9 Ways to Effectively Market Your Snow and Ice Removal Business

market snow business

Marketing experts say it takes at least seven touches before a consumer takes an action. As a snow and ice removal business owner, seven touches may seem daunting. 

But, fear not. 

In this quick guide to marketing your snow and ice removal business, I’ll break down nine key marketing techniques that will help you get those elusive seven touches … and more

So, what are some marketing platforms and techniques you should consider adding to your budget? 

  • Social Media Marketing
  • Email Marketing
  • Digital Advertising
  • Print Advertising
  • Local Marketing
  • Referral Marketing
  • Warm Calling
  • Video Marketing
  • Overall Company Branding

Let’s dive right in to the specifics of each technique.

Social Media Marketing

Now, it’s easy to fall into the trap of thinking social media is easy – something you can set and forget that will magically bring in snow and ice removal business and, subsequently, revenue. 

Sadly, only part of that statement is partly true. 

You see, if you only spend your social media time touting what you do and how great a snow removal business you’ve built, you will likely alienate the very audience you are trying to reach.

Instead, be sure to remember and implement the 50-30-20 social media marketing rule (and this rule applies to Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and LinkedIn). 

  • 50 percent of your posts should be top funnel and engage your audience.
    • This should be content you don’t own, from other pages and/or people. 
    • Think about the issues that affect your customers daily. Find articles, videos, images or memes that would be most beneficial to them but still tie, directly or indirectly, into your business. 
  • 30 percent of your posts should be middle funnel and genuinely aim to educate and inform your customers.
    • This should be content you do own (content that you or someone on your team wrote and/or designed) that is relevant to your audience, but not super sales focused.
      • Think blogs, a quick explanation of your snow removal services, infographics, third-party reviews, etc.). 
  • 20 percent of your posts should be bottom funnel and focus on selling your service.
    • Overly brazen advertisements don’t fare too well on this medium. 
    • Instead, clever, fun and more subtle ads see more engagement and conversion. So, have fun with this and avoid overselling your brand to avoid losing followers. 

Disclaimer: While I heartily believe the 50-30-20 rule to be an excellent social media marketing outline to follow, it is not absolute. 

Every business is unique and needs their own specific formula to find social media success.

Therefore, I suggest you spend time testing different ways to engage your audience and solve their problems, and then move forward from there. 

Set aside time each day, some in the morning and in the evening, to connect with your followers. 

  • Answer their questions.
  • Respond to their concerns.
  • Like what they share. 
  • Share their content. 

You’ll be surprised by the impact these simple acts will have on your business.

Interested in putting some money behind your social media efforts? 

Check out some social media advertising tips after the jump, in the digital advertising section. 

open emails

Email Marketing

No matter what you hear on those snow-filled streets … or icy sidewalks … email marketing is NOT dead. 

In fact, it is still one of the most engaging ways to reach customers. Not to mention the fact that it’s fast, inexpensive and has proven successful time and again.

So, what are some things to consider when planning your snow and ice removal email marketing campaigns? 

Who is your audience?

  • Use our persona template to define your audience. (It was built for lawn care but the concepts are the same!)
  • Who do you want to target with your offer? Current customers, leads, or former customers you’re trying to win back.
  • Bad data in, bad data out. Make sure your email addresses are up to date, or else you risk not reaching your audience.

What is your offer?

  • Choose an offer that’ll make the most impact for your audience.
  • No more than one offer per email.
  • Always, always, always include a call to action in your emails. Whether it is “Call us today!” or “Get a free estimate,” be sure to instruct your audience on what action you want them to take. 
  • Potential offers: Snow plowing or shoveling? De-icing sidewalks only or including other walkways and driveways?

What should you say?

  • Engage your audience.
  • Show a genuine desire to help. 
  • Say it fast and with authority.
  • Not sure exactly what an email campaign should look like? Need examples of successful verbiage? Check out Service Autopilot’s Master Guide to Email Marketing for Snow Removal.

When should you send it? 

  • Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday are still the best days.
  • Between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m.
  • At the start of the season.
  • Before and after a big snow event.

Feeling a little overwhelmed with all the email marketing information I’ve just shared? Service Autopilot’s Automations can help! 

Our easy-to-use, “done-for-you” templates help you create and send effective email campaigns to your prospects and clients.

This software allows you to tag leads and clients, segment them, and automatically send them emails based on what services they have (or have not) bought from you.

laptop digital marketing report

Digital Advertising  

What a broad term for a marketing method, right? By including the word digital in front of advertising, we could cover endless ways to promote your snow removal business. But for the purposes of this article, we’ll just focus on a few:

SEO

Search Engine Optimization plays a huge role in where your website ranks on Google, Bing, Yahoo and more.

The goal? Optimize your website using effective SEO methods to rank well on these search engines, and then – BAM! – potential customers will find your business.

