It’s still warm here in the north, but as we all know who live here, it won’t be for long! The same can be said about the constant calls, voicemails, texts, and emails from existing or potential clients that beg to be added last minute for service. With the changing of the seasons also comes a change in how we ADVERTISE our specific businesses. Now, I’m not going to sit here and act like I have done this before because, to be frank, this is my first season as a full-time entrepreneur. I have been washing part-time for the last few years while working full-time, not thinking about the cold season because I was covered. This year is different. This year I have to analyze and feel the pulse of my market, where I’m at, and where I want to be as a brand. In advertising, you want to be proactive and not reactive because, by the time you realize you need more work, you’re a season behind.
In my experience, you always want to consider the season ahead when advertising. Remember, people often confuse advertising and marketing or think it’s the same. It is not. According to the National Marketing Association, marketing is the process of identifying customers’ needs and how to best meet those needs. Advertising is the exercise of promoting its company and its services through paid or unpaid channels. How you advertise in summer will not be the same way you advertise in fall or winter if you live in the north. As a residential heavy window cleaning business owner, I can count on 2 hands how many times I have been called in the winter for window cleaning. I’m not saying it doesn’t happen, just people don’t want or need it. So advertising for amazing views and clean glass, while important, may not hit a note with clients as it would in the spring! So many times, phone calls in the spring start with, “The sun was shining in, and I saw how dirty my windows are.” What’s missing for the majority of the time in winter? THE SUN!
I do not do a ton of advertising. Word of mouth has been my best advertisement since day 1. I guarantee the converted bids are way higher with people who have had 1st hand accounts with you or have heard from friends or family who have had 1st hand accounts than people who just find you online. Regarding advertising, Jersey and SteveO hit on it a few months back. Advertise the company you want to become. If you want to be a one-man show and do good work WITH the customer experience aspect, word of mouth and reviews will do the advertising for you. I am proof of that. (eye-catching business cards and a good vehicle wrap will up your professional game help as well) Don’t underestimate a clean truck or van and the short to match! It matters! If you want to grow and add techs and an office person etc., then advertise, advertise, advertise. It’s all where you want to go as a business.
Advertise when people are thinking about it. Spring and Summer are perfect times to advertise. There is a fine line, though. I have been booked out for 2 months this season during peak times. If I had advertisements out, I would have to pause them because I would lose clients who don’t want to wait. You also want to be booked out far enough, so when the slow times come (think back to school), you’re set until the fall rush hits (think mid-September). I’m trying to say that when winter snow falls, so should spending for the seasonal business you have been grinding on for the past 7 months. Instead, work on your reviews, and ask past clients to leave a few! Upsell or cross-sell existing clients, offer them deals or packages to get them all set for next season! Another great time investor if you are primarily a residential cleaner is to go out and hustle for some route work! Go into those businesses you pass by every day and ask them if you can give them a bid! Last but not least, focus on low or no-cost marketing tactics. Concentrate on channels that require more time than money during your slow season (all you have is time when it’s slow), such as social media, email marketing, or public relations (think expos or vendor shows).
One thing is for sure, the wave that is a seasonal business comes fast and hard, and it’s up to you whether you waste the slow time or use it to further your business to where you want it to be!