sites before they decide to call one of them. Some percentage of them will stop when they talk to the person that they think can solve their problem. Others will call multiple businesses and play the quote for a better price game.

Position Counts!

This might seem obvious, but regardless of the type of response you want it needs to be above the fold.  For a Plumber, this means that the Phone Number and the Form Access has to be on the top of the page. This term actually came from the newspaper industry and it meant exactly what is says. In the internet world above the fold means that you can see it when you first land on the page without having to roll down. The challenge here is that not every computer has the same size screen so the fold is a concept not an exact physical position. The vast major of screens are 17” or above so using that as a standard to decide what is above the fold is a good general guideline. One of the classic problems with designers is that they fail to remember that not everyone is using a 30” monitor like they do so they design response pages above the fold for their monitor and not for the masses. Make them test their designs on a 17” monitor.

It’s a Mobile World

There is no doubt that mobile devices are coming into this world quickly. If you think a 17” monitor is a design limitation, wait till you deal with this one.  Design for mobile delivery is yet another design challenge, and here you have to realize that people are responding to less and less information so you have to adapt to that. Gone are the days of long copy, now your message is being delivered on a screen where 5 inches is considered huge. Mobile phones current range from 3.5 to 5 inches and to be readable, you need to be brief and to the point. Most of the time mobile visitors want directions, phone numbers, or very small specific information. Rule 1.01 in response design is; Give them what they want!

Being Local Is Important

This is clearly a Mr. Obvious statement but in the Plumbing business being local is huge. Make sure that your design screams local to the visitor and the first things they notice are the phone number and the city name. Make sure both of these are on the page they land on. Toll Free numbers are great for some businesses but a local prefix is much better when being local is important. It is also important that the major city name be an in-your-face element on the landing page.

There is a challenge in the local approach and it has to do with specific services like Water Heater Installation. If you have 5 cities that you have local pages for and subordinate to that, you have a page that talks about water heater installation then you have a choice to make. Do you drop them on the water heater page or the city page? Unless you are willing to have all your services duplicated, most will direct them to the city page to make the local statement and then connect them to a shared page on Water Heater Installation.

Be Clear About What You Want

If you want a phone call, then ask them to call and if you want a form filled out ask them to do that. We see websites all the time that assume that the person knows what they want and the simple truth is that is a dangerous marketing practice. Ask for the call early and often and make it very clear that is what you want them to do.

If it’s Important, Measure it

We see websites all the time that violate this rule. Most of the time, it’s the phone number that is overlooked.  As a minimum, get a phone number that is unique to your website and use it only there. There are several ways to implement this but one of the easy ones is that you pass your website through a URL tag that says to show the paid traffic phone number. Any good website designer should understand how to do this. On forms, make sure that the design goes to a unique thank you page that confirms that someone will get back to them. For some reason, some web designers want to reuse the same page and just rewrite a section of it. While this will work, it makes tracking the response more difficult than it needs to be. A unique thank you page is not really an option.

Phone Tracking is Imperfect

In today’s technology, connecting the phone call to your advertising is imperfect because computers cannot yet track the act of a person picking up a phone. This is not an excuse to not track your calls. Try to learn as much as you can about how they came to call your business. We recommend that you keep a detailed phone log and organize it the same way as you do your advertising. Most Plumbing accounts will have general plumbing, specific services, and product related ad groups and you need to classify your calls the same way. You can ask where they found you but the information may be imperfect. At the end of the month bring this data together so you can see relationships.

Offer Choices

Some people like online forms and others like phones. If both are of value to your business, then by all means offer both because the total response will most likely go up. Simply stated, people like choices.  Forms get better responses during the off hours and phones get better response during business hours. There could be several reasons for this and the most likely is that people would rather email than leave a voice mail in a general mailbox after hours.

Get to the Point

People are in a hurry and yet most websites drift around and waste our time with lots of unnecessary words and details. The golden rule here should be: Give them as much detail as they need to make an educated decision but no more than that. This is hard because different audiences will respond to different levels of detail but do the best that you can. As a minimum, tighten up your language and keep the words to a minimum. Use lists rather than paragraphs and use good highlighting to make scanning your text easier.

