Competition in the plumbing business in London has always been high. Whether one is running a larger plumbing company or operating as a one-man-band the fight for customers is real.
With that said it is clear that having a well constructed advertising strategy that can keep a healthy influx of new customers coming in is very important.
A marketing strategy like this will require some combination of offline and online methods of reaching people. We will try to discuss both of these worlds today with a heavier focus on the offline methods as that is our area of expertise.
Flyer distribution is the most common and effective offline marketing method for plumbers that are targeting local areas in London.
The physical nature of the flyer can be a great tool especially for plumbers as the flyer can be kept by the recipient in case of an emergency. On top of this regular repeated flyer deliveries can also serve as a reminder to everyone in selected areas of who they should contact if something goes wrong.
We can use flyers in a variety of ways for a variety of desired outcomes.
Trying to develop mind share in a specific area is one of the angles one can take with their flyer distribution strategy. It also happens to be one of the main goals a flyer distribution campaign for a plumbing business should be focused on.
Developing mind share basically means that we are trying to get to a point where anytime anyone in your area thinks of plumbing they think of you, your flyer and your branding.
Since developing mind share in the local area is what a plumber should be focusing on, repeated flyer deliveries are going to come into the picture sooner or later.
Most advertising methods rely on some form of repeated exposure. TV ads, online ads and outdoor advertising are all designed with the idea that you as a customer will see them multiple times.
Flyer distribution can work the same way. With modern stock control and distribution methods we can deliver your flyers to the same households more than once with well defined rest periods between each drop.
If one is looking to build mind share with flyer distribution, repeated deliveries are the way to do it.
The advantage that flyer distribution has when it comes to repeated exposure is the fact that we can carefully curate the numbers of impressions.
Unlike TV ads that you might end up seeing so many times that you develop negative feelings towards the product or company advertising, flyer distribution provides us with very good control over the number of times your customers receive your flyers.
By spacing out deliveries by multiple weeks and even changing the design of your flyers for each drop we can minimise exposure fatigue while still working towards our goal of imprinting your branding and business into everyone’s mind.
As we mentioned, slightly changing your flyer design for each delivery is a good way to make sure that we keep all the upside of repeatedly exposing your customers to your advertising while minimising the potential negatives.
These changes can take the form of
- - Changing the photo on the front page of your flyer
- - Changing to colour palette of the flyer
- - Varying the headline on your flyer
- - And more…
As you can see these changes don’t have to be very drastic. As you are going to be mostly using the same base design for the flyer your design costs will also remain low. You are not looking to completely change your flyer design.
You only want to make small changes as described above which does not add much work for your designer.
The same way your flyer designs should reflect the character of your company, they should also reflect the character of each area you are targeting with your flyers.
The particular plumbing challenges that one comes up against are largely influenced by the type of property one is living in.
It makes sense that you will get better results if your flyer shows and comments on a type of property that your customers are familiar with.
With this in mind you can design your flyers with images of Victorian terraced houses when you are looking to target West Hampstead or Archway and images of large detached homes when targeting Richmond.
You don’t need to stop at the photo on the front page but also tailor your copy and highlight the potential services that are relevant to the type of property you are targeting with the flyer as well.
Flyer designs in general have become considerably simpler over the last two decades.
The result of this process has been the increased importance of the type and quality of photography you use on the flyer.
For businesses like restaurants it is generally a good idea to hire a professional photographer and take images of signature dishes or the establishment’s interior.
Luckily for plumbing companies you can use slightly more generic photos. These can be found on one of the many stock photo databases.
This doesn’t mean that you can’t hire a professional photographer and use custom photos for your flyers. If you are however looking to minimise costs stock photography is an option for you.
Make sure to discuss the choice of photos that you will be using on your flyers with your designer.
Given the investments you are going to be making into the production, transportation, storage and distribution of your flyers you want to make sure to use a professional for your flyer design.
Flyer design will have a great impact on the success of your distribution campaigns and therefore you want to make sure that you take the design process seriously.
Flyer design is a fairly specific discipline. As such you want to make sure that you select a graphics designer that has experience with flyers specifically.
There are many small details to consider in the flyer design process that are unique and that will have a real impact on the ground when we are delivering your flyers.
To help with this process we at The Private Postman offer all our customers free design consultation.
Before you finalise your design and move into the printing stage we can have a look at your design and free of charge offer feedback.
We can tell you if anything needs to change in your design in order for your design to contribute to the success of your flyer distribution campaign.
All in one service
The logistics of producing, printing, storing and distributing flyers can be challenging. Especially if you are running your own plumbing business.
Your flyer distribution company should be able to take on as much of this process as possible to take away the burden from you.
A good established flyer distribution company is going to have a design department that can either tweak your existing flyer design or create a new one from scratch.
A company like this should also have relationships with printing houses. They can help arrange for a better price for printing than you would be able to get as an individual.
Most good established companies of this kind will also have a storage space or a warehouse where they can receive the delivery of your flyers from the printer and store them safely.
