If your off-season comes at the same time each year, we have good news for you. Your seasonality is predictable and you can prepare for it. We have some suggestions on how you can tweak your strategies to strengthen your brand during the off-peak season, and hopefully, avoid cash flow gaps.
But first! You need to change your mindset
You should think about your products or brand in terms of one year. In other words, you need to understand your seasonality. It doesn’t matter if your sales peak in some seasons or you are selling all year long. Understanding your seasonality is critical for your campaigns and determining when to schedule important messages like social media posts, SMS marketing, etc., to go out.
It’s alright to spend the bulk of your marketing dollars around your peak season. But don’t forget that marketing shouldn’t take a holiday after “your season” is over. You must always engage with your customers, even your seasonal buyers, during the “off-season”. First, to boost your sales. Second, it’s keeping your products and brand top-of-mind. Third, potential customers don’t usually know what they want or need until they see you are selling.
So, here’s what you can do
- Offer off-season specials. By reducing prices during the off-season, you may attract not only new customers but your seasonal customers as well. Businesses should shift prices to match when and what the customer is willing to pay at the exact moment they’re ready to make a purchase. If you can’t sustain a month- or week-long sale special, you can do a “flash sale” or a one-day sale instead. Limited time offers often push people to click the add to cart button.
- Consider early payment specials. Try offering discounts for early payments for next season to keep the cash coming in. For example, if you provide online training or course, give a discount for clients who sign up to pay in full a month before your start. If you are a retailer, one good strategy is turning out-of-stock announcements into a money-generating one with a reserve-your-order-now offer. This strategy helps increase incoming cash, increase customer loyalty, and ensures you get paid on time.
- Switch from consumer to corporate. This is probably one strategy that has and is especially useful nowadays, given the challenging situation we are all in. If you have a consumer-oriented business, try targeting corporate customers during your off-season. There is no harm in trying to reach out to a whole new market. Sometimes all it takes is a slight tweak in your marketing communications and specific offers to attract a new segment of customers.
- Give selling and cross selling a try. Use a shopper’s behaviour and purchase history to suggest products/services similar to or complementary to a customer’s recent order. This way you can establish a relationship with your customers by offering them what they can be interested in. You can send your recommendations to your customers via email or when you are updating them with their orders’ progress. Keep in mind the success of this strategy depends on the accuracy of the data you gathered. The biggest risk with cross selling or upselling is that an existing customer won’t find added value to the additional purchase, which can fracture a business relationship.
Having seasonal customers shouldn’t be a curse for your business. Get into the mindset of your customers and consider what it takes to motivate them to make both large and small purchases at given points in the year. However, if selling throughout the year is not an option for you, focus your efforts on improving your brand during the off-season. Spend enough time forecasting and developing marketing strategies that could put you in an advantageous position when your customers are again ready to make a purchase. Whilst seasonality can present an obvious challenge for your sales, it can also offer many opportunities to improve and prepare your business for the rest of the year through marketing.
Off-season or peak season, we are here to help you make smarter decisions with your marketing.