BusinessHow to Bring Your Plumbing Business into the Digital AgeBy pepnewz Posted on January 25, 201910 min read00163Share on FacebookShare on TwitterShare on Google+Share on LinkedinThe job market for plumbers, steamfitters and pipefitters are expected to grow at least 16% by 2026, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). With increased demand and substantial median income, it makes sense why there is also an increasing number of business owners who specialize in various plumbing services. Finding a competitive edge that will allow your company to stand out may seem nearly impossible when you consider the odds. However, you can achieve this goal much sooner than you realize by allowing your company to take full advantage of the digital age. Traditional Practices vs Online PresencePlumbers were in business long before the Internet even existed. Perhaps that is why a vast number of longtime plumbers have essentially stayed away from developing an online presence for their companies since their businesses have been able to survive and succeed without them. Keep in mind that if you only do what you have already done, then you will only win the customers you have already won. When it comes to building your business, though, you may quickly discover that you will hit a plateau of complacency that hinders you and your business. Traditional business practices may have gotten your business to this point, but its online presence is the key to unlocking future growth and added revenue. Invest in a Responsive and Engaging WebsitePerhaps you may already have a company website with a basic design that primarily highlights your contact information and hours of availability. This may have worked for your business years ago. In recent years, though, you may have noticed that your generated traffic has plummeted in comparison. There may be several different factors that contributed to the decline, but there are two primary areas that may need your immediate attention: Responsive web designEngagement and educationReports show that more than 70% of the total amount of minutes spent on the Internet within the United States in 2017 alone was spent using a mobile device (such as a smartphone or tablet). Therefore, it is imperative that you ensure your company website is designed to accommodate mobile device displays instead of solely desktop and laptop computer screens. A quick solution would be to invest in responsive web design. Responsive designs allow your website to cater to screens of all sizes. Engaging content is also important because it will help to separate your plumbing business from all others in your area. It is true that most plumbers provide the same types of services. However, what is it about the typical customer experience that sets you apart? Find a creative way to use that “secret weapon” when creating and promoting your website content as well. You Must Feature Your Company on Social MediaIt may seem pointless to have a social media page for your plumbing business – especially if you do not have very much experience in promoting businesses within this virtual arena. On your personal pages, you may post random photos and rants about your day – which explain why it may be confusing to think about maintaining a social media page for your company. Contrary to popular opinion, most online adults between the ages of 18 and 34 follow brands and companies via social networking. One report showed that Facebook was able to influence more than 50 percent of online/offline purchases in 2015 alone. Featuring your company through its own social media profile will help you to: Build a reputation as an authoritative expert in this fieldGenerate organic and/or paid exposure via advertising and high-quality postsConnect with prospective and existing customers to keep them engagedGenerate sales opportunities that would have otherwise gone to a competitorEncourage Your Customers to Spread the Word OnlineAnother important factor in taking advantage of the digital age for your plumbing business is to encourage your customers to spread the word online. There are quite a few automated solutions available today that will help you to manage your various projects in the field in addition to your growing customer base. With this type of automation, for instance, you could communicate with your clients through automated messages before, during and after a project is completed to keep them informed and hopefully persuade them to spread the word about your business. When your future customers search for your company online as they look to hire someone to fulfill their own plumbing needs, they will see the abundance of ratings, reviews, and testimonials that have been shared, posted and published by your past clients. Embrace the Cloud to Lighten Your LoadIn addition to building and maintaining a quality online presence for your plumbing business, it would be in your best interest to trust in a cloud solution to manage your data, project documents, employee/contractor lineup as well as your customer contacts & communication. Doing so will help you to lighten your load, but also allow you to save time, energy and effort when it comes to running the administrative side of your business. This will make it possible for you to focus on putting more time into satisfying your customers and becoming the best possible plumber that you can be while maximizing the potential of your future success as a business owner.About The AuthorMarie Erhart is a Success Manager at FieldPulse, creators of field service software that lets you run your entire contracting business from a single app. She works with contractors to help them grow their business using best practices.