Labor Day is just around the corner. That means the summer lull is almost over, and home performance contractors across the country can expect phones ringing off the hook, leads falling into inboxes like leaves on lawns, endless work and tons of dough, right?
Well, maybe not. While the fall is typically the busiest time of the year for home performance contractors in most parts of the country, it takes some hard work to make the most of the fall, and to extend the busy season for your home performance business as long as possible.
This is a tune that we've trumpeted before: last year we argued that home performance businesses should have their marketing strategy in place by Labor Day, and this year is no different. Just as ski resorts start hitting the marketing gas hard early in the fall, and stores start selling Halloween costumes at the end of summer, and back-to-school marketing starts kicking into high gear early in the summer, a good couple months ahead of time is when you want to hunker down.
To reiterate a few points we made around this time last year:
Execute Early. Plan Earlier.
A good marketing program has a distinct planning and execution phases. By Labor Day, the planning phase should be wrapped up, and the execution phase should be in full swing. If you're running a TV ad, or a PPC campaign, or a direct mail campaign, or getting a website upgrade, it's ideally active by Labor Day. That means that this is prime time to be finishing up your planning phase.
You may have heard about how Apple uses a mystique of scarcity to drive sales. When the iPad was first released, the limited number available had people lining up around the block. This helped to drive demand even further.
The Home Performance industry is, in some sense, similar: there's only a limited amount of time in the fall, which is typically the busy season. Of course, you only have so much time in the fall to complete a limited number of energy audits and/or energy efficiency upgrades. You can use this scarcity to help drive demand -- think along the lines of "our fall is getting really busy; sign up for an energy audit now to have your home cozy by winter."
Be Mindful of Keyword Seasonality.
People think about different things at different times of the year, and the search terms they use to solve the problems in their home reflect that. While in the summer people are thinking about (and searching on Google for information about) moisture problems, hot rooms, humidity, etc., in the fall they start thinking about heating their home for the winter.
Whatever the season, it's a good idea to have content on your website that aims to capture some of this seasonal traffic. (For more info on this see our post on keywording strategies for home performance businesses, and our post on using Google's Insights tool to conduct keyword research for the home performance category.)
Optimize Your Web Presence with Good Content.
Use your keyword wisdom to tune your web content for maximum conversion. Have a Call to Action that speaks to the urgency of the coming season ("Book now to get your upgrade before winter" or the like), shift the content on your home page to emphasize the heating season rather than the cooling season (switching from "lower your AC costs" to "lower your heating costs," etc.).
Aside from improving the user experience, keeping the content on your site fresh also helps your website perform better in search engines. (For more information, check out our post on Home Page Best Practices for home performance professionals, or download our white paper on web marketing best practices for home performance professionals if you really feel like diving in deep.)
One of the challenges for our industry is that too many people realize on November 1st that they need to get some work done on their house, and they expect it to be done by December 1st. If we can do a better job, as an industry, of capitalizing on the preparing-for-winter mentality that homeowners begin to acquire around Labor Day, we can extend this busy season and help more homeowners live better and save money throughout the year.
So get crankin', let us know if you have any other marketing ideas for this part of the year, and feel free to get a hold of us at Energy Circle PRO if we can help out in any way.