When considering how to promote your plumbing business, you may ask yourself, how do plumbers advertise?
Well, the most effective advertising channel for plumbers is still in-person recommendations, bringing in the greatest number of new and high-value leads. However, other methods such as social media are also very important for the growth of a plumbing business.
But what do these marketing channels look like in practice and how should you go about implementing your own marketing campaign? To make things easy for you, we’ve put together a list of simple advertising techniques you can use to promote your plumbing business.
If you are looking for some more in-depth information on topics such as SEO and building your own website we’ve also got that content covered in some of our other blogs.
So let's get into it.
We get it, there’s some professional competition amongst tradies, especially between plumbers and electricians - the so-called academic trades. However, drawing on a wider network of related industries is a smart marketing idea.
Those tradespeople who work in trades that aren’t plumbing offer a great opportunity for you. These businesses are great as they are not competing for the same work but do have a cross-over of customers.
If you build a strong network of related industry friends and colleagues, then these businesses are much more likely to bring you on board for jobs where a plumber is needed. Even if they don’t provide direct work, they can also give positive recommendations to their customers, which can help you to win jobs down the line.
So for any trainee plumbers amongst you still learning the ropes at college, keep in contact with any other aspiring tradespeople you come across and reach out to each other when you start out on your own.
Alternatively, another good way to get your name out there amongst other trade businesses is to approach local builders merchants and get to know the staff there. It’s also a great place to get to know other like-minded tradespeople. Make sure you’ve got a business card with you so you can leave your details.
If you have a strong network, you can piggyback off the good reputation of other tradespeople and use it to help build a good name for yourself. Plus it’s a two-way deal, as you can return the favour to them.
Site boards don’t just have to be used at construction sites. Site boards and pavement signs are a great way to get your name out there in the local area.
When working on any job that takes longer than a few hours, ask the client if they’d be happy if you put up a yard sign or other small display to indicate you’re working on the job.
Simple pavement signs like the ones you can find outside a shop are a really simple way to show off your brand and are super easy to transport and put up. They are also inexpensive and can be purchased for around £50.
Combine this strategy with a well-branded van in the drive and you can really boost your local marketing presence.
Okay, I know we promised to keep our tips down to earth and actionable, but social media really doesn’t need to be difficult. Even if you’re not particularly tech-savvy, starting your own Facebook, Instagram or TikTok account isn’t hard to do.
Chances are you probably already have your own business Facebook account, but if you’re totally new to social media, then it’s worthwhile creating an account on this platform.
More than 85% of people in the UK use social media, with around 35 million users on Facebook alone. By creating an account you give yourself a chance to reach a broad audience and promote your brand.
These days it’s expected that you have an account, so don’t let customers get put off by not having a social media presence.
To open a Facebook business page you will first need to create a Facebook account. To do this follow the steps explained on the Facebook help page, linked here.
You will now need to create a separate business page. To do this follow the steps explained by Facebook here.
Once you’ve got your page up and running, don’t just leave it at that. Spend some time uploading images, follow relevant businesses and share and post relevant content from your feed.
If you feel confident, try leaving comments and engaging with other users online. If you build up your confidence you could even start talking to potential customers via Facebook messenger, which could allow you to access new audiences.
LinkedIn works in a similar way to Facebook but allows you to reach a slightly different audience.
Where Facebook allows you to build your business brand, LinkedIn will help you with your personal brand. This may sound like the same thing and for those plumbers who have a business that literally is just them, this may be the case.
But even if you are your business, LinkedIn is still valuable.
Use this platform to follow industry leaders and to share your thoughts. This platform rewards you for liking, sharing and contributing content. Even just commenting and engaging with other users in your feed will help to grow your influence and establish you as a reputable and valuable contributor.
Although LinkedIn is less likely to bring in customers as directly as some of the other social media platforms, it can really help to establish your authority and mark you out as a professional business.
Instagram works in a similar way to Facebook and is under the same umbrella organisation (called Meta).
Where Facebook is a resource that provides access to various different pages including news, images, resources and other information, Instagram is more image and video focussed.
Instagram is a great opportunity for you to show off images and videos of your work. When you work on a job take a photo - a before and after photo from a job often goes down well. Post these images onto your Instagram feed and include relevant industry hashtags. For example, after working on a boiler install you might include #boilerinstall.
To set up an account follow the steps provided on the Instagram help page, linked here.
If you need help creating your first Instagram post, Hubspot has created a helpful guide you can follow.
TikTok is the fastest-growing social media platform ever, with a whopping 9.2 million users in the UK alone. That’s a lot of people for you to market your business to.
For plumbers TikTok is a great opportunity, allowing you to get your name out to potential customers and build your reputation. Plus, getting started with TikTok is easy and doesn’t require much effort on your part.
A good strategy is to create short videos that show you at work on your business. Videos of you fixing a plumbing leak or explaining how to adjust your boiler are both good ideas. Use your expertise to share your wisdom and your experiences.
TikTok videos showing tradespeople at work are incredibly popular, providing great promotion for your business and, if you’re really successful, can provide an additional revenue stream.
To create an account on TikTok, follow the steps outlined on the TikTok website via this link.
Youtube is the second most used search engine behind Google. This makes it a very valuable marketing resource for plumbers.
Many of the principles used to run an effective SEO campaign also apply to creating a successful youtube channel. But don’t worry, we’ll keep this straightforward.
