Hi Dane, I’m a longtime reader and plumber from Oregon. I own my own pluming business (independent, not part of a franchise). Can you recommend some ways to get the word out on the internet? I’ve tried advertising my website on Facebook and Google but I don’t really know what I’m doing. You always seem to have an interesting perspective on things. Thought I’d give it a shot.
Thanks for the question!
You’re in an interesting niche. I never think about the pipes or the plumbing until I have a problem. So 99% of the time your advertising would be wasted on me. When I do have a problem, my first response is usually to see if I can fix it myself.
When I need to know how to do something, I always turn to YouTube. I can almost always find a video in which someone not only describes but demonstrates exactly how to do whatever it is, from swapping out a toilet to changing the brake pads on the car.
After watching a video, I have two options:
- I can go to the store and get all of the parts, materials and tools that I’ll need, and then get to work.
- If the project looks too difficult to do myself, I can call a professional.
My Idea for You
Here’s an idea for you. It’s cheap, fun and very internet friendly. Make some “How To” videos and then put them on YouTube. Then target your advertising at the videos, not at your website.
In the videos, demonstrate how to do various plumbing jobs.
Now I know sounds counterintuitive to what I said up above, but hang on. Make the videos super realistic — over realistic in fact. Toilets are gross. Overemphasize that. Stick your arm shoulder deep into the sewer trap and bring out a handful of hair, soap scum and all kinds of nastiness. Show people exactly what they’re getting themselves into.
Show how dirty everything gets, and how hard of a job it is.
Demonstrate how tight the spaces are, and the corners you have to squeeze into.
Show off all of the special, and hopefully expensive, tools that are necessary. Explain which chemicals are only mildly dangerous and which will eat your face off.
Do a very disgusting job, but be professional.
Don’t worry about losing business.
Anyone who’s done any of their own plumbing repair knows how hard it is. And if they don’t, they’ll try and mess up everything. Then they’ll call you.