Marketing quick hitters

The Plumbing Marketing Toolbox is a free app available for phones and tablets in the Android or iPhone/iPad formats. It’s filled with marketing ideas for plumbing contractors. Here are a few favorites.

The Plumbing Marketing Toolbox is a free app available for phones and tablets in the Android or iPhone/iPad formats. It’s filled with marketing ideas for plumbing contractors. Here are a few favorites.

Rent-a-Yard: Take your local presence to a new level by renting your customers’ yards.  Purchase low cost, disposable, corrugated plastic yard signs. Purchased in bulk, a two-sided color yard sign is less than $5.

At the end of a service call, instruct your technicians to inform customers, “We would like to rent your yard for a month.” 

Pause for the homeowner to react, usually with a perplexed or skeptical look. Laughing, say “It’s not what you think. We would like to pay you $10 to put a small sign in your yard by the curb.  All you have to do is promise to leave it up for a month before disposing it.”

Spiff your plumber $5 for every sign placed. The total cost per house to place these signs is less than $20. For a company running four calls per truck, with five trucks and a 75% acceptance of your customers, that’s a potential for more than 300 yard signs placed in any given month. This is a huge marketing opportunity.

Water heater temperature sticker: A water heater sticker is designed to help homeowners set the water heater temperature the homeowner desires, allowing you to set the temperature at 120°F to limit your liability and comply with codes.

The sticker points out the risk of scalding from temperatures too high and the risk of legionella from temperatures too low. It recommends the installation of a thermostatic mixing valve as a solution to the quandary.

Employee discount: The employees of your commercial customers are prospects for your residential service. People believe that you will treat them better if you are doing work for their employer. People also know that you can be trusted since the company they work for trusts you. It's an inherent testimonial.

Use an employee discount flyer with your commercial customers. Offer the same discount you provide to service agreement customers. This is high return marketing. All else being equal, your relationship with the prospect's employer, combined with a slight discount will result in your selection when the prospect needs your services. Aside from the offer, your only cost is printing the flyers.

Family, friends e-mail promotion: “Family and Friends" promotions are a stock retailer ploy. Retailers often issue special “family and friends” coupons, which are little more than a means of distributing coupons for free by word of mouth means. In the past, these were often faxed to people at their place of work. Today, they are distributed through the Internet.

Friends and family promotions work best when you get your employees to help. Ask them to send the coupon by e-mail to all of their family and friends. This also helps by letting people know, who might not otherwise realize it, that they know someone working at your company. All of us are naturally inclined to do business with companies where we know someone because we like to support our friends and presume that we will get better treatment if we've got an inside connection.

If you want to reward employees, include a control number you can change to be unique to each employee, so that you can spiff employees a couple of dollars for each coupon turned in.

Regardless of your employees, you can send a friends and family promotion to your family and friends, vendors, service clubs, other professional and business relations, and to people who have registered with your website for special offers and promotions. 

Remember, friends and family promotions are grassroots marketing. It costs nothing to distribute. Run them several times per year. Make sure, however, that your offer is so compelling people will feel obliged to pass it along.

Social media: Extend your friends and family promotion with social media. Gain additional bang by running the same friends and family e-mail promotion on social media. Get your employees to “friend” you on Facebook. Create a jpeg coupon for Facebook and tag your employees on the coupon. The coupon will then show up in each employee’s newsfeed and in their photographs. 

Laundry magnets: A disturbing trend in the appliance industry is the growing proliferation of refrigerators with stainless steel doors. Magnets won’t stick! So move to the laundry room.  Create a magnet with useful information relevant to the laundry room. Yours will likely be the only magnet on the washer or dryer!

These are just a few of the scores of marketing ideas available through the app. Search for the “Plumbing Marketing Toolbox” for more great marketing suggestions.

Matt Michel is CEO of the Service Roundtable, which offers plumbing contractors thousands of downloadable, customizable marketing pieces like those featured here. For more information, call a Service Roundtable Success Consultant at 877.262.3341 or visit www.ServiceRoundtable.com.

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