All you need to do to create a successful youtube channel is to share your industry expertise and advice. Post videos showing how to use a plunger or examples of how to check the condition of your pipes. Any video content providing valuable information and resources that your target customers can use will have a positive impact.
You may be concerned that sharing this content will put off customers but it actually does the opposite. By using this approach you build your industry authority and grow your audience.
Viewers who see your videos online will turn to you when they can’t resolve their plumbing issues, helping you to win more business.
You can find out more about this strategy in our blog on tips to grow your service business.
Facebook, as the largest social media platform in the world with 2.91 billion active monthly users, is the best platform for plumbers to advertise their businesses. Although TikTok is most used amongst 10 to 29-year-olds and Youtube is the second most used search engine, Facebook’s ability to reach the right target demographic (users aged 25-34), combined with the simplicity and flexibility of the platform, makes it ideal for plumbers.
This one is cheating a little bit as it’s not marketing exactly, however, if applied properly it can help you to get more customers to use your services.
A big part of making a success of your plumbing business is about holding onto your customers and winning repeat work. Many of the most successful businesses don’t need a large customer base but have a modest group of loyal customers who return time and again.
The question is, how do you create these repeat customers? The most important and effective way to do this is simply to offer a high-quality service. If you do a good job, your customers are very likely to return to you in future as they know you can do a good job.
But as part of this process, you also need to make sure your customers don’t forget you and can access your details easily. One way to do this is to leave a business card, but the most effective method is to invest in the right job management software.
If you use Payaca you can assign reminders for you and your customers that automatically send out communications to book repeat work. This is incredibly valuable for boiler service checks which are ongoing and recurring. With the right software, you’ll never miss a service.
To find out more about this technology check out the Payaca feature page here.
This method is very simple, but also very effective. Once you’ve completed a job on a boiler or other plumbing system, leave a tag on the boiler with your name and number, plus a brief explanation of when you worked on the boiler.
You can achieve the same thing by leaving a QR code customers can scan with their phone, this allows you to provide more details and information.
Customers are likely to rebook your service, even if they’re new to the property as they can see you’ve already worked on the boiler or project and will value having someone who’s already familiar with the system.
This can be a really effective way of keeping and winning customers for the long term.
There are many providers online that allow you to create your own custom QR codes. There are also different options for QR codes available, including paid and free options. For just a straightforward link to your details, most free options should cover what you need.
This one might seem obvious, but don’t underestimate it. Over 90% of customers read online reviews before they make a purchase online, and this applies to plumbing businesses too.
If you want to win customers, it’s really important to have positive reviews and recommendations prospective customers can read. This means adding reviews to your website and accumulating 5-star feedback on your Google maps business page.
Whenever you have a positive interaction with a customer, ask for a review. But don’t just leave it at that, make it easy for customers to leave you a review. You need to direct them where to leave their feedback.
This is where, once again, the right job management software can really make a difference. With Payaca, you can implement automated communications so that once a job is complete the customer is sent an email asking for a review and a link is provided to make it easy for the customer to leave feedback.
As you accumulate these reviews make them visible. This is where you can use your social media presence to further show off the great work you’ve done. Post the reviews on Facebook and LinkedIn and increase the benefits of this feedback.
You can even include reviews on the branding on your van and include it on your pavement sign.
As we’ve mentioned already, having a branded vehicle is very valuable. By putting your logo and details on your van, your business is made highly visible to the public and effectively provides a billboard advertising your company.
You could even include a QR card on the side of your van so customers can scan it and find out more about you.
This approach to branding also applies to your company uniform. Get your business name on the back and use a distinctive logo that makes you stand out. A uniform is just another way to make your brand visible and has that added benefit of creating a heightened sense of professionalism for your customers.
For a more detailed look at the benefits of using uniforms for your business check out our blog on tradie uniforms.
Also, make sure you don’t forget the humble business card. As we’ve already mentioned, having a business card can be a very effective marketing tool. It’s a great way to get your details out there and easily pass on your information. Plus - like using a uniform - it has the added benefit of creating a sense of professionalism and competence around your business.
Show homes are a great opportunity as these are places where you can reach multiple markets.
At a show home, you can approach the provider that is responsible for organising the creation of the new housing. Although you may not be able to get involved in the immediate job, you can leave your name and details and let them know you’re available in future. Just by getting your name out there, you help to increase your business presence.
Furthermore, future homeowners looking around the site also provide an opportunity. Chat with these potential customers and leave your details. As they will be moving into a new home, it is likely that they don’t yet have an established relationship with a plumber, so it’s a good chance to get your foot in the door early.
Make yourself the go-to plumber for the new estate. Even if you only pick up a few new customers it’ll be worthwhile. Once again business cards and flyers are your friends; hand them out and leave them at the desk.
It’s also a good idea to contact your local homeowner's association and apply the same approach.
All the methods outlined in this blog will help your plumbing business to reach a broader market and generate new leads. If you can, implementing all the strategies outlined above will have the biggest impact on your business, even more so if you make use of SEO.
However, the key takeaway from this blog is to focus on authenticity. This is the most essential aspect of any advertising or promotional campaign. Customers relate to and value authentic brands, so make sure you stay true to yourself and focus on building strong relationships with your customers.
If your plumbing advertising embraces the core values of your brand and your own personality then it is much more likely to be successful. It is those businesses that pretend to be something they are not that fail.
So if you are ever unsure where to go with your plumbing marketing, ask yourself, “is this true to me/my brand?” and you won’t go far wrong. The more personal and genuine you are, the more successful you will be.