Running a business is a unique challenge. For certain businesses, success is a roller coaster – a flood of leads during certain months and a drought during other months. Such businesses function on two seasons:
- On-season – The most active period
- Off-season – The period where the business slows down to a crawl
Reduced lead volume, when business is slow, doesn’t mean your business needs to undergo hibernation. The slow slump can still build trust and keep in contact with your existing customers while planning new marketing tactics. All it would demand is some perseverance, a new perception, and a little creative thinking.
Which industries are affected by an off-season and need new business ideas?
If you are wondering how widely does off-season affects different industries and which businesses types are affected by them, here are some of them:
|Lawn Care and Landscaping||Summer|
|Outdoor event managements||Spring, Summer, Fall|
|Travel and Hospitality||Winter and Summer|
|Construction and Roofing Industry||Spring, Summer, Fall|
|Education||End of Summer (North America)|
|Catering||Spring, Summer, Fall|
|Retail & eCommerce Industry||Winter|
Benefits Of Slow Season Marketing
During the busy season, brands are chockful with customer requests that they don’t have time for anything else. Since the ‘tried and tested’ marketing and sales tactics are roping in prospects and loyal customers, there is significantly lesser tweaking. Moreover, the goal is to maximize sales and streamline the process instead of focussing on growth. Off-season comes as a bonus for businesses that function throughout the year, as they can cut-back and begin experimenting on creating campaign variations to determine the winner. Some of the other advantages of seasonal business opportunities are:
Helps build brand identity
Just because you cannot nail the off-season sales doesn’t mean you skip out on marketing. Using marketing that is attention-grabbing, actionable, and memorable, carve a niche that sets your brand identity. You won’t achieve that in the first campaign itself, and this is where consistent messaging comes into the picture. This would help prevent your business from going off the map and creating an impression in potential clients’ minds to be recollected when the need arises.
Keeps you ahead of the competition
Just like your thought process before reading this article, most of your competitors would have hung their boots till the next active season. By deploying the seasonal business strategy, you engage with your audience and provide prospective customers with useful information that helps them build lasting relationships with your business. You build an aura of anticipation and lasting memory that keeps your audience informed about your presence till the active season hits. Competitors, on the other hand, would wait till the active season to start to begin promotions.
Experiment with customer interaction
Since the business is slow during the off-season, it is a great time for experimenting with new marketing tactics. Try out a new tone, experiment with your brand colors, or how you approach your clients. The possibilities are immense. If you haven’t adopted the inbound marketing methodology yet, off-season might be a good time to start.
How Can A Good Or Service Provider Stimulate Demand During Off-peak Seasons?
Or, in other words, “how to bring customers in the off-season”? A good marketing campaign needs to have any one of the three goals:
- Increase referrals
- Adopt/ improve inbound marketing strategies
- Build relations with an existing client base
The marketing strategy for each goal varies slightly and is focused on generating results during the peak season. Don’t be discouraged if you don’t get short term results for specific strategies (discussed below).
Marketing Strategies For Seasonal Businesses
Turn your audience into a lead generating machine.
During the active season, the clients you managed to retain can easily be turned into a lead generation machine. Keep engaging with them over social media and email marketing by sending them useful resources or blog articles that educate them about your products or services. You can also turn your existing clientele into a lead generation machine by asking them for referrals. For those delighted by your services, the incentive becomes a motivation to recommend your business amongst their peers.
Generate user-generated content and collect reviews
User-generated content such as video testimonials from customers, photographs of customers using your products is a great way to expand the audience. Moreover, customer reviews can influence the decision of a prospect. You can promote positive reviews on different platforms, including your websites, social media profiles, as well as any 3rd party platform.
Conduct Surveys and Market Research
Surveys and feedback is something that any business can conduct anytime (on and off-season.) Conducting a survey grant you a finger on the pulse of what your customers expect from your business. Similarly, market research would also be a great tool to collect prospective clients’ information during downtime.
Offer special off-season discounts.
During the off-season, a flash-sale or loyalty offer can help businesses in the adventure sports and hospitality industry maintain foot traffic. Similarly, other businesses can come up with unique events to promote businesses during the off-season. Keeping it as a limited time offer can create sufficient urgency. A goodwill event rewarding customer loyalty is also a great option; it creates exclusivity and strengthens relationships with loyal customers.
Shift from B2C to B2B
During the offseason, you may have fewer customers to cater to, but businesses can target corporate tie-ups based on the products and applications. This strategy is optimal for those in the restaurant business as well as the hospitality industry specifically.
Draft the marketing calendar for peak season
While most businesses are already doing this, it is worth reminding that while you might be occupied during the peak season, the promotions and marketing campaigns can be planned and scheduled during the slow season. This way, you are more prepared as well as make any changes on the fly effortlessly.
As we mentioned earlier, the slow season doesn’t mean your business needs to hibernate till peak season reappears. Planning, strategizing, and creating new marketing tactics (other than those mentioned above) in the slow season is something that the “future you” would be grateful for.