Many roofing companies find themselves subjected to seasonal fluxes in business, which may also impact their investments in other business activities, like marketing and recruiting. While it may seem logical to shut off marketing expenses in the off-season, companies that do miss out on significant opportunities to engage with customers, earn trust, and build leads for the spring. Just because the seasons come and go doesn’t mean that your marketing should. Instead, roofing contractors should consider how they can alter their marketing messages, offers, and tactics to make the most of the off-season.
Why is Off-Season Marketing Important?
If your business wants to retain loyal customers and source new ones, it's crucial to maintain a consistent marketing strategy. Here are some reasons why off-season marketing is vital to your bottom line.
Break Through the Noise
Leading roofing companies take full advantage of year-round marketing and get creative with their lead engagement. Any contractor knows that the major seasons also bring serious competition. Property owners are often overwhelmed by ads, leave-behinds, emails, calls, and door-knocking. As a result, they are more difficult to sell to and convert. However, clever contractors can use the seasonal quiet time to break through to customers while their competition sleeps on the opportunities.
Jump Ahead of the Competition
Imagine having your spring appointments booked before your competitors turn their marketing efforts back on. Off-season marketing is the key to jumping ahead in the spring. By continuing marketing efforts through the winter, you can build relationships with new leads and nurture previous customers. This is the time to educate property owners on ways to protect their roofs now and provide special incentives to encourage them to sign up for inspections after the snow melts.
When peak season rolls around, your sales team will be servicing new appointments rather than waiting for the results of sales and marketing efforts to kick in. Remember, it’s likely that some of your savvy competitors have a winter marketing strategy in place. So, don’t be the company that is jump-starting the sales engine while the other teams are getting deals signed.
Create and Sustain Brand Awareness
Every business owner knows that starting from zero is a huge hassle and expense. Keeping leads warm through the off-season will help your business remain memorable. Top-of-mind awareness (TOMA) is the key to positioning your company for success. When your leads or customers need something, you’ll be the first name that pops into their head, meaning your company receives the call before anyone else.
Getting positive responses and closing deals is much easier when people are familiar with your company and trust what you have to say. Compare that experience with trying to reconnect with a lead after they haven’t heard from you in four months. Don’t let your leads and customers forget about you and why you’re the brand they trust.
Lower Marketing Costs
Cost is an important lever to consider when trying to achieve your financial goals. Maintaining year-round marketing can help you lower your rates for various marketing activities and increase the value that you gain from your investments in several ways:
- Take advantage of advertising space that is often cheaper in the off-seasons.
- Negotiate lower costs for year-round subscriptions and services.
- Plan ahead to avoid rush fees, which mount during the peak season when companies are fighting for a spot on production schedules (e.g., advertising, design/marketing services, printers)
- Maintain an actively engaged audience that you can leverage to save a ton on advertising costs by using free or low-cost channels like social media and email to get your message across
Maintain Accurate Data for More Effective Strategies
Every contractor should be using a data-driven approach to sales and marketing to make the most of their time, resources, and budgets. If your company is leveraging data, it’s important to keep that data updated and accurate. Campaign results are a vital part of a healthy data strategy because they tell you which techniques are working and which are not so you can continuously improve your marketing and sales efforts. Starting and stopping campaigns can lead to insufficient or inaccurate data, which can then lead to misguided strategies.
Pro Tips: Off-Season Strategies to Gain More Leads
Here are some pro tips for strategies that you can follow to gain more leads during the off-season.
- Reconnect with your customer base: There is no such thing as a perfect marketing plan. Even those companies with the best intentions fall behind sometimes—likely while business was booming in the peak season. The off-season is a great time to pick up where you left off and try to re-engage your customer base. Consider promoting a referral program or asking for a positive online review so you can leverage your stellar reputation come spring.
- Sustain your social media engagement: Social media is where your audience lives. If you want to be seen and remembered, you must be present on many social media platforms. The off-season is the perfect time to ramp up your social media presence while you have the time. Use Facebook, Instagram, and YouTube to promote the aspects of your business that set you apart. You can send regular updates, advertise early bird promotions, promote charitable activities, or even host a competition and reward people for sharing posts or commenting.
- Check out your reviews: The Internet has made customer reviews more accessible and relatable to potential buyers. Reviews are part of the sales funnel, and your business needs to maintain great reviews to attract new business. In peak season, customers will leave reviews that you can gather and promote during the off-season. Use the time to create promotional material with reviews to boost your business’s profile and perception to the public.
- Partner with other businesses: Joining forces with another business during the off-season will expand your marketing potential. You can collaborate with a complementary company to yours and mutually benefit from each other’s customer base. Combine the power of your marketing analytics and discover where you can use each other's strengths to engage with more customers. Some strategies you can implement:
- Create affiliate marketing partnerships
- Collaborate on a charity project
- Co-host public events
- Bundle services together for promotional use
- Participate in each other’s social media accounts
- Work on your email marketing: Email marketing is a sure way to keep loyal or past customers up-to-date with special deals and promotions. During peak season, make an effort to get as many customers to join your email list. Use the off-season to build brand awareness and promote discounts for early bird appointment sign-ups. Also, you can conduct surveys to improve your service delivery and ask to offer rewards for referrals.
Too many businesses take it easy during the quiet months and don’t capitalize on their past productivity. It’s important to remember that taking a break during the off-season has repercussions that extend well into your peak season, resulting in delayed revenue, missed opportunities, and rework costs. Use the slower times to break through the noise that is typical throughout the rest of the year.
Focus on making a real connection with your customers and leads and building trust that will encourage them to choose you above other contractors when needs arise. By following the above marketing strategies and ideas, you can maintain engagement, generate new leads, and keep your business growing year-round. Always-on marketing helps your company take the lead.