The way your potential customers search for you has changed dramatically in the last five years. The search process is simple – but delivering what your customer is looking for is not.
Your potential customer’s search process looks like this: Hop on a Smartphone, search for the plumbing service they need, choose the top two to three choices in Google’s search engine results, check out those websites, read reviews for each.
Pretty simple, right? While Google is doing everything they can to deliver a seamless search experience, you have to be in the background with a solid plan to deliver those search results in a competitive way.
In order to create leads, you will need:
- An optimized website built specifically with the plumbing industry in mind
- Become proficient at SEO – on-page, off-page, and local
- Build a library of favorable Google Reviews
- Consider a Google Ads campaign
- A digital marketing campaign
Let’s break these down, one at a time:
Optimized, plumber-industry specific website
We are listing this first because it is arguably the most important. There are websites, and then there are websites that drive leads. How do they differ?
Websites that drive leads for plumbers have two very crucial components:
- They are optimized with best SEO practices
- They are designed specifically for what potential plumbing customers are looking for
Websites have to be properly optimized in order for your plumbing site to rank in the coveted second to third position in Google’s search results. There are so many options for do-it-yourself web development these days, but unfortunately, those websites aren’t always optimized properly. While the web development industry has made it easier for folks to make a beautiful website in a couple of days, Google has made it harder to rank. The two are definitely related! There are so many websites online, that Google has had to really crack down on whose website is favored, and whose isn’t. A website is properly optimized by adhering to best SEO practices, which we will cover in a minute.
One very important step many businesses don’t necessarily think of is designing a site that is made specifically for their line of business. Plumbers have unique customers, and they search for very specific things in a very specific way. Make certain you choose a web developer who has done their research on the plumbing industry and knows how to design a site around what your potential customer is looking for.
Become proficient at SEO
There are countless courses and resources online to help acquaint you with the complex topic of SEO. While Google has over 200 ranking signals it uses, here are a few of the basics that will help you get leads for your plumbing business:
SSL Certificate – If you look in the address bar of any URL, you will see a padlock, an “i,” or the words, “Not Secure.” An SSL Certificate is a layer of encryption between websites that Google favors for ranking purposes. If you don’t have one, the first thing a potential client sees when they come into your website is a “Not Secure” warning. We can all agree that is not the best first impression. The padlock means a proper SSL Cert is in place, and an “i” typically indicates that there is a SSL Certificate in place, but that there are issues with it.
Site speed – If your website is not built for speed, Google might slap your online hand. Google places a lot of emphasis on user experience. A slow site with heavy load times delivers a poor experience. Therefore, Google punishes slow websites with longer load times.
Image alt and title tags – Images on a website need to be set up with alt and title tags, so that they can be defined by screen readers, used by those who are vision-impaired.
Content – Unless you’ve been asleep for the last ten years, you have likely heard that “content is king.” If you want Google to play nice with your site, a content strategy is a must. You can do this in a variety of ways, but one of the most effective methods is to build a landing page for your customers’ most common pain point and build supporting content around that (typically in the way of informative blogs). Content is a time suck – start by searching internally for a resource you already have on staff who has the ability and bandwidth for a content strategy. If not, consider contracting out that service. Some web developers also offer copywriting services, so you can cover several bases at once.
Local SEO – What is local SEO? It is a several step strategy for increasing ranking around local keywords and map listings. Here are a few best local SEO practices:
- Localized website content – Since many mobile searches end with “near me,” it’s more important than ever to have website content that emphasizes your location.
- Name, address, phone number citations (NAP) – Make certain that the name, address, and phone number is exactly the same on all social media accounts, websites, and local listings like Google My Business.
- Local business schema markup – Schema is code written into your website that gives Google the information it needs to rank your site by location.
Outside of a properly optimized website, online reviews might be the next most powerful piece of your online presence. In the plumbing industry, buyer journey maps show us that potential customers search for you (typically on their phone), and then either read reviews and visit your site or vice versa. Studies show that 88% of consumers trust online reviews as much personal recommendations.
How do you get Google reviews? You have to ask for them. You can follow up a service call with an email and your Google review link, you can solicit them on social media, and/or you can include a prompt on your invoicing.
Your Google review link is easy to find. Google your business. Look for your “Google My Business Listing.” Click on “write a review.” Copy that link once the review window appears. (These links are always extremely long. Consider shortening the link by using bitly.com.)
In an extremely competitive online landscape, like plumbing, paid advertising can help set you apart from your competitors. Google Ads target keywords that potential customers may be looking for and render ads based on keywords, budget, and ad quality score.
Google has an online course for Google Ads certification. Be warned, however, Google Ads is complex and takes a while to learn. Once again, consider asking existing office staff to get certified, contract with a specialist, or look for a web developer who can design and build websites, assist with content for your website, and manage a Google Ads campaign for you.
Digital Marketing Campaign
Many of the things we’ve talked about are pieces and parts of a digital marketing campaign, but if you need leads for your plumbing business, these pieces and parts need to be organized and structured. Here are some of the questions you can ask yourself when developing a digital marketing campaign:
- What are my goals for this digital marketing campaign? Do they span beyond “creating leads for my plumbing business”?
- What social media platforms should I be active on? What does my posting schedule and editorial calendar for this look like? Am I going to advertise on any of these platforms, and if so, what is my budget?
- What is the goal of my content strategy related to my website? Who is my audience and how do I build a relationship with them through my content? Who is going to write the content, and how often?
- Who is going to be responsible for claiming and maintaining my local listings?
- What is my Google review strategy?
- Should I be spending money on Google Ads, and if so, how much? Who is going to manage my Google Ads campaign for me?
Creating leads is not a one and done, few-minutes-a-week-process. It takes a tremendous amount of time and energy to deliver the right plumbing message to the right plumbing customer at the right time. But if you are willing to do these things, you will create more leads, while standing out from your competitors online. Want more helpful resources? Download our free resource guide for a comprehensive look at your digital marketing.