Whether you own an ice-cream shop, a publishing business, or a landscaping business, you’ve experienced the challenges of the dreaded off-season. After your peak season ends, a stretch of slow business begins, and your website and store front become ghost towns. Plus, who’s to say this season’s customers will remember you when the next season rolls around? It’s a bummer of a thought, to be sure.
But don’t let the seasonal slumps get you down! Instead of sitting around and waiting for your season to start again, use this valuable time for marketing! That’s right, seasonal marketers that think long-term and use their off-season time wisely can help tee their businesses up for smashing successes when peak season begins again. Here’s what you should be thinking about to keep your business on people’s minds year round.
Grow Your Database
While the season’s still hot during your peak season, your website and location (if you have one) will be abuzz. So while you’re doing business as usual – or running around like a chicken with your head cut off, as the case may be – be cognizant of the opportunity you have right now to grow your database. You know, while everyone is around. Getting a strong list of past customers and people who’ve expressed interest in your business will enable you to stay top of mind during the off-season, and convert new leads into customers during your next season.
Make sure your website has plenty of calls-to-action (CTAs) for people to stay in touch with you by subscribing to an email list or a blog, and even some offers that they can redeem for staying a loyal customer of yours, off-season or not. Some ideal places for these CTAs are your blog, your homepage, your product/service pages, your resource center, and in your social profiles.
Remember, growing this list is so much easier when you have plenty of traffic, so while it may seem daunting to add database growth to your ever-expanding list of peak season to-dos, your off-season success hinges on your productivity during this time.
Gather Customer Reviews
During your entire season, but particularly as your season comes to an end (and heck, even after it has wrapped up entirely), you should be asking your customers to review your products or services. By gathering customer stories and testimonials when they’re still fresh, you’ll have reviews that are more detailed and personal that’ll resonate with off-season readers.
Use those stories in your off-season email marketing, blog posts, website pages, and social media updates – in all your off-season promotions. For an extra boost, ask customers to submit pictures and videos from their experience with your business, or you could even ask to video them for a case study. The more raw and interesting content you can get from your customers, the better your off-season marketing campaigns will be.
Off-season or not, it’s still incumbent on you to produce remarkable content. But if you’re an off-season marketer, try to find a way to do it with an appropriate off-season twist. For instance, let’s say you run a berry farm. Winter months could be tough. But that doesn’t mean you can’t still create compelling content that will speak to your target persona! Here are some blog posts or marketing offers you could create even during the chilly months:
- 10 Recipes That Actually Taste Better With Frozen Berries Than Fresh Ones
- How to Can and Jar Fruit to Last All Year
- How to Make a Healthy Smoothie With Frozen Berries
- 7 Outdoor Summer Activities to Book for Your Family Right Now (Before It’s Too Late!)
- 5 Foods You Could Be Growing, Even During the Winter
- 3 Fruits That Can Withstand Winter Winds
Just because your target audience can’t utilize your products or services right this very minute, doesn’t mean they won’t benefit from and be interested in the information you have to give. If you create helpful content of this nature that speaks to your target persona, you’ll build solid relationships via your content that will sustain during the off-season, and bridge into your peak season … bringing in not only familiar faces, but new faces with whom you’ve gained a following because of your fantastic content.
Stay Social All Year
Your customers don’t vaporize during the off-season. It’s important to stay in contact with leads and past customers throughout the entire year. Consider social media your virtual, year-round storefront – because even if your audience isn’t chillin’ outside your store or visiting your website, they are certainly perusing their social media feeds!
That means your business should consider leveraging Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Pinterest, the whoooole shebang to stay top of mind year-round. You should be using this real estate to offer special discounts, gather (and publish) reviews and testimonials, share the new content you’re publishing, run contests and polls, and generate hype for the next season.