The key to a steady flow of plumbing jobs is generating (and working) leads. Without leads, your business simply won’t grow. In fact, without leads, it might not even survive.
A lead is an opportunity that could turn into a job. And there are all kinds of ways to create opportunities. From referrals and reviews to advertising and social media, there are multiple solid strategies for generating plumbing leads.
If you’re looking to generate more plumbing leads, you’ve come to the right place. In this article, we’ll cover several of the top ways plumbers find jobs. We’ll also share the reasons some plumbers have a really hard time generating leads. And we’ll give you tips for overcoming these common obstacles.
Here’s how to generate plumbing leads to keep your business going strong.
6 Ways to Get More Plumbing Leads Now
Creating opportunities for new jobs is an essential part of running a plumbing business. Whether you rely on online promotion, print advertising, or even word-of-mouth marketing, what you’re really doing is generating leads.
The better you are at generating leads, the more opportunities for jobs you’ll have.
Below are 6 proven ways plumbers can create opportunities for new jobs. But none of the strategies are “free.” Some cost money. Others cost time. Some require both. In order to generate leads and close those leads, you’ll need to be ready to commit to the process.
Ultimately, the best lead generation strategy is the one that works for you.
1. Customers Reviews
Reviews from satisfied customers are one of the easiest, most effective, and least expensive methods for generating more plumbing leads.
Of course, there’s a critical first step. Before customer reviews can lead to new business, you need your customers to actually leave reviews. While a handful of happy customers might do this on their own, most customers will not. So you’ll need a strategy for encouraging customers to leave reviews.
Fortunately, that part is easy. The best way to get more reviews is simple. Just ask for them.
Not every customer will follow through, but that’s okay. The more reviews you get, the more likely you are to catch the attention of potential customers. Naturally, positive reviews are better. But even negative reviews can help you build new business.
Just be sure you’re upbeat, attentive, and direct in replying to negative reviews. Never argue with a dissatisfied customer. Instead, offer to fix the situation, if possible. This approach will actually help build trust with potential customers—even though the original review was negative.
2. Word-of-Mouth Marketing
Word-of-mouth marketing is the technical term for referrals. Like online reviews, referrals are an easy method of getting more plumbing leads.
But referrals aren’t just an easy way to generate leads. They’re also extremely effective. 92% of potential customers trust referrals given by someone they know personally. That means a lead generated through a referral is much more likely to close.
On top of that, referrals are more valuable leads. On average, referred customers spend 13.2% more than non-referred customers. Plus, they have a 16% higher lifetime value. Said another way, referrals will spend more and stick with you longer.
However, like customer reviews, referrals rarely just happen. You’ll need to encourage customers to help you out.
The best way to do this is with a smile. When you finish a job, ask customers to keep you in mind when their friends and family need a plumber. Be sure your tone is casual and friendly. You don’t want customers to feel pressured.
While referrals are a low-cost and very effective source of plumbing leads, you shouldn’t expect a ton of leads to come in this way overnight.
There are plumbers out there who get the majority of their business through word-of-mouth. But it takes time (as in, years) to build a strong, consistent funnel based almost exclusively on referrals.
3. Search Engine Optimization
Even if your plumbing business is small, there’s a good chance you have a website. If you don’t, we encourage you to address that ASAP. You’re missing out on some key online opportunities if you don’t have one.
In the early days of the internet, a website alone was enough to help a business. But those days are long gone. Now, there’s a lot of competition online. If you want to grab your potential customers’ attention, you’ll need more than a website. You’ll need an actual strategy.
That’s where search engine optimization (or SEO) comes into play.
Search engine optimization sounds very technical and complicated. And, in fairness, it can be. But at the most basic level, SEO is just the process of building a website that clearly and directly addresses the questions your customers have when they perform online searches.
Strictly speaking, you can handle SEO on your own, making this a low-cost option for generating plumbing leads. In fact, it’s entirely possible to take a DIY approach to SEO and see strong results.
But you’ll have to be ready to commit some time to the process. Poorly executed SEO can actually hurt your business, so you’ll want to do some serious research to ensure your strategy is rock-solid.
Or you can partner with an SEO agency to guide you through the process. If you have the budget to afford this kind of help, we recommend it—at least to get your core website built.
4. Paid Online Advertising
Your SEO strategy is what leads to free (or “organic”) web traffic. That’s folks who find your website through something like a simple Google search. But there’s another (often faster) option for getting attention online: paid advertising.
Online paid advertising comes in several different forms. One of the most common (and most successful) is pay-per-click (or PPC) advertising. PPC ads appear just above organic search results on a Google search results page, making them hard to miss. Plus, you only pay for PPC ads when someone clicks on the ad.
The cost-per-click depends on how popular the term your ad is targeting. Something with a lot of competition will be more likely to generate leads, but it’ll also cost more. The pricing for PPC ads is based on a bidding system that changes as specific search terms become more or less valuable.
With the right bids and well-crafted PPC ads, you can generate a lot of well-qualified leads quickly. But even though this kind of paid advertising is very effective, it’s expensive. It also requires time to manage your campaigns and skill to target the right audience.
Like SEO, if you’re serious about generating leads through paid online advertising, we recommend that you talk to a pro. If you’re looking for fast results and you have the marketing budget to afford it, PPC ads are one of the best ways to generate lots of plumbing leads quickly.
5. Social Media Marketing
From Facebook to Instagram to Twitter to TikTok, just about everyone is on at least one social media platform. Social media apps are where we turn to stay connected, to be entertained, and to keep ourselves informed.
And we spend a lot of time on social media.
The average American spends more than an hour on social media every single day. (We all probably know at least one person who spends way more time than that!) Perhaps that’s why social media marketing is the second most common form of digital marketing.
