Building or growing a business is all about generating leads that can result in new business. The plumbing business is not different. If you are a commercial operator looking for new contracts or a small independent plumber working to keep your calendar full, the concepts are the same and the goal is to keep the bottom line of your business healthy.
How do you get the best plumbing leads? Building a lead generation program involves a diverse set of tools. Each of these, when used properly, will contribute to a steady stream of fresh plumbing leads for your business. This set of tools includes:
These four lead-generating tools, when combined, can be the start of creating a lead generating machine in your plumbing business that will work for you constantly to bring in new plumbing leads. The great thing about it is, with the advent of the internet and social media, you can do much of the basic work yourself. Understanding how to put these tools to work is the key.
Before we go any further, we need to talk about what not to do. Lead generation techniques and tools have changed dramatically in the last few years. The growth of social media and the internet has created a paradigm shift in advertising and promotion. Remember that the goal is to maximize your ROI, your return on investment.
Not too many years ago, if I were having this conversation with a client, my first suggestions would have been to get in the newspaper by an ad in the local yellow pages, and let’s find the best radio station in your market area that serves your demographic.
Now, newspapers are dinosaurs and are on the same path. You can say the same thing about the yellow pages. Radio is still viable in some markets, but radio advertising is like tossing candy out of a car window at kids on the street. Some of the candy will end up where you want it but most of it goes to waste.
Targeted advertising is the new paradigm and there are ways to use old concepts with new technologies to generate plumbing leads that result in higher conversions.
You may already have the best plumbing lead generation tool available to you without understanding how to make it work to your advantage. This is especially true if you are an existing business with an established customer base. There are four cogs in this plumbing lead generation machine. When all four are in place and working together, they will consistently crank out solid leads day after day.
Consistently, surveys of plumbers across the country tell us customer referrals are their best plumbing leads source. The plumbing leads that come from customer referrals tend to be higher quality leads and have a better conversion rate than plumbing leads generated from any other source. A good customer referral system can turn your current satisfied customers into your best sales force.
Other sources and methods will generate more leads, but volume is not always a good way to measure the value of what you are getting. Conversion rates are the best indicator of how valuable a lead source is to your company. There are several ways to leverage your customer base into a lead generator.
Building a platform to leverage your customer base into a lead generation machine can be one of the most cost-effective methods. There is little upfront cost to initiating a referral program. Most of the time, it simply involves talking to your customers.
You can be one of your best lead generation tools. Think about it. You are out in the community day in and day out. People see you constantly as you move around your town in your vehicle. They see you parked in front of their neighbor's house. You can turn yourself into a lead generator just be being visible. However, it does take some investment and some thought. To become a real lead generator for yourself, you should:
The hot new trend in advertising and developing solid leads is the internet and social media sites. This is a wide-open new opportunity and can become a valuable source of plumbing leads for your business. Unlike older forms of advertising, internet advertising offers you the ability to target your audience. Your advertising can be refined to reach people in specific demographic classes, in geographic areas, or even those who are searching the internet for certain words.
Advertising on the internet falls into several categories and each offers its own advantages and disadvantages. There are some areas of social media and the internet that you should be actively working to generate leads. These different areas work together to create an effective presence on the internet.
Your website is your business on the internet. When people search and pull up your website on their browser, your home page gives them the first impression that sets the tone for their whole experience and their opinion of your business.
A website should have certain characteristics to be effective. It should be:
The complexity of building a website that will work for your business is a challenge for most business owners. I strongly suggest that you hire a website designer who is familiar with the basics of business website design to create your website. The money you spend will benefit you down the line with more leads.
Social media sites such as Facebook, Linkedin, and others are rapidly becoming the number one tool people use to search for products and services. This creates opportunities for companies that can take advantage of the technologies. Unfortunately, maximizing the return to your business in the form of plumbing leads can be confusing and difficult.
There are lots of advantages to an active social media presence.
As with anything, there are downsides to maintaining an active social media presence.
This is an area where hiring a specialist is a good idea. Companies that do nothing but manage social media advertising and search engine optimization provide services that most small companies or individuals cannot hope to rival.
That brings us to the issue of buying plumbing leads. If you search for plumbing leads online, you will find your browser loaded with thousands of possibilities. Many of them will offer you fast returns on hundreds of leads. You must be careful of what you buy when you contract with a lead generation company. Understanding what they are selling is the key to making good choices.
Basically, lead generation companies sell leads that are classified into three categories. Each of these is based on the criteria of the lead and its potential to turn into a sale.
To maximize the return on your investment, you want the conversion factor to be as high as possible on these leads. The best option is to always contract for only sales qualified leads. This ensures that you are getting plumbing leads that are pre-qualified and, in some cases, may even be expecting your call.
Unfortunately, the cost of legitimate leads is expensive. There are two basic methods of contracting for lead generation with the top tier companies. The size of your business, your budget, and your intentions are the best determiners of what kind of contract that may be best suited for you.
The first thing to remember is that you only want to purchase sales qualified leads. These will have the best ROI and offer you the most for your money. Check out our model for generating qualified, exclusive plumbing leads here.
In this type of arrangement, you pay for each lead you receive from the lead generation company. If you select this type of arrangement, you should keep accurate records of the leads and how they fair after you have made contact. You must track this information to be able to make decisions about the effectiveness of the program and the return it is making to your business.
Per appointment contracts can run anywhere from $50 per appointment to $400 per lead. Careful auditing of the return you generate from this type of arrangement is crucial to be sure that you are making money and not simply spinning your wheels.
Larger companies may benefit from a monthly billing arrangement where you pay a flat monthly subscription rate in return for leads from the lead generation company. This allows you to treat the subscription as a fixed cost and may give you better value for your money than a per appointment arrangement.
The fees for monthly subscription rates to lead generation companies can run from $2000 to $20000 per month. Before you enter such a contract, there should be clear stipulations on the minimum number of leads that will be provided each month.
Lead generation is the lifeblood of businesses. A constant supply of leads is essential to any business that wants to grow and prosper. Our suggestion for most small business owners is to build your own lead generation machine using the tools and opportunities that already exist. Patience is key. A good plumbing lead generation system will take time to begin to pay off, but, in the end, the consistent return will pay off for your business.