You know you need to market, but what? How? Do you ever find yourself stumped for marketing ideas, especially affordable ideas? Use the free Plumbing Marketing Toolbox App from Service Roundtable to find dozens of plumbing-centric ways to promote your company. Here are seven:
1. Warranty expiration reminder. Send a warranty expiration reminder card to customers about a month before their storage or tankless water heater warranties are due to expire. You receive credit for honesty by contacting them before the warranty expires.
In addition, you eliminate or reduce the problems that arise when customers think they are still under warranty but are not when a product fails. You also increase referrals and possibly generate additional discretionary work. Include a place to write in the products you are referencing, the installation date, and the warranty expiration date.
2. Business card referral form. A business card referral form doesn’t need much explanation. It includes space for the person making the referral to write his name, address, and phone number, and the same for the card’s recipient. Print the form on the back of your business cards and pass them out to anyone who might be able to refer a friend to your company. If that friend buys from you, you’ll give the friend a discount and give the referrer a nice cash reward or gift card. Remember, the best type of new customer is the referred customer.
3. New employee special. When you hire a new employee, create a special in his or her name (e.g., “The Employee’s Name Special”). Offer your standard promotion or some other promotion.
Mail this to the family and friends of your employee. Add the new employee’s family and friends to your in-house mail list. These could be old customers or co-workers if the employee comes from a different industry, church members, club members, neighbors, family members and so on. If you hire the employee from a competitor, do not mail it to the customers of that company.
The letter should be printed on company letterhead. Take a quick digital picture of a smiling employee to include at the top. Conclude with a time-sensitive call to action. You can create a separate, but similar, letter on the employee’s one-year anniversary, if you want. You might also send this by email.
4. Get newcomers lists. Many cities and towns provide monthly lists of new residents free of charge. Each locality varies. Some require you to stop by town hall and pick up the lists. Others will send them by email. If you don’t want to go to the trouble of chasing down the lists, you can use a variety of services that sell lists of newcomers by zip code.
Newcomers are unaffiliated prospects. They lack a relationship with a plumber. Offer newcomers a discounted service agreement and/or complimentary water heater flush and inspection. Include a refrigerator magnet in your mailing.
5. Build a better invoice. Most service invoices are boring. They look like impersonal forms an accountant or engineer created. An invoice should represent your company well, help increase your average ticket, reinforce value, and encourage repeat business. Redesign your invoice. Make it a sales and marketing tool.
6. Bounce-back coupons. A bounce-back coupon is a coupon you leave behind or mail to the customer with a thank-you card that is designed to get the customer to bounce back for repeat service. Typically, bounce-back coupons are not dated because they are demand-service coupons and it’s impossible to predict the next time service will be needed.
7. Price complaint letter. Good news travels fast. Bad news travels faster. Maintaining your company’s image and reputation is critical to your future success, especially in today’s social media environment. This letter addresses price complaints in a unique way that’s designed to defuse potentially explosive public relations situations.
Allow customers a one-time price adjustment. It allows the disgruntled customer to name his or her price, but only under the condition that he or she won’t be able to do it again. Utilizing this strategy, you create a satisfied customer, eliminate lots of management headaches, and, I hope, quiet a customer who may have felt like venting in all the worst places!
What does it cost you? Probably not that much. Most people won’t try to take you to the cleaners. If you’re concerned about the potential refunds, you could create a reserve account and put aside a little from each of your invoices to cover the expense. Draw from it when necessary.