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When a homeowner gives your plumbing or heating company a call, she’s not always looking to buy strictly according to cost. What she is looking for is perceived value. So, is your company sufficiently communicating that value to potential customers?
A reputation for good faith, credibility, a willingness to add value and dedication to providing the very best customer experience is probably the strongest selling point your business can offer. And how do you communicate that? Through public relations. It’s all about telling the right stories that communicate the experience and professionalism of your team and the stories of lifelong clients who keep turning to you for help.
People are naturally drawn to stories. The best marketing is based on understanding and controlling the key messages that people receive about your company — whether officially, by word-of-mouth, through the media or by the impressions that your service technicians make in a client’s home.
Building visibility for your business in a crowded marketplace means getting the word out about your business to local and regional media. The most effective way of building your reputation is by receiving earned media coverage, which means attracting the attention of newspapers and broadcast news outlets or local blogs and podcasts. This kind of coverage is valuable because it is not only free — it’s more trusted by consumers than any advertisement.
So, how do you go about earning this media coverage? What kind of stories does a plumber have to tell or an HVAC contractor? You might be surprised at the sheer wealth of stories waiting to be uncovered about your business. It doesn’t have to be just about what you sell. There are stories to be told about your dependability and commitment to customer service.
Now, perhaps more than ever, people want to hear good news as an antidote to the stresses of a challenging time. News organizations have an appetite for feel-good stories, and this is where your company can shine.
Maybe one of your technicians volunteers his or her time to help the less fortunate. Perhaps your company offers scholarships or works with a charitable organization. Drawing attention to your contributions to a charitable organization is not about vanity. It’s a useful way to promote the organization and to raise its visibility within the community.
Another proven way to earn media coverage is by replacing the plumbing or HVAC system for a deserving veteran or a family in need for free. These types of stories help create goodwill for your business and are an important way to enhance its reputation.
Word-of-mouth remains one of the most important avenues for attracting new customers. These days, though, word-of-mouth often occurs through online reviews; you cannot afford to turn a blind eye to them.
What stories are being told about your company? Do you know? Creating a proactive public relations strategy for your home service company means paying attention to the stories being told about it on a daily basis: from online reviews to a reputation for professionalism and charitable works.
If you aren’t in control of your company’s messaging, somebody else will be — whether it’s an upset customer leaving nasty online reviews or an ex-employee with a social media ax to grind.
It takes an investment of time and effort, but it’s important to actively engage in online reputation management. Sometimes, all it takes to convert a bad review to a positive one is willing to constructively engage with a customer who has a complaint. Many people just want to be heard.
Stories can be used to generate goodwill for your business within the community. Building a foundation of positive messaging pays off when something negative does occur; it can help water down isolated bad news with positive stories that are already in circulation about your company.
Managing and enhancing your company’s messaging requires a consistent investment of time and effort. Leveraging the powers of stories to increase your reputation and visibility through earned media coverage might sound complicated, but it can help to turn to a trusted public relations partner for help. Hiring an experienced home services PR agency can take off the pressure of trying to build public relations capabilities in-house, freeing up the time of owners and managers to spend on building your business.