For this article, we wanted to do something quite different to our usual content. Over the past month or so, while researching target markets who may need help with web design, we stumbled across a few different sectors (we’ll cover all of them over the next few months), in which the results seemed especially interesting to us.
The plumbing industry is the first we’ve decided to analyse in terms of website design, social media presence and content published.
In part one of this article we’ll be looking at some insights from our market research. And in part two, we will focus on ideas and strategies that these companies can be used to grow their online presence.
Overall consensus on plumbing websites
Considering that the majority of plumbing companies are likely to have their business built around referrals, it’s understandable why many of them have opted to not invest too much time and effort into building and maintaining an online presence.
From the market research we carried out on a particular area in London, we found these results:
- Out of the 17 plumbing company websites we analysed, only three had social media accounts set up, on which they were barely active.
- None of these websites had a blog.
- Looking at the design of these plumbing websites, all of them were outdated to varying degrees, except for one which we will be analysing shortly.
So… considering our findings, can companies in this industry benefit from a great website, a blog and social media presence?
In our opinion….absolutely!
The highest priority out of the three is to produce a great looking, effective website. This is essentially your shop window, so you want it to entice people in. Below we have highlighted a website we found during our research into the plumbing industry that we think is a perfect example to follow.
Social media is another way to spread your brand’s name, and also build customer referrals. For example, after installing a boiler in a customer’s home, take a picture, tweet it, put it on Facebook and if the customer is ok with it, tag their Twitter handle in the tweet. Who knows, perhaps they’ll be so happy with the work that they will share it with their friends and followers – that’s what the internet is about. In addition to this, it is also possible to target people on Twitter and Facebook local to your business with specific messages about your services. This is something we intend to explore in future articles.
Blogging or creating rich content such as videos is more of a long term strategy to help build a brand and rank better on Google. We touch on this more in part 2 of this article, offering ideas of what a plumbing company could do and what type of content they could create.
Analysis of a great website in the plumbing industry
As mentioned in the beginning, during our market research, we found plenty of websites that were old, outdated, slow, and had been neglected. We could easily pick one out and analyse what could be done better. But we feel that analysing a great website in this industry has more value to our readers.
One such website belongs to the company Frank Finn Plumbing.
This website was designed with the end-customer in mind. You can find all the necessary information you need when hiring a plumber straight away, because it is is all featured in a nice scrolling homepage.
The first thing you see as soon as you click on the website is the image below. The image of a smiling man, working on equipment and looking like he’s installing something – it immediately confirms what this company is about, and helps to inspire confidence. It also lists an important communication method (a phone number) in this picture.
Not only is an overview of the services you offer important, but the way this one is designed helps bring it home very quickly. It’s simple, minimalistic , and easy to understand. Under each icon is a single sentence explaining what each service is about and how it can help resolve customers’ problems.
By breaking services down further into bullet points, the website makes is easy for users to quickly find out whether or not this particular plumbing company provides exactly they are looking for. It’s also good for search engines as it contains a lot of good keywords.
This layout works better than a large paragraph of text where the users would have to trawl through to find information relevant to them. It takes more effort for our brain to read long sentences than it does scanning a list of keywords.
The icons on the left are also particularly useful. Clicking on each one pulls up very brief paragraphs that customers would find relevant.
Frequently updated testimonials help to show potential customers your website is up to date, the company is still active, and previous customers are happy with your work. It increases trust to a degree.
In terms of placement of testimonials on the website, I like how this company has a large section on the homepage dedicated to them. It also slides between a variety of customer testimonials so there’s a bit of interaction for those who are interested to read more.
The pricing of their plumbing service is featured clearly halfway down the homepage. Having the prices in a large, bold font like this makes it easier to find this essential information quickly. This fact will help convert customers. People don’t like having to look for something as basic as pricing, and you’ll be surprised how many companies hide their pricing, perhaps for fear of putting people off. If the price is clearly stated, those who find the price to be right for them, will now be ever closer to getting in touch.