Marketing suggestions to stand out

Sept. 6, 2014
Here are just a few of Matt Michel's suggestions: Get hundreds of video reviews Use Shutterfly to create a credibility book Rent a movie theater for a customer appreciation party Buy ice cream bars in the summer

Sometimes it’s the simple things that cause you to stand out as a company for consumers to buy from and as a company for plumbers to work for. Here’s a half dozen.

1. Get hundreds of video reviews: Tom Casey overwhelms his prospects with hundreds of testimonials available on his company’s YouTube channel. “You’ll probably find someone you know,” the salespeople will proclaim.

Video testimonial after video testimonial by real people is far more powerful and credible than the text on a screen from a review site. They are also far easier to get.

Simply spiff plumbers for video reviews with their smart phones. The plumber asks the customer at the close of a service call or installation if the homeowner is happy with the service received and work performed. Based on the response, the plumber asks the homeowner if she wouldn’t mind repeating that while he records it with his phone. The worst she can say is no.

Sure, it takes a little coaching and maybe some role playing before the plumbers are comfortable asking the homeowner to say something while the plumber shoots a video, but they can do it.  Once they discover how easy it is to grab an extra $15, you will end up with hundreds of testimonials.

2. Use Shutterfly to create a credibility book: If you do remodels (and you should) or kitchen/bath mini-makeovers (and you should), a credibility book with before and after pictures, happy customer pictures, and glowing testimonials will help people see the impact that upgraded, updated plumbing can make in their home. Terry Barrett found that Shutterfly will print professional looking credibility books using your pictures and layout for around $30 each.

Collect some quality before and after pictures. Talk about the many benefits of updating a kitchen or bath or better, let your customers talk about them. Give one to every plumber to share with customers and service calls. For the plumbers, this gives customers something to do besides haunting him while he works. For customers, it will set your company apart and every now and then, it will spark the sale of new brass and porcelain. 

3. Create a Twit Pitch: Twitter uses 140 characters. Can you give people a reason to use your company within the limits of a Twitter Tweet? Give it a try. Refine it. Memorize it. Teach it to your team.

4. Rent a movie theater for a customer appreciation party: Rent out a movie theater for a surprisingly low cost customer appreciation party. Believe it or not, you can rent an entire theater for $300 to $800. You might spend more on postage announcing the event than on the theater.  Unfortunately, you will have to promote it to get anyone to attend.

Renting out a theater gives you a chance to say a few words to your customers before the start of the film. Thank them for their business. Remind them of the breadth of work your company performs. Tell everyone you will be passing out a small gift as they leave. Give them a baggy with low cost promotional items like jar openers, pens, etc. Include a $50 gift certificate with your company they can use for future work.

Invite your employees and their families and recognize them before your customers. In this way, your customer appreciation event doubles as an employee appreciation event.

5. Buy ice cream bars in the summer: When the mercury rises, your plumbers feel the heat.  Stock the company refrigerator with ice cream bars or frozen lemonade that’s free for the taking, inside the shop at day’s end. Little acts like this go a long way to letting people know you appreciate their efforts and helps to keep them from jumping ship.

6. Wrap water heaters: Do you wrap your trucks? Why not wrap water heaters? It adds a little to the cost, but makes them unique. If water heaters are basement installations in your market, a tastefully wrapped water heater may carry a premium price. Give people choices, from wood grain to cammo. 

If the installations in your market tend to be hall closet or attic, brand it with your logo, number, and website so that they can’t be missed and can’t be covered up if the homeowner screws up and hires a competitor.

Want dozens of other ideas? Download the FREE Plumbing Marketing Toolbox app from the iTunes store or Android marketplace. If you find it harder to turn a profit than to turn a wrench, you need the Service Roundtable.  For help with the business of plumbing and other contracting, there is no better or more affordable resource than the Service Roundtable.  Call 877.262.3341 or click Matt Michel is CEO of the Service Roundtable, contracting’s largest business alliance.

About the Author

Matt Michel | Chief Executive Officer

Matt Michel is CEO of the Service Roundtable ( The Service Roundtable is an organization founded to help contractors improve their sales, marketing, operations, and profitability. The Service Nation Alliance is a part of this overall organization.

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