Why Market During Peak Season?
June 1, 2007
By Adams Hudson
It’s a question I hear a lot: “Why should I market to my customers during the summer when the weather is keeping me as busy as I can be?” Before I answer, first think about a few questions that run through my cobweb-filled head.
Your customers are the ones that you spent your hard-earned marketing dollars to gain, right? Your top-quality service calls were meant to impress and retain them, right? You think of them as your “customers”, but my last question is: do they think of you as their heating and cooling company?
If you answered “yes” to the first two questions, but kinda-sorta-maybe weren’t exactly sure on that last one, you probably have a customer retention problem… and your competition would love to keep it that way.
That’s the thing about customer retention: you don’t know when, who, or how many are leaving. If you’re not staying in touch, but merely “assuming” they’ll stay, you can virtually guarantee that unless they have unparalleled loyalty and a faultless long-term memory, they’re leaving.
Your customers will have the same needs this summer as the rest of the people calling you. They want to be comfortable in their homes, so they’re desperate if they have a repair need on a hot day. They’re concerned if their utility bills are sky-high, and they would love to save some of that money with higher efficiency.
So, do you want your customers to bring these needs to you – or to another company? If you’re not giving them a reason to remember you, I’ve got bad news for you: they’re not going to quit using their air conditioning or plumbing… but they may quit using you.
If you’re one of the contractors relying on the weather to do your marketing, you could be allowing your competitors to snatch your customers right into their aggressively marketed clutches. Your mission this summer is to keep that from happening.
There’s no question that summer can mean LOTS of business for your company… but you’ve got to play your cards right. If you miss out on the “spending” season and allow customers to leave, you lose that customer, plus all his future sales and referrals – but you’ll never even know about it.
So make an effort by getting out in front of your competition with a professional customer retention weapon. (And yes, you’ll end up winning some of the ones they’re neglecting too.)
Your best bet: a high quality postcard with a well-placed retention message (not a hard-driving “sales” message) that gains credibility, sales, referrals - and is great TOMA - Top Of Mind Awareness. Check out some great samples on our website, www.hudsonink.com/4th.shtml. Plus, postcards require no envelope, can be metered, and are very inexpensive to print. They can be out to your entire database almost immediately.
So, what message will you send? Remember that the primary purpose is “image” or “TOMA”. You don’t have to hard-sell since peak season already makes people receptive. But you can make an enticing offer. Options include service or replacement offers with a deadlined discount, plus a Free Energy Survey or Free Plumbing Inspection touting energy or utility savings.
Just remember that the summer sales season can make or break your business. Don’t wait on the weather or “hope” your customers remember you. Make sure it happens by driving your name further into the market to get more leads, sales, and profits.
Your customers are waiting to hear from you, so don’t let them hear from the competition first!
Adams Hudson is president of Hudson, Ink, a creative marketing firm for contractors. Call 1-800-489-9099 to ask about ordering summer postcards or visit www.hudsonink.com/4th.shtml. We’ve added fresh new designs for the season plus industry-specific messages. For a free marketing newsletter, “Sales&Marketing Insider”, fax your letterhead with the request to 334-262-1115.
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