The Plumbing Marketing Toolbox is a free app available for plumbers on either an Android or Apple device. It’s filled with ways you can market and grow your plumbing business, including the seven listed here.

1.Make your business cards look like baseball cards. Have a little fun with your plumbers and customers with “baseball card” business cards. The front of each card should feature a photo of your plumber in action. The back can include a short bio listing his certifications, training completed and other accomplishments (i.e., the stats). Your plumbers will love passing them out and they are novel enough for your customers to share them with others.

2.Give customers logoed camp chairs. Pop-up camp chairs with arms and cup holders that bear your logo can be purchased for less than $20 each. Parents bring these to outdoor events, children’s sporting games, and so on. Give a pair with every new tankless water heater installation and let your customers do your marketing for you.

3. Give gift certificates instead of coupons. A gift certificate is little more than a coupon with real perceived value. Because people buy gift certificates and give them to friends, the perceived value is the face value. So people keep them. Coupons, on the other hand, get used if there is an immediate need and otherwise, thrown out.

Create gift certificates for your company. Give them to customers and prospects at times when it would be appropriate to give a gift certificate. Give them to the second- or third-place winners of contests. Give them to existing customers to celebrate a company anniversary. Give them to unhappy customers.

4. Create a company coloring book. Create a coloring book for your company that highlights the plumbing industry and your company. It’s great collateral. Coloring books involve kids, who show their work to their parents. They occupy kids during your presentation of options to the parents. They are great giveaways for home shows. Pass them out when your employees who have kids are invited to schools to talk about their occupations.

5. Give away airline miles with service work. Did you know you can buy airline miles to give your customers as gifts? Nearly every major carrier has a program. You can buy a 250-mile certificate with one airline for less than $8. Most will sell 500 miles for less than $15. Build this into the price of a service call and you will win the business of every frequent flyer who needs service and is aware you give miles.

6. Give away ad specialties in recycled totes. One of the best ad specialties today is the tote or reusable shopping bag made from recycled material. This is especially popular in environmentally sensitive markets. These bags can cost you less than $1 per bag in volume. Put your logo and any message you want on the bag.

If you offer green products or services, tell the story of how your customers can save money and help the environment on one side and your logo on the other. Give them to every customer following service work. Put your other ad specialties in the bag, such as magnets, jar openers, pens, notepads, etc.

7. Leverage your efforts by cross-marketing. Cross-marketing is leveraged marketing. In a cross-marketing program, you combine your efforts to market your company with one or more noncompetitive companies serving a similar customer base. Each of you promotes the other to your customers.

Because of customer familiarity and trust, cross-marketing exercises are often highly successful. Yet, care must be exhibited when selecting a cross-marketing partner since their performance reflects on you due to your recommendation. 

Invite a group of quality companies from noncompetitive trades (such as HVAC, electrical, carpet cleaning, pest control, pool services, landscaping, painters, appliance repair, security services, chimney sweeps, etc.) and invite them to a breakfast meeting where you pitch the idea of establishing a cross-marketing alliance. The companies you work with should have customer bases similar in size to yours, if not larger. 

Share the cost of flyers, magnets and ads that promote all your companies.