The next 3 months are usually not the best time to "buy" advertising. I'm not saying it's a terrible time to run advertising, just that you should have already bought it before the traditional holiday push that depletes media inventories, driving prices up. I'll give you some tips on when and how to make media decisions in future posts.
So, where should you be spending this quarter if you haven't got an ongoing schedule? If you own a service or retail business that isn't reliant on holiday sales (HVAC, Medical, Financial, etc) think about putting some of your ad budget into sprucing up the Personal Experience of your customers.
Here are a few ideas…some more expensive than others.
- Complete deep cleaning of your store/offices. Hire an outsider to help because they will see the dirt/clutter that has become invisible to you.
- A fresh coat of paint can breathe new life into a store.
- Interior decorators can help you imagine what your store COULD be instead of what it has become. Face it, you got into the business because you are an expert in your own field, not a designer.
- New service vehicles…talk to your accountant to take advantage of end-of-year spending strategies…car dealerships might have screaming bargains just to move vehicles out of inventory before the end of the year.
- New signage/Exterior remodel…evaluate how your business looks from 2 blocks away, 1 block and from the sidewalk. Are you invisible from any of these vantage points? Sometimes you become invisible just by having the same sign for too long. Many contractors would appreciate a commercial job in the off-season just to keep workers employed. Shop for good deals.
- Spy season…hire some secret shoppers to visit your store along with all of your competitors. Don't use friends or you risk getting smoke blown up your….well you know. You want honest evaluations about how you stack up.
- This is a good time of year to embark on some customer research. Offer a prize or discount to customers who will fill out a lengthy form or complete an interview. You'll be amazed at the good suggestions your customers will provide you when you simply ask.
The bottom line is….if the holiday season is slow for you, don't just sit on your bottom. Get busy doing something so when your own season rolls back around, your customers will be delighted by the "new" you!
QUESTION: This list isn't exclusive. What other suggestions do you have?