For many businesses, a slow period is bittersweet. It’s a break from the frenzy of the peak season and a chance to breathe again. But it can also be challenging as revenue drastically slows or comes to an outright halt.
Many seasonal businesses have to get savvy to survive. During the slow season, you want to boost demand and take the time you have to implement the strategies that will pay off in the peak. In this article, we will give you the tips your seasonal business needs to thrive all year long.
How to boost demand during the slow season
Did you know that 82% of small businesses fail because of poor cash flow management? In seasonal businesses, inconsistent cash flow is, of course, a more significant risk.
While you need an excellent cash flow management strategy, you can help make operating your business easier in the slow season by getting more people to your site.
Boost demand in the slow season with these 3 tips:
1. Make an offer they can’t refuse.
One of the best ways to increase demand in slow periods is to offer promotions and sales on your products or services. With promotion campaigns, you can attract attention to your business, boost revenue and profit, reach a new audience, and increase your margins.
Imagine you own a high-end sunglasses company that thrives all summer long. When winter comes, you host a series of promotions to sell out all of your summer stock. You’ll reach a new market of customers who may have been unable to pay full price for your products. Plus, you’re keeping the revenue incoming all year long.
2. Target new audiences.
You probably have a strong understanding of your typical customer. However, during the slow season, you could benefit significantly from targeting a new segment of the market.
Let’s say you sell scuba gear in a popular tourist destination. If the peak season is half the year, you could target locals in your area for the other half of the year. You can offer promotions and discounts specific to locals, which will create great relationships with the community. You’ll boost demand in this slow period and help your local community out.
Or, for instance, if you design beach umbrellas in Sydney, during the Australian winter you could target people in the northern hemisphere enjoying summer.
Think about the segments of the market that your business hasn’t tapped into yet. Opening up to new demographic or geographic markets can impact your business massively.
With Blend's multiple region capabilities, advertising your business in new markets is effortless. In just a few clicks, you can launch high-converting campaigns to multiple locations. Learn more here.
3. Pivot pivot pivot.
In the slow season, your standard service or product may not be desirable or necessary. However, there may be an opportunity for you to get creative and come up with new and exciting ways you can serve customers.
Let’s say you own an online store that sells BBQ equipment. After the summer, you notice your sales drastically fall. Think about products you could add to your storefront that would help your customers enjoy their BBQ area throughout winter. You could add BBQ gloves, outdoor heaters, cozy blankets, outdoor lights, and a fire pit. You could also write a blog for your site that shows your grill-master customers how BBQing in the winter can be just as much fun as in the summer.
Think outside the box and see how your business could create a special offering that caters to the needs of the slow season.
Marketing strategies that will pay off in the peak season
Seasonal business owners know that the work isn’t seasonal. It takes a year-long effort to make a business flourish. It’s kind of like a professional sports team. During the off-season, athletes train hard so that they can perform at their best during the season.
You should use your slow stretches to your advantage too. It’s the perfect time to refine your marketing strategies and carry out a game plan that will benefit your business all year long.
Here are strategies you can implement in the slow season:
1. Use the power of social media.
A great way to generate leads and excitement for the busy period is to create a clever social media marketing plan in the slow season. If you already have a social media marketing plan, look at the data from the past peak season. Where can you improve, and how can you refine your marketing plan to help achieve your goals?
Here are a few things to think about when going over your social media marketing plan:
- What platforms will your target market be on?
- What type of content does your audience like?
- How often can you post per week?
- Do you have a budget for social media advertising?
- What are your goals?
For instance, let’s say you sell custom gift boxes through your online storefront. When it’s not the holidays, your business is pretty slow. Your audience is on LinkedIn, Facebook and Instagram and they love learning about gift-giving tips and tricks. You have time to post about 3-4 times per week and your monthly advertising budget is $600/month. Your primary goals are building brand awareness and generating new leads for the peak season. By answering these questions, you can create an outline for your social media marketing strategy and understand the actions required to execute it.
If you want to make your advertising budget go further, try out Blend. Through automation of the entire online advertising process, Blend’s platform makes digital advertising easy as can be. Consolidated reporting across your ad channels helps you better understand what is working to minimise waste and maximise revenue. It’s perfect for seasonal businesses because Blend helps your ad spend go farther and takes the guesswork out of online advertising. If you use the time saved to go drink pina coladas on the beach, we won’t judge!
2. Get on top of SEO.
SEO is the practice of improving your website to increase its visibility in search engine results. It’s a long-term investment, so the slow season is the perfect time to put in the time and effort required.
Here are some steps you can take to better your SEO in time for the next peak season:
- Keyword research is the process of discovering the search terms that people enter when looking for topics relevant to your business. You’ll want to conduct keyword research and use the results throughout your website.
- Update and flush out the content on your website. Maybe you can add valuable information such as product reviews or FAQs.
- Write engaging blog articles that incorporate your brand’s tone of voice and are relevant to your business offering.
- Create a backlog of blog articles so you can continue to post when you’re in the busy season.
3. Make the most of your loyal customers.
It’s important to stay in touch with leads and loyal customers all year long. Stay top-of-mind by using email marketing to your advantage. It’s a cost-effective way to ramp up excitement for the peak season and keep your audience in the know.
A great way to capitalise on your loyal customer base and the fantastic experience you’ve provided in the past is to get their testimonials. User-generated content is king! You can send an email asking if they wouldn’t mind giving your business a Google review. Be honest and explain how reviews are critical to the success of your business.
You can also create a survey for your customers to provide feedback on their experience. Ask them what they liked, what they didn’t, and what they would love to see from you. Take this feedback to heart. The slow stretches are the perfect time to make moves that improve your business and give the customer what they want.
Whether your business makes Christmas shopping less stressful or helps create life-long memories on the ski slopes, seasonal businesses deliver incredible value. With creative tips to boost demand and marketing strategies to ensure your peak season thrives, you can use this guide as a blueprint to success for your business.