Marketing for Plumbers: How Plumbers Can Get More Leads

The to-do list only gets bigger when you’re running a plumbing business. Sending and chasing invoices, arranging apprenticeships, buying parts, renewing licences – and let’s not forget carrying out the dozens of boiler fittings and central heating installations scattered across the region.

One major point on the list that often gets neglected is marketing the business – after all, no accountant or customer is insisting you do it. Also, it’s difficult to know where to start, and when you do, it’s hard to know whether your efforts have been effective or not. 

But attracting leads is one of the most important aspects of running and growing a plumbing business (after all, where would a plumber be without a reliable “lead pipeline”?)

At Advance Online, we have years of experience helping plumbers market their businesses to attract more leads and boost revenues.

In this article, we explain how plumbers can market their business and offer eleven tips on digital marketing for plumbers.

Traditional Ways to Market a Plumbing Business

Much like with any local business, there are various avenues for plumbers to market their services. From branding to local sponsorship, we explain all.

Branding Your Plumbing Business

plumber branding logo example

The brand is the driving force behind marketing a plumbing business. It demonstrates the business’s character and is one of the first things customers encounter. There is no right or wrong answer when it comes to branding a plumbing business, but if you’re finding it difficult to pin down, there are steps you can take to land on the right solution for you – and more importantly, your customer.

  1. Understand your audience: What is the target market? Domestic or commercial customers, or both? What about location? Do particular plumbing issues exist in the area, such as legacy piping or flooding? Try to pin down exactly what your customer wants and expects.
  2. Define your USP: Not every plumbing business is the same. Do you specialise in boiler fittings? Or how about blocked drains? Do you offer 24/7 emergency callouts? Your USP should be clear in your branding.
  3. Create a brand identity: Using the points above, decide upon an overall brand identity. To help, try summarising it in a few words, such as: ‘responsive, reliable, professional’ or ‘fast, friendly, gets the job done’.
  4. Choose a memorable name: It doesn’t have to be anything too clever  (consider the success of Pimlico Plumbers). If you’re struggling for inspiration, consider local landmarks or bodies of water.
  5. Design a logo: Employ an agency or graphic designer for the best results. Be clear on your requirements and don’t be afraid to request amendments.
  6. Consider a catchy slogan: Whether the slogan is humorous or straightforward depends on your brand identity. It could be anything, from ‘For all your plumbing emergencies’ to ‘Because a royal flush beats a full house’.
  7. Be consistent: Create a branding document that contains the ‘rules’ of your company branding so you can refer to it later.

Local Marketing for Plumbers

local plumber advertising options

Advertising a plumbing business through local channels is nothing new but it’s worth covering all the bases for maximum exposure. The options include:

  • Business cards and flyering
  • Vehicle liveries
  • Billboards and hoardings
  • Local newspapers and magazines
  • Sponsoring local events, organisations and sports teams
  • Attending local trade events or networking at national expositions, such as PHEX or InstallerSHOW
  • Customer referral programmes

Another effective way to generate regular leads is to partner with local home associations or builders – that way, you can take advantage of the ‘marketing’ of others. Depending on the relationship, it may involve reciprocal referrals, working at a reduced rate or paying a referral fee.

Finally, don’t forget the power of word of mouth. Keep your customers happy and the leads will generate themselves. 

Digital Marketing for Plumbers

With 98% of consumers searching for local businesses online – and 80% of local searches converting into leads – it’s clear that digital marketing is essential for plumbers. We explain the main types of digital marketing plumbers can – and should – implement.

Websites for Plumbers

A website is the central hub of any digital marketing effort. It’s a place for you to promote your business and the services that you offer. 

Use an appealing, user-friendly design and engaging copy to encourage customers to get in touch, either by phone, email or contact form. Include case studies and testimonials – this is your chance to shine. 

You can build your website using a website builder such as Wix or Squarespace, but for the best results, consider engaging web design professionals.

SEO for Plumbers

A website isn’t just a landing page, it’s the basis of your search engine optimisation (SEO) efforts. 

SEO involves configuring and optimising a website so that it appears high up in search engine results pages (SERPs) for certain search terms or ‘keywords’. Web pages that appear higher in SERPs receive the largest share of traffic. For example, the top result receives almost 40% of the traffic, while the second and third pages receive only 1% combined.

In simple terms, search engines rank search results in two main ways: 

  1. The topical authority of the webpage in relation to the search term, judged by factors such as the inclusion of the keyword in the copy and the depth and quality of the content.
  2. The authority of the domain, judged by the number and quality of other websites that link to it.

