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3 Subtle Advertising Techniques That Will Help You Win More Work

January 18, 2022 - Marketing & Sales - 10 minutes

You can be forgiven for thinking that to win over new customers you simply need to shout louder than the competition. But don’t worry: you don’t need to use a flailing inflatable, or cry from the rooftops, either!

As competitive as it is for field service businesses, it’s true that it’s not always the loudest companies who’ll find the most success…

More often than not, it’s subtle advertising techniques that will help your business to sell more. That’s because they help you to get consistent attention that has a long-term impact, rather than stop-start successes.

We’ve got a few great marketing ideas for plumbers to share with you, today, so let’s take a look.

  1. Use authentic language to talk a like a human
  2. Give great advice to become a conversational consultant
  3. Be proud and show off what you can do!

Why subtle plumbing advertising techniques are effective

Thumbs up

Yes: being loud and spending a ton of money on advertising can work well for you, but for many field service businesses, advertising yourself in this way isn’t going to be sustainable or cost-effective. 

That’s why it’s important to focus on more subtle plumbing advertising ideas and techniques. Also known as “indirect marketing”, this strategy relies on advertising that helps you promote your business as a whole: not just as a specific product or service. 

You’re selling your brand.

The points below may not all sound like typical advertising techniques, but they can help your plumbing business (or any other business, really) to advertise and generate a lot of attention.

Typically, the aim of most advertising is to lead customers towards making a purchase. Subtle advertising techniques, though, are more about promotional activities.

Sure, they can eventually lead someone to a sale, but they’re far better at helping to establish your brand. Think of subtle advertising techniques like bait that help to attract customers; they get them curious before they decide to bite. 

For instance, it might be that your plumbing business is advertising by making a statement about being more eco-friendly. Maybe it’s a charity fun-run at a local public event, or perhaps you’re sharing helpful advice about saving money on heating bills.

All of these are promotional activities—like news and press—that name your brand, but without directly plugging or promoting a service, but still, get eyes on your business. Best of all, they’re free: as customers have nothing to lose and something interesting to gain, just by taking a look.

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These advertising ideas are just a few simple ways you can build awareness and attract customers with your business’ personality. They might then start thinking “Hey, I like this about that company” and that means you’re more likely to come to mind when they do need you for an actual job.

Establishing subtle advertising techniques for your plumbing business is easier than you might think. What’s especially important, though, is that throughout it all you’re being genuine. That’s why we’re kicking off with our first point…

1. Use authentic language to talk a like a human

No matter how you’re dealing with customers, whether in person, in an email, over the phone, or online, it’s important that you: 

‘Be authentic and let your personality shine’ [these] are words of wisdom that brands will often hear and for good reason!


There’s nothing worse than coming across as fake or phoney. Prospects aren’t going to respond well to a company that seems disingenuous or only after their money.

“Think about the brands you remember. They are human and real. They get stuck in our minds because they touch on a part of ourselves that we didn’t think anyone else could see.”


Your customers aren’t fools. Connecting with a brand gives customers confidence and whether it’s a visit to someone’s home or taking care of an entire office building, your customers are people and they should be treated as such.

So, talk like a human! You’ll put them at ease.

Sure, you might be aiming to win their business by trying to sound more professional, but that doesn’t mean you need to pretend to be something you’re not, either. Or worse, come across as robotic.

Robot doing the robot

The more honest and straightforward you are, the more confident customers should feel that they’re getting the solution they need. Keep it simple.

Most customers aren’t likely to know the ins and outs of all the technical work that your engineers are doing; so be clear and show that you’re troubleshooting their problems, not baffling them to extract more money.

Customers will often be looking for reassurance and your team is responsible for making them feel assured.

But, how is this a subtle advertising technique for your plumbing business? 

Well: a great, reassuring experience is far more likely to get people talking about you.

That means, that when you ask for feedback or for the customer to leave a positive review, they’re more likely to say yes. In their review, they might highlight how great your service was. It’s this sort of detail that new customers will be on the lookout for as they shop around, and in this way, it’s great advertising for your brand.

After all, if your business comes across as friendly and easy to work with, then your continued success is far more likely. This will only get better with each and every job your complete, too!

Discover more with Success in the Field!

Watch Episode 5: How Do Customers Find Your Business?

2. Give great advice to become a conversational consultant

Building on the initial bit of rapport you have with customers is also incredibly important. And when it comes to selling, upselling your customers may be a goal that’s on your mind.

