As a green industry business owner, you may feel like there is NEVER an off-season… however, it is likely that your customers do reach out to you in a much higher volume in the spring, summer, and fall than they do in the winter. This is why taking some time now to explore new ways of connecting with your customers can bring many benefits to you, and to them, in the slower season.
Some suggested ways of connecting during the off season are:
- Announcing a new service
- Booking in-season services early with potential discounts
- Promote upgrading to new wifi controllers for lighting and/or irrigation
- Marketing new trainings and certifications your team is focused on
- Improving operations for communication with customers
1: Announcing a New Service
Expanding and diversifying the services you offer will not only set you apart from competitors, but it gives you flexibility to adjust to ever changing markets, weather, supply chain issues, and the demands of different customers. Start by evaluating what your company already offers, and see what type of new service you might be interested in adding. Perhaps you only do irrigation and would like to start doing hardscapes as well. Or, maybe you already install lighting but don’t offer maintenance packages for previously installed lighting systems.
No matter what area you may want to expand into, there are many opportunities! Once you have chosen make sure to let everyone know by:
- Adding the new services to your website
- Sending targeted emails and mailers to existing customers letting them know
- Creating door hangers and mailers to target new customers
- Utilizing social media to post photos, articles, and links to the service work you do, or to related industry articles letting customers know why these services can be very valuable to them as home or business owners
2: Booking In-Season Services Early
Create incentives for customers to book with you in the off-season for next year. Securing your customer base early, and often, will afford you the opportunity to plan better instead of chasing customers down in the spring and being bombarded by calls all at once. Knowing what the busy season will look like ahead of time benefits everyone. Customers often like the ability to pay overtime instead of getting hit with a big cost all at once. And in addition, if they have signed with you for the coming year, they know that is one less thing they have to think about.
You can also use this time to make beneficial decisions for your bottom line by taking advantage of bulk-ordering and EOP’s to get the best rates and securing of materials in advance. Consider creating off-season promotions including special rates, terms, and discounts for people who make a deposit towards next year’s in-season services. Or even a great incentive for those who pay in full!
3: Promote Upgrades to WiFi
The colder months can be a great time to reach out to customers and let them know the benefits of upgrading their irrigation or lighting systems to WiFi controllers. Much of this work can be done during colder months due to the work locations being typically indoors or in garages, and requiring a smaller crew of employees to get the job done. Products may also be more readily available during the slower months, so wifi controllers could be easier and more affordable to purchase.
Take the approach of letting customers know all the benefits of wifi controllers and why it is an easy upgrade to make, but a highly beneficial addition in the long run. Forgot to turn your outside lights on when you went away on that winter vacation? Can’t get into the office to turn all the parking lights on at your facility due to car trouble? No problem if you have a WiFi controller!
4: Market New Trainings Your Team is Working On
Is your team taking a certification class or training that will enhance the skill level of what you do? Make sure you connect with your customers and let them know. Perhaps you can now do 2nd story light installations, or holiday lights. Maybe now you are better trained on a device like the Carta Plott measuring wheel. You can market this in the off-season as a “Here’s What We Are Up To” postcard, or announcement.
In addition, consider how this knowledge of your team’s new skills can be turned into sales. Make sure to have a CTA (Call-To-Action) included. This could be as simple as reminding customers to reach out to you for all their landscape and outdoor needs, or a more specific call to action with a discount or special rate for these new services you recently trained your team on. Either way, customers always want to hear that you and your team are learning and growing your knowledge of trends, techniques, and products.
5: Improve Communications
Most of the ways we have mentioned for connecting with customers in the slower season hinges on the use of good communications with your client base. If your customers aren’t hearing from you in ways that grab their attention, then when spring once again returns you will find you missed the opportunities that were possible. Take some time to assess if you have the right tools to get your message across. You may need to invest in some marketing improvements such as a new website, adding an email marketing service, or having materials designed as leave-behinds at homes and businesses. Don’t know where to begin? Central is here to help! Our marketing team has decades of experience in providing website and social media page audits, email marketing assistance, and graphic design. You can even use your Rewards Points to offset the cost of some of these items.
Whatever you choose to do with your team this off-season, reach out to Central for support. Just because you haven’t typically interacted with your clients very much during the winter months, doesn’t mean you shouldn’t start now. Those that plan ahead, get ahead. This is never truer than in the green industry. While so much of the work done in our profession is based upon weather, we must be willing to pivot and adjust our business planning so we avoid any pitfalls that may come and look at ourselves as a year-round business that is always in season.