“How can I get more plumbing jobs?”
It’s almost certainly a question that’s crossed your mind if you and your plumbing crews have had a bit too much downtime on your hands lately.
But if your business has been around for a while, canned marketing advice like "claim your business on Google", "start posting on social media”, and “do SEO” starts to get old pretty quickly.
We’re here to change that with four guides on how to implement powerful, underutilized marketing techniques that - although they take work to set up - can reinforce your pipeline for plumbing and heating leads in both the short and long-term.
1. Get Google Guaranteed and Start Running LSAs
Why it matters:
Local Services Ads (LSAs) and Google Guarantee certification are the latest - and quite possibly greatest - ways for your plumbing business to get an edge on Google.
Unlike Google Ads, which any business can sign up to use, LSAs can only be run by approved businesses. It means more work up front, but it’s absolutely worth the effort.
- LSAs give your business prime real estate in the search results
- LSAs are pay-per-lead, not pay-per-click
- The Google Guarantee instantly helps your business stand out
- The Google Guarantee lets your business borrow Google’s brand clout
- The Google Guarantee means Google (at least partially) reimburses dissatisfied customers
And here’s what that looks like:
Together, all of the benefits of LSAs and the Google Guarantee work in tandem to produce more leads and more projects for your crews - all for a lower cost per lead.
After a stateside trial period that started in 2015, Google began piloting the LSA program in the Vancouver and Toronto markets at the end of 2018.
As of now, they’re only available to businesses in the plumbing, HVAC, and locksmithing industries, although a broader rollout is expected somewhere down the road.
More importantly, the program only recently expanded Canada-wide, so acting soon will almost certainly put you a step ahead of most of your local competitors.
How to do it:
See if you’re eligible to apply
You can do that here. Don’t worry, it’s not as bad as it sounds. This is more of a way to filter out businesses that aren’t currently eligible for LSAs.
Create a Local Services Ads profile
Next, you’ll enter your business information. Be extra careful with your location and services, as those will influence when your LSAs appear.
Prepare and submit your documents
Follow the guidelines on this page from Google to assemble all the correct paperwork. It covers multiple countries, so proceed with care!
Complete Google’s background checks
Through a third-party partner, Google will run no-cost background checks on your company and employees. You can see what those checks cover here.
Create LSAs and fit them into your workflow
All approved? Now you can start creating LSAs and setting budgets for them. New leads will come in via inbox or the mobile app (Android or Apple), so make sure someone is ready to respond to them.
2. Automate review collection
Why it matters:
Let’s say someone searches for “plumber [the name of your city]”.
Beyond the LSAs and Google Ads placements, they’ll see an embedded map and 3 or 4 listings for plumbers, plus an option to “View all” just below.
It’s hard to miss - on both phones and computers, the map is one of the most prominent visual elements in the search results.
At this point, the searcher needs to make a choice. Which listing (or listings) should they click on? Unless you’re Google Guaranteed, everything about the listings is practically identical...except for the reviews.
That illustrates just how important reviews are: one action into the search process, and they can already effectively result in your business getting taken out of the running.
They’re a make-or-break factor for any business, and that goes double for service-based businesses like plumbing and heating.
Don’t be passive about reviews
Whether it’s in plumbing or another industry, a lot of businesses struggle with reviews. They’re either too afraid of bad reviews, or naively believe that as long as they do a great job, the reviews will take care of themselves.
Both of those are fair points - but neither are valid reasons to avoid proactive review collection.
If you’re worried about bad reviews:
Ask yourself: why are people complaining? If you’re getting a lot of bad reviews for the same reasons, it’s a sign that you need to fix something.
Aside from that, if you’re confident in your plumbing and heating services, then getting more reviews will only bolster your reputation. You can never be 100% free of bad reviews, but as long as you respond to them respectfully and try to resolve the situation, other potential customers will still see your business in a positive light.
If you feel like reviews will handle themselves:
You’re not wrong, actually. If you’re delivering stellar plumbing and heating services day in, day out, you’ll undoubtedly pick up some great reviews without ever lifting a finger.
But in doing so, you’ll be missing out on the chance to build a massive selling point for your services. Just think - would you rather work with a business that has 50 five-star reviews, or one that has 150 five-star reviews?
Quality matters, but so does volume.
Power up with plug-and-play review requests
Now that we’ve established why reviews are really, really, important, we can talk about how you can get more of them.
Today, there are multiple ways your plumbing business can automatically collect reviews. If you’re already using an email tool like Mailchimp, you pretty much have everything you need already. And if you’re willing to do a bit of learning, there are powerful tools like BirdEye that give you even more options and control.
Just to keep things simple, let’s go with a (free!) Mailchimp-based automation for now. Once it’s set up, it’ll automatically send a review request email every time you add the email address of a customer you feel is likely to give you a positive review.
How to do it:
Make sure you own your Google My Business (GMB) listing
If you don’t manage your GMB listing already, follow these instructions to add or claim it. Doing that will give you access to a link that’ll let people leave reviews on your GMB listing.
Log in to Mailchimp or sign up for a free account
You can sign up for a free account here or log in the way you normally do.
Set up an identifying “Tag”
We’ll use this tag to automatically send out the review request email. From the main menu, select “Audience”, followed by “Tags”, then choose the option to create a Tag with the name “Send Review Request”.
Select the type of email
Go back to the main menu. This time, choose “Automations” and then “Emails”. Here, you’ll be presented with several types of emails you can create. Choose the one titled “Email subscribers when they’re tagged”, then give it an appropriate name like “Review Requests”. Underneath, you’ll use the default audience if you’ve just created a new account, or create a new audience called something like “Contacts for Review Requests”.
