Everything you wanted to know about marketing for seasonal businesses
Are you looking for the cure to the midweek blues for your business? Or how to get more punters during off-peak times? I understand that struggle (I’m looking at you December & Christmas) and have put together some tried and tested tactics with favourites you’ll no doubt be aware of. The goal here is to help you formulate a plan so you can turn your off-peak time into a prosperous peak time for your seasonal business. Before we start with the tactics, some prep is required.
Use the slow time to build your marketing machine
What are the offers and incentives that will generate attraction for your desired customers? If your first concept doesn’t strike gold having multiple campaigns ready will help you move on and find success faster. Pro Tip: Ask your regulars for ideas!
Focus on email capture 24 / 7
Email is a great channel, when done right it’s hard to beat. If you are building your contact list 24 / 7 then the size of your campaign reach will grow in your slow season. Not sure where to start with email marketing? These two resources are amazing.
- The mailchimp email marketing field guide is essential reading
- Campaign monitor shows you how to get started with email marketing
4 Tactics for turning your slow periods into new busy seasons
Incentivise off peak
Here are some ideas you could use to encourage people on your loyalty programme to buy in your slow period.
- A cafe could give double coffee stamps during off peak times
- A cinema might do the second ticket at half price on Tuesdays
- A midwinter harbour cruise has all second tickets at half price
Bring your busy season forward
If you grow strawberries what can you do when there aren’t any to pick? If you sell snowboards, how do get people thinking about your products when it’s really hot outside?
- Sell coupons now that people can redeem when they are ready
- Remind your audience about how good your products are via your outbound and inbound channels and help them get ready for your busy season:
- Tell whale watchers where the best places to stay are
- Show parents of school aged children everything they need to know about BYOD (bringing your own device to school)
- Renew annual contracts early with price incentives.
Hold an event
Have an open house at your business. Get all fancy with music, nibbles and champagne or whatever would appeal to your audience. It will allow you to:
- Showcase your products / solutions
- Show your VIP customers they are special and you care
- Sell something at the event
But how do you do that when you don’t have a location? Team up with others in industry verticals e.g. builders, architects and electricians could all cooperate and collaborate on a suitable venue.
Update your products and services
Hubspot in 8 ways to market your seasonal business during the off season provides the example of Big Bottom Market. “A specialty food story in Guerneville, California survives their slow months of October through April by adapting their marketing efforts to target local residents instead of seasonal tourists”. They stock $12 – $15 wines during this time instead of premium brands.
These are my recommendations on filling up your off season / slow period. I’d love to know what you do, let me know in the comments below.