How digital marketing is driving the growth of plumbing businesses
Article by Kynan Albassit, Product Director at AiiMS. Article features in MPAQ (Master Plumbers Association Queensland) Autumn Magazine 2021
Digital marketing – just keeping up is no longer enough!
Connect with more people, win more business
Take a professional approach to connecting with your customers
You can also find the article in the 2021 Master Plumber Magazine here.
A guide to getting your website and social media working as hard as you do
Marketing sounds expensive, digital marketing sounds complicated and expensive, and social media just sounds like an investment in time and effort none of us can afford – after all, we have businesses to run. Right?
What if we could agree that almost all of your past, current and future clients have a mobile phone and before they call you, they use it to research you and your local competition. Add to that, your customers and clients are time-poor and need to make the right decision quickly.
“Now, more than ever, being in the right place at the right time means taking the initiative, seizing the advantage and putting your best digital foot forward.” Kynan Albassit, Product Director, AiiMS
Change is happening faster than ever and we all need to keep up
The good news is that plumbing businesses that work to stay in the market’s “line of sight” have always thrived. Looking back to the early 2000s to about 5 years ago, Yellow Pages and Google search were still important weapons in the marketing armoury. But today, exponentially faster internet speeds and the ability to conduct multiple searches while sighting 4-5 reviews inside of a minute, have escalated client expectations in the blink of an eye.
So, your aim should be to have your brand’s digital footprint appear everywhere your audience looks when they’re eyeing plumbing businesses online. But how?
3 things to know about digital that will change everything for your business
Thanks to the internet and the ability for anyone to search up the details on almost anything, anywhere, at any time, it’s a buyers’ market – at least in terms of information. What do these advances in social media mean for you and your business? It means that:
- All businesses large and small are now competing on a level playing field – there’s nothing more level than the screen your clients are looking at when they search for plumbing businesses
- No more smoke and mirrors. Customer reviews, research and ratings, allow potential clients to make comparative assessments with just a couple of clicks.
- Your website together with your social media activity will determine the impact and impression you make on your audience.
That last point is a critical one so let’s dig a little deeper.
Your website speaks your truth while your socials provide the proof
Let me explain the role of your website and your socials in quick and simple terms using a comparison chart.
|Your website:||Your social media platform(s):|
|Explains how and why we help our customers and clients||Gives searchers a more objective insight into your business|
|Emphasises your genuine point of difference or USP (unique selling proposition)||Validates (or invalidates) your claims. It’s easy to say 95% client satisfaction, less so if half of your reviews are poor.|
|Acts as your billboard, displaying your business in the best possible light||Maintains accountability to the people that count – your clients and customers|
|Appeals to your audience because it solves their problem(s)||Rewards you with a high profile and a reputation for quality – if worked properly|
|Amplifies word of mouth 5, 10 or 50-fold|
So, before your new client or customer decides to speak to you, there are 4 steps they will take using their phone:
- Find your business via a search engine
- Check your ratings
- Click on your website to see if you can help them
- Cross-check against social proof/comments/recommendations from your clients
Remember, search engines function to present searchers with the best, most relevant information available – that could be yours if you tick all the right boxes. But if people can’t find you, they won’t trust you.
Your website and social media checklist …and some tips for free
To make it easier for clients to connect with your products and services, here are 7 tips I’ve gathered over my 10 years of supporting the digital marketing needs of plumbing businesses:
- Keep it real, authenticity is the key. Get into the habit of using real photos (not stock images) of your work (before and after). Share images of you and your staff in uniform, demonstrating your professionalism and expertise.
- Invest in a bulletproof website – if your website loads slowly, is full of glitches or forms that don’t load – it’s over. People will simply move on.
- Go where your customers are… searching. Residential customers may take more notice of what they see on Facebook, Instagram, YouTube and Pinterest while for project managers, strata and corporate clients, LinkedIn and Twitter might be best.
- Create a content or engagement calendar to remind you to engage with your audience across the appropriate channels in a timely fashion. Ad hoc engagement and posting erratically can really damage trust – consistency is key.
- Get ready to be ready – you’ll need a phone with a good camera(s) then, take pictures, record recommendations and even air some product reviews (ask for video testimonials from grateful customers while they’re admiring your work).
- Volunteer helpful tips. Your YouTube channel or video posts can become a “destination” for potential and existing customers. Offering helpful solutions to common problems (changing washers, basic maintenance etc), makes your business a trusted, local authority with a reputation for helping out.
- Build relationships. If you have completed a job well done for a new customer and leave without them knowing your name, you have wasted an opportunity. Engage them, get a recommendation and give them another reason to remember your business.
Two final points that will definitely help you
Put simply, winning at social media to grow your brand and win more business is essentially a team sport so the key to victory is going to be about assembling the right players with the best capabilities.
- But let’s start with your existing client base and your mindset. Plumbing businesses fail because they may do a good job but fail to adapt to the social demands of today’s business environment. This takes practice and a mindset that embraces the challenge of engaging their audience. Ask your followers for their opinions, their recommendations and ask them to pass on reviews and share content. You shouldn’t have to do it all and with an active database, you won’t have to. Build these habits, lean into the processes and understand the power of your website and the influence that social media holds over your ability scale or consolidate your plumbing business.
- When you engage a digital marketing agency to take the burden off your shoulders, make sure they know your industry, otherwise they’ll be experimenting with trial and error and I know that from my years working with plumbing businesses, the guesswork has no business in your business!
Again, success always was and always will be about understanding, connecting and impressing your growing customer/client database and adapting to the way they like to do business – and that’s the bottom line.
Kynan Albassit is the Product Director at AiiMS, a digital agency specialising in connecting people, businesses and brands, to power growth and profitability.
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