When plumbers are marketing their business, they usually focus on being found first—either in the phone book or online. The scenario that comes to mind is the hapless homeowner, scrambling to call a plumber as water spews from a broken pipe. There’s no time to read reviews, no time to ask family and friends for recommendations, and no time to vet the plumbers personally. Our hypothetical homeowner will scramble for the yellow pages (or his smartphone) and frantically dial the first plumber he can find. In most cases, this will either be the plumber with the most eye-catching ad or the one who had the foresight to name his business “AAAAAAAA Plumbing Services.”
Making sure your customers can find you is a good, solid tactic. But it certainly shouldn’t be the beginning and end of your marketing strategy. After all, most potential customers aren’t going to be calling in plumbing emergencies. They’re going to be hopping online to see if they can find out why their pipes are making that funny noise or why their toilet keeps running long after it’s been flushed.
And that’s where content marketing comes in.
The Benefits of Content Marketing for Plumbers
Content marketing, in case you’re new to the idea, is simply the strategy of attracting (and retaining) customers by providing awesome and engaging content. In your case, that means providing answers that help the plumbing-challenged diagnose (and perhaps even resolve) their issues. Do this enough, and the folks who read your content will come to see you as knowledgeable, trustworthy, and helpful. And if, heaven forbid, some horrific plumbing emergency should occur, your business will (hopefully) be the first to pop into their minds.
As an added benefit, providing unique and useful content can also bolster your online authority, making your business more likely to show up in the search engines. For example, let’s say you publish an article on your blog about dealing with slow drains. Every time someone does a search on slow drains and clicks on your article, it sends a signal to Google that your article is authoritative, and Google will respond by moving it higher in the rankings. This makes your article even more visible, which means more clicks, which means more authority.
Content marketing is also a great way to retain your current customers and build their loyalty. When your satisfied customer decides to check out your blog or Facebook page and finds a series of useful articles about plumbing maintenance, water conservation, or even DIY projects, they’re going to take note. They’re going to remember you the next time they’re faced with a plumbing crisis they can’t tackle alone, and they’re going to recommend you to their friends and family.
Some Ideas for Plumber-Related Content
The hardest part of content marketing is coming up with the content itself. It can be a bit overwhelming, especially when you’re first starting, but the idea is to take it in manageable chunks. Put yourself in the shoes of a customer dealing with plumbing issues without your experience or expertise, and then try to image what he or she would find helpful.
The important thing to remember is that the content you provide must be:
Folks are visiting your website or blog because they’re looking for something they need. If you’re not providing it, they’ll simply click away and look for it elsewhere.
Copying and pasting content from other sources will hurt your online credibility with your customers and with the search engines. It’s okay to do research and reference other websites, but make sure the content you post on your site is original and uniquely yours.
Content marketing isn’t a “set it and forget it” strategy. You need to be adding new content to your site somewhat regularly if you want to remain useful to your customers and relevant to the search engines.
So what kind of content works well for plumbers? Here are a handful of suggestions to inspire you:
- Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs): Compile a list of the questions you’re most commonly asked, and answer them clearly and succinctly. If you’re at a loss for material, you can always ask your customers to submit questions through email.
- How-To Guides: Establish yourself as an authority with the DIY crowd by walking them through simple fixes and maintenance procedures they can tackle on their own. Once you become a go-to resource in their minds, you’ll be the first one they think of when they run into a task beyond their abilities.
- Case Studies: Write a short article about a problem one of your customers was experiencing and how you went about solving it. Make sure to respect your customers’ privacy, and avoid revealing any personal details about them in your story.
- Product Reviews: When folks are researching a potential purchase online, they’re always grateful for a professional opinion. You can help them out by posting honest reviews weighing the pros and cons of water heaters, bathroom fixtures, etc. Or, if you’re feeling particularly industrious, you can offer up side-by-side comparisons of several brands at once.
- Supplementary Articles: Sure, the focus of your content is going to be plumbing. But your customers may be looking for info on subjects that are tangential at best to your business. By offering up the skinny on diverse topics like conserving water, winterizing a home, or getting rid of mold and mildew, you’ll draw in more diverse group of readers who will, hopefully, be dazzled by your plumbing acumen and know-how.
There are no shortcuts and, unfortunately, no guarantees when it comes to content marketing. With so much noise and clutter on the internet, simply being heard above the din can be a truly epic challenge. But a successful content marketing campaign is a great way to build credibility online, build trust with your audience, and hopefully convert them into a community of loyal customers.