Match the “Tag” to the new email automation
Next, you’ll be prompted to set up a trigger that tells Mailchimp when to send out the email. Under the “Trigger” section, click on “Edit”, then change the delay to “Immediately” and the settings to the tag you created in step 3, “Send Review Request”.
Write the inbox content
Everything about this email should be concise and direct - including the subject line and preview text.
Subject line: This should thank the recipient or include a prompt like “Tell us how we did” or “How did we do?” (30-40 characters)
Preview text: This should minimize resistance; something like “Help us improve in 2 minutes or less” is ideal. (40-50 characters)
Design the email
Next, choose the basic 1 column email design from the available templates. You’ll want to upload an image file of your business’ logo to replace the “Logo” placeholder.
Write the email content
The email content should be short and sweet, 2-3 full sentences at most. Overall, you’ll want to reiterate your appreciation to the customer, reiterate your commitment to excellent service, then invite the customer to leave a review.
Add a direct review link for your GMB listing
Directly underneath the main body of content, hover your cursor until you see a (+) icon, then click on it. Look for the “Button” type of content block, then add it in. For the button text, use a clear call-to-action like “Leave a Review on Google”. In the “Link to” box, enter the direct review link to your GMB listing (follow these instructions to get it).
Proofread and test
Go through and proofread your subject line, preview text, and main email body content. Then, click “Preview and Test” in the top menu and send a test email to yourself to make sure everything is working correctly.
Add contacts and get reviews
Your automation is now set up! You can add in new contacts to your review request audience (the one from Step 4) one-by-one as you finish plumbing and heating jobs, but that tends to be overly tedious. Instead, you should identify candidates for review collection throughout the month, then import several new contacts at once.
As soon as contacts are entered into the audience you set up, review requests will go out to them immediately - no extra setup or work required.
3. Piggyback on Local or National Rebates and Subsidies
Why it matters:
People love saving money, and they love getting upgrades almost as much. As a plumbing company, you can use both of those things to your advantage.
Around the world, there’s been a growing emphasis on choosing environmentally-friendly options and taking action to prevent climate change.
Governments have followed suit by offering incentives for people to switch to “greener” options - and that often includes plumbing and heating equipment upgrades.
Typically provided as rebates, subsidies, and tax credits, these kinds of incentives can be a hugely powerful marketing tool for your plumbing company.
They let you instantly grab people’s attention with savings in the hundreds or even thousands of dollars - all without cutting into your own bottom line.
How to do it:
Identify all available local incentives
Look at the municipal, provincial/state, and federal levels to make sure you’re able to offer as many rebates as possible.
Find ways to add unique extra value
You almost certainly won’t be the only company highlighting these incentives, so you should try to think of a bonus offer or value-add to make you the first choice.
Build landing pages for each type of incentive
Each type of incentive should have its own page, so you may need one for furnaces, boilers, water heaters, etc.
Create new ad groups and ads
Finally, you should create a new campaign for incentives, with ad groups and ads within it based on each type of incentive (i.e. furnace rebates, boiler rebates, etc.).
4. Write Sponsored Posts to get Seasonal Business and Backlinks
Why it matters:
If there’s one talking point that people never get tired of, it’s the weather.
Given how seasonal plumbing and heating can be, that’s something you’re probably already very familiar with...and you can use that knowledge to both directly and indirectly get more business.
Build your brand, share your knowledge, get new leads
Let’s start with the direct side of this strategy - sponsored content. Essentially, it involves paying for a piece of content to be featured elsewhere. For plumbing and heating companies, that “elsewhere” is almost always on the websites of local news and media outlets because:
They get a high volume of regular traffic
Your target audience visits these sites
As the heading says, this part of the strategy is about getting brand exposure, establishing your credibility, and picking up some leads along the way.
Realistically, though, you won’t get a deluge of new plumbing or heating jobs from this strategy - which is okay, because half of its purpose is to…
Reinforce your SEO with backlinks
Backlinks. They’re links located on another site that lead people to your site.
For example, if you create a sponsored post for mylocalnewspaper.com and that post has a link to your website, myplumbingandheatingbusiness.com, that counts as one backlink.
Why do backlinks matter? Because Google treats them as signals of legitimacy and credibility, which makes it more likely that your website’s pages will appear high up in the search results.
But not all backlinks are the same:
Backlinks from reputable websites are valuable, while backlinks from lesser known or - worse yet - disreputable websites are actually harmful.
Not all backlinks provide value; a backlink needs to be designated as a “dofollow” link by the linking site’s owner for the backlink to provide value.This prevents people from “gaming the system” and getting tons of backlinks through social media posts, comments sections of popular websites, or product reviews of major brands.
So, by creating sponsored posts on local news websites, you boost your own website’s SEO with a “dofollow” link from a reputable site, plus you gain exposure, credibility, and another avenue for lead generation.
How to do it:
Explore places for your content to be published
The online version of the local newspaper may be well-known, but there may be newer online-only publications that get just as much (or more) traffic.
Ask about their options for sponsored content
Shop around to get an idea of what rates are available, the kind of viewership numbers you can expect, and confirmation that the post will include a “dofollow” backlink to your website.
Create relevant, informative content
Dig deep into your expertise and share seasonally-appropriate knowledge that people would get value out of. A professional writer can help you with the delivery and presentation, but the core information should come from you.
Publish and share the content
Once your sponsored content is online, make sure to share it on your social media profiles and as a Google My Business post.