Rankings are also dependent on the technical setup of the website, i.e. how easy it is to access and read for both search engines and users alike. 

SEO is the act of optimising websites to best meet all of these criteria.

You may also have heard the term ‘local SEO’, which involves optimising for searches local to your area, either through your website or your Google Business profile.

For more information on SEO, see our Guide to SEO for Local Businesses.

Pay-per-click Advertising for a Plumbing Business

Have you ever noticed that the top search results sometimes have ‘AD’ or ‘Sponsored’ next to them? This is one example of pay-per-click advertising (PPC). Companies enter auctions to appear in the top spots for certain keywords. They pay a fee if a consumer clicks on their website, typically a few pounds.

Another type of PPC is ‘display advertising’. These are the clickable videos, gifs, images and text that appear on other web pages.

The ROI of PPC can easily be calculated by comparing the value of the leads you received vs. the fees paid to the search engine, advertising provider or website. It’s a great way to get immediate marketing results.

Content Marketing for Plumbers

Producing informative content and posting it on your website can market your business in several ways.

First, it demonstrates your expertise to prospective customers, building trust.

Second, it’s good for SEO. If a website has published lots of high-quality content on a particular topic, search engines will deem it topical expert – this is called ‘topical authority’ and is a key SEO ranking factor.

Third, it can capture traffic by targeting keywords at different stages of the sales funnel. If a customer is wondering what type of boiler to have next and they find an informative guide on your website via a search engine, you’ve put yourself in prime position to get the job.

Social Media Marketing for Plumbers

plumber social media

Social media is a great way to engage with customers. It’s also a chance to share both your expertise and personality.

Tailoring your approach for each platform is key. For instance, an engaging, playful tone works on Facebook, an inspirational tone is good for Instagram, and a more formal tone is suitable for LinkedIn. And if you’re wondering, ‘Who wants to watch videos of a blocked drain?’, just take a look at some existing social media accounts: there’s an audience for everything.

You can pay to boost social media posts and appear in the feeds of target demographics. Influencer advertising is also possible. If you’ve installed a boiler for a local celebrity, why not ask them to share their satisfaction with their followers?

Email Marketing for Plumbers

A step up from flyers through the letterbox, email marketing engages with an already captive audience.

Grow your email list by collecting the details of current and prospective customers and send emails in a targeted manner with, for instance, new deals on boiler installations or early bookings.

However, be careful not to flood inboxes with too many emails, as you may suffer a bout of ‘unsubscribes’. 

11 Digital Marketing Tips for Plumbers

At times, digital marketing can feel like a tangle of piping in a huge house: it’s difficult to know what works and where things lead. But by following these eleven digital marketing tips for plumbers, you can reach the right audience and generate significant leads. 

1. Claim and Optimise a Google Business Profile

If you’re only going to carry out one digital marketing activity, make it claiming and optimising your Google Business profile. Simple to create and populate, Google Business profiles appear in both SERPs and on Google Maps. Review functionality makes them an excellent way for consumers to make informed decisions when choosing a service provider.

In search results, Google Business profiles are ranked by their relevance, distance and prominence (in simple terms, the number of positive reviews it has received). To rank highly, make sure your profile has:

  • Accurate and consistent contact information
  • Up-to-date opening hours
  • A clear and concise description
  • Logos and imagery
  • A list of the services you provide and a short description of each
  • Lots of positive reviews

Top tip: Solicit reviews from your customers by giving them business cards with QR codes linked to your Google Business profile.

Optimised Google Business Profile

2. Choose Your Plumbing Keywords Carefully

A keyword is a word or phrase for which you would like to rank in search engines. It can be a single word, such as ‘plumber’, or a short phrase, such as ‘emergency plumber in Guildford’.

Deciding which keywords to target is the most essential step of your digital strategy. They not only determine the content of your website for SEO purposes but also the approach you will take in other digital marketing disciplines, such as PPC and social media.

The keywords you choose should:

  1. Have an appropriate search intent, i.e. users enter the term when they are seeking to employ your services, e.g. ’emergency plumber’ rather than ‘leaky pipes’.
  2. Be relevant to the business or services you offer, including, where appropriate, the location.
  3. Have good performance data. This can be split into two parts:
    • Search volume: The number of people searching that term. This should be large enough to provide meaningful traffic.
    • Difficulty. How difficult it is to rank for this term, based on the strength of the search competition (the webpages that appear in the search results).

what goes into a keyword

Keywords for plumbing businesses are typically local and comprise two parts: the service and the location. If you are targeting five services across three locations, that’s a total of fifteen keywords. 

