For most businesses, marketing year round is a no-brainer. If you are a retailer, you can offer different holiday deals throughout the year. Clothing lines can offer different clothing selections. Restaurants might offer special meals and drinks to go with the season.
Seasonal businesses, however, can shut down or slow dramatically during the off season. For landscaping companies and other seasonal businesses, online marketing can not only be a lifeline during those months that sales have stalled, but can help grow and strengthen your business when used appropriately.
Using these resources can help you generate income, keep communication open with your customers, and create buzz leading up to the season. Online marketing for seasonal business is essential.
Email marketing is the pinnacle of online marketing because it is a direct line to your customers. During your prime season, email marketing is a great tool to send promotional info or to get feedback about your services and products.
It can be an even better tool during your off season. It is during your offseason that email marketing can be great for keeping your company on the minds of your customers. Newsletters are a great way to give tips that might be useful for your customers during the offseason and get them thinking about your services for the warmer months. For example, you can share tips on protecting and caring for your plants during the winter months, or you can get people in the planning mode early with design inspirations.
Another great use is to prepare for the upcoming season by offering early bird promotions and securing business before the season has started.
Inbound marketing is a great way to generate leads. By creating content that is unique and interesting to potential customers, you can engage readers and get them to sign up to your email list. A great way to do this is to have your own blog or to post to other related sites with relevant information, always reminding readers that they can sign up to receive valuable content from you as soon as it is published.
By creating this engaging content you can grow your email subscription list during the offseason, and by combining this with your email marketing strategy, it will deliver that 1-2 punch and has the potential to have a significant effect your regular season business.
Social media is similar to email marketing in the sense that it is a direct line of communication with your customers, allowing you to keep communication going in the offseason.
Utilizing resources like Twitter and Facebook you can address customer’s questions or issues immediately. This is a great opportunity to show your expertise and customer service off to not only your current customers but to thousands of potential customers as well.
In addition to communicating directly with customers, social media is an excellent tool for advertising promotions and sharing your inbound marketing content all year round. Not only can you share your own content, but you can share other related content through sites like Pinterest, to show you are keeping up with the latest trends and technologies and to gain traction for your other marketing strategies.
Paid Search (Google AdWords, etc)
Another great resource to attract potential customers is through paid search advertisement such as Google AdWords. This is a great opportunity to get your business name in front of potential customers that are already searching for the services that you offer.
With Adwords or other paid search, you have the ability to target customers in your area and set your budget. By increasing your budget leading up to the season you can generate a lot of leads and sales before the season starts. You can also increase your budget nearing the end of the season to increase last minute sales and shore up your revenue during the offseason.
The best part about this type of advertising is that you don’t pay unless people click on the link. If something isn’t working, you will know it quickly and can adjust your game plan accordingly. The budget is flexible, so you can have a lot of flexibility. Seasonal businesses know that flexibility is extremely important!
Putting It All Together
Each of these tools alone are good for seasonal business online marketing, but the key to a truly effective online marketing strategy in the offseason is combining these tools and being consistent. This establishes you as an authority in your market and lets your customers know that they can rely on you for great content and great service.