Whether you own a food truck, a boutique guest house on the beach, an outdoor adventure shop, or a pool cleaning business, you’ve likely experienced the challenges of the dreaded “off-season.” Once the peak season ends, a slow period begins, where many businesses come to a halt. But don’t let seasonal slumps get you down. The off-season is the perfect time to concentrate on your marketing efforts.
Why off-season marketing is important to your business
Building your brand isn’t achieved overnight. Once you’ve established a name for yourself in the industry, it is important to maintain and grow your audience for future success. If you want continued success during your next peak season, an off-season marketing strategy is key for two particular reasons.
It creates top of mind awareness.
Consider brands like Coca Cola, Apple, or Rolex. One thing they all have in common is strong brand identity. This was achieved by creating a product and a brand that are captivating, inspirational, and memorable. Think about what sets your business apart from its competitors and use that as a hook in your off-season marketing strategy.
Creating this kind of memorability requires hard work and consistency. Therefore, it’s important to stay in touch with your audience, so you don’t completely drop off the map. The work you do to build your brand during the off-season keeps your company’s name in the mind of potential future customers.
It puts you ahead of the competition.
Building your brand’s image takes time, money, and hard work, so what better time to tackle a full-blown marketing strategy than in the off-season? To really understand your brand, potential customers must see your marketing everywhere.
By marketing off-season, you give yourself time to engage with your audience. You can also educate potential leads on what your company offers and what makes it better than your competitors. Once your peak season hits, you’ll have established a relationship with people who understand the benefits of your business. This puts you ahead of competitors who will wait until the peak season to reach out to their audience.
How to market your business during the off-season:
Wisely utilizing your off-season can benefit you in the long term and set your business up for success when the peak season hits. Read on to learn what you can do during the off-season to keep your business on people’s minds all year round.
1. Grow your database during the peak season.
While business is booming in the peak season, this is a good time to grow your database. Gather a list of past customers as well as potential customers who have shown interest during your peak season. Once the season ends, you can use this fresh list to engage and connect with your customers and keep your business top of mind. With your list of potential customers, use email marketing to reach out. If done correctly, your email marketing efforts can convert these new leads into customers by the time the next season hits.
Make sure your website is also up-to-date, especially if you want customers to take your business seriously. Your website needs to be well managed, while your content should display plenty of calls to action. A good tactic is to promote offers and specials that past and potential customers can redeem during the off-season. This shows that you value your customers and also gets feet through the door during those quiet months.
2. Customer reviews matter.
In today’s information age, potential customers have access to almost anything on the internet, and that includes reviews of your business. Customer reviews play an integral part in a customer’s buying journey, with many basing their decision on other people’s experiences. During peak season, gather customer reviews (in whichever way you see fit) and use this to promote your product or service. By using these reviews when they are still new, customers will have a better idea of what to expect.
Use these positive reviews on all forms of promotional material you have, including your website, social media pages and updates, your email marketing, blog posts, and more. Social media platforms like Instagram are great for posting reviews, images of customers enjoying your product or service, or any promotions throughout the off-season. By styaing active online, customers will remember your business when the time is right.
Sources: Really Good Emails
3. Continue to create good content.
Just because it’s the off-season, does not mean your content has to suffer. You may not have time to create good quality, relevant content while business is buzzing, so use this time to get to work updating the content on your website, social media pages, email marketing, and any other promotional material. Even in the off-season, you can still create compelling content that your audience will love. This helps to add credibility to your brand, set your business up as an expert in the field, and build good relationships with your target audience.
4. Get social.
You should stay connected to your customers and leads throughout the year—not just during the peak season—and social media is one of the best and easiest ways to do it.
On top of your website, potential customers browse your social media feeds to get more information on your business, from your updates to your photos and general engagement with the audience. This means that your business should start taking social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, YouTube, and LinkedIn very seriously—after all, these platforms are where most customers get their information.
Use your social media platforms to engage with followers, promote special offers, show off reviews, share exciting content, run competitions, and generate hype for the next season.
Sources: Really Good Emails
5. Don’t forget email marketing.
While email marketing can be successful year-round, do so with caution during your off-season, as your recipients may not be in the mood to engage with off-season promoters. Use email marketing during this period, but not as frequently as you would during peak times. When you do send out emails to your database, be sure to deliver high-value content that piques the interest of potential customers when the season picks up again.
6. Generate hype for the peak season.
Just because your product or service is not necessarily relevant during the off-season, it doesn’t mean you can’t generate interest and excitement about your business. Generate hype around your business by delivering cool, fun, and unique content to people’s inboxes, on your website, and through social media platforms.
Combine all the previous pointers to generate the right kind of interest and excitement for things to come. Use this time to advertise early bird specials, off-season discounts, fun promotions, and more. These off-season specials put you top-of-mind to your audience and also get feet through the door during a time when you need the business the most.
Source: Really Good Emails
7. Consider the locals.
Never forget about the locals. If your business is tourist-driven, it means that you could only be targeting out-of-towners looking for a unique experience or product that only your business can provide. But what about the locals? Once the visitors leave, you will have to depend on the locals to keep things going until the peak season hits once more.
By offering special sales and discounts to locals, you expand your target audience and bring in some business after the majority of the crowds leave. In this way, you maintain a good relationship with customers who are there to support your business throughout the year.
8. Tend to your backlog.
Perhaps you have a lengthy to-do list that you haven’t had a chance to get to because business has been good. The off-season is the perfect time to tackle things you’ve been putting off. This can include cleaning up your database, revamping your website, boosting your social media profiles, and researching potential new leads. Instead of closing up shop during the off-season, use this time to improve your resources that will free your time during the busy season and boost your marketing arsenal and profits when peak season comes around.
9. Consider your niche audience.
Sometimes working with a smaller target audience is more effective for your business. Instead of targeting the masses, take the time to focus on the smaller, dedicated audience you know will come back. Trying to grab everyone’s attention can be counterproductive, as your efforts can go unnoticed. However, your niche audience will appreciate the attention if you find unique ways to generate interest and drive purchases. Engage with your niche audience to make them feel valued and they may quickly convert into regular customers.
Just because the season is over, does not mean your marketing has to be. By using this period to your advantage, you can build your brand while engaging with past customers and encouraging potential customers.
- The off-season may not be bringing in much business, but it is the perfect time to concentrate on your marketing efforts
- If done correctly, off-season marketing can boost your sales and profits for the next season
- Off-season marketing creates top of mind awareness and gets you ahead of the competition
- There are many considerations and avenues you can implement to develop a successful off-season marketing strategy
Email marketing is a good way to generate interest and keep your brand top of mind during the off-season. Check out this guide that lets you create your email marketing plan and build completely branded, customized emails automatically—perfect for launching your email marketing campaigns during the off-season.