Heating and plumbing engineers must utilise their resources and invest time and energy into marketing their services properly to resume service as usual after a year of disruption, says Richard Harvey, Commercial Director at Wolseley Plumb and Parts.
According to Boiler Guide, boiler repairs were up 26% during the coronavirus outbreak as homeowners spent more time at home and using their heating systems more than usual. Home improvements also surged as homeowners found the time to take on new projects and upgrades.
Despite UK boiler repairs rising to over a quarter, plumbers earnings fell during the first national lockdown and despite less stringent restrictions in lockdown 2.0, many businesses have had to face the reality of only conducting essential works. Therefore, it’s important to ensure your business is in a strong position to be able to attract more work as restrictions continue to loosen.
Social media is great for increasing business, particularly on platforms such as LinkedIn, Twitter, and Facebook. Follow Twitter accounts like @theheatinghub as they aim to unite installers with local customers, creating more jobs and bigger opportunities.
Sharing pictures and videos will also increase sales, so upload pictures of jobs that you are proud of and jobs that have received great feedback. That way customers will get an idea for the type of work you do and a vision of what they could expect.
Targeted ads are also handy as your services will appear on the social feeds of customers in the local area, increasing awareness of your skills and generating leads. Local community pages have also risen and most UK towns now have their own Facebook community group. They’re easy to join and you’re able to advertise the services you offer within the group.
Installers love Twitter and LinkedIn as they’re able to show off client work and post handy tips for fellow engineers. It’s another great place to source information and to find out what other professionals are doing to increase their workload in the post-lockdown world.
Engage with groups like ‘Plumbers Talk’ and ‘UK Plumbers and Installers’ on LinkedIn. Likeminded businesses and self-employed installers use the platform to share their questions, stories, and advice, which you may find useful.
Designed to help rogue traders and businesses build an online presence, creating a Checkatrade account is another way to grow your business.
With over 30,000 account members, Checkatrade filters each tradesperson by postcode to help source the ideal candidate for the job. A customer simply describes the work they require and then Checkatrade searches the area for the suitable tradesman. It’s great for not only picking up work when it goes quiet, but also an opportunity to improve your reputation by asking customers to leave positive reviews.
According to CompareHare, 97% of customers go online to find local services — a figure which speaks for itself when it comes to justifying building a website for your business. According to Beamlocal, 81% of people research a business or service prior to making a purchase or investment.
Building a website doesn’t have to break the bank though. Sites like Wix or Squarespace are affordable, and you can still create a website that’s professional for your plumbing and heating business.
According to digital marketing company Blue Corona, there have been almost 1.5 million online searches for ‘electrician’ keywords in the last 12 months and 61% of those searches happened on a mobile device. So, if the same customer behaviour applies to plumbing and heating installations and maintenance, make sure it’s mobile-friendly as not only will your business rank higher in search results, it’ll give you an edge on the competition with increased visibility.
Video marketing has become increasingly popular. By incorporating video to your company website or social pages, you can increase leads and engagement with your key audiences.
Creating a video doesn’t have to be too fancy or technical. Whether you’re self-employed or part of a business, putting yourself or your employees in front of the lens will help build a stronger business affiliation.
According to social media and content experts Dreamgrow.com, 64-85% of visitors said they are more likely to purchase something after watching a video, so start posting footage of boiler servicing benefits or products that can improve efficiency and savings for potential customers.
While times are tough for installers, it’s not all doom as gloom as the installation opportunities for renewable technologies and home improvements are driving the market. Time that’s invested now could lead to long lasting customer relationships and business opportunities further down the line