Now, I may have oversimplified that just a bit, but you get the idea. 

For a more detailed explanation of SEO practices, check out Service Autopilot’s Quick SEO Guide. 

This guide:

  • Breaks down the function of SEO 
  • Shows you how to utilize SEO 
  • Gives resources that’ll help you incorporate SEO into your business
  • Provides answers to the most frequently asked SEO questions.

Paid Facebook Advertising

Many small business owners buck at the idea of participating in social media. “I don’t have time to mess with that Facebook nonsense” is something I’ve heard time and again. 

Unfortunately, that’s a backwards way of thinking when it comes to using this social media channel to promote your snow and ice removal business. 

You see, something you may not have considered is that your customers do have time for Facebook (and LinkedIn, Twitter and Instagram), and these social media outlets provide lucrative opportunities to grow your business. 

By advertising your snow removal business on Facebook, you’re taking advantage of daily interactions with your customers by targeting them in their comfort zone.

An extra perk of Facebook’s dominance? You can now easily place Instagram ads via the Facebook app

Need some help getting started with Facebook ads? Check out Service Autopilot’s “Quick Guide To Facebook Ads” today: Part 1, Part 2 and Part 3.

Programmatic advertising

This type of digital marketing, characterized by the automated buying and selling of online advertising, is comprised of many different tactics that all have the same goal – get your business in front of online prospective customers throughout their buying journey.

Sidenote: These are considered advanced marketing strategies. A good amount of money is required up front, and you are not always guaranteed that clients will come rolling in. A good rule of thumb is that these strategies should always be used in combination with other marketing tactics.

A few you should know about are:

  • Persona targeting is aimed at buyers who match the description of your ideal customer (the one we discussed in the first section of this article). I’m talking about the qualities that make up your target personas: age, gender, location, education level, hobbies, habits and more.
  • Behavioral targeting is aimed at your ideal customers based on what they’ve recently searched for, articles they’ve recently read or research they’ve conducted on your competitors.
    • Consuming content about snow removal or de-icing services indicates these valuable prospects are showing buying behavior, and therefore, they’re the perfect target for your snow and ice removal service. 
  • Search Engine Marketing is based on intent, namely the keywords buyers are using to search for products and services.  

Consumers are predictable creatures. They do their research before ever contacting a company for services such as snow or ice removal. So, getting in front of these customers at this research stage of their buying journey is essential to increasing buyer awareness and action.

Print Advertising 

Digital marketers would have you believe that print advertising is no longer effective. However, as you know, print advertising most definitely works in the snow and ice removal industry.

Print advertising can make quite an impact on the growth and sustainability of your snow and ice removal business, and when paired with your digital, social and referral marketing efforts, that impact is even larger. 

A few print advertising ideas you should try:

  • Door hangers and flyers
  • Business cards
    • Must include:
      • Business name
      • Address
      • Phone number
      • Website
    • Nice to include: 
      • Special offer
    • Pro tip:
      • Keep business cards in your wallet, with a larger stack for replenishment in your truck … just in case. 
  • Newspaper ads
    • Still a great place to reach homeowners.
    • Might consider Greensheets or Valpaks, too.
    • Helpful hint: Occasionally mix in an informative article with your newspaper advertisements.
snow town

Local Marketing 

You’ve heard the adage, “It takes a village to raise a child.” Such a solid, memorable quote. 

What if, for the purpose of this blog only, we tweaked it to, “It takes a community to grow a business?” Still works, right? 

What I mean with that quote is that to have a successful, sustainable business, you must get involved in the community you serve. 

Here are some ways you can get involved: 

  • Join the local homeowners’ associations to offer advice for winter upkeep at their quarterly meeting.
  • Partner with the local high school to sponsor banners, signs and program ads that support their athletic boosters or agricultural program. 
  • Volunteer with local churches to provide special event sidewalk safety checks.
  • Participate in a city fundraiser by offering your snow removal services as a giveaway to be auctioned off. 

These small acts go a long way to building rapport with potential customers in your community. By showing up in places close to their hearts, you quickly endear yourself to them and their wintery plight. 

5 stars

Referral Marketing 

It’s no secret it’s getting more difficult to stand out among competition in the lucrative snow and ice removal industry. 

That’s where referral marketing comes in – getting your already satisfied customers to do the marketing for you. 

How can you make referrals work for you?

  • Deliver quality customer experience. 
  • Develop a rapport with repeat clients.
  • ASK for good reviews in Google, Yelp or even Facebook. (Most people won’t actively go online or out of their way to leave a positive review.)

A few easy ways to ask for reviews are: 

  • In person: Ask for a 5-star review after a client is really pleased with your work. 
  • In your email signature: Include links to review sites.
  • Via email: Respond to positive emails with review requests. 
  • Outside of the box: Offer incentives in exchange for reviews.

