I have run Google Ads for plumbing companies for well over eight years now. As with any client, I am always looking to gain an edge or get insight that will help them grow their business.
One of the things I have started to do is engage more with AI chat services like ChatGPT. It is fascinating to see what kind of responses you can get when you start your conversation. Below are four questions I asked ChatGPT about plumbing businesses.
The first two questions are from the point-of-view of a consumer who is looking for plumbing help. The second two questions are from the point-of-view of a plumbing company owner.
I follow up the responses of each question with my take. Hope you enjoy.
NOTE: I removed some of the text in the responses as it was unnecessary, but it did not take away from meaning or context of the responses.
Question: I’m a homeowner who has an issue with a leaky pipe in my bathroom and I need a plumber. What are some good ways to find a plumber to solve this issue?
To find a plumber to solve your leaky pipe issue in your bathroom, consider the following methods:
- Ask for Recommendations: Seek recommendations from friends, family, neighbors, or colleagues who have recently hired a plumber. Personal referrals can provide insights into the quality of service, reliability, and professionalism of a plumber.
- Check Online Directories: Utilize online directories like Google Maps, Yelp, or Angie’s List to find local plumbers. These platforms often include customer reviews and ratings, allowing you to assess the reputation and reliability of the plumbers you come across.
- Consult Home Service Platforms: Explore home service platforms like HomeAdvisor, Thumbtack, or TaskRabbit.
- Contact Local Plumbing Associations: Reach out to local plumbing associations or trade organizations in your area. They can provide you with a list of licensed and qualified plumbers who are members of the association.
- Search Online: Conduct a search engine query using relevant keywords such as “plumber in [your location]” or “emergency plumber near me.” This can help you discover local plumbing companies or individual plumbers who have an online presence.
- Check Social Media: Browse social media platforms like Facebook or Twitter for local business groups or community pages. Often, homeowners share recommendations or seek advice on finding reliable plumbers in these communities.
- Read Local Publications
- Contact Local Hardware Stores
- Check with Your Insurance Company
Once you’ve compiled a list of potential plumbers, contact them to discuss your issue, inquire about their services and availability, and request estimates for the repair work. Consider factors such as their responsiveness, professionalism, experience, and pricing when making your decision.
The first option listed was getting recommendations. Oftentimes, we will ask people we trust who they use when it comes to home services. As a plumbing owner, the best way to capitalize on this is to provide exceptional service. If you can consistently make your customers happy, then they will be more likely to recommend your service. Additionally, they will be more likely to leave you a positive review online.
Four of the nine recommendations involve online research. As someone who has been in the online marketing arena since 2011, I just assume all small businesses are doing some form of online marketing. I forget, that is not always the case.
ChatGPT is recommending consumers to look at directories and home services platforms (local SEO), perform searches online (paid advertising) and check out social media. Point being, makes sure you have a sound online marketing strategy. If you are not involved in the four recommendations above, then maybe it is time to consider them.
Question: I have found three different plumbing businesses to research. What should I look for in the businesses to help me decide which one to choose for my plumbing needs?
When researching the three businesses you’ve found, consider the following factors to help you decide which one to choose for your plumbing needs:
- Experience and Expertise: Look for information on the company’s website or online reviews to assess their experience in plumbing issues. A business with a long-standing presence in the industry and positive customer feedback indicates reliability and expertise.
- Services Offered: Make sure that the businesses you’re considering offer the specific plumbing services you need.
- Licensing and Insurance: Check if the businesses are properly licensed and insured.
- Professionalism and Customer Service: Look for signs of professionalism in their communication and interactions. Prompt and courteous customer service, clear communication, and attentiveness to your needs are all positive indicators of a reliable business.
- Reputation and Reviews: Read online reviews and ratings for each business. Check websites like Google Reviews, Yelp, or Angie’s List to see what previous customers have said about their experiences. Pay attention to overall ratings and any recurring positive or negative themes.
- Pricing and Transparency: While pricing shouldn’t be the sole deciding factor, it’s essential to compare the cost estimates provided by each business. Ensure they offer transparent pricing, including any potential additional charges.
- Availability and Response Time: Consider the availability of the businesses and their response time. Choose a company that can accommodate your schedule and respond promptly.
- Warranties and Guarantees: Ask about any warranties or guarantees they provide for their workmanship or the parts they use. A business that stands behind its services and offers warranties demonstrates confidence in their work.
As a consumer looking for some plumbing services, these are some things I would look into. Now, from a business owner’s standpoint this reads like a checklist of things to audit with your company.
In reference to number four above, is your company making a good first impression? How is your customer service and the initial intake process? It may be beneficial to periodically audit your intake and follow up process.
From a business owner’s standpoint, you can view these recommendations as opportunities to improve your marketing. Some of these speak to content marketing. For example, do you clearly list and promote any warranties or guarantees? What about pricing transparency and expertise? I would consider doing a review of your website and seeing how well (or how poorly) you “shine a spotlight” in these areas.
