An Actionable Guide to Marketing For Plumbers
Running your own plumbing business can be hugely rewarding, and being your own boss is always a plus. You get to make your own schedule, do things your way, and grow something you can call your own.
But it also means there’s a bit more on your plate (including finding your own customers).
Few plumbers are trained marketers and many find themselves overwhelmed with the prospect of learning how to market a plumbing business – especially when there are so many different ways you could go about it.
This article will outline the most impactful, quick, and cost-effective plumbing marketing strategies that work whether you’re new to the game or have been at it for years.
To keep things clear, we’re grouping them into 3 distinct categories.
Quick tip: With marketing for plumbers, it’s important to test different strategies out, as you never know what might work best for your business or what you enjoy doing the most.
However, remember to record the results where possible so you can see clearly what your focus should be.
#1 Starting small: easy plumbing marketing wins
As a plumber, you want to spend your time doing jobs and earning money – not fiddling with online advertisements, leaflets, and other marketing tactics. Marketing is easily a full-time job and most big companies have fully-fledged marketing departments for a reason.
Because of this, we always say that one of the best marketing tips for plumbers is to start small and build up. What we mean by this is to identify the most impactful marketing plays you can make without much effort at all: the low-hanging fruit.
So where to begin?
Create a brand, not just a business
Whether someone has used your services before or they saw your logo somewhere, it’s crucial that your business is memorable and sticky.
Your core services and work you do for your clients is of course important – but that’s your business. Your brand is the way you package your business and present it to your customers. Think of any successful brand and you’ll immediately start to see that they all share a few key similarities including:
- A clean, clever, and simple logo
- Standardised brand colours used across all promotional materials
- A particular font
- Taglines or phrases
It’s best to get these things sorted at the very beginning of your business, or at least as you start with a more thought-out marketing plan. This is because you’ll be using your branding across almost every different marketing strategy – from online advertisements to business cards and everything in between.
You may wish to get the help of a freelance designer or do it yourself – but the key here is to make a choice and be consistent.
Put together basic physical marketing materials
While digital marketing is hugely popular amongst the trades world right now (and for good reason), it doesn’t mean that some of the more old-school marketing tactics are any less effective.
In fact, most of them are super quick and easy to put together and take little effort to distribute. Here’s a few physical marketing materials we’d recommend you get sorted if you haven’t already:
– Business cards
Most plumbers have business cards, but not everyone keeps them up to date with the correct details and a nice design. And, more importantly, not all plumbers remember to hand them out whenever possible.
It’s good practice to leave a business card behind whenever you’ve finished a job, for example. Business cards get passed around and you never know when one might be the start of a new customer relationship.
Tradespeople have been creating and printing off leaflets since the beginning of time. What this means is that they’re a tried-and-tested plumbing advertisement.
All you’ve got to do is put together a simple design that includes all the relevant information about your business: what kind of jobs you do, where you contact you, and what price range they could be looking at.
They’re a good promotional material that you can slip through the letterboxes of houses near those you’re working at, or hand out whenever convenient.
Leaflets work because people are naturally drawn to the easiest solution. If they need plumbing work done, they’re more likely to ring up the plumber that dropped a leaflet through their postbox than go and search for one themselves.
– Van wrapping / advertising
Most plumbers with a company van will have already applied their own customisations to it. Your van is your own personal mobile billboard and can draw eyes from anyone that sees you driving, parked in front of a customer’s house, or even at home.
Make sure you have your branding on point because vehicle wrapping is something you want to do once and leave for as long as you can.
Be sure to include everything from your:
- Company name
- Contact information
Tip: Some of the best and most memorable wrapped vehicles are those that go the extra mile with creativity with funny designs, catchphrases, and graphics.
– Branded stickers
Stickers are a great way to do a bit of subtle marketing whenever you can. There are countless websites where you can order a stack of stickers that has your company name, logo, and contact details.
Once you’ve got a set, stick them on an appliance you’ve fitted or serviced, on pipework, and anywhere else where someone might see it years down the road.
