Eclectic Dreams

A Web Design and Development Blog

Posts Tagged ‘marketing’

Marketing a Plumber using Twitter and Yahoo Pipes

Thursday, July 2nd, 2009

This is just a random thought that occurred on the train home. A friend was talking about how it might be tricky to do SEO for a plumber or electrician. I didn’t quite agree, but it occurred to me that for a local business marketing such services in the interweb age, there’s some quite clever things you could do.

First, join Twitter. Make sure you mention you’re a plumber and your location. Talk about your work and be generally personable; Being genuine is always a good start on the web. Include your website link so people can check your plumbing credentials, it’s probably best to mention you’re in Yellow Pages too, not everybody believes what they read on the web…

Second, go to twitter search and search for “burst pipe” or better “need plumber” or any of the other hundred complaints you might help with. Check it has lots of results. Go to advanced search, repeat, but with a geographic limit of 50 miles of your location. Say you’re in London (Oh look somebody needs help).

Go to Yahoo Pipes. Create a pipe with all those queries merged together. You could limit them to the last 24 hours if you like, so you don’t end up trying out of date info. Subscribe to the feed. Watch the feed for appropriate tweets. Respond when you see them by an @ reply or by following the tweeter and introducing yourself. Introducing yourself is important, hopefully shows you’re not a bot. You might want to give a special rate for twitter referrals. Hopefully your serendipitous contact will be seen as a boon, especially if you don’t behave in an autofollowy kind of way, get the job.

Do a damn good job. This part is important.

Hopefully your client will talk about the novel experience of being contacted via Twitter at just the right time. It’ll be remarkable, after all. This might net you some interest from friends of friends who need work, or some press attention, all of which would be good.

Repeat until you have a network of satisfied customers who will always remember you as the twitter plumber.

Find Really is the New Search

Saturday, February 17th, 2007

So, with a new year (I started writing this post in January, even if it is now mid-Feb) my thoughts turned to how a years worth of life has changed me. One of the most noticable changes is in my web habits. I search a lot less these days. Oh sure, if I can only vaguely remember a site name, I Google it via the searchbox in Firefox (or Safari, but that change is another story). But I use search to discover things much less than I did.

Del.icio.us and its kin have made discovering things much easier. Subscribe to a few tags you find interesting, watch a couple of your friends’ bookmarks and you can keep track of the latest cool stuff really easily. Want something from a broader arena? Wander to the homepage, see what folks are finding interesting at the moment. Watch content proliferate in real time.

Delicious has made my old habit of swapping links with friends by email, forum or blog much more efficient. In fact it’s nearly totaly replaced those habits. A link has to be really interesting or worthy of discussion, rather than just digestion, for me to blog about it. Delicious builds my awareness of stuff I am interested in with much less trawling, but it does reduce my posting regularity. Given that I use it like this, you can see why Internet marketers are turning to social bookmarking sites for promotional purposes.

What’s also interesting from a user experience perspective, is that my initial reason for using the service: ‘have access to my bookmarks in more than one place’ has pretty much faded into the background. As I gradually got used to the other options, what I saw as the products key features changed. You’ve got to respect a solution that changes you and keeps you interested like that.