February 26, 2021
Marketing a seasonal business can be tricky; it’s all go during the busy season, but how do you keep customers coming in during the slower months? We’ve put together seven innovative tips to give you a head start.
Great athletes don’t spend the off-season sitting in front of Netflix, and neither should you. Use your downtime to plan, so you won’t be left scrambling during the busy season.
Your off-season is the perfect time to…
Get the basics sorted during the quiet months, and start the busy season with an advantage over your competitors.
Your business may be quiet, but your customers are always out there - checking emails, browsing websites, and scrolling through Facebook. If you can keep your audience engaged all year with a steady stream of useful content, you’ll be top of mind when they’re ready to book, or when a friend asks for a recommendation.
Plan and schedule regular social media and email content that shares industry news, tips and tricks, and photos or videos of how your team are spending the off-season.
There’s another benefit to posting consistent digital content: you don’t have to spend time warming up your audience each year. When your busy season hits, your customers already feel like they know you, so your promotions feel natural - you haven’t just suddenly started slamming their newsfeed with promotions and offers!
Holiday and experience vouchers make great gifts, even if the recipient won't be using your service for a few months. Adding a voucher option to your website is a simple way to open up a new revenue stream; birthdays and holidays happen year-round, and having vouchers available keeps you front of mind with customers.
You’ll also be making it easy for your customers to give meaningful, experiential gifts that the recipient will love.
Over time, businesses build up a wealth of in-house expertise, systems, and equipment. Finding smart ways to leverage your existing assets opens the door to new customers while keeping your costs down.
Diversify your services
Diversifying your services is all about exploring different ways you can meet the same or similar customer needs.
For example, a fruit orchard might only have pick-your-own apricots for a few months of the year, but could hold workshops on how to grow and care for fruit trees, or offer a consulting service to help people choose the right tree for their backyard.
Diversify your market
Market diversification is about finding new sets of customers, looking at the facilities and space you have available and asking yourself who else might pay to use them.
For example, you could consider exploring the corporate market, advertising to school or church groups, or offering weekend retreats to local photographers, yoga studios, or nature clubs.
Even if your complementary revenue streams aren’t as profitable as your core business, they’ll keep your cashflow ticking over, and introduce your business to a new group of customers.
Joining forces with other local businesses allows you to reach new markets and bring in extra customers. Connect with local tourism providers, retailers and hospitality venues to offer inclusive packages that will tempt customers year-round!
Once you’ve created your package, each business markets it to their own database, getting the maximum number of fresh eyes on the promotion.
Creating a combined package with a business with opposite seasonality can have an additional benefit for both of you. In the winter months, customers will primarily come for your service and enjoy the other business while they’re there. In the summer, it’ll flip around, with the other company becoming the ‘headline offer’. Together, you’ll be able to attract customers year-round.
Collaboration can take some time and finesse to pull off, so make sure your concept marketing packages deliver a good return on your time investment.
Customers are planning further in advance than ever, from booking their holidays to organising their annual heat pump service. Early bird specials capture these customers when they’re ready to buy, boosting your cashflow and building buzz for the new season.
If you offer high-ticket items, promoting your product or service well in advance gives your customers plenty of time to make their purchasing decision - and gives you plenty of time to show them all the reasons to buy.
It’s also worth getting in touch with last year’s customers ahead of time, offering a loyalty discount or limited advance bookings to lock in their business for this season! This also works for B2B products and services - knowing your customers’ ordering cycle and proactively reaching out makes life easy for customers and keeps them heading back to your business.
Your Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) shouldn’t take time off during the year, even if your business does! Good SEO is the combined effect of lots of small changes, and Google takes time to notice your improvements and boost your website up the rankings. If you’re leaving your SEO until just before the busy season, you’re already too late.
Keep your SEO building all year by consistently adding fresh news, blogs, and articles to your website. By the time peak season hits, you’ll be sitting pretty at the top of the search results.