One of the biggest mistakes a company can make is assuming that HVAC slow seasons are times when you should lower or eliminate your marketing budget. You need to stay top-of-mind with your customers all year long, irrespective of the season. To do this, you need to keep your advertising efforts consistent throughout the year and ensure you’re in constant contact with your customers.
Every Season Offers Opportunities to Reacquire Customers
It’s still important to advertise during spring, fall, “warm winters” and “cool summers.” HVAC and home services are businesses where you’re constantly having to reacquire your customers — your so-called “loyal customers” are probably in your competitors’ databases as well. By failing to advertise during the slow season, you’re just giving the other guy a chance to swoop in and steal your lunch.
The first step to mastering slow-season advertising is identifying your customers’ needs, even when your primary products and services are on the decline. Chart your buying cycles carefully and identify goods and services with longer cycles. These include non-time-of-need items such as maintenance contracts, new system installations, indoor air quality services, home performance and energy efficiency assessments, duct cleaning, and custom duct fabrication and installations. You can grow sales by marketing these products and services when the season is slow for other items.
During these off-seasons, focus on educating your customers so they learn about niche items they might otherwise overlook during this slower and more relaxed sales period. We’ve seen some of our clients substantially grow their IAQ services and maintenance programs, for example, by following this exact principle.
Time-of-Need Declines While Long-Term Needs Linger
When buying seasons are in full swing, customers are driven primarily by time-of-need purchases. As you well know, this may include a prompt furnace repair during a freezing winter, or essential air conditioner maintenance when the system isn’t keeping up with the sweltering summer.
During the off-season, customer focus shifts to long-term planning for other needs. Homeowners want to breathe clean air year-round. A mild winter may allow allergens to linger, creating an increased need for air cleaners and upgraded filters. Maintenance plans are a prime off-season purchase as well. There’s always a customer need that savvy businesses can fill. Understanding the buyer’s journey and leveraging it is key to maximizing sales opportunities during these slow seasons.
Slow-Season Fans Become Brand Advocates
As we already mentioned, local home services companies are constantly having to reacquire customers. Whether you like it or not, many homeowners will tend to go with whatever HVAC company is most available or responsive during their time of need. So the slow season is an excellent time to dive into your database and use the touches you create through advertising to convert regular customers into brand advocates.
If business is slow, more time is available for building strong relationships with your loyal customers. This is the time to reach out and make contact. Follow up on services or sales you may have failed to close during your last big buying season. Customers will appreciate the personal touch of a friendly call to see if they’re satisfied.
Offer maintenance promotions, educate your customers on new products, and suggest the best options for future upgrades. Maintain a friendly, helpful presence in every season so your name stays at the forefront of the customer’s mind. The clients that you stay in touch with throughout the slow season are more likely to become brand advocates when needs pick up again.
Ongoing Advertising Provides Constant Contact
Successful companies invest in marketing as an ongoing proposition, otherwise they risk losing market share. And the best marketers engage in consistent communication with their customers. The more contact you have with each client, the more you’ll encourage engagement, sharing, and the exchange of information.
In slow heating and cooling seasons, homeowners often find a little extra money in their pockets thanks to lower utility bills. This is the perfect time for these individuals to invest the money they’ve already budgeted for home comfort needs in upgrades, maintenance, or new products like a whole-home humidifier.
Keep Sales Steady with Professional Marketing & Advertising Solutions
Advertising opportunities never dry up, even in those seasons when you see sales falling. Take advantage of every fluctuation in the sales cycle and respond accordingly with carefully targeted advertising strategies that make the most of the current climate. Stay in contact now, and you’ll reap the benefits of brand recognition when sales pick up again.