Most of us would be more inclined to call a plumber about a backed-up drain than we would for marketing advice, but maybe that shouldn't necessarily be the case. When we recently got a chance to do some business web design work for a local plumbing company, we saw firsthand that they know a thing or two about finding and attracting new customers - online or off.
Granted, they might not think of themselves as marketing masters, but we noticed that they have a toolbox full of ideas and tactics that could work well for almost any business. And when was the last time you heard of a great plumbing company going out of business?
To see what we mean, here are five great lessons you can learn about marketing from a good plumber:
1. Names and reputations matter. On the one hand, our plumbing client used a distinctive business name the people tend to remember. On the other, they've developed a reputation for being trustworthy and affordable. If you can combine something memorable with a strong sense of value in a customer's mind, it's going to do good things for your marketing results.
2. You have to clean out a lot of "gunk" before you can get to the "good." Bad websites and marketing materials are like clogged garbage disposals - you have to clear out the crud before you can fix a problem. If you have too many long, pointless pages, ancient logos, or bad stock photos on a website or brochure, they'll have to go before in order to get your marketing efforts flowing smoothly.
3. If you help someone in crisis, you've earned a loyal customer. Every single day this particular plumbing company talks to a new customer who's facing a crisis (toilets that won't flush, sinks that won't stop running, etc.) sometimes in the middle of the night. If they show up quickly, act like professionals, and solve the problem, they've earned a loyal customer who will remember them forever. Everyone should follow their example.
4. It's okay to branch out, if you know what you're doing. Along with plumbing, this company added air conditioning repair and installation to their mix of services. Isn't this supposed to be the age of specialization? It is, but you can branch out over time - and be profitable doing it - if customers know you are competent and your prices are fair. Learn to spot natural opportunities for your business to expand and don't be afraid to explore them.
5. When you're marketing, it isn't just to new customers. Our plumber didn't just want a website that was all about sales - there are areas for potential employees, vendors, and even property maintenance supervisors. Obviously, most marketing efforts are focused on attracting new buyers, but keep in mind that your messages are also going out to existing customers, potential employees, and even your competitors. Remember this, and tailor your messages appropriately.
Your plumber might not brag about his marketing knowledge, but that doesn't mean it isn't there. Follow these tips and make the best of what they know start working for you.