What Should A Company Be Doing With The Approaching Summertime Lull To Ensure A Great Fall
…And by ‘fall’ I don’t mean fall on your face while your business tanks like many window cleaning companies do this time of year. Instead, put your marketing face on and use this downtime to focus on getting your window cleaning business ready to rock for the approaching fall season. Either way, welcome to the dog days of summer fellow window cleaners. It is officially here and that means along with sunburns and BBQ’s, you are also probably facing sluggish sales, out of office replies, waning customer engagement, while leaving more voice mail messages than ever – all leading to a strained bank account. Hmmm.
It doesn’t have to be that way. It may be summer, but that does not mean we wait til fall. Yes, gear up for the fall, but let’s talk about what we can do right here, right now, to get the phones ringing, the email box overflowing, and INCREASE REVENUE TODAY and for TOMORROW! Let’s you and me make this our best summer on record and continue breaking records into the fall season.
This is not the time for you to sit on your hands, stare at your computer while your competitors are finding ways to add customers and generate solid revenues, taking market share, while you are left behind. Whether you’re looking to bring customers in over the next couple months, or just finding ways to come back strong once the summer is over, there are plenty of things you can do right now to jump-start this season.
“Doing what others won’t is what sets the successful apart from the struggling.”
Just because your prospective audience is on vacation or is spending money anticipating the back to school rush, doesn’t mean you and your organization should be twiddling your thumbs - especially when it comes to marketing and building revenue. Though business may be slower, keep in mind, a lot of people are also home, or working, and not on vacation, with plenty of cash flow just wishing they were poolside. Why not give them a reason and some relevant information and offers to help them make an informed decision to hire you today?
In my business, here’s what we do…
“We turn the marketing dial (our Faucet of Profit) up! We put our small watering can in the closet and get out our 20 zone irrigation system!”
See the difference?
When ramping up your marketing plan, don’t wait. Plan ahead, with your plan already in place by the end of the spring season. Typically, by June we are already ramped up in anticipation of the traditionally slower August and September months. Obviously, spring has passed and summer is here, hence this article. But this is how all of our residential technicians stay booked out an average of 2 or more weeks in the looming slow time. Is it too late? Absolutely not!
When preparing for this article, I researched my residential division’s growth during the slower months of August and September from 2015 and 2016. Here’s what I found by implementing some marketing strategies: Comparing August 2015 to August 2016 we experienced 15% growth. Not bad. Comparing September 2015 to September 2016 we experienced 100% growth. That’s right! Can you increase revenue late summer into fall? Absolutely! Put your attention on it and come up with your plan.
Here are a few marketing tactics to ramp up and consider using during the Dog Days of Summer:
- Create aggressive back to school promotions to your existing customer base. We did this in August last year with fantastic results. Identical email blasts with an aggressive offer yielded over $12,000 for the month… within days. We did another in September and added an additional $18,000! It is always easier to generate more revenue from existing customers than it is trying to acquire new customers. And this form of marketing is free!
- Add or offer more services to your existing customer base and each new estimate you give. We do this through our email blasts, in-bound and out-bound phone marketing, and in-person estimates. And, we aggressively increase and push the upsells. Ask and you shall receive.
- Increase your flyer delivery. Let’s face it; 3, 4, or 5 thousand flyers is not going to be enough. If you do it in-house, consider hiring an outside company. We don’t stop flyer delivery in the summer because business slows down, we increase it! Sure, we may not have as high an ROI as the spring or fall seasons, but my guys stay busy and yes, we do still profit… handsomely. How many flyers does my company distribute during this time? 40,000 to 50,000 per month!
- Plan and promote each up-coming holiday and reach out to your customers with a special offer or ‘feature’. No, this doesn’t mean look ahead to Black Friday and the Christmas season. The summer plays host to three major holidays: Memorial Day, Fourth of July, and Labor Day. These weekends also happen to be some of the most popular sales-holidays as well, which means you should be looking for ways to throw your hat into the ring and attract customers and revenue. Promote, Promote, Promote! Plus, there’s a host of other “holidays” you can have fun with like World Population Day July 11, National Hot Dog Day July 19, or National Lasagna Day July 29 to name a few. Be creative!
