It really doesn’t matter what type of business you own many of them have peaks and dips of activity and a majority are seasonal – especially in the Highlands & Islands.
A lot of shops will have a peak at Christmas, travel companies in the Summer, Estate Agents in the Spring & Autumn and Accountants have that crazy time at the tax year end. Outside of these times when business is quieter it’s an ideal opportunity for most to concentrate efforts on marketing the business.
However, many don’t understand that marketing the business all year round is so important! Numerous businesses fail to market their business during the Summer as they are so busy – this is a huge mistake. Marketing during the Summer will help carry you through the Winter / quieter months.
A year-round marketing approach will increase your exposure and your brand awareness.
During the summer, you should be actively posting to social media, updating your website with what’s new and blogs to keep engaging customers. These actions will help you build a database of customers, gather re-marketable content, and generate an interest. Posting lots of images / content during the Summer months is important as your business is buzzing, it will give a true reflection of your business and it will help give you inspiration for blog posts too.
It’s very important to grow your database of customers and contacts and why not do so when you are most busy? During the summer months you should focus on gathering email addresses for email marketing, increasing the number of page likes and followers on social media, and increasing interest in your business. Having a strong list of current and past customers that you contact year-round, whether it be through email marketing, social media, or website blogs, will help you to stay fresh in people’s minds and help you gather new leads during your next season. Asking happy customers to leave reviews during busy times is also important – reviews will be more detailed if carried out soon after their experience.
Staying social and generating interest during the winter is only possible if you create a buzz and gather a solid stock of content and followers. Don’t wait for quieter days to start marketing your business; capitalize on the long, happy, and busy days of summer!
It’s never too late to start putting things in place – if you take get ahead during the Winter then that will stand you in good stead, and you can always out source your social media, blogs and newsletters to us during those busy spells!
You can start today by;
- Getting your database in order
Every business should have some sort of database of customers and potential customers – it is one of your most powerful assets. It could be a simple spreadsheet or a fully fledged CRM system. Your quiet periods are an ideal time to make sure your database is up to date. If you have contact details in lots of different places then this is the ideal time to consolidate them – and perhaps create a policy for saving customer details so that they are all saved to the same place in the future.
Also, it’s a great time to make sure you’re encouraging people to leave there details with you. Make sure your website has plenty of calls-to-action (CTAs) for people to stay in touch with you, like an option to subscribe to an email list, so that even in your quiet times you can carry on collecting details.
2. Requesting Testimonials
Happy customers are your best marketing tool. Your quiet periods are an ideal time to ask those customers for a testimonial, or perhaps even a full-blown case study. These should be added to your website and then used in your social media marketing. Not only will this give you some content to share with the world, it will also remind your happy customers how good you are and encourage them to use you again.
The next step up from this is to create a whole off-season campaign where you get customers to share their stories and photos and make it a feature on your website, email, social media etc and encourage others to share the stories.
3. Keep in touch
Just because customers aren’t using your services as much during a quiet season doesn’t mean they’ve fallen off the face of the planet, they are still there on email, social media and at the end of the phone. So make sure your activity doesn’t stop.
Continue to update your social media channels regularly, send email newsletters and targeted emails, call customers and potential customers.
Some things you could keep in touch with:
Testimonials and case studies
Updated website content and blog posts
Share interesting information (events, news, industry details)
Create hype around the upcoming peak season
Offers and discounts to entice people to buy during the quiet times
Often this off-season marketing activity can help increase the length of your peak-season as it can encourage customers to start thinking about the upcoming season earlier than they normally would do.
Off-season marketing campaigns can often differ from your usual content, but it’s great fun to come up with ideas of how you can entice customers at times when they wouldn’t normally think of you.
Some ideas of what makes a good off-season campaign:
If you sell ice cream then perhaps some recipes and ideas for winter desserts to go with your ice cream – Ben & Jerry’s release most new flavours in February, it creates a buzz and something for customers to engage with during the off peak season.
If you’re an estate agent then a good piece for off-season is how to get your home ready to sell.
A plumber/heating engineer could do something around getting your home ready for winter.
You’ll find that many of your competitors will decrease a lot of their marketing activity during quiet periods, this allows you a great space to market yourself and stand out from the crowd. A good off-peak marketing campaign will put you in the minds of your customers, ready for when they need you.
How will you make your business stand out in the off-peak seasons?