Whether your business is bustling year-round or experiences high- and low-sales seasons, there will be times during the year when you have a predictable drop in both your number of customers and revenue.
These slow periods can be discouraging, but on the other side, they can also be the perfect time for resourceful, creative, and efficient brainstorming, as well as planning for the future of your business.
These seasons of lull are hidden opportunities for growth if you maximize the time to assess and improve on your current business model or processes. Use the strategies below to head into the off-season with purpose and move into your busy sales season with a better and more profitable business.
Partner with established organizations in the community
If you’re a brick-and-mortar business, and want to increase the volume of foot traffic to your business, this is the perfect time to head outside and connect with the community. An estimated 82% of Americans take a brand’s social responsibility into account when choosing whether to make a purchase, according to the Forbes Human Resources Council.
During slow seasons, use this time to partner with a local organization that’s doing good in your local community. Not only does this give you marketing and social media fodder, but it helps you show potential customers that you’re here to do more than sell products. You care about the community you live in and you’re willing to give a helping hand where you can.
According to a 2017 survey from Cone Communications, 87% of consumers will purchase a product because a company advocated for a cause they cared about.
Use this opportunity to attract new clients and customers. Some options to look for include sponsoring an event, seminar, workshop or fundraiser or hosting your own community clean-up day. Better yet, create your own events or workshops that allow you to show your expertise while getting involved with the community.
Bowler Hat, a digital marketing agency, offers digital marketing workshops to local small businesses. Marcus Miller, SEO and digital marketing strategist for Bowler Hat tells Business News Daily:
“Sometimes this turns into business for us when there is someone we can help. Our entire focus is helping small businesses with their marketing, so we find if we do what we can to help, then the work we need comes to us.”
Revamp your marketing and experiment
Now’s the time to experiment with bold, innovative marketing tactics that spark renewed interest, attention, and excitement around your brand. First, start with your current marketing plan. Ask yourself: what is working and what isn’t? Use this as a jumping off point to decide what you’ll test out during your slow season.
For example, if your testimonial videos typically get plenty of likes on Facebook, it may be time to test Facebook Live or Instagram Live—put yourself and your brand front and center.
You could also use this time to test new print marketing strategies. Whether your business focuses on a local market or nationwide, direct mail marketing, for example, is ta great way to reach your audience directly without fighting through the clutter that comes with online marketing.
If you’ve never sent direct mail before, check out this guide from MyCreativeShop to get started. You’ll find design and strategy ideas that ensure your direct mail test is as effective as it can be.
Optimize your website for SEO
Nearly 80% of consumers use search engines to find the products or services they need, according to the Local Search Association. If your digital footprint is non-existent, meaning your website can’t be found, you’re losing opportunities for revenue.
The best way to get your website in front of customers online is to use search engine optimization (SEO), which ensures that Google both sees and ranks your website for the terms that your customers are searching for.
Use your slow-season downtime to make some of the following updates:
- Make sure your website is optimized for mobile devices. Use Google’s Mobile-Friendly Test to see what changes you need to make.
- Update your title tags and meta description for all the pages on your website and use the right keywords.
- Update your business’ blog regularly with fresh content, images, and links to new blog posts.
- Check that your business information (name, address, phone) are all consistent and correct on your own site, your Google My Business listing, and any other listing sites.