How To Advertise My Plumbing Business
How to advertise my plumbing business is a common question I get asked by HVAC guys. They’re in the weeds trying to figure out how things should be managed in the business and so the question is this.
How much should I be spending on my marketing budget. This is a big question because with every business you’ve got only so much money you can use and how do you know you’re spending it the right way.
How Much Should I Spend On Advertising
So how much should you spend on marketing? Real quick, marketing is going to include everything that you might do so that might be phone books.
So you pay your year subscription for the phone book and that could be as low as a thousand bucks or it could be twenty five hundred bucks a year or whatever.
You may be using Direct Mail that you put a lot of pieces of mail and you make sure every time maybe every month or every three months you hit your customers in their mailbox.
Maybe you do newspaper ads and you get in circulation of the biggest newspaper and you always try to have something there.
Or maybe you do the old-school way, take a business card and throw it on the bulletin board at a restaurant or in a hotel lobby. Something just trying to get it out.
According to the Small Business Administration they recommend between seven and eight percent of your annual revenue as a company should go back to marketing.
In my experience I found that companies do a little bit better if they spend a little bit more, so somewhere around nine or ten percent makes a lot of sense.
So what that means is if you’re a million dollar shop you should be throwing about $100,000 a year back into your marketing budget for everything you do.
That includes the newspaper, the phone book, direct mail, website, everything. Now some of you may be thinking that’s a lot of money, I don’t know how to do that or maybe you’re thinking I don’t need more customers I’m just fine and you might be right.
The issue is though you might be good today but what about tomorrow when you have a competitor down the street and he’s undercutting you in price or he’s doing better advertising.
All of a sudden you’re going to have to be keeping up with advertising and like most advertising it takes a while for the payoff. So you start throwing money at it and very few channels will you be able throw money and see really quick results.
Your Conversion Funnel
So it gets into this thing called the conversion funnel. Now if you go to business school or if you study marketing this is basically the process that every customer goes through.
If you’re ordering a plumber or if you’re ordering a pizza basically the funnel starts at the top and it moves down to finally where your customers are ready to make a purchasing decision.
At the top it’s awareness. It’s I know who you are and know you exist. Let’s face it they can’t buy from you, they can’t be your customer if they don’t know who you are and that you exist.
The next stage down is interest. Interest is an interesting column because it says okay, obviously I’ve got plumbing, I’ve got electrical needs, I’ve got a house project that we’re going to do or a bathroom remodel so let’s see what you have to say.
Preference is an awesome position to be in. So far we have awareness and interest. Now preference I describe it this way. I’ve got two young kids, my kids prefer McDonald’s over Burger King even if McDonald’s is five miles away and Burger King is one mile away.
My kids prefer McDonald’s so even if it’s less convenient, even if it’s pricier, even if the food isn’t as good, whatever because McDonald’s has the preference with my kids and they determine where that money goes and preference goes a long way.
Finally it’s a conversion. Now with HVAC it’s unique with your industry because for the most part your customers don’t look for you unless there’s a problem. Not many people sit down and wonder who are the plumbers around my neck of the woods just in case I need one.
They likely only look for a plumber when their water heater doesn’t work or their toilets leaking or they look for an electrician if the power went out at their panel or if they’re doing a remodel and they need to move panel from here to there.
They need something and that’s where the conversion funnel actually works a lot faster. So let’s say you’re one of those shops who spends say $20,000 a year on billboards.
Most the boards around me go for about $2,000 a month between two and thirty-five hundred a month. So you’re spending this money on a billboard and you’re great at getting awareness/ People know you exist and who you are.
The problem with that is that billboards are going to convert at about 1 to 10,000. What that means is for every 10,000 eyeballs that drive by that billboard only one of them will even notice you and that’s scary math when you’re spending two grand a month.
At the other end of the funnel is what we call referral. Referral almost always converts at a one-to-one. That means if you need heart surgery and you had a friend who just had heart surgery chances are you’re going to go to your friend and ask for his recommendation.
That’s going to be the person you call. Most of the people that were going to be talking about with who need plumbing services, who need HVAC, who need electrical services, they are the bottom part of the funnel.
Get In Front Of Your Potential Customers
The person has got a immediate problem and you can fix it so that’s why they’re looking. They’re not going to search for billboards and they’re not going to wait for a radio commercial and they’re not going to wait for that Direct Mail.
Sure, you can spend money on those but you’re going to get far better results if you were to spend 10 percent of your budget targeting conversions. You will have massively better results and can put that money back into the company to do more growth.
One of the best ways that we use is Adwords and Bing ads. Statistically most of people are on Google so we spend a lot of time studying Adwords.
How that works is that when someone sits down to a computer and they’re typing in hey I need a plumber this is where we’re starting to curate those results for you.
So instantly a customer who’s in your area, they’re in your city, in your neighborhood or any spot you want to service, they’re doing a search that says they’ve got a problem.
An example could be: emergency drain cleaning Houston. We can instantly show your sponsored ad to them and that they see it right when they need it, they can even click to call.
More than half of all web traffic right now is coming from a mobile device so they can actually just instead of having to go through a website and scroll, through a push button from the ad they can click to call and instantly you can take care of them.
So if you can spend 10% of your advertising dollars not on the awareness part of the funnel but where people have a problem and need a solution you will see far better return on your investment.
If you’re able to do the referral marketing you’ll almost always see a one to one return. It might be a little bit higher up to get them to contact you but that’s far better than doing all of your advertising on billboards, radio or TV for 99% of people who don’t need a plumber right now.
How To Advertise My Plumbing Business – Conclusion
I hope this post has shown you how you can manage your marketing dollars more effectively to get the most ROI for you. Feel free to check out some of our other marketing tips to help you generate results.
We manage AdWords campaigns but we also handle SEO search engine optimization so over the long term you can get incredibly effective results that does not break the bank.
If you have any questions just reach and I’ll be more than happy to answer any questions you may have.