Because anyone with a social media account can use that account to advertise, social media marketing is technically free. But much like SEO or PPC ads, the most successful social media marketing efforts require a specialized skill set and a budget.
Plus, social media marketing takes time. Likely, more time than you would think.
Not only do you need to post regularly, but you also need to remain active with your audience. When they leave comments or ask questions, you need to be ready to reply quickly. That means you’ll have to be on your preferred social media platforms a lot, yourself.
If you already spend a good amount of time on social media, this could be a solid way to generate plumbing leads. Otherwise, you may need to hire a social media firm to help you out.
6. Lead Generation Partners
The final option for generating plumbing leads is straightforward and effective. Simply pay a lead generation partner to do all the legwork for you.
If you have the marketing budget to afford this option, it makes a lot of sense. This option minimizes the time you’ll have to spend generating qualified leads so you can focus on other things—like closing the leads you get and actually running your business.
The downside, of course, is the expense.
Many plumbers are initially reluctant to pay for plumbing leads. But most reputable lead generation companies are cost-effective in the long term. Even if the initial expense is considerable, a few new jobs will often pay for the cost of the leads and then some.
Still, we recommend that you know exactly what you’re getting before you sign any paperwork with a lead generation company. Be sure you have a clear understanding of the billable terms. Also, read through the contract to make sure you’re aware of any possible hidden fees.
In general, we encourage you to choose a company that offers exclusive plumbing leads, has a clear process for disputes, and allows for a partnership without any kind of long-term commitment.
You can expect plumbing leads to start coming in anywhere from a few days to a couple of weeks.
Why Plumbers Have a Hard Time Generating Plumbing Leads
Even with all the available options listed above, plenty of plumbers have a hard time generating leads. This is both understandable and unfortunate.
But there’s no need to get discouraged. We find that plumbers generally run into one of three challenges when it comes to generating leads. Below, we’ll take a look at each of those challenges and what you can do to overcome them.
The Expense of Generating Leads
One of the most common reasons plumbers have a hard time generating more plumbing leads comes down to money. Most of the time, you need to spend money to generate leads.
This can be challenging for two reasons.
- Some plumbers simply don’t have a big enough marketing budget to be able to afford to spend money on lead generation.
- Some plumbers have the money to spend on lead generation but would rather invest in their businesses in other ways.
We’ll shoot straight with you. Getting more plumbing leads will almost certainly require you to commit to at least a moderate marketing budget. While you might be able to get started with the most basic strategies (like customer referrals, customer reviews, and simple SEO) for free on your own, you’re not likely to see significant lead generation without spending some money.
Once you decide to start budgeting for lead generation, the best way to ensure you’re spending money wisely is to track your customer acquisition cost. You can calculate your customer acquisition cost by adding up your total marketing expense and dividing it by the number of new customers you’ve acquired.
The lower your customer acquisition cost, the better.
You can use your customer acquisition cost to optimize your marketing strategy. If one strategy works better, invest more there. If another strategy doesn’t seem to yield much, ditch it.
While it will take time to home in on the best strategy for your business, this is a proven approach. Over time, you’ll be able to get consistent, predictable results.
The Time It Takes to Work Leads
Speaking of time, that’s the perfect transition to the second challenge plumbers face when it comes to lead generation. You’re not going to generate hundreds of leads overnight. You just aren’t.
Unfortunately, a lot of small business owners make the decision to spend money on marketing expecting instantaneous results. Plus, there are plenty of marketing agencies out there making too-good-to-be-true promises.
Not only does it take time to generate leads, but it takes time to work leads, too. Remember, leads are opportunities, not closed deals. When you get a lead, you still have to contact the potential customer, make your sales pitch, and close the deal before you have a new job on the books.
That requires time and skill on your part.
While qualified leads (like the kind a strong lead generation partner could provide) often make it easier and quicker to close new deals, there will always be a time commitment here.
It’s important to set your expectations correctly. It takes time to generate leads. It also takes time to close leads. Be sure to include both timelines in your marketing plan.
Lack of a Complete Sales and Marketing Strategy
And that brings us to the last challenge—lack of a complete sales and marketing strategy.
As a plumber, you have the advantage of knowing people out there need your services. There’s no question about that. In fact, you don’t even have to convince potential customers they need you. When they run into a plumbing issue, they’re well aware of the fact they need your help!
Because that’s the case, some plumbers mistakenly think sales and marketing don’t require a complete strategy. But that’s not true.
First of all, you have competition. Like it or not, the other plumbers in your area are probably investing in a sales and marketing strategy if they’re experiencing any success.
But on top of that, your potential customers will expect a certain kind of experience from you.
Your sales and marketing strategy isn’t just about generating leads, booking jobs, and making money. It’s also about providing your customers with an engaging, positive customer experience. A well-crafted sales and marketing strategy will help your business turn a profit and ensure customer satisfaction.
We encourage you to think about each and every step of the process—from the time a potential customer first hears about your business to the point when they pay their bill. All of that is a part of sales and marketing.
And all of it has the potential to make you more profitable.
Start Generating Plumbing Leads Now
Whether your plumbing business is brand new or you’ve been operating for decades, you need leads. A strong lead generation plan is the key to keeping your schedule full and your business profitable.
In this article, we’ve covered 6 proven ways to generate leads. We’ve also examined three of the challenges plumbers often run into when building out a lead generation plan.
There’s no right or wrong way to go about creating your specific strategy. Take your budget, your time, and your goals into account and create a strategy that works for you.
If all of this feels overwhelming and you’d like some hands-on help, the EverConnect team is ready to roll up our sleeves and pitch in. Just follow the button to fill out our contact form and one of our experts will get in touch with you.
We provide several different forms of lead generation services. We’re confident we can design a plan that will work for your budget and your goals.