“Who has that kind of time?” This is the typical response small businesses, and especially plumbers have when talking about the maze of online marketing. This is with good reason! Plumbers are busy with repairs, installation, sales, commercial, and remodeling projects. But without a solid marketing plan, that busyness may die off.
Let’s address a few key components of digital marketing, and clever ways you can save time doing them.
Social media maintenance
Many plumbing business owners are overwhelmed by the seemingly daunting task of keeping up with social media. It honestly can be a full-time job, but you can participate without sucking hours out of your workday and workweek.
The first thing to do is figure out which social media channels your potential customers use frequently. Instagram and Facebook are a great place for plumbers to start.
If you have a team of plumbers, assign each plumber a day of the week when it is their turn to update your social media channels. It can be as simple as taking a picture with a Smartphone and posting it to Instagram and Facebook (which can be done at the same time!) This effort should take less than five minutes a day. Here are a few speedy social media post ideas for plumbers:
- The ride to a job site. Share any interesting scenery, signage, or other points of interest while driving around. Potential customers want to learn about your services, but it is the behind-the-curtain, relatable content that people are really after. These types of posts make you memorable!
- An installation. A quick image of a new hot water heater or furnace reminds your audience of your services.
- A new kitchen sink, tub, or shower. People love to see what is the newest, greatest thing in construction. This reminds would-be customers that a beautiful new farm style sink or two-headed shower is useless until a plumber hooks them up.
- Funny things that happen on the job site. Always be looking for a way to make your audience chuckle. Think of it this way – when the Super Bowl is over, what are most people talking about? The commercials, specifically the funny ones. Humor connects all people, helps to build relationships, and makes you memorable.
Now, one of the most important components of social media is customer engagement. What if a customer reaches out? What if they comment on your image? In order for social media to drive business, the conversation needs to go both ways. So while plumbers are taking turns posting images, someone in the office can be nurturing any conversations that are taking place. And yes! We recognize that your office personnel is likely already slammed. Here again, a disciplined schedule is paramount.
Checking social media accounts for 10 minutes in the morning, 10 minutes at lunch, and 10 minutes before shutting down for the day is all it takes. Where social media can become a real time suck is when users get distracted. To help with this, maybe ask the office staff to submit a weekly report of any valuable interactions on Facebook and Instagram, and how much time was spent maintaining both. This will help you track if the time spent on these channels is valuable. If it is valuable, it may eventually pay for a part-time resource to maintain your social media presence.
A highly-optimized site, built specifically with the plumbing industry in mind, is a must. That is because your website is like having a tireless employee, who works 24/7, 365 days a year, to answer your customer’s questions.
A website is a brilliant solution to speedy marketing. Wait just a minute though. Websites are only your best, most timely marketing strategy if:
- A website is fully optimized. Unless a website is fully optimized, it is like those flyers you have sitting in the closet from the 90s – useless. A website is only a strong marketing tool if your potential customers can find you.
- A website is formatted and designed specifically for the plumbing industry. Seek out a professional web development firm who has researched your industry inside and out. It is vital that the information on your website be delivered to your potential customers exactly when and how they want that information. If this part of your website is not delivered correctly, a potential new customer will bounce from your site and go to your competitor’s.
- A website tells your story. A website will help instill trust in someone who is interested in your services. They want to know who you are, how long you’ve been in business, why you do what you do, and they want to see reviews from happy customers.
- You partner with a web firm that works with you to keep your website optimized, updated, and maintained. In order for a website to perform, it needs to be nurtured over time. Partnering with a web designer and developer who can assist with ongoing updates, optimization, security, and maintenance will save you valuable time and energy.
All layers of digital marketing are content-driven. So who is going to write all this content? Blogs, emails, newsletters – these are all valuable assets in the eyes of your would-be customers. They also are very time-consuming.
The fastest approach for busy plumbers to meet content demand is to contract it out. It is more affordable than you think! Online resources such as Upwork, HubStaff, Freelancer, ProBlogger, and even Craigslist offer vast pools of freelancers. Once you partner with someone you like, you can continue to work with them on future projects.
One of the best things plumbers can do to save time on marketing is to use online freelance services.
Google Ads can take a tremendous amount of time, but it doesn’t have to. You can start very simply by setting up a campaign, selecting a handful of keywords you think your potential customers are using in Google search, and establishing a daily budget. Over time, you can expand upon your campaign and your knowledge base. Google Ads has an impressive library of free videos to walk you through the process. Google Ads certification is also available.
Where Google Ads really shine is in the performance data it delivers. After setting up a campaign, analyzing the data is the second most important thing you can do.
To REALLY save time on this, you can contract through the freelance services we mentioned previously. You can also check with your web professional to see if they provide this service as well. The key to saving time on marketing is to start small. Full implementation of online marketing strategies takes time. Participate in the online strategies that make sense for your business, and set them up in a way that aligns with the resources you have available.