As a seasonal business owner, do you look forward to the slower seasons to take some time off, or do you dread this period as revenue drops? Are you running a business that offers secondary services during the slower season, or are you running multiple businesses that each have their own busier seasons? Depending on the nature of the services you offer, your marketing strategy will have unique challenges to address.
Your busier seasons typically have to help you bring in enough revenue to account for your slower seasons. The slower seasons may require you to save aggressively and look for where to cut costs. One of the overhead expenses you probably have to evaluate frequently is your marketing. These four truths about marketing for seasonal businesses will help you consider what you can do differently with your current strategy to help your customer base grow all year.
Marketing ahead of the busy season helps ensure a strong start.
While you may have a marketing plan in place, it’s not uncommon to want to wait to implement it until you know your customers will be ready for you. You may be hesitant to spend your marketing dollars when you’re doubtful you’ll see an immediate return on investment. However, beginning to execute your media strategy before your customers typically start looking for you online means you’ll be building up a presence, and they’ll be more likely to find you when the season picks up.
Search engine marketing is a great online medium to begin before your customers start reaching out to you. It’s important to give your online campaign enough time to get up and running as paid clicks to your website start to slowly come in. These earlier clicks will help you determine what keywords are more likely to drive visits to your site.
Multiple forms of marketing need to be utilized during busier seasons.
While digital marketing is a great way to help your customers find you online, don’t hesitate to explore other forms of marketing to boost awareness with your customers. This is a chance to think about additional ways your customers can find you and learn more about your business. Running ads, coupons, or specials in local print publications may help you reach customers who aren’t as likely to find you online, and you can couple this print strategy with a tracking number to figure out what’s working best for your business.
If your budget permits, you may also opt to run a radio spot or rent billboard space. These more traditional marketing forms can be part of the overall message for your brand and entice consumers to look for you online. Even just hiring a street team to post flyers around your community is a great way to help get your name out there. Your goal should be to reach your customers as many ways as your budget will allow. Your marketing campaign should not be considered one-dimensional, just like your customers.
Secondary services should also be marketed during slower seasons.
Many seasonal businesses offer more than just one service, depending on the time of year. For example, landscaping companies will offer snow removal services during winter, and ski resorts feature hiking trails during the summer.
Utilize the marketing that you get your highest return on investment from during the busier seasons to help drive sales when business starts to slow down. Conversion tracking is a key benefit to digital marketing that allows you to determine what percentage of your leads are becoming customers during your slower period.
Long-term marketing cannot be seasonal.
While your customers may not come to you throughout the year, it’s important to maintain at least some web presence. Maintaining a search engine optimization strategy will help enhance your seasonal marketing since you are more established online. A study by Google has confirmed that about 50% of clicks through search engine marketing happen because of the paid ads being combined with the organic listings.
Your marketing plan will need to include creative solutions for helping your customers remember your business throughout the year. It’s important to begin executing your strategy early, explore multiple media options, utilize marketing for your secondary service, and maintain an ongoing web presence. Let us know how you market your seasonal business during your off-season in the comments!