As busy season gets underway and money flows in, it’s hard to know where to focus your dollars and your marketing efforts — what to tackle first, second or table for later.

Let’s take a minute to walk through some possible scenarios.

1. Set aside funds for bigger projects.

I’m going to Mom you for a moment. (Sorry, not sorry.)

While you may have the funds for it, your busy season is often not the opportune time to endeavor into a huge marketing project. I know it’s tempting because your profits are staring you in the face; however, larger projects take a larger time commitment to achieve a desirable outcome. So instead of starting on your website or your company rebranding right now, first get a quote for the job and then set aside that money to begin work on the project as your schedule allows (likely January of next year).

For the time being, consider a band-aid approach. For example, if your website is horribly out of date and is also your number one marketing priority, consider what you can do to keep it limping along until you’re able to commit your energy towards a total overhaul. Update the most important items on your site first, things like removing past employees, revising your pricing, or adding new services.

If you truly must take on a big marketing project right away, make sure you assign personnel who have time during this busy season to focus on that project wholeheartedly.

2. Refurbish tradeshow coffers.

An easy stop for outlining quick marketing purchases is your Sales department. In my experience, Sales people always have a wish list of items to entice customers or better educate them about your services. But before you jump into their wishlist, ask what they’re short on. Do they have enough business cards? Did they run out of flyers? Are the trade show giveaways running low?

As I mentioned before, unless you have a dedicated marketing staff, creating a bunch of new complicated marketing pieces should probably not be your focus right now. However, replenishing already-designed business cards or giveaways is quick and easy. It’s usually just a phone call. Heck, it may take you longer to look up the number than it will to actually order more of what you need, and you’re going to need them for next year anyway.

3. Replace old gear (T-shirts, safety vests, hats, etc.).

Take a look at your job sites: how is your crew looking? Now might be the time to replace hats, vests, t-shirts or other company-branded items they wear on a day-to-day basis. It’s understood their attire won’t be spotless, but you don’t want them to look like they fell off the truck on the way to work. You want them looking sharp, confident, and ready to tackle the job during this busy season. They’re walking billboards for your company.
Also consider thinking ahead about cooler weather gear. Many companies gift branded jackets or hoodies during the holiday season. If you have the funds, get started on those now — they might even be on sale!

4. Show appreciation.

While this may not feel like a marketing activity, showing appreciation is a great way to keep your brand in front of the people you need to see it most. Think of little things that you can do to show staff, clients, and prospects how much you appreciate them: a Fourth of July gift basket, catered lunch, mail-order steak, or just a cooler of cold beverages at the end of the day. Coordinating these acts of kindness takes effort, but recipients will remember it long after they hold your brochure in their hands.

5. Invest in signage.

Signage is an often overlooked marketing investment. Tradeshow banners aren’t the only signage branding your company: illuminated exterior signs, interior office name plates or directional signs, job site signage, even yard signs are all potential investments.

Signage outside of a project announces you’re a company trusted by your clients and shows examples of your work in a very tangible way. Yard signs show community support and are a referral of sorts, showing your clients appreciate your service so much they’re willing to advertise for you on their own property.

Signage can be pricey, but it’s not generally a difficult project to tackle. It’s usually less involved than the bigger marketing projects. Right now, focus on the simpler branding signage, and table the tradeshow banners unless you have a dedicated marketing team, as that type of signage is usually a larger time commitment to get it done right.

6. Start a door hanger campaign.

If you’re a residential service provider, now would be the time to invest in door hangers. Door hanger campaigns can have a great return on investment. Similar to yard signs these nifty little leave-behinds show the neighborhood who to call when they need your particular service. Designate one person in your crew to hang door hangers on 10 houses on each side of the job location, on each side of the street. Your door hanger doesn’t necessarily have to be a sales pitch, it can be a notification: caution wet asphalt, keep children and pets away for 24-hours after application. Consider offering a coupon for a neighbor discount..

7. Hire help.

If you are flush with cash and short on time, you might be ready to hire marketing backup. It can come in all shapes and sizes.

  • I find hiring interns to perform straightforward repetitive tasks is very cost effective. They can drive around and take pictures of your projects this summer, organize all the project information, and publish content to social media or to your website. Because they’re only in your employ for a short amount of time, it’s best to focus on a project or two and supervise their efforts often.
  • For more long-term support, hire a marketing coordinator to manage your activities. They can accomplish intern like tasks but also go above and beyond, likely with less supervision because they should have more experience, and over time, they’ll learn to anticipate your expectations.
  • If you’re really short on time — or patience — you may want to simply outsource. Hiring a marketing company for support is not the least expensive route, but it generally yields high quality results with a minimal time commitment on your part.

Whatever projects you choose, be realistic about your time commitments during your busy season.  Focus on straightforward, easy-to-accomplish tasks, and set aside money to tackle the bigger projects for when energy to invest in them. Replenishing tradeshow supplies, replacing old gear, showing appreciation, investing in signage or a door hanger campaign are all great examples of attainable marketing activities during your peak-season. To accomplish more, consider hiring help.

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