Believe it or not, every business faces seasonal trends in one way or another, whether it's peaking because of an annual sale or holiday events. While certain industries are strictly seasonal, you don't want your business to get locked into that — there's more inconsistency in sales and profit, less consumer engagement, longer periods that are slow to profit, and honestly, more stress.
In fact, 1 in 12 businesses close every year, and 82% fail due to inconsistent cash flow. Seasonal businesses are more susceptible to this problem, which is why it's beneficial to position yourself outside of being a seasonal business. Here's how to increase sales in the off-season with year-round marketing campaigns.
Plan Around Your Seasonal Peaks
It's crucial to know your seasonal peaks, although it may take more time if your business is new or growing. That will allow you to lay out your more profitable periods, so you know which need a little more creative love and care and which periods you need to make the most of to maximize your potential.
Of course, you want your campaigns to boost sales during your peak, but you shouldn't ignore the "off" season in the meantime. The key to truly maximizing your potential and profit is to allocate part of your budget and marketing plan to maintain sales momentum year-round.
There are four ways to turn your seasonal business into a year-round success:
- Diversify your offerings — find more creative ways to take your offerings and extend them into the off-season by choosing opportunities you can pursue with the same people and equipment you have for your core business. That way, you can reduce overhead costs and market your new business more easily to your existing clients.
- Capture online off-season sales — carry online sales momentum in peak season into the offseason by establishing or maintaining an online presence (i.e., optimize your website, blog, social media, etc.).
- Seek out partnerships — this works best when you partner with businesses that complement yours and create benefits like referral programs.
- Revamp your marketing strategy — to position yourself out of just being seasonal, you must get creative and market yourself year-round.
Use Ad Retargeting And Nurturing To Keep Customers
Your peak season can be an excellent opportunity to acquire leads and customers, which you can, in turn, target in your off-season to make loyal customers. That will also increase your sales during your slow periods.
That can be done in several ways, as long as you stay connected with consumers and engage them at various touchpoints. Consider posting to social media regularly, interacting with current and potential consumers, blogging about your seasonal advantage AND off-season-related topics, and creating an email newsletter series to keep them informed.
Email marketing is known to help businesses nurture leads and gain lifelong customers because it's personalized and lets customers know about all your sales, deals, and new off-season opportunities. After all, it's repeat business that makes a sustainable company! Furthermore, email marketing also gives you much more control over your marketing because you've built your email list instead of how social media followers can unfollow you easily.
Instill Urgency In Your Off-Season Messaging
You'd be amazed at how well sales promotions and urgent messaging can encourage customer action and drive sales during your off-season in the process. That will help you clear out inventory for the next seasonal cycle.
Consider tying this into a loyalty program to nurture past customers or people who have yet to make a purchase. You could also encourage foot traffic with in-store exclusive deals, which can be promoted across multiple platforms to increase your reach among your target audience.
When using digital tactics to promote urgency and in-store foot traffic, make sure your call-to-action (CTA) is strong and actionable. For instance, a clickable link that says Send Me Specials Now! will encourage more traffic and interest than one that says Contact Us. While it has its merits, it is overused, simplistic, and has no urgency to take action.
Be Creative in Targeting Local Customers
Leverage your digital and social media presence by specifically targeting your local customers. It can be done through local phrasing and relevant imagery that attracts and resonates with people in your area. The key is to be relevant and creative in the way you choose to communicate with your audience.
You can target local customers for your online ads or set up guerilla marketing in other stores or public areas to gain more visibility and attention. Seasonal business owners have to be bold and creative, thinking like guerilla marketers to make the biggest impact on their customers. Take the time to brainstorm what works best for your off-season, and don't be afraid to experiment to find what works best for you.
Stay Up to Date on All Things Marketing
It's no easy task changing or creating your new position outside of being a seasonal business, but the rewards are much more significant than any risk that could be involved. At most, you may be looking at more hard work and time going into expanding your brand relevance and visibility all year round — and honestly, who doesn't have to do that to grow a business anyway?
Working with a media partner can make all the difference by taking the pressure off you and helping you maintain year-round visibility beyond your seasonal peaks. They have their existing expertise and keep up with the latest technology and trends, allowing you to adjust more quickly than you could otherwise.