Rural Strategies

I live in a rural area of northern Wisconsin, heavily supported by tourists. Several small towns, the largest of which is 8,000 and its 30 miles from home. Anyone working in this kind of environment have proven strategies for reaching both residential and commercial customers?


I live in somewhat of a rural/borderline metro town. I have found no #1 way of marketing, so instead I try a little bit of everything. Direct mail, fliers in newspaper mailboxes, door to door, newspaper fliers, print ads, fliers in public places like gas stations or grocery stores, asking for referrals, you name it. But here’s what I really like about this environment - little to no competition (residential wise), more of a local, hometown service, and once you have a good base of customers who love your service - you are pretty much good to go.

I would try and lock down the storefront work if you are based in a heavy tourist area. This winter I am going to try and lock down my area for storefront. Here’s my logic - if they are sending a guy out in a 1 ton van 20 - 30 miles for route work, they are probably charging a decent sum. So…I become the local lowballer (so to speak) I’m living here in town anyways - I hate lowballers but if I can lock down my area then I feel it is more of a smart defense vs. a lowball offense. Now I won’t even consider lowballing route work outside of my town - just not worth it. Good Luck!

[QUOTE=Dormatex;56579]I live in somewhat of a rural/borderline metro town. I have found no #1 way of marketing. But here’s what I really like about this environment - little to no competition (residential wise), more of a local, hometown service, and once you have a good base of customers who love your service - you are pretty much good to go.

Same here! live in a small town of approx 6,000. I only have a small 2x2 ad in the local paper in the business section. I have signs on my truck–when I am at a job, I park in the most conspicious place I can find, even at walmart and any resturant too. The nice thing about living in a small town is that usually cost of living is little cheaper. Here WORD OF MOUTH has gotten me more work that an ad in the paper, and when someone recommends you to their friend, cost (I have found usually isnt that big of a deal) unless you are way out there.
I enjoy taking my time on the jobs and chatting with the home owner, especially older ones (they really eat that up) many dont get visitors often so any time you spend talking with them is worth it, IMO. They have a network of their own, if they like you, your in, they tell everyone about you. I will even give some several business cards to had out to their friends (depending on how vocal they are about how pleased they are, usually they will say they have been telling their friends about you)
I had one house that they thought they were going to have to repaint because of black mold made it look really bad, they were concerned about not being able to afford a painter because of my price, but they went ahead with it, and before I even barely got started the husband comes from his golf game saying he had just been telling his golf buddies about me. End result, they were VERY pleased, and they didnt end up needing a painter!!!
Sorry for the long response, even more (better) responses, but I will stop there.
Sincere, genuine concern for you customers will take far.:smiley:

Word of mouth, Tear off flyer at gas station and post office. Newspaper maybe.

Kevin has a blog up right now about gaining trust, about a month ago I posted my detailed experience of marketing in small towns in one of his other threads.

It’s all basically the same principle, treat your customers as friends, don’t try to stick it to them just because they have money and you can build a long term, mutually beneficial relationship with them? Hence, they trust you, their friends trust you, and you can gain that demographic market because you are now the go to guy.

Go to real estate offices and let them put a face to the name, in tourist towns they usually double as short term rental services and need cleanings or they are turning alot of property and can talk their clients into cleaning windows to improve the image before selling.

Condo associations can often gain you exterior work, and then individual owners will add the interior work.

There aren’t many storefronts in town, so I can’t help you with marketing towards those.

“Parking at Walmart”, I wish I had a Walmart to park at :smiley:

I live near a town with around 5,000 people and in a rural county. Fortunately there are vacation homes near a lake around a half hour away and some mid-scale communities within reasonable distance. I’ve hung in there and been consistent with advertising in a few newspapers/phone books. Also reliability and personality will go a long way. Additionally, I’ve been making sure I am visible on the internet in as many places as possible. Now I’m trying direct marketing to get more profitable customers.
So I’ve been able to manage staying near the forefront in my area for quite a few years and make a pretty good living despite being rural.

Sounds like I’m on the right track and will just stick with it. I’ve put some money into my Web site. Very few people I servive that live here year round have found me through my Web site. However, I put the money into it because MANY people with lake homes from out of town have found me through the Web site. This is how they tend to find services remote from their home base. Kind of a double barrel shot.



I am from a relatively small town too, with lots of rural areas surrounding. Best way to get work has been form word of mouth. Its who you know too, join clubs, do charity work, join local chamber of commerce. I have found as I have come into contact with local 'big wigs" i have gotten much more work. Use testimonials as much as you can, small town folk trust who their neighbors trust.

My advise is this. Small towns often have a daily or weekly paper. Advertise in that paper. Your company offers many different services. So if I were you, I would advertise under each service you offer. Window cleaning, under window cleaning, carpet cleaning under carpet cleaning etc. Yes you may have to take out several ads but if people are looking for a window cleaner they are going to look right away under window cleaning. services or It will obviously cost you more to advertise becasue of the numerous ads you may have to take out, but small town people read those papers and go to these papers first to look for locals to provide them with services.