Remove Roadblocks to Your Response

I have seen hundreds of sites with unnecessarily complex response design forms and every decision you engineer into the process is an opportunity for the customer to leave.  We have seen errors on screens that issue messages that might make sense to some programmers but for an ordinary person it might as well be in an alien language.  Make sure that a non-programmer reviews every error message given by the system to make sure it makes sense.

Nothing is Perfect

In closing, there is no perfect response design and you need to experiment consistently to find the attributes that push your audience’s buttons. Remember that small things can make big differences and you never know what they will be until you test them.

 

It’s About Being Local

Sunday, March 18th, 2012

In the Plumbing business the more local you are to the person seeking services, especially emergency services, the higher your response rate will be. Few Plumbers will argue with me on this point but the challenge is that many Plumbing Businesses serve several local markets.
The simple solution is to have a physical location in each market but the cost of that is prohibitive. So the issue becomes one of balance between the cost of a separate locations and the value to your business. The good news is that you can enhance your localness without going to the extreme of opening unnecessary offices.

Phase I: Phone Numbers

Stage one of getting local is phone numbers and most plumbers have known for years that they can get local dial phone numbers and redirect them to an office in another location. The question becomes how far to take this concept. The golden rule is that you need one phone number for each significant market area. A significant market is an area that identifies itself as a separate community. The issue of significant area is critical to keeping your expenses in check while getting as local as you can be. In Los Angeles for example there are 82 cities and some of them get localized traffic and some simply do not. If you get a central office code for an insignificant area all you have is an expense.
Phone numbers are made up of area codes, central office codes, and phone numbers. For example (805) 481-0118 is my local office number. The 805 area code tells you that I am in Central California, the 481 central office code tells you I am in Grover Beach, and the 0118 is just a number. In any local area the people living there will instantly recognize the area code and most of the central office codes. Like most areas we have overlap between cities so 481 or 489 both say either Grover Beach or Arroyo Grande. Having both a 481 and 489 number would be of no value because they are seen as one community.

How Accurate is the Location?

Localization cuts both ways so be careful with how close to the bone you cut. Google and many others are working on the problem but a searcher’s physical location and their system location are not always the same. My office is in Grover Beach but my internet location often reads as San Luis Obispo, which is 12 miles north on Hwy 101 and is considered a significantly different market. A mistake in the geographic location of 15 miles is not uncommon, especially if the audience is a consumer rather than a business. There are many reasons for the location being wrong but and current estimates put this error level between 50%-80%

Phase 2: Location based landing pages

At this stage you have figured out what communities are significant in your market and you have a phone number to serve that market. Next you need a page to land on that is specific to that community. You can, as some do, just put the local number on your regular home page but that is much weaker than a localized page with one number. There are some trade-offs related to the geographic error. If the location is being read wrong the highly localize page can be a negative not a positive.
We often see Plumbing sites with a huge stack of city name links off their home page and these are often part of the template but in location based pages you do not want this copied forward. You want the page to be solely about the location you are promoting and nothing else. Again the more things you are about the less you are about the one thing you are focusing on.

Phase 3: Dealing with Google Places

A big challenge in getting local is Maps and Google Places because on most plumbing searches Google Places is 40% of the top of the results page. For each area that you have a local operation make sure that you claim the Places Listing and promote that location. For each location you want to promote the physical location and invite reviews since these are two of the big factors in how the maps are optimized. Your physical location does not have to be a huge office but it has to be able to receive mail and have its own phone number. The days of claiming a physical location without really being at the location are behind us but Google Places is still incredibly important to your business.

Site Optimization for Plumbers

Monday, February 20th, 2012
People call us all the time wanting us to do search engine optimization (SEO) and they believe it is fast, cheap, and easy. The problem is that it is none of these. SEO traffic is often the most expensive, risky, and difficult to manage of the traffic types. While we deal with optimization issues every day we do not provide SEO services because to do it right is incredibly labor intensive and the return from the investment is at best difficult to measure.

