Picture this: the days are getting shorter, and the air is crisp with the promise of winter. For many, it’s the season to stow away tools and take a breather from the business. After all, who thinks about improving their outdoor living space when it’s freezing outside? But what if I told you that the off-season could be your ticket to owning the market?
Taking Advantage of the Slow Season
The off-season provides a unique opportunity for your business to stand out in a less crowded field. Many of your competitors tend to scale back their marketing activities during this period, believing that clients aren’t actively seeking deck builders in the winter months. However, this presents a golden opportunity for your brand to shine.
By maintaining a strong marketing presence during the off-season, you position your business as a standout choice. When potential clients do start looking during this time, your message will be more noticeable amidst the reduced marketing noise. This is your chance to capture their attention and begin nurturing valuable leads.
1. Invest Time in Website Improvement
The off-season is an excellent opportunity to improve your website. Review your existing content and update it with your latest projects and achievements. Showcase your best work and highlight any new design trends or materials you’ve incorporated. Ensure that your website is a reflection of the high-quality work you do.
2. Harvest Past Review Opportunities
Connect with previous clients who never left a review. Check in with them, see how they’re enjoying their deck, and ask if they’d be willing to share their experiences online. Reviews are a powerful form of social proof, and they can motivate others to choose your services especially when the review is paired with a picture of the project.
3. Leverage Cost-Effective Online Ads
During the off-season, online advertising can be more cost-effective with less demand. Platforms like Google Ads allow you to pay per click, meaning you only pay when someone clicks on your ad. This is a budget-friendly way to maintain visibility and attract potential clients actively researching deck projects.
Consider getting Google Guaranteed and setting up their pay-per-lead model where your website shows up at the top of Google search results. This ensures that you appear prominently when potential clients are looking for deck builders in your area.
4. Cultivate Future Prospects with Rich Content
While it’s true that clients may not be inclined to start a deck project during the winter months, they are often actively researching and planning an improved outdoor space to enjoy when the weather breaks. The off-season provides the ideal window of opportunity to cultivate prospects for the future.
One effective strategy is to leverage rich content that educated, motivates and instills trust. Consider creating blog posts, videos, or downloadable guides that showcase your expertise. For instance, you could offer a comprehensive “Deck Design Guide” in exchange for website visitors’ email addresses. Many people spend the winter thinking about their dream deck, and your guide could be just the inspiration they need filling them with everything they need to know priming them for sales.
5. Nurture Prospects
Once you’ve captured their email addresses, you can stay in front of these prospects until they are ready to start their deck project. Email marketing and automation can be very powerful for you (and something that a lot of deck builders aren’t capitalizing on). Craft a series of emails that provide valuable information about everything decks along with customer success stories. Gradually nurture these leads, building trust and authority.
Additionally, consider running remarketing ads on social media platforms. For those who have visited your website, these ads act as gentle reminders of your brand and the value you offer. By becoming omnipresent, you’ll be the deck builder they already know, like, and trust when they’re ready to move forward.
Prepare for the Peak Season
By dedicating the off-season to planning and strategizing, you equip yourself to execute your marketing initiatives seamlessly when the peak season arrives. This proactive approach can lead to more efficient and effective marketing that yield results you never could image. More so, it will ensure that you will reach your goals instead of coming up on the end of the year and realizing where did the time go?
While you make the most of the off-season for strategic marketing, ensure you’re crafting a comprehensive plan for the upcoming year.
Areas to consider:
- Budget Allocation: if you don’t have one, set one! I see deck builders budgeting anywhere from 1 – 15% on marketing – it all depends on if you are just starting out or if you are a seasoned vet. If you are just starting out, it could take more to build your brand initially. And, even if you are an established business, you may have aggressive growth goals or a sales team that you need to feed. Consider how you will allocate it to areas such as website improvements, content creation, SEO, social media, paid ads and software.
- Content Calendar: Develop a content calendar that outlines your blog posts, videos, social media updates, and other marketing materials. Plan the topics, themes, and messages that resonate best with your audience throughout the year.
- Advertising Channels: Old school print? Online Ads? Whatever you decide always have part of your marketing budget allocated to paid advertising to take full advantage and keep your pipeline consistently full.
- Promotions and Special Offers: Consider whether running special promotions or offers during different times of the year would be beneficial. Define the specifics of these promotions like free lighting or a % off and create compelling marketing materials to promote them when the time is right.
- Competitor Analysis: Monitor the activities of your competitors and analyze their marketing strategies. Identify areas where you can differentiate your business and provide a unique value proposition to potential clients.
- Measurement and Analytics: Establish key performance indicators (KPIs) to gauge the success of your marketing campaigns. Implement a system for measuring and analyzing your marketing endeavors to make informed, data-driven decisions like Google Analytics for website traffic and a CRM with sales insights.
- Collaborations and Partnerships: Explore potential collaborations or partnerships with other businesses such as manufacturer, landscapers or even other deck builders. These alliances can extend your reach and introduce your services to a broader audience.
I hate to say it, but the off-season shouldn’t just be reserved for much-needed rest and relaxation. Embrace it as an opportunity to boost your brand’s recognition, establish your authority, and pave the way for a prosperous 2024. Reduced competition allows you to shine brightly, and spending the time now to build up your audience will surely result in a substantial pipeline of potential clients.
Do you want to be the name that comes to mind when potential clients consider their deck project? Engage in strategic efforts during the off-season to ensure you are well-equipped to capitalize on the peak season!
Until next time, keep moving forward.