After all, if you can do one job for them, why not try to find out if there’s more you can do, too?

Of course, it’s important to avoid seeming pushy.

Just because you want the customer to know all their options, it’s not going to do anyone any good if your staff reel off every option under the sun. That’s overwhelming and is going to put off more customers than it helps to create. 

In the vast majority of cases, people don’t want to be sold to, at least not obviously. That’s where it helps to take a consultative approach where you work with the customer to find the right solution for them.

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Similar to our first point, it’s another method of building rapport with your customers. And you’ll find customers respond positively to this approach.

By asking open questions, your team can discover more about what a customer really wants, needs, or may benefit from. You’re the experts at what you do, after all, and if a customer has hired you to do a job, there’s already reason to believe they’ll appreciate the advice you have to offer.

This is especially true if it seems like a customer might be spending too much (or even too little) on a product or service. Ask questions like:

  1. “What sort of results are you hoping for from this service? Because there are other options you could consider…”
  2. “Based on everything we talked about, do you have any hesitation that our solution isn’t right for you?
  3. “Looking at the proposal/quote/estimate, is there anything that you don’t feel confident about?”

A consultative approach may not result in an immediate sale, it might even result in losing a sale—but it’s all about building trust and helping customers make the right choice. It’s more important to build and strengthen a professional relationship than push for the sake of a quick sale.

Don’t burn bridges if you can help it!

If you’re communicating well with customers, you’re far more likely to stay in touch and win new opportunities later. Not only that, but consultative conversations can help you discover useful information that will help you to deliver a more effective service at other jobs, too

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3. Be proud and show off what you do!

Perhaps the simplest but best way to advertise a plumbing business is to show what you’re capable of achieving.

Seeing is believing, as they say!

These days, it’s easy to create, share, and demonstrate what your business can do. Thanks to mobile technology, simple apps, and more, you can snap a photo or record a video and share your content, easily.

You’ll see a lot of this online (and digital marketing for plumbers is also a great shout).

Whilst browsing through Facebook or searching through Google, customers and businesses alike are sharing real-world examples of their experiences. It’s free, easy advertising for the plumbing companies, like yours, already doing the work.

For example, a business might praise its engineer on social media:

“Jack, our trainee plumber, did a bang-up job installing this new heat pump! Just look at that beauty!”

They’re not selling anything: just being proud. But it’s also a more subtle way of showing:

  1. Products you’re able to install
  2. Work that you’re proud of
  3. Respect and appreciation of your employees!

Who wouldn’t be intrigued by that?

It might sound simplistic, but that’s precisely the point!

If you’re not taking simple steps to share your work, prospects won’t see it. It doesn’t take much to show a bit of appreciation that can end up having a positive impact.

How about another example? 

I recently witnessed a fantastic sales, where every single one of these subtle advertising techniques was used to perfection. My parents hired a carpet fitter to sort out their stairs and landing:

1. He was prompt, presentable, and friendly; a real salt-of-the-earth gent, who put them at ease.

2. He asked all the right questions and gave a mix of honest opinions, but also respected and answered the questions they asked. (He wanted to ensure their decision matched their style: not force a choice based on what he alone thought was good). Asking something like: “How do you want it to make you feel? And not just to the touch.” This was a great question.

3. The pitch he gave was wrapped up neatly by providing numerous quality samples of the products. These physical samples as well as photos of finished projects gave them confidence in how their choices could look.

The conclusion? It was clear his work was as good as his word. Win, win!

There’s no reason the same strategies can’t work for you, too.

Plumbing Advertising: What to Takeaway

man giving thumbs up and five star review

Effective advertising is all about creating awareness and taking the time to build trust with your customers.

By being authentic, becoming a conversational consultant, and showing off the work you do, you’ll attract new customers, consistently and make them feel good about choosing your services, too.

As we said, it might not always seem like you’re advertising yourself; but that’s why subtle advertising for your plumbing business can be so impactful. When done right, they’ll make an impression that helps you to take customers on amazing journeys without costing you the earth, either!

To get started, download The Customer Communication Toolkit.

With it, you can build better relationships that benefit everyone.

Download your free Email & SMS templates, today!

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I'm eager to share great stories, advice, and tips that can help inspire and motivate field service businesses to find success. It's that, or I'm hunting down the best bagel recipe I can get my hands on!

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