Knowing how to generate leads and grow your customer base is the most important part of running a successful plumbing business. If you’re an experienced plumber, you’ve probably mastered the day-to-day work, but getting new clients week in and week out is a whole different challenge. But don’t worry – with the right advice, you can learn the best ways to generate valuable leads on all kinds of plumbing work.
There’s one big reason that lead generation is so important: without a steady flow of income and new clients, it’s impossible to stay in business for long. You can be the best plumber in town, but if you are not focusing part of your energy on generating new leads, your business won’t survive or grow. For that reason, every tradie should learn about lead generation strategies, both online and offline.
A solid lead generation strategy for plumbers includes both paid and unpaid sources of leads, and many of these tips and tricks work best when used together. To grow your business and get more plumbing customers in the long term, you’ll need to use a range of tactics, not just a single source of leads.
In this article, we’ve put together our top 10 tips for plumbing businesses to gain new customers. From picking up warm leads through reliable lead generation sites to building your long-term reputation in the community, we’ve covered a fantastic mix of marketing ideas here.
After all, every building in Australia needs a plumber sooner or later, so the market is there. In such a competitive industry, you want to make sure that customers choose your plumbing service over others. Your job is to take advantage of the best lead generation techniques to reach and win over this valuable market.
To help you grow your plumbing business, here is our very best lead acquisition advice – read on to learn everything you need to know.
1. Use Click-To-Call Ads
Even in the digital era, when customers are looking for a service, they’re still likely to get in touch with a phone call. An easy way to encourage customers to ring is to use Facebook’s click-to-call ads. These ads make it quick and convenient for people to contact you when they need a plumber.
These ads differ from the usual Facebook ads because they contain a call-to-action (CTA) button. When a potential customer sees the ad, they can click directly on it to dial your business number on their phone. This makes it easy and hassle-free for customers to contact you.
Similar to other ads on Facebook, click-to-call ads can be targeted using metrics like their location, ensuring your ad spend is directly reaching people in your service area. You can also measure the effectiveness of your click-to-call ads through the tools provided on Facebook.
Using Facebook ads gives you access to lots of helpful data to improve your ongoing ad campaigns – including ad impressions (how many times it’s seen), total ad spend, and the number of users who clicked on the button.
A call does not always mean you have made a booking, though, so it’s important your staff are equipped to convert every call as it comes in. To make your campaign even more effective, you can use an inbound call tracking software. This can help you record how many calls actually resulted in a sale for your plumbing business.
2. Focus On Getting More Reviews
Potential customers always value the opinions of people who have really used your service. That’s why reviews are so important for plumbing contractors and other trades. There are many websites where customers look for local business reviews, such as Facebook, Google, and ProductReview.com.au.
Research shows that 88% of customers value online reviews as much as personal referrals. 93% of customers say they’re influenced by online reviews – and the best part for small businesses is that getting more reviews doesn’t have to cost you anything.
When it comes to getting more online reviews, the first step is to ask satisfied clients for a review at the end of each service. Otherwise, you can follow up via email or text message a few days after you’ve finished plumbing work for a client.
On the other hand, if you do receive negative reviews, always respond in a professional way. Reach out to dissatisfied customers, as this is a chance to make things right and regain their trust. Even if you can’t make amends, replying to reviews – both positive and negative – makes a great impression on prospective customers.
3. Ask Your Clients For Referrals
Many skill-based professions, such as plumbing, thrive off referrals. When you impress customers with your service, they are likely to refer your business to family and friends in the area. This is one of the best ways for tradies to generate cost-effective leads.
The quality of service when using a local plumber will directly affect a customer’s satisfaction. If they’re happy, chances are customers will gladly recommend you to friends, family, and even local Facebook groups for their neighbourhood. People just love to talk about a great experience!
Word of mouth remains a top method of generating business and gaining loyal customers. This is because we are more likely to trust the first-hand experiences of people we know. Personal referrals also hold weight for a long time. If a trusted friend referred a plumber to you two years ago, you are still likely to trust this recommendation now!
4. Invest in a Tailored Google Ads Campaign
You can also get leads for your plumbing business directly through Google Ads. Google uses a simple Pay Per Click (PPC) advertising model and can be a very effective strategy for tradies to boost their customer base. However, keep in mind that the success of your Google Ads depends on setting it up correctly, using the right keywords for local plumbing businesses.
Understandably, not all plumbers will have the time and patience to understand and run their own Google ads. It can be worth getting the help of an ad agency to ensure you’re getting the most out of your ad spend. If you’ve previously tried Google Ads for your plumbing service and haven’t found it worthwhile, you may have a very different experience after getting some expert help setting up your campaign.
5. Set Up an Online Booking System
An automated online booking method makes it super easy for potential customers to book your plumbing services. The ease and convenience of automatic online booking can be a deciding factor in converting a lead to a customer.
On the other hand, a frustrating booking system can lead to potential customers choosing a competitor instead. These systems are relatively easy to operate and can be set up through your website or a Facebook page.
Having an online booking system for your plumbing business also reduces how much you rely on admin staff to take phone calls. If clients can book an appointment at any time of the day or night, you don’t have to worry about missing out if you miss a call.