Another idea is to take any positive reviews you receive directly from customers and turn them into a testimonial graphic you can use on your website and social media accounts.

You’ll be surprised by the impact these small actions can have on your business.

Warm Calling

No, that’s not a play on words because this is a snow blog.

I’m talking about calls to people you may know or already do business with, or who have already shown an interest in your services.

Though it may seem a little old-fashioned, I’m simply talking about the power of strategically placed, personal phone calls.

While many people prefer to get reminders or marketing messages more passively, via opt-in services like email or social media, you cannot forget about those who still appreciate the personal touch of a direct phone call.

Plus, if you work with commercial clients, warm calling can serve as great practice for landing those accounts.

Insider insight: Though it’s standard practice to have a call script prepared, it’s not always the most effective practice.

Instead, consider using more of a call flow approach, where you allow the conversation to develop more organically based on the specific customer.

Yes, this may take you places you didn’t initially intend, but as Dr. Seuss says, “Oh, the places you’ll go.”

Another avenue you might consider is texting. As you know, many of your customers are often as busy as you are, maybe even busier.

By having a strategic texting plan that involves timely reminders about services offered, payments due and follow-ups scheduled, you not only help promote your business in a more passive, less aggressive way, but also help save your customers time by reaching them on their personal device. 

Video Marketing

This technique may seem intimidating and time consuming, but hear me out.

Capturing video of your crew removing snow or de-icing sidewalks and roadways isn’t generally considered very sexy. However, both can be very effective for marketing in today’s digital world.

And with outlets like Facebook, Twitter and Instagram getting so much consumer attention from videos, you’re really missing out if you’re not creating videos promoting your snow removal business. 

Here are a few types of videos you could use to promote your snow and ice removal business: 

Demonstration videos

  • Show clients and potential clients what your company does to help make their lives easier. 
  • People actually derive enjoyment and relaxation from watching you snow plow a buried driveway or road. (To each their own, right?)

Company videos 

  • Introduce your team, your culture and your story.
  • Help customers feel more connected to you and your brand.

Educational videos

  • Educate your customers. 
  • Help them understand that they need to purchase your services. 
  • Explain the differences in deicers or the benefits of plowing vs. shoveling … really anything that teaches and informs your customers in a non-sales pitch manner.

Customer testimonial videos 

  • Film your happiest clients talking about how much your snow and ice removal services changed their lives.

Personalized video messages 

  • Thank your customers.
  • Invite your customers to an event you’ll be throwing or attending. 

A few things to remember when creating these videos: 

  1. Be authentic. No one is going to buy from a robotic, dehumanized company that seems out of touch with what clients want. 
  2. Make it funny. A good rule is, if they’re laughing, they’re not clicking away from your video. So, show your humorous side every now and then. Don’t go too far, and be goofy in every video, but a little levity goes a long way. 
  3. Cut to the chase. You really only have your customers’ attention for about one minute on Facebook and two minutes on YouTube, so don’t be super long-winded. Get to the point and make it count. 

Overall Company Branding 

Visibility and recognition are two necessities for a successful snow and ice removal business. 

Yes, people must be able to see and recognize your business to commit to work with you. 

So, how can you achieve both? 

Keep your website up to date.

When people find your service online and click to see your website, it needs to be:

  1. On brand 
  2. Immaculately written and well designed, and 
  3. Mobile friendly (for those surfing on their phones).

Brand your equipment with your company logo and phone number. 

  • Trucks
  • Plows
  • Shovels 
  • other equipment

Make sure people can see your business sign. 

  • It needs to be clear and visible from all street and walking angles.
  • Keep the lettering and images large enough to be seen from a great distance. 
  • Consider lighting and the visibility issues it solves/creates. 

Invest in portable company signs.

  • Strategically place throughout the communities you service.
  • Negotiate with some of your best customers with highly visible properties to allow you to place a branded business sign in front of their homes.

As I stated in the beginning, these are just some of the most effective ways to market your snow and ice removal company. However, these are not the only ways you can promote and grow your business. 

As you navigate your snow and ice removal business marketing journey, new ideas and techniques are bound to form, so don’t be afraid to try something new. 

And if you’re feeling unsure of when you’ll have the time to implement these marketing techniques and more while actually running your business, put Service Autopilot to work for you.

Streamline and automate the way you do business so you can spend more time working ON your business rather than for it.


Related: The Right Way to Price Your Snow Removal Services


Originally published Oct 10, 2019 2:00 PM

Brie Ragland

Brie Ragland

Brie is a marketing copywriter with more than 15 years in the digital marketing space. A graduate of Texas A&M University, she strives to find humor in most situations and uses that to make her a more creative communicator. With a passion for all things social media and photography, you'd be hard-pressed to catch Brie without a phone in her hand.

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