Client expectations are also commonly not realistic. I have had way too many meetings where we try to explain the challenges and the person just says I want to be first and hands us a list of 50-100 words.  The problem is that this is a competitive game and while you might want to be first most are unwilling to invest the time and money required to get there.

Organic traffic is great when you can get it but the problem is the lack of dependability and scalability. It is a common event to hear “I used to be first on Google” followed by a story of how the world came crashing down. There is absolutely nothing unusual or unnatural about this because it is just the natural ebb and flow of organic listings.

The Types of Organic Results

To really explore organic traffic you have to divide it down into its parts because they operate independently of each other. In the organic slots you can have Places (Local Map Listings), Optimized Pages, Google Base (Product feed), and social network entries.  When most people talk about SEO what they normally mean is the natural keyword based page listings. In the case of plumber searches this is often behind the Places Listings and in many metros it is on the bottom of the first page.

On & Off Page Elements

There are two parts of optimization; on-page and off-page. The on-page is the one that everyone seems to be fascinated with but is reality it is the smaller of the two and not by a little bit. However the page content is the foundation of the optimization and it is the easiest to understand. Google is ranking the page by what it is about and the term they use for this is relevancy.  The question Google is trying to answer is how relevant is the content of the page to the search query posed by the searcher. So in reality optimization starts with the searcher not the page. In here is the first challenge and the first rule in SEO. The more you optimize for one keyword the more you degrade another. This is a simple rule of density and frequency and it is not going to change just because you will it. Plumbers often want to optimize for the word “Plumber” and a list of city names. The problem is that the more you optimize for Los Angeles the lower your optimization for Long Beach. The more you optimize for the singular of Plumber the less you are about the plural of Plumbers. When this game is played at the highest levels winning and losing is often very small differences.

“The more you are about one word the less you are about the other”

This happens so often it’s almost a classic meeting and it goes like this. You gather your staff and brain storm the keywords you want to optimize your site for. This results in a list of 50-100 keywords and you hand this list to an SEO. If the SEO is honest they will hand the list back and ask you to circle the one you want. You want your home page optimized for all of them but the more you are about one word the less you are about the others. A home page is the most authoritative position within your website and at best you might get good position from two keywords and one of them is probably going to be your business name.  So what you need to do is decide what keyword (single not plural) you want to be found for. Pick carefully because you probably only get one and changing your mind resets the score back to zero.

More is not Better; Better is Better

When it comes to optimization this normally the first mistake and the thinking is that if one more use of the keyword is better then ten more uses must be even more better (bad grammar is to make a point). The problem is that it is keyword density not keyword count that is being scored and the score is based on a sweet-spot not a more-is-better model.  The actual sweet-spot level is a highly guarded secret inside Google but the concept is easy to understand. If the keyword occurs too often then it is a signal that the keyword is being stuffed. As a simple example let’s guess the sweet-spot at 3%. At 3% you get the maximum score for that keyword but at 4% your score is just as low as if it were 2%.  Google is much smarter than this simple example and they are looking at hundreds of other signals including things like inferred references. If they find that every sentence has the keyword in it with no inferred references the document starts to fall out of the model they are looking for.

Position Counts

Where the keyword is placed is extremely important and it follows a simple document hierarchy.  Actual point value at each level is unknown but we know the relative value follows: Site Name, Page Name, Page Position, Title, Headings 1-6, Bold, Linked, and body text. Putting the keyword on the home page gives it more value than a lower level page and putting it in a title is worth more than a heading or body listing. Google looks for keyword support at all the different levels so if the keyword is in the title, headings, and standard text then it knows that word is important.  There are also cross page support and this is typically why you win with your own name.  Most site designs include the business name on every page and it is often in the page title and footer of lots of pages. This creates a higher value for that keyword not from just one page but the entire collection of pages that make up your site. This is referred to as the page theme.