Claim your Google Business Profile
Google Business Profile is a little window that appears on the search results page when people search for something on Google. Your Google Business Profile will ideally show up when people search for your business name or relevant keywords (such as plumber in [your local area]).
Here’s an example of what a Google Business Profile looks like:
Google Business Profiles only need to be set up once and you’re good to go. The only thing you’ll need to do is update it if and when your business details change.
Setting it up is also a straightforward and simple process. Here’s a quick guide you can follow to get it set up.
Experiment with lead generation websites
They obviously take a cut, but that doesn’t mean you can’t fill up your schedule with more jobs from these sites. Just be sure that the leads you’re getting are good enough to justify the cost of having a middle-man in the process.
Simple digital marketing for plumbers
– Create a basic website
Digital marketing for plumbers all starts with a solid website as a foundation.
You’ll want to make sure you have a nicely designed website with all the necessary information if you want to be found online.
Following your branding, create a website that follows this basic structure:
- A homepage with your brand name, key services, and the areas you service. The goal of your homepage is to get all the key information across in just a few seconds, and attract customers looking for work that you offer.
- A contact page with all up to date contact information
- A services page where you talk in more detail about what kind of work you offer
- A testimonials page where you include some recent work and customer feedback or reviews
- An about us page where you can get a little bit more personal and creative to help make your business appear more genuine and real.
Remember to also include links to all your social media accounts, too – as well as links from them to your website.
A website with all of the above will help you look more professional and attract more customers in the process.
– How to market a plumbing business with social media
In recent years, social media has rapidly become one of the best places for plumbers to find work.
Your posts could include everything from end results of your work, plumbing related tips, special offers, and anything else that springs to mind. Potential customers will be able to see what kinds of plumbing jobs you do as well as the quality of work you’re capable of.
Tip: Remember that social media content certainly doesn’t have to be professional. In fact, it’s often best for it to have more of a down-to-earth and real feeling to it – especially for a plumbing business.
Creating posts on platforms like Instagram, Facebook, and TikTok are a great way to catch a bit more attention, show you’re an active business, and build authority in the plumbing industry.
If you’re comfortable doing so, showing your face on social media will also help build credibility and trust with your audience.
And, while these places are a great way to attract potential customers, many plumbers use social media to connect with others in the trade, build partnerships, and grow their brand.
#2 Word-of-mouth marketing is still king
All of the above marketing strategies are easy wins. But if there’s one thing you should take away from this article, it’s that word-of-mouth marketing is still the biggest player in plumbing marketing.
But word-of-mouth marketing is a bit vague. How exactly can you make your customers your own advertisers? Here are a few tips:
Reviews: the most undervalued marketing tool for plumbers
Every customer you work for is a potential review. And, the more reviews you have, the more likely you are to be the plumber a customer chooses. All it takes is a simple reminder in-person or a little note on your invoice to leave a review.
Tip: Reviews can be on Google, lead gen websites, and in many other places, and they’re one of the most powerful digital marketing strategies for plumbers.
Online reviews are in essence a digital recommendation that is always visible and accessible to potential customers. It lets them know what others who you have worked for thought of your services and provides a third-party, honest insight.
Just like real-life recommendations, reviews build trust and add a great deal of credibility to your brand.
Create a referral programme
A customer referral programme is a natural evolution of a review. Referrals work best when you are able to provide both sides of the party with a clear incentive like discounted rates.
You can advertise this referral programme in other marketing materials like leaflets, business cards, social media posts, and emails. Alternatively, it can be effective to simply let a customer know after finishing a job that you’ve got a referral deal going on if they know anyone who needs plumbing work.
It’s important to remember that customers are only going to complete a referral if they were genuinely happy with the work themselves. This leads us nicely onto our next point:
Know the essentials of good customer service
Polite and clear communication, arriving on time, quick turnarounds on quotes and invoices – these are all important parts of good customer service and a good plumbing business.
Every plumber knows this, but not all are able to juggle them together with all the other business responsibilities which eat up time in your day.