And, once again ChatGPT is mentioning reviews. I know without a shadow of a doubt, that many businesses lose out on customers based solely on their online reviews. Too many poor reviews can wreak havoc on ALL of your marketing efforts.
Question: I own a plumbing business and I want to differentiate myself from my competitors to make my business more appealing to consumers. What are some things I can do to achieve this?
- Provide exceptional customer service: Make it a priority to deliver outstanding customer service at every touchpoint.
- Offer a wide range of services: Expand your service offerings beyond basic plumbing repairs and installations. Consider providing additional services like water heater installations, bathroom remodeling, or eco-friendly plumbing solutions. This diversification can attract more customers and give you a competitive edge.
- Focus on specialization: Consider specializing in a particular area of plumbing, such as commercial plumbing, green plumbing, or high-end residential plumbing. By positioning yourself as an expert in a specific niche, you can attract customers looking for specialized services.
- Emphasize quality workmanship: Ensure that your work is of the highest quality. Train your staff to be skilled professionals, use high-quality materials, and strive for excellent craftsmanship on every job. Satisfied customers will become your best promoters.
- Maintain competitive pricing: While quality is essential, it’s also crucial to remain competitive with your pricing. Research your local market to understand the average rates for plumbing services and price your services accordingly. Offering transparent and fair pricing can help you attract price-conscious customers.
- Develop a strong online presence: Invest in a professional website that highlights your services, showcases customer testimonials, and provides contact information. Optimize your website for search engines to increase visibility. Utilize social media platforms to engage with your target audience and share informative content related to plumbing.
- Offer emergency services: Stand out by providing 24/7 emergency plumbing services. Being available to assist customers during critical situations can be a significant differentiator and build trust in your brand.
- Implement eco-friendly practices: Incorporate environmentally friendly plumbing practices and technologies, such as water-efficient fixtures, solar water heaters, or rainwater harvesting systems. Many customers appreciate businesses that prioritize sustainability.
- Establish partnerships and alliances: Collaborate with other local businesses, such as construction companies, interior designers, or real estate agents, to create referral networks. Building strategic alliances can increase your reach and generate more leads.
- Focus on reputation management: Encourage satisfied customers to leave positive reviews online, and promptly address any negative feedback. A strong online reputation can significantly influence a consumer’s decision to choose your business.
Remember, consistency is key. Differentiating your plumbing business is an ongoing process that requires continuous effort and adaptation to meet evolving consumer needs and expectations.
At this point, I’m starting to see some patterns. ChatGPT thinks customer service, reputation management, reviews and having an online presence are key factors for your plumbing business. I strongly agree with this.
With respect to differentiating yourself from competitors, I did make note of the specialization idea. I realize not all plumbing companies can do this, but how many plumbing companies do exactly what you do? Is there a specific type of service where you think you have competitive edge and can leverage that with some crafty marketing?
Question: I own a plumbing business and I want to advertise my business online to people who need plumbing services. How can I best find and target these people online?
To effectively market your plumbing business online and target people in need of plumbing services, consider the following strategies:
- Search Engine Optimization (SEO): Optimize your website and online content for search engines. Focus on local SEO to target customers in your service area.
- Local Directories and Listings: Ensure your business is listed on popular online directories such as Google My Business, Yelp, Angie’s List, and Yellow Pages.
- Pay-Per-Click (PPC) Advertising: Utilize PPC advertising platforms like Google Ads or Bing Ads to display targeted ads to people searching for plumbing services.
- Social Media Advertising: Leverage social media platforms like Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter to promote your plumbing business.
- Content Marketing: Produce informative and helpful content related to plumbing on your website’s blog or through other channels like YouTube or podcasts. Create articles, videos, or tutorials that address common plumbing issues, offer maintenance tips, or explain the benefits of certain services.
- Online Reviews and Testimonials.
- Targeted Email Campaigns: Build an email list by offering incentives or discounts to customers who sign up for your newsletter.
- Collaborate with Home Service Platforms: Partner with online platforms that connect homeowners with service providers. Join platforms like HomeAdvisor, Thumbtack, or TaskRabbit.
- Remarketing Campaigns: Implement remarketing campaigns to reconnect with website visitors who didn’t convert into customers initially.
- Track and Analyze Performance: Regularly monitor your online advertising efforts and analyze performance metrics such as website traffic, click-through rates, conversion rates, and cost per lead. Use tools like Google Analytics to gain insights into user behavior and identify areas for improvement.
There are not a whole lot of surprises here. With sound execution these marketing tactics can all yield fruit. Marketing budgets certainly plays a role in what you can and cannot afford to do. If I were to peal off five of these, I would recommend the following:
- SEO – You always want to optimize your website for SEO. Additionally, you will want to work on Local SEO, which will increase your online presence for local traffic – get listed in business directories, home services platforms and optimize your Google Business profile.
- PPC – Google Ads is still the best platform for local service business.
- Email marketing – It is a good idea to build up an asset that you own – your email contact list.
- Reputation management – Get those positive online reviews and testimonials.
- Analytics – You will want to be able to measure your marketing efforts so you know what is and isn’t working. This is important for making sound marketing decisions.