Pictures are for People – Text is Shared

When you optimize a site you are balancing the needs of different audiences – including People and Search Engines. These are very different audiences and so you have to find the right compromise between their needs. People understand and enjoy the web experience at a very different level than search engines and the simplest of these to see is humor so here is your first clue – search engines have no sense of humor. People on the other hand respond very well to colorful and creative presentations. Fortunately web pages have the ability to display text and graphics and search engines cannot see graphics. So if you have to use humor or be clever with our audience do it graphically so you do not confuse the search engine.  Search engines only see the text so keep it simple and structured so they can understand what the page is about. Lots of people make the mistake of trying to over optimize and in reality Google is looking for good content. So write with your heart and after your words have the voice that you want then review it for optimization opportunities but never change the soul of your writing.

Quality Content Counts

We have SEOs that have attempted to convince our clients that the optimization of the page was more important than the quality of the content; that is wrong on many levels. Creating margin quality content purely for optimization purposes is a self-defeating strategy. The result is that you attract a prospect only to deliver a poor first impression. Here is a simple rule – Content Quality Counts!  There is no doubt that a good content strategy that creates good quality content over a long period of time works but you need to make this part of your normal business cycle not a onetime project.

Places – Map Listings

We discussed this in more detail last month but it is worth repeating some key items. First is that places for local businesses is a critical listing and it is driven largely by citations and reviews. Citations are simply other sites that point to your site and include your physical address. Google sees this as a vote for your business in the process of scoring your places listing. Reviews are user written evaluations that typically contain a ranking of the customer’s experience with your business. You need a plan within your business to ask for reviews and you need to monitor those for negative responses and deal with those issues. No company is perfect so at some point you will end up with a customer that has a negative experience with your business. The key here is to communicate with and resolve the problem.  Many plumbers are small businesses that do not have a physical location so they use the owners home address. There is nothing wrong with this because in plumbing they are not going to come to your office to fix a leak. Bottom line here is you NEED a real physical location or you do not go on the map.

Product Listing – Google Base

If your Plumbing Business sells, installs, and/or services specific products then you want to make sure you include these in Google Base. Google Base is simply a database that you can submit to your product listings along with some basic product information such as price, picture, etc… Google will pick up this product feed on a regular basis and update the listing. This gives you one more possible way to bring traffic to your site and the listing is organic so the traffic is free. You can also connect your AdWords Account to your Google Base listings resulting in picture based ads like the ones above in the right column. This listing has some disadvantages in that the link from this page goes to a comparative shopping feature in Google, which then connects to your website.  To make all this work you will need a landing page for that product on your site so you have a specific page to connect your Google Base listing to.

As long as we are talking about products we need to point out that as your plumbing business shifts from service (plumbing) to product your keywords will change as well. Searches with things like price and shopping start to be attractive keywords.

Reputation is not what you say about yourself; but what others say about you 

Off-page optimization is more important than on-page optimization. It is largely driven by back-links, which in Internet terms is “What others say about you.”  When a site provides a back-link they are voting for your site and the word they use to do that is the word that gets the juice. The value of the back-link is based on the reputation of the site pointing to you. So a back-link from a highly respected site is worth its weight in gold, while a low authority site is not much. As you can see this process can get real complex but it is the way the world has always operated. If highly trusted people say good things about you then it increases your reputation and this is as true on the Internet as it in the physical world. Back-links are largely a more the merrier type of score assuming the sites have a positive reputation. In the underbelly of the internet are sites that will provide paid back-links and these sites can actually reduce your score. Back-links are difficult to earn but they will go a long way increasing your organic score.

Social Networks

Social Networks are getting to be a big deal and they are a source of citations and reviews so it is best to be aware of these and to start by simply claiming your name and setting up a simple presence on these networks. It is probably too early to be seriously investing in these networks but as they mature you do not want to be late to the party. Social Network signals are starting to have an impact on organic listings but the rules and values of these are still evolving. So our advice today is be aware and engage with the process but do not put too much resource into these yet.

Summary

In closing we want to stress that SEO and your Content Strategy need to be long term and to play this game you have to commit to an on-going investment in unique quality content.

Marketing is like a Water Heater

Monday, February 20th, 2012

When it comes to explaining complex topics it is often useful to use a well understood object with common functionality as metaphor. In this article we will compare the functioning of your marketing to a conventional water heater. Not the same you say? Then read on and let’s see.

