How to Keep Your Business Thriving During a Slow Season
Written by: Stephanie Bariatti, SMB Media Marketing Consultant
Nearly every business has a “slow season.” Maybe it’s the lazy days of summer. Maybe it’s the post-holiday slump. Or, maybe it’s around this current time of year – so close to spring, yet not close enough.
No matter what time of year you struggle with, it doesn’t have to be a down time for your business. It is the perfect opportunity to reorganize, refocus and concentrate on improving your marketing efforts. So what exactly can you do to keep yourself in the game and also be proactive in maximizing profits for the next busy season? Here are some tips to keep momentum going during the lull:
1. Take advantage of any down time by using it as an opportunity to clean up shop. Start with your website. Make sure all information is current and up-to-date. Make sure it is easy to navigate and if you are selling anything, make sure the ordering process is super simple. The last thing you want are customers abandoning their carts out of frustration.
2. We are all aware of the power of social media, but it is always worth repeating - utilize your social media platforms to the fullest extent. Even during the downtimes, make it a priority to feature quality content. Videos and photos of your business, products or customers using your products or services are all effective. Blogs, testimonials, reviews and links to relevant sites all keep engagement up as well.
3. Don’t forget about emails. They still prove to be an effective marketing tool. However, don’t inundate those on your mailing list during the off-season, since they may not be as interested in your offerings as they would be during a peak time. Use emails sparingly to deliver high quality content only. You can also use the off-season to build up your database.
4. Offer deals and incentives, which are always tried and true ways to drum up business. However, maybe take it a step further and partner with another business that may be slow. For example, let’s say you operate a beachside hotel that doesn’t get many visitors in the colder months. Maybe you could team up with a nearby restaurant and offer a discounted meal to someone who books an overnight stay in the off-season. It could bring in business for both of you.
5. Solicit positive reviews. This is so important. So many prospective customers rely on positive reviews to make their purchasing decisions, especially when they are spending a significant amount of money. Feature reviews prominently in your communications. And the more recent the better.
6. Don’t be afraid to try new tools. This could involve implementing new tech to help improve your SEO or analytics. Or it could be as simple as redefining your goals. Instead of setting goals for sales, maybe try setting goals for conversions or engagement for a period of time. Forcing your team to look at customer reach through a different lens could re-energize your whole operation.
7. Above all else, don’t stop making noise! Hype up all the fun, exciting and cool things about your business to stay on people’s minds and build anticipation for what’s to come.
There are so many things you can do beyond this list to develop a successful off-season strategy. However, I really think that last point is the most important thing to remember. Stay on people’s radars and stay relevant. When that busy season rolls around, it will be you who they turn to first.
Stephanie Bariatti works as a Consultant and Project Manager for SMB Media Consulting. She has had extensive experience with many facets of advertising and media, having worked for and with creative agencies, production companies and research departments. She lives in New York with her wonderful husband, three lovable little boys and a snuggly Golden Retriever.