There’s a tendency to stop your marketing when it gets slow. This seems fairly natural – business slows down… your marketing has to slow down, right? WRONG. That’s the kiss of death.
I talked to a guy two months ago who just closed two shops, let go of 10 people and moved his remaining stuff back into his house & garage. I asked him, “What’s happening?” You know what his answer was? “The economy stinks.” I thought that was interesting in light of the fact that I know of water damage companies doing $12mm to $45mm and up. One of them was only 80 miles away from him. So I asked him, “Where and how are you marketing?” He had nothing, and I mean nothing going on. Surprise! No phone calls, no jobs, now no staff, no premises, and soon to be no company. He said he had to stop marketing when his business started slowing down and he finally cut off his top source of calls and then he got…no calls. Marketing is not magic, it’s logical.
Water Damage Restoration – you have some seasonal business and that’s the way it is. Storms – flooding, cold – bursting pipes, you know the deal, feast and famine sometimes. When things slow down though, that is when you have to get smarter, faster and spend your money more wisely.
So, what do you DO and NOT DO when things slow down?
–DO NOT stop marketing. You’re putting the final nail in your coffin if you do this. When the slowness is over and your competitors have died from this, you’ll be in clover picking up all of the business. I see it happen like this every year. Marketing has a trailing effect, sometimes weeks or months, but when you stop marketing, that trailing result will catch up with you and that trailing effect can be good or bad.
– DO get smarter about where you spend. Look at where your calls actually come from. If you have no tracking systems set up, get it set up ASAP. Ask your clients when they call how they found you. Don’t get lazy about this. You might be wasting money and precious resources and losing valuable information that can get you way ahead of your competition. Yellow pages not producing any calls for 6 months and still costing you thousands? Bye! Plumber referrals driving 50% of your recent calls? Guess you should be making some new friends. Google getting you 1-5 calls per day? Hmmm….Maybe a few bucks should go there.
– DO NOT try the marketing “shotgun effect”. This means you start throwing money at everything everyone tells you to because it might work and you’re getting desperate for calls.
– DO keep a cool head, watch very closely where your calls come from, rain or shine. Invest more there, not in new untried things. I’ve watched the Facebook experts come through selling how they’ll make you millionaires by creating a Facebook page. Now, I can’t say it doesn’t work, but do you know anyone who goes onto Facebook to find Water Damage companies? Know what I mean? Think about it realistically before you spend your valuable marketing dollars.
– DO NOT have a burn and churn operation. You old guys know what I mean. All of the fly-by-night guys that suddenly showed up when the getting was good, but couldn’t do a good referable job and then when things got tough last year, they all died.
– DO a good job. I find it fascinating that I have to even say this, but welcome to 2012 I guess. You will not have a long lasting & respected company by burning up your customers, treating them like yesterday’s garbage. Only the strong survive and get referred to their neighbors and other plumbers. If you have any employees that treat your customers like this, get rid of them. They are slowly but surely killing you.
Dan York, Founder