SAN FRANCISCO — There is a season (turn, turn, turn), sang The Byrds.

Customers must be reminded when it’s time to get things cleaned. Seasons help. Draw attention by stressing the benefits to the customer. Visuals are vital. So is interacting with your customers.

Interaction with customers is a proven way to increase loyalty, sales and profit.

ViSUAL CLUES FOR CUSTOMERS

The results of interaction with customers sound great and you can achieve similar outcomes with a simple approach: Use visual cues in all your media, both in-store and out, to communicate and engage your customers and prospects in a way that prompts them to take action.

Customers often need to be reminded that it’s time to do something.

Whatever your style, remember to draw attention by stressing the benefits to the customer to prompt the desired action. From analytics firm eyeQ:

“According to the National Center for Biotechnology Information, the average customer’s attention span is eight seconds, down from 12 seconds in 2000. That is officially less than the attention span of a goldfish (nine seconds).

“Our capacity to focus on one thing is diminishing, making the initial impression all the more valuable. It’s important to catch their attention quickly. If it takes the human brain less than a second to interpret a single image or video, that leaves the brand more than seven seconds to engage with the customer (and) push the customer further down the path to purchase.” (https://www.eyeqinsights. com/power-visual-content-images-vs-text/)

Which makes your point quicker? The slogan, “It’s time to clean your rugs,” or a visual image of a baby and a dog sitting on the living room rug, captioned, “Rugs need cleaning?”

How about: “Let us store your winter clothes,” or a visual image of an overcrowded and messy clothes closet, captioned, “Need more closet space?”

Visual messages work in-store, online, and in the great outdoors on vans and billboards, reinforcing when the customer needs the service. From consulting firm bain.com:

“Cutting-edge companies create a different kind of marketing organization, one that is less siloed, more interactive, and more collaborative, and that increases marketing’s value and effectiveness.” (http://www.bain.com/ insights/decision-driven-marketing-hbr; note: Full article is on the Harvard Business Review website.)

Seasonal giveaways can be effective triggers, helping staff overcome their reluctance to cross-sell services.

Example: A complimentary Koozie in your company color with your logo imprinted can reinforce the message, “It’s summertime — are your patio cushions ready?”

Flowers are affordable and easy to display. A bucket full of daisies to hand out to customers reminds them of spring cleaning. Huge mums say, “It’s homecoming season — time to clean winter coats.”

If you are sports-minded, use the sport(s) of the season and hand out wrist sweat bands while mentioning that you can keep their tennis whites (and colors) looking like new.

Lesser known holidays can promote special services, too, and they don’t get lost in the deluge of advertising that happens on the major holidays. For instance, Feb. 20 is Love Your Pet Day, so it is a good time to hand out pet treats and promote pet bed cleaning or doggy sweater cleaning.

National Grandparents Day is celebrated on the first Sunday after Labor Day and is a good time to let customers know you clean heirloom quilts.

Traditional holidays provide plenty of opportunities for selling extra services because hosting family gatherings entails showing the home to best advantage.

It is a particularly good opportunity if you have ultra-sonic cleaning capabilities for household items beyond textiles, like baskets, silver, blinds and toys.

Seasonal vinyl banners are inexpensive and offer the benefit of being reusable year after year, so the expense can be spread over time if the design is kept relatively ageless. Choosing a more contemporary theme will grab attention but may be appropriate for only one season.

The vinyl banners are usable on store windows, inside stores, on vans, on company cars, at events, on billboards, and on staff badges. The design and message can be duplicated in all your print and electronic media to reinforce the message again and again.

Three-dimensional displays, such as before and after samples, will provide another visual cue to show potential results of using your services.

Many of you have used this approach with your wedding gowns and it works for other services as well.

Seasons keep turning (and turning, and turning). So, in my next column, we will explore specific tactics for your seasonal promotional calendars.

To read Part 1, go HERE.