Whether your business is only open during specific seasons and closed to the public the rest of the year or if you operate year-round, but experience peak and slow seasons, you will need to manage your business’ online marketing uniquely. In this post we’ll take a look at how to market your seasonal business all year.
Planning for a seasonal business doesn’t mean all of your efforts should be spent in your peak season. Being prepared in the slow times or off-season is prudent and will keep your head above water when your busiest sales season arrives. Take tax season, for example. This may not be the joyful event that everyone gladly marks on their calendars, but it is necessary.
Tax season is usually from January through April, making this a peak time for those offering financial services and tax preparation. So when should planning occur? It would be best to begin planning ahead in the summer and early fall. Marketing to new customers and establishing a relationship well before tax season will pay off greatly when the peak season rolls around by exposing your business to these customers and creating brand awareness for when they need your products or services.
Promote in the Off-Season
How can you promote your brand in the off-season to attract early buyers? Consider offering early discounts and promotions that incentivize shoppers to buy early. Let’s use the tax preparation company we were discussing as an example again. During slow periods you may offer customers free consultations or discounted rates for those who are looking to get a head start at putting their taxes in order. Email and social media marketing can be a great avenue for these promotions as they can reach a large portion of your buyers / fans and can be targeted to a specific audience.
Get in front of your established and potential customers all year, especially during off-seasons, to keep your brand and services offered top-of-mind. Offering personal deals in real-time will keep your business top-of-mind during the slow times when your customers aren’t necessarily thinking about your product or service. And remember, the internet connects your business with people worldwide, so what might be the off-season for you may, in fact, be the peak season for customers in other parts of the world.
Use Social Media to Keep Your Brand Top-of-Mind
Social media isn’t seasonal and using it as a part of your marketing strategy shouldn’t be either. Daily posts and updates will keep fans and followers connected and engaged with your brand. Using social media in the off-season can also be used to drive traffic to your site, which means you need to keep your content fresh and relevant!
Use Testimonials and Positive Reviews Year-Round
61% of shoppers read product reviews before making a purchase. This means you have to be ready to put your best virtual foot forward all year! Showcase positive reviews and testimonials you’ve received from pleased customers and display them on your website, landing pages, and social channels.
Develop a Seasonal Keyword Strategy
SEO matters all year for your business. In order to rank higher in search results, it’s important for you to focus on keywords that will increase traffic to your website during different times of the year. Choosing the right words to attract the right audience will ensure your brand is seen by as many people as possible.
Keyword research tools can help you decide which words are the most relevant for each season. Successful seasonal SEO will require you to research specific keywords, create campaigns, optimize ads for those keywords, and monitor your campaign’s performance. Keep up on current trends and remember that maintaining a year-round keyword strategy will require year-round work on your part.
Develop Content Year-Round
In line with your keyword strategy is the importance of developing content throughout the year. When your potential customers aren’t ready to buy they’re combing the internet looking for information that answers their questions. Your content needs to be updated, relevant, and offer valuable information to those shoppers. For a seasonal business, this means creating content throughout the year so things don’t seem stale. Think about a shopper visiting your blog and seeing that you haven’t posted anything in months. This is most certainly a turnoff for buyers and a great reason for you to maintain a content calendar.
A content calendar allows you to actively plan and consistently schedule content throughout the year. It also gives you a top-down look at your efforts to better optimize them with the seasons, holidays, and special events in mind. Think about the commonly asked questions or industry trends and utilize those to create information that your consumers will find value in.
Pay Attention to Your Competition
Do you know what your competition is up to? Are they creating excellent content and engaging their audience on social media throughout the year? Keep your eyes on the market and on your competition. Doing so allows you to stay abreast on industry trends and will give you inspiration and ideas regarding how to — or how not to — market your business during these slow times.
Target the Right Audience Using Segmentation
Segmentation targets subsets of your audience that are most likely to convert. These can be based on demographics, geographic location, lifestyle, and behavior. With a seasonal business, it’s vital that you understand who your target audience is so during peak and slow times you always have their attention.
Understanding your audience and segmenting your message correctly also requires you to understand where certain consumers are in their buyer’s journey. Some may simply be looking for more information where others have a lot of the information they need and are closer to making to decision and/or speaking to someone at your business. The goal is to be present at all times, and delivering relevant messages to your segmented audiences will help to increase the effectiveness of your marketing and ROI because these groups are already more qualified to respond to your advertising.
Digital marketing for seasonal businesses requires work! Business may slow down or come to a complete halt in the off-season, but your work isn’t done. Plan ahead of your peak and slow seasons, promote early, utilize the power of social media, develop a solid year-round keyword strategy, keep your eye on the competition, and know who your buyers are and when they buy. If you can work these tips into your seasonal marketing strategy you’ll be more better prepared to capture customers in Houston when things slow down.