6. Target Emergency Plumbing Customers
Customers rarely plan for emergency plumbing services. As a result, they will almost always use Google to find nearby plumbing services. When advertising your plumbing business, target some of your marketing messages around these emergency plumbing needs.
Emergency plumbing services usually warrant a higher price or urgent call out fee, making it cost-effective for contractors to pursue. Customers who urgently need plumbing services will not hesitate to pay a premium if a plumber can immediately meet their needs, so speedy solutions are important here!
This is something you can work into your marketing message online and offline – let everybody know that your business caters to emergency plumbing needs. Customers in the area may even keep your company’s phone number on hand in case of an emergency plumbing situation.
7. Build a Professional & Powerful Brand
Customers will always respect professionalism from a business, and a strong brand helps you stick in their memory. If you’re finding your plumbing service isn’t as popular as it could be, it might be time to look at your branding.
There are a number of easy ways you can ensure your company looks professional and legitimate. One of the most important things is consistency – ensuring everything from the company uniform and vehicles to your website and social media have the same look and feel.
Consider working with a graphic designer or branding professional to come up with a logo and guidelines for your business. Even something as simple as using the same fonts and colours across your entire business makes your plumbing service look credible and trustworthy.
Best of all, consistent branding will help your business stick in the minds of consumers – so when it’s time to call a plumber, you’re already on their radar.
8. Set Up Google My Business For Your Business
Google definitely has the top spot as Australia’s favourite search engine – so when customers are in need of a plumber, that’s where they’re likely to look you up. As a result, creating a Google My Business account is a cost-effective way to generate leads.
Ideally, you want your business to show up when potential customers use Google to look up plumbing services. The good news is that you can create a listing on Google My Business for free! This means your business can appear on Google Maps and similar platforms when local customers search keywords relevant to your business.
You can optimise your Google My Business listing by adding photos of your business or team, a link to your website, and other handy information such as your contact details and business hours.
A Google My Business listing also allows your business to receive (and respond to) Google reviews from clients. Potential customers are always keen on checking these reviews before committing to using your services, so make sure you’re all set up to receive them.
9. Partner Up With A Franchise Group
One of the quickest ways to grow a plumbing business is to partner up with a franchise group. Doing so gets you access to a large and growing customer base, and you’ll benefit from the brand’s existing reputation and trust.
An example of a plumbing franchise group in Australia is Jim’s Plumbing, who are part of the well-known Jim’s Group. They complete over 400,000 jobs each year across all divisions, so it’s safe to say they have plenty of leads coming in. When you can join a franchise network like this, you can benefit from their established reputation and spend far less effort marketing your business.
On the other hand, if you’re not ready to take on a plumbing franchise yourself, it’s still possible to tap into extra leads that current franchisees can’t service. Bizza is a platform where local tradies can pick up leads that Jim’s Group can’t service – for instance, where they don’t have a franchisee at the moment, or when the local Jim’s Plumbing contractor is all booked out.
10. Do Great Quality Work
Lead generation techniques are most effective when your plumbing business provides an outstanding service. No amount of advertising or marketing can make up for a poor customer experience, so making each of your clients happy is a must.
No matter how much effort you put into marketing, people will only refer your business to other people if your service is excellent – and we know that word-of-mouth referrals are worth their weight in gold! The number one way to have real customers promoting your brand is to provide them with top-quality plumbing and sound advice.
One way to ensure quality service is by keeping your team in top shape. Always invest in your staff’s knowledge and provide them with ongoing training, both in technical skills and in customer service.
Like any other industry, new services and products are always being introduced and Australian plumbing standards are always evolving. Plumbing techniques five or ten years ago may not translate well for plumbing nowadays, and being well-informed means you can offer the best solutions to your clients.
Do I Need Social Media As A Plumber?
A plumber doesn’t have to have social media for their plumbing business, but it is recommended. In today’s digital and information age, social media presence is an easy way to make your business known.
This is especially true for younger customers, and even older generations will see a business as more legitimate if they have a Facebook profile and website. This also gives you a chance to promote your business in local groups and connect with your local target market.
Do I Need To Spend Money To Generate Plumbing Leads?
No, you don’t necessarily have to spend money to generate leads as a plumber. However, it’s nearly impossible to rely completely on free advertising and promotional strategies, and many paid marketing tactics to have a very high return on investment.
An upfront fee for lead generation can be transformed into a steady stream of repeat customers. The best approach is to combine both free lead generation strategies with paid leads, giving you the most control over the level of customer demand.
Should I Expand My Plumbing Business Into Gas Or Electrical Services As Well?
Whether your plumbing business should expand into gas or electrical services depends on your resources. The business model is similar, making it possible to tackle several of these services under one umbrella. However, doing one service to a high standard is better than doing several at a lower quality, and this is what business owners find most challenging about adding new services.
We recommend that you only expand into other industries once you have a solid foundation of customers for your existing plumbing business, and ensure you have the right expertise on board to do each service to a very high standard. Expanding too fast too soon may hurt your business in the long run, so make sure you have the right resources to make the expansion successful.