Typical service keywords for plumbers include ‘plumbers’, ‘plumbing’, ‘plumbing contractors’, ‘emergency plumbers’, ‘boiler installations’, ‘boiler maintenance’, ‘blocked drains’, ‘drain surveys’ and ‘commercial plumbers’. 

For a full list of plumbing keywords with data, see our blog post on the Best Keywords for Plumbers, and for more information on how to select keywords, see our guide on SEO Keywords for Local Businesses.

3. Create an Engaging and Informative Website

For plumbers, it’s essential to consider the following when designing a website:

  • Display contact information in the header. When faced with a leak or a broken boiler, customers want contact information fast.
  • Include testimonials. This can help you stand out from other plumbers in the area, particularly if they come from places like TrustPilot or Google Business
  • Make the services you offer clear to see. Keep the pages uncluttered and the copy concise. 
  • Upload your own (i.e. non-stock) images for better engagement. At last, you can use that photo of a blocked sink you’ve had on your phone for months.
  • Make it responsive. A website should load in under three seconds, otherwise customers might return to the search results. A slow website also reflects badly on the business (particularly for a ‘quick-response’ plumber!).
  • Include a call to action. Ask your customers to get in touch and make it easy to do so.

If you’re uncertain about web design and building, reach out to a web-design agency to get help from the specialists.

4. Map Keywords Appropriately on Your Website

Appropriate keyword mapping is essential to SEO. For the best results, each service keyword should have a dedicated ‘service page’ and be attached to a maximum of two areas. Any other areas should be targeted on an ‘area page’.

If you are targeting plumber, boiler installations and drain unblocking in three areas: Guildford, Basingstoke and Chobham, then the page layout might look something like the below.

  1. Home page targeting ‘plumbers in Guildford’ and ‘plumbers in Basingstoke’.
  2. Service page targeting ‘boiler installations in Guildford’ and ‘boiler installations in Basingstoke’.
  3. Service page targeting ‘drain unblocking in Guildford’ and ‘drain unblocking in Basingstoke’.
  4. Area page targeting ‘plumbers in Chobham’, ‘boiler installations in Chobham’ and ‘drain unblocking in Chobham’.
A visual example for several services targeted across four areas is shown below. 

keyword targeting example

Additional pages providing accreditations, case studies and contact information help improve the depth and quality of the content on the site.

5. Optimise Your Website

In SEO terms, the first step towards your website reaching the top of the SERPs is on-page optimisation. This involves optimising the content on the website to make it easy to understand for search engines and users alike. On-page optimisation includes, but is not limited to:

  • Including keywords in meta-data, such as the page title and meta-description
  • Including keywords in headings and sub-headings
  • Including keywords in SEO copy (text)
  • Unique images (a reason to take photos of burst and fixed pipes on the job)
  • Optimised images (i.e. of a small file size, quick to load)
  • Internally linked pages

meta data example

An SEO professional can help audit and improve your website – don’t be afraid to ask the experts.

6. Implement Technical SEO and Add to Tools

Technical SEO involves configuring the website to make it easy for search engines to read and to provide a user-friendly experience. Typical tasks involve:

indexing information from Google Console

Adding your website to the appropriate tools is essential for its ongoing health and provides opportunity to monitor performance. At a minimum, ensure your website is active on Google Search Console and Google Analytics.

Technical SEO can be a daunting affair, especially as poor technical implementation can seriously hamper rankings. Luckily, there are many technical SEO experts on hand to help.

7. Build Citations and Backlinks from Reputable, Relevant Websites

The final piece in the SEO puzzle – improving off-page SEO comes in two forms:

  1. Citations: Mentions of your business information across the internet through, for example, business and trade directories such as Yell or Local Plumbing Directory.
  2. Backlinks: Other websites linking to yours through, for instance, plumbing blogs and magazines such as Heating and Plumbing Monthly (note, some citations also provide backlinks).

The most important factor is ensuring the citations and backlinks are of a high quality – this means they are relevant to your business and keywords and that websites are not filled with spam.

For a list of high quality business directories, see our article ‘The 20 Best Business Directories for SEO in the UK

8. Pay-per-click Advertising – Start Small and Grow

PPC investment

Pay-per-click advertising offers immediate, tangible results with a measurable ROI, but starting out can be intimidating. With some keywords costing several pounds per click, budget can quickly vanish if you don’t get it right.

