There is a very catchy plumbing slogan that has been defining the target audience of many companies in this industry: “If water runs through it… We do it!”. According to this, anyone who has a plumbing need can be your client. That is too good to be true. If you are planning to run your business based on that optimistic statement, you won’t get the results you expect for a simple reason: a leaking faucet doesn’t mean the same for “customer A” and “customer B”. Two different potential customers can have contrasting perceptions of the same problem, and for that reason, they can also respond differently to the same solution.
The key is to understand your audience and what their motivations are. Gregg Thomas Towsley, author of, “Ultimate Plumbing Marketing System” identified 6 types of customers who he called “Target Market Personas”. These personas are profiles created by gathering raw data from your analytics, and representing the people who will seek your services. The personas are categorized according to demographics, goals and challenges, and values or fears. These categories will help your marketing team create appropriate content to different expectations and motivations, so your solutions will be well received.
In a future post I’ll be explaining how to create “Marketing Personas” for your business, but for now, let’s jump into the 6 customer profiles for plumbing companies:
1. Home Owners
Notice that the complexity of this persona can vary according to the geographic area. Some homeowners can be very cost sensitive and prefer to do the plumbing repair themselves. For others, the priority is to get the job done right the first time.
In 2013, I ran a keyword analysis in Metro Vancouver for plumbing services – the data showed that the most searched keyword phrases for North and West Vancouver were “best plumbing companies”, “best plumbing service”, and “best plumber”, which gave me the idea that said areas focused greatly on the quality of the service, rather than how much they have to pay for getting the job done right. The study also showed that other postal codes in Greater Vancouver were mostly searching for “How to…” related terms or typing the problems right in the query, such as “leaking faucet” or “running toilet”, or including keywords like “cheap” or “affordable” in their search.
This research helped me to identify the right way to approach to different personas with my campaigns. Slogans like “get the job done the first time” and DIY videos were targeted to different audiences according to what they were looking for.
Don’t be afraid to show how good and professional your plumbing skills are in a DIY video! Sooner or later, your audience might realize that they need your help.
2. Real Estate Agents
When Janet looks for a plumber she is looking for a “business partner”. Her goal is to help her client to sell or buy a house, and most of the time, there are repairs that need to be addressed quickly and within budget. She knows that if she finds the right plumber that can take care of any problem in a timely manner, she can focus on other aspects of her job, like closing better deals. Janet rewards good partnerships with good referrals, and long term customer relationship.
This persona would be interested in plumbing companies that has flexible and very efficient offers, so your plumbing campaigns should consider promoting services like: 24/7 emergency service, free estimates on big jobs, pay at closing for larger jobs (if needed), same day water heater service or installations and also warranties on work performed for new buyers.
3. Small Business Owner
Jade needs immediate assistance. She cannot spend too much time dealing with a plumbing problem – she needs to get it solved as fast as possible so she can continue working on her business. For her, timing, speed, and responsiveness is everything. She needs a plumber fast! Are you able to provide your services for her?
This kind of persona usually engages with marketing campaigns that promise “same-day response”, “same-day installations”, or “high quality service”. Your reputation as a plumber is very important for Jade, so make sure you have a reasonable amount of positive reviews on third party review sites.
Remember, a plumbing problem in a small business can slow productivity and make them lose money. This is the kind of problem Jade doesn’t want or is not prepared to deal with, she needs someone fast and reliable to bring her business back to normality, so she can continue with their operations.
4. Restaurant Entrepreneur
Like Jade, the Small Business Owner, Francesco wants fast responsive service. He cares about the size and capabilities of the plumbing company because he is looking for a long-term relationship, billing terms, vendor agreements, etc. Your marketing messages should use phrases like “rapid response”, “experienced technicians” and “efficient service”. He wants to have the peace of mind that your technicians will do whatever is needed to keep his restaurant running and open for business. Remember, for him, every service call is an emergency call. Most common services requested by Francesco: restroom issues and drain problems.
5. Property Manager & Facilities Manager
When you approach to Jessica, you should talk in terms of 24/7 and special rate accounts. Commercial and Strata Property Managers are looking for plumbing companies that can provide general plumbing services (leak investigation, commercial hot water tank replacements and kitchen and bathroom repairs for their units) and also special services such as water and gas shut off valve locating and labeling, camera inspection and line tracing, tenant restaurant compliance inspection, pump truck service, flood restoration and preventative maintenance.
We highly recommend to keep good relationships with Jessica, because she will be the one who will recommend you to other property managers and can be a good source of referrals. Some plumbing companies have Account Managers to keep high standards of service on each residential or commercial building they take care of.
It’s very normal that property managers change to different buildings with career growth, or as they add more to their portfolio, which is why word of mouth marketing is very important. Jessica is looking for quality partnership, win/win deals, and reciprocity, so keep in mind that amongst her priorities, she is also expecting to receive something for free. She likes to receive newsletters or email marketing once a week or twice a month if they provide her with valuable information on how to make her job easier (plumbing and heating checklists, “how to…” videos or tips and tricks to avoid disasters in under different circumstances).
6. Other Contractors
It’s all about quality partnerships with win/win deals and reciprocity. George is looking for a plumbing company who can make him “look good” with his client and also can save him money in the project. Partnering up with the right contractor, like builders, roofers and electricians, can be a good source of quality leads and good referrals. However, keep in mind that they are also expecting to get some ‘juicy” leads from you.
Knowing your “Audience Personas” will allow you to create more appealing campaigns for each part of the purchase funnel. In the long term game, what you should be looking for is to build solid relationships with your customers, the best way to build a good relationship with them is knowing their needs. They way you communicate to each persona is going to be the clue to make them decide to hire your services. If you want them to listen to you, these tactics will help you to choose the right approach.
Let me know if you have already used these 6 audience personas in your plumbing business, if so, did you see any increase in your KPI’s? Any positive results? Please share your experience or questions… I’m looking forward to read your comments!