- THE MAGAZINE
Depending on your location, it can be tough to get business in the winter. So this month, I decided to give you some tips to get business coming your way. This will work in winter or any other slow season your business may have.
Here’s a quick plan to get clients now:
First and most importantly, market heavily to the people who already love and trust you. Getting an existing client to call you back is easily half the cost of getting a new client. Don’t sit around hoping they’ll call you - give your clients a really good reason to call. Send all your clients a postcard with an irresistible offer. Send the offer via snail mail and e-mail. Make the offer too good to refuse.
Advertise to key neighborhoods. High-end homes with disposable income are typically a good target. With the new Every Door Direct Mail program (EDDM), it’s cheap and easy to mail to these neighborhoods. You can mail a large postcard with a special offer for as little as 15 cents per household. (For more on this, see my ICS October 2012 article titled, “Target Your Advertising With Every Door Direct Mail.” Additionally, you can pass flyers out on doorknobs of these same neighborhoods.
Send letters to plumbers, realtors, interior designers and flooring retailers to let them know about your referral program and special offers. A slow week is the perfect time to nurture these relationships. After you send them a letter, go visit them.
Announce your special offer through social media. Facebook, YouTube and Google Plus are great platforms to get your message out. Spend some time and effort gaining “likes” and connections. Perhaps even use a special offer or contest to gain new connections. Social media not only helps you connect with prospects and clients, it also can help your website rank higher in search engines.
Create a video announcing your “winter” offer. Place the video on YouTube, Google Plus and Facebook. Some people love watching videos. And again, the social media interaction can help your website rank higher.
- Use pay-per-click to get clients. Traffic to your special offer can be bought through Google Adwords, Facebook ads, Yahoo ads and other pay-per-click sources. This requires only a short set-up time and you’ll instantly have local prospects seeing your offer. But be careful - pay-per-click needs to be monitored regularly and tracked to make sure it’s getting you a profitable advertising return.
Nine ideas for creating your perfect special offer:
Make the offer unique. Don’t even think about running an X rooms for $XX special. There’s nothing special about that.
Avoid giving straight percentage off or dollars off offers. They’re too boring and your competitor is already doing it.
Give away an extra service. For example, if your primary service is carpet cleaning, give away free tile cleaning with a carpet cleaning purchase.
Give away a freebie. Purchase gift certificates through a special arrangement. Give away items such as $50 in free gas, $50 restaurant gift certificates, a free carpet rake or a free spotting kit with any cleaning.
Give discounts for large jobs. You could run a special that gives $50 off any job over $300.
Use free trial offers. But be careful - you don’t want your no-obligation, free trial to get into the hands of an unqualified prospect. Only give these to specific prospects.
Provide multiple-choice offers. Let the prospect decide between offer No. 1 and offer No. 2.
Announce specials on services that are easy for you to provide in winter. If you are set up to clean area rugs, announce a great area rug special. If you can do hardwood floor cleaning or tile cleaning easily in winter, announce a special for those.
- Make sure you give a “reason why.” If you’re slow in the winter, you’ve got the perfect reason to send out a great offer. Any time you give a reason why you’re offering a special, it makes your offer more believable and you’ll get a better response. Go ahead and tell them the reason you’re giving such a great offer is because it’s your slow season.
When it’s chilly outside, it’s easy to get complacent. Most of your competitors accept that winter means a decrease in business. But if you plan properly, you could have your best months in winter. And you could be off and running with a full schedule before spring begins. But it won’t happen by accident.
Make an action plan list and commitment to complete the list. If you want to assure your success in breaking out of the winter lull, you have to be persistent. Massive action is needed. Get started now.