- You know that marketing strategy you wanted to try in December but you didn’t have time? Now is the time. When things slow down, brainstorm, test, and implement. Maybe it’s something crazy, maybe it’s a social media business strategy.
If you missed Memorial Day, don’t sweat it. Just be sure to double your efforts on the others above. Assemble great deals or ‘features’ you can offer to your customers on these holidays and create holiday appropriate emails and physical marketing to increase revenue. And remember, it doesn’t always have to be a “Sale”, use “Features” too.
- Don’t do commercial? Start building a commercial route this summer. Each of our routes (manned by one technician each) average $5,000 per month revenue. Create some residual income that comes in year ‘round and keep your summer and winter months ‘alive’.
- Give your manager or salesperson a summer season sales quota with a nice incentive waiting at the close of the season if he/she performs. And cash in during the fall season!
- Get new accounts by utilizing your existing commercial customer base.
-Ask if they have other locations you can bid on.
-Ask them to refer someone to you and offer a free month of service in return.
-Add pressure washing services to your restaurant customers with patio, front sidewalk, and awning cleaning… monthly.
- Raise all of your commercial program customers through price increases. We do this every 3 years in the spring/summer and add significantly to our bottom line come fall. If you have not done a price increase, do one. Ex. 500 storefronts x $5.00/m = $2,500 per month almost immediately.
- Use a back-end email follow up marketing campaign to commercial prospects never sold. You do get their contact information, right? Send them out twice per month with a carefully crafted offer they can’t refuse and add more customers faster.
This is just a tip of the iceberg. There’s a myriad of things we do, and you can do too with your business when it comes to marketing. The point is to be creative and keep your team working. Your employees are the most important component of your company’s success. By ramping up and keeping revenue coming in during the dog days of summer you can anticipate an extra busy fall.
If things are getting slow, occupy that time with new activities that could strengthen your company in the long haul. We all have whiteboards of things we can’t wait to do if only we had time…now you may have that time.
Additionally, summer is a great time to get your office in order internally to set your business up for a successful fall season.
- Reach out to your happy customers, and gather reviews (using an email template) to have your customer’s post online. Google Reviews is a big one and important one.
- Evaluate your staffing needs. Once you’ve found the right person, the summer months are a great time to train someone, whether a field tech or in-office staff.
- If you already have help, conduct Performance Reviews with them and find their strengths and weaknesses. You do conduct Performance Reviews, right?
- Increase your learning to increase your earning. The slower summer months is a great time to educate yourself on whatever it is you need to know to take your business to the next level.
- Write down your accomplishments so far this year. Recognize your success and assess your goals to finish out the year. Did you write them down and post it?
- Write a bunch of blog posts to increase your SEO rankings for the fall.
I’ve seen many window cleaning businesses let their spirits die due to the summer lull. Don’t take that mind set. Instead, stand tall, get aggressive, and use this time to try out new strategies, create new relationships and build momentum that will take you clear into the fall. There’s a reason Starbucks does the Treat Receipt deal in the summer (bring the receipt from your morning beverage back after 2 p.m. the same day and receive any Grande drink for just $2).
Do you know the origin of the phrase Dog Days of Summer? It actually has nothing to do with dogs! The phrase comes from the ancient Romans who marked the hottest days of the year as the time when Sirius (the Dog Star) rose in conjunction with the sun. So, my words of wisdom for this article: Rise Above the Rest!.
Jim DuBois is founder of Squeegee Pros, Inc. out of Mooresville, NC. He is the creator of WindowWashingWealth.com, which specializes in aggressive marketing tactics, the importance of internal company systems, and how to dominate your window cleaning marketplace.
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