If you run a business that experiences seasonal highs and lows, does it make sense to spend some of your marketing budget during the season when no one is going convert to a sale?
The short answer is yes, but the intent, type, delivery, and expected results of your advertising campaigns will differ from when you advertise during the peak season. Let’s look at how they differ, and what your off-season advertising might look like.
Before we look at intent, type, delivery, and expected results, let’s consider the difference in market conditions from peak season to off-season.
Peak Season Conditions vs Off-Season Conditions
In seasonal industries such HVAC, pest control, lawn care, etc.; consumers are actively and sometimes frantically searching for service providers they need.
They often end up with the business that:
Was referred to them.
They found in the top 3 listings on google (ads or organic).
Was one of the first to reach them by direct advertising.
Is the market leader in the industry with strong brand awareness.
When you’re advertising during peak season, you are often trying to win customers through one of the above mentioned.
When you successfully attract potential customers, they’re often easier and quicker to close – because it’s peak season.
However, when you’re in the off-season, these consumers – your potential customers – aren’t actively searching for your services. Oftentimes, they’re not even thinking about them.
This means they’re not going to ask peers for referrals, they’re not going to search Google, they’re not going offer high conversion rates from direct advertisement, and they’re not seeking out the market leader in your industry.
With that said, advertising to consumers in off-season with an intent to close new business is not going to serve you well. Since we’re on the topic, let’s talk about intent.
By “intent,” we mean the purpose of your advertising. What do you intend to accomplish with your advertising campaigns?
During peak season, you intend to attract potential customers who are actively seeking out your services and who will be more inclined to convert to customers.
When advertising during the off-season, your intent will be to position your business in the minds of consumers who might seek out service providers in your industry in the upcoming peak-season.
This means, the purpose of your advertising campaign is to make consumers bookmark your business for consideration when they start to look for a service provider.
With this intent, you are automatically playing the long game which will require a different type of campaign than you use during peak season.
Type of Advertising Campaign
Given the market conditions during peak season, consumers actively searching for service providers are more likely to respond to advertisements that encourage them to convert into customers by offering savings or additional benefits of some sort.
Because they are ready to be customers, there is less friction for them to turn into customers after seeing your advertisement.
During the off-season when consumers are not ready to be customers, your business cannot use the same type of advertising campaign because there will be a lot of friction.
Instead, your business should run an advertising campaign that educates consumers on topics relevant to your services while encouraging them to remember your business for a certain value you offer (be it expert knowledge, customer service, quick service, etc.).
This type of campaign will help consumers remember your business during the peak season which will result in more referrals and direct searches. If executed properly, it will be as if your business is the market leader among the consumers you targeted.
In the peak season, businesses can often rely on earning a significant amount of new business using search ad platforms such as Google and Bing to deliver their advertising campaigns.
This is because consumers are actively searching on those platforms for service providers.
During the off-season, businesses cannot rely on those platforms to deliver ad campaigns because consumers aren’t actively searching for service providers.
Your business will have to use other delivery methods such as direct mail and Facebook ads to reach consumers who might seek out your services in the upcoming peak season.
Remember when we talked about intent? Well, changing your intent means that you must change your expectations of the results you’ll get from your advertising campaigns.
When your business is running ads during peak season to attract consumers who are ready to become customers, you can measure results by the number of new customers you earn or the number of leads you generate.
When your intent changes to the long-game of positioning your business in the minds of consumers, your results can no longer be measured in the number of new customers or leads you earn (at least in the short-term).
Instead, your short-term results should be measured in the number of times you can hit your targeted consumers. A rule of thumb is that a consumer needs to view your advertisements 5-7 times before the message sinks in.
Note: You can measure the results of your off-season advertising by measuring the number of new customers you earn in the upcoming peak season through direct calls, searches, and referrals from non-customers.
We highly encourage advertising in the off-season if your budget can support it because if done properly, it can help you acquire customers you would not have been able to capture from ads during the peak season.
Just remember that in order to effectively advertise during the off-season, you must adjust the intent, type, delivery, and expected results of your advertising campaigns.