All of these services are very important. A good company that can help you every step of the way and keep all the steps in production, storage and distribution of your flyers will help take away a great amount of stress from the process.
We at the Private Postman can handle all of these stops for our customers and recommend anyone to look for a similar kind of service.
Door to Door
Now that you know about mind share, repeated deliveries, design, photos and some of the logistics involved we can talk about the deliveries themselves.
There are many different forms flyer distribution can take. You can deliver to businesses in a BtoB fashion. You can hand out flyers at busy tube stations in Hand-to-Hand campaigns.
Some companies might even offer you to leave your flyers on the windshields on people’s cars (we strongly discourage you from using this kind of distribution).
Unless a part of your plumbing business is specifically focused on businesses you will ultimately want to consider only one flyer distribution method and that is Door to Door.
How does door to door flyer distribution work?
Door to door distribution focuses exclusively on delivering your flyers to privately owned residential addresses. These distribution campaigns exclude all businesses, council housing, industrial areas and undeliverable large blocks of flats.
When you organise your leaflet distribution campaign on this principle and combine it with a quality mapping system you will eliminate wasted flyers and deliveries to places with no potential.
You are going to be exclusively focusing on flyer deliveries to households that match your ideal demographics that are located in areas that are strategically important for you. This way every flyer delivered is working hard for you.
These campaigns are also considerably more cost efficient compared to the alternatives. B2B and Hand-to-Hand campaigns can cost as much as five times what a well planned Door-to-Door campaign costs.
We can enhance this effect if we use Shared deliveries.
What does Shared Distribution mean?
If you choose to use Shared delivery we will deliver your flyers to each home with 1-2 other carefully selected, non-competing clients.
This way the cost of delivery is split between multiple customers and can be kept considerably lower for everyone.
The response rates for campaigns done using this technique remain exactly the same as campaigns where we deliver your flyers on their own. (Solus delivery)
This is the case if the number of companies we are delivering at the same time remains at or below 3. From our experience which has been confirmed by many tests this is the ideal number.
One of the main reasons why the response rates remain the same when we deliver your flyers together with 1-2 other customers is the fact that the flyers will end up on the doormat either way.
Most people are away from their homes for most of the day. They are at work and in school. When they arrive home in the evening, they pick up their mail from the doormat or letterbox.
This way your flyer is a part of a bundle together with everything that made its way through the letterbox that day. This is true whether we’ve delivered your flyers on their own or not.
This of course changes if the delivery becomes too large and that is why delivering three separate flyers is the standard for Shared deliveries.
How about Solus deliveries?
If Shared flyer deliveries are equally effective and considerably cheaper than Solus deliveries, why would anyone include Solus deliveries in their campaign?
You should reserve Solus Deliveries for unique situations. One good reason for using Solus flyer delivery is a situation where you want to target a specific geographic area that has no other companies that could be a part of a Shared delivery system.
This can happen even with the largest flyer delivery companies that have many customers in most areas. Some areas especially on the edges of London are rarely delivered to but can be perfect for a specific customer.
This is where Solus delivery comes into play.
There are also some specific flyer delivery techniques that can work only on a Solus basis. A good example would be a technique often used by Estate Agents.
In case of a successful sale of a property an Estate Agent might choose to deliver flyers only to a few streets surrounding the location announcing the success.
This is a technique that relies on the fact that most of the recipients of these flyers are going to be familiar with the property in question or will recognize it from a photo on the flyer. This way the Estate Agent can build trust in a local area by connecting their name to a real local sale.
The overview of what one should look for when making flyer delivery a part of one’s marketing campaign could look something like this.
Always keep it local. Deliver locally and keep the character of each area in mind.
Focus on the design of your flyers carefully. Use multiple designs for larger or repeated campaigns and make sure to use a professional designer.
Find a reputable company that can handle all logistics and can negotiate on your behalf when it comes to flyer print and flyer delivery
Unless your plumbing company specialises in business customers focus on privately owned residential households.
Use Door to Door deliveries as a part of a Shared Delivery campaign organised by a competent and reputable flyer delivery company.
Use Solus delivery only if necessary.
Guttering and roofing
The same principles described here will be aplicaple to other trades and businesses conducted in people's homes. One of the more obvious examples are guttering and roofing services. Focusing your campaings locally is the way to go
Online marketing for plumbers
Up to this point we’ve spoken exclusively about using flyers to advertise your plumbing businesses. That is obviously an offline method. So how about some of the online options that you have?
Let’s start with probably the most discussed current form of advertising. Social media.
The power in using social media as a plumbing business is most likely going to be in paid advertising rather than building organic social media traffic.
Organic engagement and your profile
Unless you are very talented at content creation and can create engaging content around plumbing you are most likely going to struggle to gain organic engagement.
On the other hand this doesn't mean that you shouldn’t be posting and building your profile.
When your customers find your ads they will at some point look at your profile.
