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:
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:
- 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.
- 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.