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Competing in a crowded market is tough. Keeping a plumbing business on target takes work, and each day is a new battle to stand apart from your competitors. There is a better way. Plumbing businesses in many markets are strategically integrating public relations into their marketing efforts. PR can help take your business further, from being part of a crowd to standing alone as the trusted home service contractor top-of-mind in your market.
So, what are the elements of a great public relations strategy?
It starts with getting your brand on TV and in newspapers, and that doesn’t mean paying for an advertisement. Earned media coverage means convincing a journalist to feature you in a story or an interview, or at least refer to you as an expert source.
As an expert in the home services business, there are opportunities to provide tips or educate homeowners during a television interview. A story about the good works your company does can bring needed attention to charitable organizations while increasing your visibility.
To get earned media coverage, you’ll have to work for it, though. Getting your story out to a journalist is one thing, but getting them interested is another. Establishing a reputation as an informative, trustworthy source for home service topics begins with sending press releases out as you work to develop contacts in the media.
From the perspective of the time investment needed, instead of trying to do this in-house, it can make sense to partner with a public relations agency that specializes in the home service industry. This allows you to concentrate on other areas, such as developing your team and launching new services.
In addition to earned media, producing a steady stream of informative blogs for the company website can not only interest potential customers but increase your search engine optimization, too. Higher search engine rankings are important and help increase the visibility of your company.
Having an engaging social media presence is necessary in today’s market. So, it’s recommended to post regularly. It could be blogs, customer testimonials, videos and even photos showcasing your company’s culture. Use any content that your company can create to boost your visibility and brand image in a positive way.
Any company that isn’t managing its online reputation regularly is a company that is losing out. Research from BrightLocal reports that 52 percent of consumers surveyed said they couldn’t consider using a business with fewer than four stars; 73 percent only pay attention to reviews made in the last month (https://bit.ly/2Tbubda).
That means a few bad reviews can have an outsized effect on your business. So, you need to read reviews and respond to them regularly. Don’t be confrontational. People appreciate seeing companies trying to make an unsatisfactory situation better.
It’s also good to encourage customers to leave reviews if they’re satisfied with a service call. Every bit of good digital word of mouth pays dividends for your company’s reputation.
Planning for a future crisis is a fundamental part of a comprehensive public relations strategy. A crisis can strike at any time: an employee can post the wrong thing on social media, a customer not satisfied with a service can cause trouble, or someone associated with your company could be charged with a crime. Taking steps to minimize damage to the company’s reputation is easier if you’re prepared.
You must be ready with a crisis communications plan. Establish a media policy that specifies who can talk with reporters and when. Most of all, be prepared to tell the truth and tell it quickly. Trying to sweep an incident under the rug won’t work in this day and age.
Implementing a solid public relations can benefit any plumbing contractor. If the details sound like too much to try in-house, a public relations partner can help. But be ready to jump in and grow.