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For plumbers, it can be a constant struggle to gain customer attention in a crowded marketplace. You’ve tried mailers and door-hangers, specials and coupons, but how do you really set yourself apart and show potential clients why they should choose you?
Throwing more money into mailers isn’t the answer. Instead, put your effort into establishing yourself as the leading plumbing expert in your community. Your knowledge and experience are valuable and the more potential customers hear and read about your know-how, the more they will come to trust you and rely on your services.
Getting the word out
Self-promotion may go against the grain for some people, but recognizing the value in what you know and sharing that knowledge with others isn’t conceited. It’s helpful. Not sure how to start getting the word out about your company’s expertise? Let’s talk about some tried-and-true ways to spread the word and position yourself as the plumbing expert in your market.
• Search engine optimization (SEO). Your company’s website is its most valuable marketing tool, but it is useless if nobody can find it. Visibility starts with SEO. Search engines such as Google look for keywords and phrases in websites to match sites with inquiries from users. Google is constantly updating its algorithm to make search results more helpful and more specific.
The content on your website determines what searches your website will appear in and how high on the search rankings you are. Want to be the first listing when someone searches “Las Vegas plumber?” Include that phrase on your website. Blogging can help get those keywords and phrases into your website content. Creating helpful, informative blogs also can set you apart as an expert.
More and more, consumers are using voice search to find answers on the Internet. When we talk instead of type, we use complete questions instead of strings of keywords. Build common plumbing questions and answers into your website, such as “How do I unclog my sink?” If Google reads the answer from your website, it will cite your business as the source. This grows your credibility as a trusted expert.
Your website’s keywords also should include the city or community you serve. Make sure your Google business listing is up to date. Do it right and your business could land in the top three search results when someone says, “Hey, Google. Find a plumber near me.”
• In the news. Establishing your credibility as a plumbing expert also means getting media coverage — scoring interviews with your local newspapers and TV news stations. Did you know that the media has seasons just like your plumbing business does? At certain times of the year, they’re looking for pertinent, seasonal information their audience needs.
Appearing in the news boosts your credibility as a trusted local professional and expert. Even better, when those news sources post your story online, they will often include a link to your business website, which benefits your SEO as well. These stories are known as “earned media,” a proven method of building brand recognition and trust in an era of increasingly jaded consumers.
In a recent Forbes article, Chris Lynch had this to say about earned media:
“Amid this digital onslaught, brands miss a massive opportunity to improve their customer experience by influencing the more authentic interactions consumers have with earned media — that is, content that mentions a brand created by people who aren't paid by that brand, such as journalists, individual influencers and regular consumers.”
According to Business 2 Community, 44 percent of direct mail is never opened and 70 percent of consumers prefer articles over ads as a way to get to know a company. Earned media is a smarter, more efficient way to reach your target clients.
• More tips. Once you land a newspaper interview or TV news appearance, be sure to take some time beforehand to prepare yourself for the interview. Think about likely questions, do some research and practice your answers. If you’re going to be on television, wear a uniform shirt or jacket bearing your company logo.
Consider exhibiting at local home and garden shows, too. This way, you can meet homeowners face-to-face and provide helpful tips and information on upcoming innovations in the plumbing industry.
Once you’ve established yourself as an expert, you might be called upon to be a guest speaker for local civic groups, clubs and schools. You can also seek out these kinds of speaking engagements by contacting the club presidents or school administrators. Have a timely, relevant topic in mind and a presentation prepared. For a business club, consider a presentation on the cost savings of upgrading to low-flow faucets. For a school, prepare a talk on the benefits of choosing the home service industry as a career.
Stand out from the crowd
These strategies will set you apart from all the other plumbers in your market. Chances are, they’re not doing public relations at all. Looking for new ways to market your company can help the right clients find you when they need you.
These initiatives can represent a significant investment of time for your already-busy plumbing business. But you don’t have to neglect public relations because you don’t have the time. Partnering with an experienced home service public relations firm can help. PR professionals know how to communicate with the news media in your area to get the appearances you need. And they can provide you with website content that will launch you to the top of the search results.
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