The Goal is

The goal of a water heater is to provide a steady source of hot water to the home. The goal of your marketing is to provide a steady stream of new business. Like the water heater, you need a full system to get to this goal.

Bringing it Online

When you install a conventional water heater and turn it on the water is not instantly hot in the house, and the same is true of your marketing. When you first launch your marketing campaigns a lot of the energy goes into warming up the market. This is why short term blasts of marketing almost never work and why marketing campaigns improve with age. One time ads are the equivalent of turning the flame on in the water heater and deciding it does not work because the water is not instantly hot throughout the house. It takes several hours for a water heater to be up to temperature and ready to serve the home and it takes months for marketing to do the same.

Bleeding the System  

As every plumber knows, when you open the hot water in the house after an install what you get is a lot of air venting through the system and marketing acts in a very similar way.  Sometimes sales come out and sometimes not. It is very inconsistent until the system has been bleed out and stabilized. Trying to take the very early results and predict the future is fraught with risk. Marketing tends to start the same way with fits, seizures, and blasts of air.

Stabilizing the settings

A new water heater runs until the water reaches the target temperature and then it cycles on and off as needed to maintain that level based on energy loss and demand.  Your marketing you can do the same thing or you can warm it up at a slow consistent pace. Going full speed brings some risks that you can avoid with a slow consistent strategy but in the long run you will get to the same place where it takes less energy to maintain the system. What you never get to is a stage where it becomes a perpetual motion machine. There is always a requirement to continue to fill the tank and heat the water.

Trying to Go Too Fast

No matter how hot you make the flame water is only going to absorb the heat at its pace. Many businesses make the mistake of trying too hard and it almost never works. The market has to warm up to your business and this takes time. You cannot make a conventional water heat get up to temp in 1 minute and you cannot make a market suddenly treat your business like a long established major brand. Once the market is up to temperature it is much easier to keep it there. Not running marketing long enough is the classic beginner’s mistake. The market is very much like water in this situation in that it will only come up to temperature at its pace.  Push it faster and it will just lose the heat through the chimney.

There is no 100% Efficient Water Heater

No water heater is 100% efficient and heat escapes in a number of ways and the same is true of your marketing.  Just like wrapping the water heater and hot water pipes can reduce heat loss your marketing can increase its efficiency as well but it never reaches 100%. Water heaters are different in that they can reach levels of efficiency that marketers can only dream of. In marketing the most common efficiency level is about 2% and water heaters are much better than that.

Maintenance Needed

Water heaters need maintenance and no matter what you do they will ultimately fail. In the case of the water heater this is 12-15 years depending on local conditions but ultimately it will fail. This is true of your marketing as well. There will come times where you need to maintain your marketing and points you will need to replace it. You need to make sure you understand the difference between these points so you do not replace what you can repair.

Hot Water is not the Final Goal – It’s a nice warm shower

Hot water unregulated by the final shower faucet can burn your skin off and the system needs a final fine adjustment.   In a single-handle cartridge-style faucet this final mix adjustment can go from burning to freezing cold in just a few degrees of rotation and neither of these results is the goal. In marketing it can be the same way. If you run too hot your ability to service the business can suffer but if you run too cold the business can quickly lose money. This very delicate mix of hot and cold can be destroyed by other events like the flushing of a toilet within the system. Your marketing is impacted by local events, sales, economy, competitors, and changes in technology, just to name a few. Your budget is one of the tools for that final adjustment to get your marketing just right.

Closing Thoughts

In summary water heaters and marketing operate in very similar ways because markets are fluid and so is water.  You cannot instantly get a mechanical action out of a water heater or a market and that is because of their fluid nature. Both have to operate in balance for optimal performance. The pressure, heat, mix, and flow adjustments have to be just right. You need to react to system conditions, but not over-react.  Try too hard and you will find yourself just splashing around with no real results; try too little and your business will disappear before your very eyes.

Disclaimer: I am not a plumber and I am not pretending to be one. Our goal is simply to help you better understand the marketing of your plumbing business so you can better control the system.  After all; the goal is a steady flow of nice warm leads to make the business fell just right.