You’re excited. You’ve been talking about it for years and now it’s finally a reality. You’ve done the research. You’ve sourced and stocked the necessary products, tools, and equipment. You’ve trained your team. You’re ready to pull the trigger. You’re ready to launch a new service to your customers.
But when is the best time? And, how can you be successful with the launch?
In a seasonal business like ours, timing really is everything.
When to Launch
Finding the best time to launch a new service can be challenging in any industry. It’s even more challenging for a seasonal-based industry because the window for marketing and promotion is smaller.
Consider a business like tax preparation, their entire season is less than four months long. They need to be ready to promote their new and existing services at the beginning of January. If they don’t start promoting their services soon enough, they may not capture their audience and potential customers may go to competitors. If they start promotion too soon, like before New Year’s, they’ll get lost in the holiday advertising.
Now when you think about the landscape industry, we have another layer of challenges to consider. We have the unique challenges that other seasonal-based industries have, plus we have to take outside factors into consideration. Weather can make or break the beginning of our season and because of this we do not have a specific date to aim for like tax preparers do with April 15th. But even with these challenges, there are a few basics strategies that we can follow to make sure our launch timing is successful.
Launch Your New Service When It’s in Demand
This one seems pretty straightforward but sometimes excitement can get the best of us. When you are ready to launch your new service, make sure there is a demand for it. Does it make sense to announce your new mosquito control services in December? Or does it make more sense to wait until it gets closer to the season and the weather starts warming up?
For a new service like mosquito and tick control, it makes sense to start to target clients with messaging about six-weeks to a month before the weather is warms up. This way, they have already seen your marketing messages multiple times by the time they are ready to buy.
Look Back to Look Forward
You already have a good idea of your customers’ behavior and purchasing habits. Take a look at how your previous seasons went and look at when business started to come in. When did things start to pick up for that area of business? If your lighting sales started to come in around the middle of June one year, early July the following, and the end of June the next, you have a pretty good idea of a three-week window of when the demand starts. If you need four to six week to promote a new lighting service properly, then you know you should start your promotion sometime in May.
Make Google Trends Work for You
If you’re not able to pinpoint the best time for launching a new service based on demand or data from previous seasons, there are free tools you can use to see when people are searching for certain things online.
Use Google Trends to identify industry relevant keywords that people are searching for in your state. You can see the trend of that specific word over various periods of time from one-hour to five years. You are able to see how many people searched for a term like “sprinklers,” in New York, over the past five years. You’ll see that the peak time in each year for people searching ranges roughly from mid-June to early-July, with the exception of 2015 which the peak time is end of May. If you say mid-June is when this service has the highest demand, then six weeks earlier would put the start of your marketing promotion sometime at the end of April.
When you look at the graphs on Google Trends you’ll be able to see when the early-bird consumers start to buy, followed by the average Joe, all the way through to the late bloomers.
Three Types of Consumers: The Early-Bird, The Average Joe, The Late Bloomer
There are three types of consumers to consider when promoting a new service, the early bird, the average Joe, and the late bloomer. You’ll want to make sure you capture each of these consumer types when launching your new service.
An example of an early-consumer is someone that has their Christmas shopping done before Black Friday. They start looking early and have their purchases planned well in advance. This audience is about two-to-three weeks ahead (sometimes even more) of everyone else with purchasing new services. Informational marketing material will help sway this consumer. The more information you have available for the consumer the better.
The average Joe is just that, average. They don’t wait until the last minute to buy but they don’t jump on it right away either. They need outside factors to help sway them, whether it’s the weather warming up as a trigger, advertising and marketing materials, or the news starting to talk about a topic. This consumer starts to buy about four to six weeks before the peak demand, purchasing all the way up until the peak.
The Late Bloomer waits until the last minute to buy. These are the consumers that look to have sprinklers installed once their lawn has turned brown. Most start purchasing right around the peak through the decline. Consistent advertising at consistent intervals, coupled with outside triggers will finally help this consumer buy.
Next month, we’ll be talking about what marketing strategies and tactics to use for a successful new service launch. Stay tuned!
Whether it’s marketing consultation, business strategy recommendations, or design support, Central is the right partner for your business. If you need help with your marketing or business initiatives, reach out. We’re ready to help you grow.