There will be a different impression made if your profile is empty or if it is filled with regular weekly updates and photos of your finished work. One of these will look like you are an active company and real people. The other will look like an empty profile.
Don’t worry about the number of organic engagements you get on your posts. You shouldn’t care about 100 people in Australia liking your post.
You should care about the feeling your customers will have when they look at your profile before they pick up the phone or send you an email enquiry. Show off your quality work.
Facebook covers the largest social media networks for the demographics you are going to be targeting. You can manage both Facebook and Instagram ads from the same place in your Facebook Ads dashboard.
Both of these social media networks have a deep penetration into the 30+ demographics you are going to be focusing on. There might be value in you talking to young people on TikTok but it is not the first place you should focus on. Instagram and Facebook is where your time should be spent first.
The most important thing to keep in mind when you are planning your Facebook and Instagram ads is that you can target very narrow demographics.
You can create an ad that targets men over 50 in West Hampstead. When you do this you will obviously tailor your ads specifically to this audience. You will select your main ad image to appeal to exactly this demographic.
While you do this, you can run a simultaneous ad for women in this age category in the exact same area. But with a different tailored look to the ad.
You are advertising the same service to the same people in the same area but you are tailoring their experience based on who they are. This is the power of Facebook ads.
You can create a variety of ads for each relevant demographic as a part of a single campaign and track how your ads are performing.
Now that we’ve discussed the very current topic of social media ads let’s talk about something that may feel a bit outdated. Your website.
Many people nowadays focus all of their effort into social media and keep their websites as simple as possible. The websites of some companies consist only of a single button to send an email and a list of social media profiles.
This is a mistake, especially for a plumbing business. A plumber is someone you let into your home. You want to make sure that the person is trustworthy and that they have established themselves in the business.
Social media profiles can help with that but a website that includes organised images of work the plumber has done, a short profile with some personal history, customer testimonials, any awards or specialised qualifications is even more effective.
The amount of information you share on your website doesn’t have to be huge. It should however offer something that social media can’t. Spend some time thinking about what is unique about what you’re doing and how you can communicate it.
Have you been in the business for 20 years? That’s a big deal. Have you learned the craft from your father? That’s definitely something worth mentioning.
You can use your website to look professional and personable at the same time.
Using Google ads in 2021 for a local plumbing business is almost necessary. Noone else can offer you the ability to target customers in a specific area that have searched for plumbing companies recently with Video ads and search results.
This is an incredible tool that you have access to and should be using. Look into detail at the options Google ads give you beyond just paid positions in search results.
Retargeting with well designed non-intrusive ads can work great. Careful targeting with YouTube ads based on recent searches is a very powerful tool.
One thing to keep in mind when focusing on Google’s ability to help with your business is the fact that you need to look elsewhere as well. Many businesses are completely dependent on the business they get from Google.
Any hiccup on Googles’ side and the results can be catastrophic. Make sure when you think about your marketing strategy and customer acquisition to not become reliant on a single funnel.
Keep your flyer deliveries going, focus on your social media, keep a brilliant website and work on your Google ads at the same time.
While we’re discussing Google and their impact on plumbing businesses we can’t overlook SEO.
Search Engine Optimisation is a field that focuses on making your website palatable for Google. If Google likes your site it will move it up in ranking results on relevant searches.
Ie. A good SEO strategy can get you to come up when someone searches for “plumbers in London”.
Good ranking on important search terms can be worth hundreds of thousands or millions of pounds. As a result some of these keywords are very competitive with some big names fighting for good positions.
This however doesn’t mean you can’t compete. Looking for alternative keywords that have less competition can be a great start. If you know what you are doing and you are willing to fight it out you can attack even the most competitive terms and rank well.
There are three most important elements to SEO you need to keep in mind.
Technical health of your site
Your website needs to be in a good condition. This means that it needs to be well designed and the code needs to be done professionally.
There are tools out there that will allow you to check for technical errors but in general asking a specialist to help you diagnose your site is a good idea.
What is actually present on your website is of course very important in this process. You want to make sure to keep regular updates on your blog with text that is relevant to your field.
Keeping a diary of particularly interesting plumbing jobs you’ve done with images of your work present in your text is one way of doing it. The more fun your content is to read, the better. If people are spending time on your site that is excellent for your Google rankings.
Having high quality websites pointing or linking to your page is invaluable. Any link from an external website that is pointing to yours gives you authority in Google’s eyes.
A strategy focused on acquiring backlinks should be a big part of your SEO efforts. You can start by contacting other businesses you know and exchanging backlinks to boost each other.
Combine the two
Combining your offline marketing with your online efforts is crucial in maximising your customer acquisition as a plumbing business.
Your flyers should include a QR code that after scanning takes your potential customers to your website, social media profile or trade app of your choice.
You can target the same areas of London with your flyers and with your online marketing at the same time to combine the effects of both.
When you are planning your campaigns don’t separate these domains. Do your best to combine them and you will see that their results can truly compound.
If you have any further questions please feel free to get in touch with us here .