To test the waters and mitigate financial risk, try starting small and growing your PPC – that means limiting your budget, choosing possibly one channel (e.g. Google search ads) and targeting a handful of keywords of limited reach. These might be ‘plumber’ in your local area or a more niche service, such as ‘boiler maintenance’, in a wider catchment area. 

By understanding the spend and ROI for a small campaign, you can more confidently approach broader campaigns later.

Other points of note for PPC include:

  • Write effective ad copy
  • Create engaging and user-friendly landing pages
  • Stay on top of the performance data and adjust as necessary

If you still don’t know where to start, try contacting a PPC specialist who can help you determine your strategy and budget.

9. Write Regular Content that Suits Your Needs

blog examples There are no shortcuts to producing good content. It takes time or costs money. But there are ways to make blogs work for your business in more ways than one.

Try producing content that genuinely helps both you and your customers. Are you fielding calls with basic plumbing questions that don’t warrant a callout? Publish a blog you can direct customers towards. Do you need to learn about new plumbing regulations, such as heat pumps? Collect your learnings in a blog post for both you and your customers.

By approaching content writing in a spirit of genuine helpfulness, you not only demonstrate your worth to prospective customers, but you take a big step forward towards capturing more traffic. 

10. Grow a Social Media Following

Informative plumbing videos explaining how to, for example, reset a boiler can attract thousands of views, and there’s no shortage of curiosity regarding the everyday aspects of trade jobs. 

Well-edited videos showing the satisfying resolution of a plumbing problem, such as replacing legacy piping, are in vogue. And if you find yourself dislodging a particularly gruesome fatberg, make sure to document it. You might be surprised by the attention it gets on social media.

social media for plumbers

The key is to bring your social media presence in line with your branding and to give it a personal touch by featuring your voiceover or image. Intersperse fun posts with examples of work you’ve completed. Post regularly and persevere through the initial stages, when uptake will inevitably be low.  

Some good examples of plumbing social media accounts include Leggy the Plumber on Instagram and George the Plumber on TikTok

11. Build Your Email List

Building an email list is no mean feat, but when successful, it offers an excellent avenue to reach engaged customers directly. A multi-pronged approach will help you build your email list quickly. Consider the following tactics:

  • Gather email address on your website’s contact form
  • Offer incentives for signing up
  • Make it part of referral programmes
  • Use e-invoices (make sure people opt in for the mailing list in this case)
  • Create a free tool that requires sign-up, for example, a gas-usage calculator

Once you’ve built an email list, don’t waste it – before you press send, ask yourself if it meets any of the following criteria.

  • Does the email contain enticing offers for products or services?
  • Does the email share information essential to your customers, such as updates about new regulations or market changes?
  • Is the email informative and engaging?
  • Does the email build your brand or improve your relationship with the customer?

If your email doesn’t achieve at least one (or better two) of the above, you might want to hold fire until you’ve got something more useful to share. An unsubscribe is only a click away…

How Much Does Marketing for Plumbers Cost?

At times, marketing can seem like a bottomless well (or a leaky cistern, if you will). But that doesn’t mean you need to forever pouring money into your marketing campaigns without knowing whether what you’re doing is worth it. 

By using your budget wisely in line with reasonable expectations, you can achieve steady, meaningful results. 

In digital marketing terms, we typically see the following marketing models for local plumbing businesses. 

  • Basic (budget = £300-£600 per month). A small website targeting two to three service keywords and areas with fundamental SEO such as SEO setup, citation building and tools maintenance. 
  • Intermediate (budget = £600-£1,500 per month) Five to six service keywords and areas with intensive SEO efforts including regular audits and backlink building; quarterly or monthly content marketing; PPC campaigns; some social media posts
  • Advanced (budget = £1,500 – £5,000 per month) Ten-plus competitive service keywords and areas; advanced SEO and link-building tactics such as guest posting and HARO (Help a Reporter Out); long form and targeted content across multimedia; significant PPC budget; social media strategy, planning and posting; email campaigns. 

It’s worth noting that when done correctly, marketing can grow itself. Start small, gain revenue and invest that into more extensive marketing efforts.

Plumbing Marketing: Final Thoughts

Plumbers need to stand out in an increasingly competitive marketing environment. 

By combining traditional approaches with a digital marketing strategy that suits your budget and needs, you can attract leads and grow your business.

If you have any further questions about marketing for plumbers, please get in touch, we would love to hear from you.

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