The pandemic has led to unprecedented times for vinyl fencing business owners. Unlike some businesses, like restaurants and theaters, we have seen steady interest in our fencing products. In fact, stay-at-home orders caused many people to think more about the benefits of a new fence to beautify or secure their property.
However, at the same time, you are experiencing unusual supply chain problems. In many cases, you are forced to tell customers it will be months before you can install their fence.
With a backlog of orders and a corresponding set of impatient customers, you may be considering cutting back on your advertising. You may think that it is unwise to spend money to attract new customers at a time like this. You may even worry that you are annoying the customers on your waiting list.
While these concerns are valid, you may be thinking about advertising in too narrow a scope. This article will examine why you should think through cutting back on your advertising efforts. Here are three reasons you should advertise your business during busy times.
1. Advertising promotes goodwill.
Getting your name out in the community through advertising is not just a way to sell fences. You can use your ads to do good. Instead of cutting back on your messages, have you considered changing what they say?
The pandemic has hurt so many local non-profit organizations and small businesses. Brainstorm ways you can help them with your ads. Here are a few ideas:
Allow a local non-profit of your choosing to use your paid ad space to promote their organization’s work in the community.
Honor a local healthcare worker or other pandemic front-line workers in your ads.
Profile the volunteer efforts of an employee in an ad.
Focus on things that are going right in your community and highlight them in your ads.
2. Marketing is not just a one-way street.
Yes, advertising reflects the look and quality of your vinyl fences and the integrity of your company. But you can use advertising to solicit feedback from your customers as well. During this unusual time, find more ways to have a conversation. Turn your advertising into a dialogue.
Potential customers do not know what is happening behind the scenes unless you tell them. Be completely transparent about your shipment delays and offer clear, consistent messaging about them on all your advertising channels.
Choose your words carefully. When taking new orders, set realistic expectations up front. Never say you are “out of stock” or it is on “backorder.” These are negative words. Instead, tell them the product is coming and give them a realistic delivery date. Customers will appreciate your honesty. Do not over-promise and under-deliver. Then, follow up with them regularly until the product arrives. This is a key time to keep close to the customer.
Avoid vague promises like “as soon as possible.” If you cannot give an exact date for delivery and installation, provide an expected range based on previous shipments.
Aim to create a backorder email marketing strategy to ensure that customers:
Receive updated information on their order status
Are able to ask questions and get answers quickly
Stay engaged with your company and eager to receive their new vinyl fence
Do not end the communication once the fence is installed. Focus on follow-up. Find out if the customer is satisfied and ask if they have any questions regarding their fence and its maintenance.
By keeping these lines of communication open, you help pave the way for future sales. You can use positive testimonials on your website and social media. And, you build a record of how transactions went during this challenging time.
3. Advertising secures your future.
Does it seem counterintuitive to try to drum up more business when you already have more than you can handle? Take a few minutes to consider where you got those customers that are waiting for their new fences. They came to you as the result of months of successful marketing efforts. If you halt those efforts now, you could be at a standstill when this current situation fades.
However, by continuing to advertise throughout this busy time, you keep building a base of potential customers. You have no way of knowing who is planning to build a home, renovate a property, or adopt a dog that needs a safe backyard. You want those prospects to see your name, understand your product, and know where to find you when the right time arrives.
Instead of stopping your marketing efforts, think about refreshing them to reflect these uncertain times.
Focus on spending your advertising dollar where it will do both your business and your community the most good. For example, consider redesigning your website, developing blog content, updating print materials, or even revising your logo.
Finally, while it may not seem like it now, this too shall pass. The supply chain will catch up with vinyl orders, and you will be able to fulfill orders in a more efficient manner. Until then, keep moving forward with your marketing efforts.
Do not take your foot off the advertising pedal. Advertise in good times and bad. And watch your sales grow.