Using software like FieldRocket can help you free up the time needed to focus on doing your best work and providing a top-tier service. Using our software, you’ll be able to keep track of all customer details, stay on schedule, create professional-looking quotes and invoices and much more.
But how does this affect marketing for your plumbing business?
Truthfully speaking, good customer service creates happy customers, and happy customers will recommend your business to other potential customers.
If you really want them to act as word-of-mouth advocates, you’ll want to go the extra mile when and where you can. Simple things like cleaning up after the job, doing small tasks for free (that only take a few minutes), and offering your best craftsmanship almost guarantee you’ll be remembered favourably.
Attend any networking events you can
On the topic of word-of-mouth marketing, we couldn’t leave out the simple networking events like InstallerSHOW.
These are great places to meet other plumbers and industry professionals. As well as getting some advertisement for your plumbing business, you may even find opportunities to partner and create long-lasting and mutually-beneficial business relationships with other tradespeople.
Just remember to bring your business cards!
#3 Adding to your plumbing marketing strategy
At some point, you will have sorted out all your basic marketing strategies and have a solid source of word-of-mouth job leads.
This is when we’d say it’s a good idea to experiment with a few more “hands-on” marketing strategies.
By this we don’t mean they are any less effective – simply that they might have a slightly steeper learning curve, take a bit more time to set up, or require some regular upkeep.
Here are some of the most effective you can explore:
Paid ads on Google
Running ads on search engines like Google is a highly effective source of leads, and you’ll only pay if someone clicks onto your website.
In short, they’re a fantastic digital marketing strategy for plumbers that will bring your website (and therefore your services) to the top of the results. This means more people will see your brand and therefore click into your website and phone you up.
Here’s what a Google ad might look like for someone that searched for “plumber southampton”:
The only reason we suggest plumbers don’t start their marketing journey with Google ads on day 1 is because they can take a little bit of effort to get them set up, and you’ll need to create your website first.
Don’t let that discourage you from trying them out, though, as they can connect you with a huge number of customers looking for plumbing work.
Service reminders & email marketing
Creating a nice website is the first step of the puzzle, and optimising it for search engines in the next.
Digital marketing for plumbers isn’t about creating a website that gets thousands of visitors each day. Rather, it’s about connecting your website with relevant people.
In other words, this means helping people in your local area who are looking for plumbing services find your site.
The best way to do this is with some simple local SEO. Make sure to include keywords that sum up who you are (i.e. plumber in manchester) as well as the type of services you do (i.e. bathroom renovations manchester).
The best way to do this is naturally within your website content. Don’t simply paste a bunch of these keywords onto a blank page. Instead, they should fit naturally into website content.
With a bit of research and effort, partner marketing can become one of your biggest lead-gen strategies.
Plumbers can look to partner with builders, homeowners associations, and lots more to find customers.
These partnerships can take a little effort to set up but are often highly effective, and operate on the basis of being mutually beneficial for both parties.
For example, homeowners associations will benefit from having a reliable plumber they know they can trust, while you will be able to refer and be referred through a partnership with a builder.
You could even look at partnering with other plumbers that work in a slightly different area to you, so you can pass leads to each other closer to home.
We recently wrote a partnership guide for gas engineers, from which you can take inspiration.
Handling a growing workload with FieldRocket
As your plumbing marketing leads start flowing in, you’ll need to think about how you’re going to capture all these new customers and handle the increased workload.
FieldRocket’s job management software will help you manage all your quotes and get them sent out the door before they start looking elsewhere. And, at the same time, you’ll have an organised system to look after all customer details, schedule jobs, keep track of records, send invoices, and much more.
If you’ve been thinking about implementing software into your workflow to save time, here’s what you can do next:
- Visit our resources centre where you'll find more articles like this one and a full list of our certificates.
- Start a free trial to see exactly how our software works for your business.
- Book a demo with our customer success team. We’ll help walk you through the ins and outs of our software, how it’ll help you save time and money, and anything else that springs to mind.
- Know someone still using paper? Help them and us out by sending our software their way!