Whether you're marketing for a seasonal business or a year-round venture that's hit an inexplicable slump, facing the end of your peak selling season can feel disappointing. After months of high-volume leads and successful seasonal campaigns, losing momentum is disheartening.
While seasonal downtrends may seem like an inevitable part of business, they can actually become one of the most valuable times of the year. Here are five off-season marketing strategy ideas to help you keep existing customers engaged and grow your business.
1. Continue Creating High-Quality Content
Don't stop producing content just because sales have dropped. In fact, now is one of the most critical times to create enticing, memorable and useful content to keep your audience engaged. For example, let's say your own a Garden Center and Landscaping business. During the winter, you can stay in front of customers and prospects by publishing content about the next season's hot trends, protecting important plants before a frost and ideas for kickstarting a beautiful lawn in the early days of spring.. This can play especially well as a social push as a form of mental escape when people long for better weather, create positive equity for your brand. As a time-saving bonus this content is "evergreen" (pun intended) and can be revisited and updated with nominal effort every year.
2. Focus on Database Growth
It can be hard to focus on growing your customer list during your busy months when you're in the thick of running campaigns to convert existing prospects and reengage current customers. Use the off-season to target new contacts and attract new audiences. Then, build a captivating nurture series to develop relationships with new contacts before the hustle and bustle of your next busy season.
3. Stay in Your Customers' View
It can be tempting to reduce your advertising budget or slow email and social efforts when you've hit your seasonal slump, but this can limit your success during your next busy period. Instead, keep your campaigns running at full capacity and tailor your messaging to address seasonal needs.
For example, if you run a ski resort, share content throughout summer to help your audience plan their winter getaways. This could be news about nearby attractions, new updates about your facilities or a countdown to the opening weekend.
Paid Search, however, is foundational and should never be completely stopped. While you certainly wouldn't spend what you would during peak, active searchers are still valuable and you want to at least maintain the share you have established.
4. Deliver Off-Season Incentives
Instead of accepting your "dead time," create offers that will entice people even during the off-season. For example, if you own an ice cream shop, consider creating specialty winter flavors or offering daily discounts. You'd be surprised by how many people will happily scarf down frozen treats in the middle of January just to enjoy a discount.
5. Tend to Your Backlog
Every marketing department has a lengthy to-do list that's fallen on the back burner during the busy season. Now is the perfect time to tackle things you've put off, like revamping your website, migrating your blog to a new CMS, cleaning up your database or researching potential new vendors.
"While you don't necessarily need to advertise your behind-the-scenes efforts, it's a good idea to start thinking about the inventory, capital and labor force you'll need to get you through your busiest time of the year," says the Forbes Finance Council.
Instead of hibernating during slower months, use the time to ramp up your marketing arsenal and boost audience engagement. A smart off-season marketing strategy will leave you better equipped for your next busy season.