This is probably the scariest moment in any entrepreneur’s life. When they enter the slow season. So what is the best way we can prevent this? There are two strategies I can recommend.
Number 1) Offer related products or services during the slow season.
Number 2) Expand and dominate your niche with your online presence.
Let’s start with number 1; this one is relatively simple, if you do landscaping during the summer, you could potentially offer snow removal services during the busy winter months. Another scenario is a lot of wedding photographers during the slow season take on destination weddings and travel to different parts of the world to shoot weddings. Think of creative ways that you can offer something during the offseason.
Look at some of your top competitors and see what they are doing. If you don’t know how to find your competitors simply Google the phrase “your product or service + your city name.” Have a look at the first ten websites on the first page of Google and look through your competitor's sites in detail. They may have figured out something that you haven’t.
Number 2 Scenario
For our wedding business clients who enter the slow season, we simply increase their marketing budget during the winter months since this is the time that they actually have to sit down and book new clients. Summers are mainly busy for them with executing lots and lots of weddings. The Winter months are where the majority of the bookings happen. Creating a sense of urgency can also work in your favour during the slow winter months. Come up with a logical reason as to why people should buy from you during the winter months. This can vary from business to business but it's well worth sitting down one afternoon and coming up with a few ideas. If you service more affluent customers and you only deal with high-end clientele, the discounts aren’t the best strategy since this might cheapen your service. Instead, focus on getting more attention for your brand during the winter months.
Number 2 Scenario
For our wedding business clients who enter the slow season, we simply increase their marketing budget during the winter months since this is the time that they actually have to sit down and book new clients. Summers are mainly busy for them with executing lots and lots of weddings. The Winter months is where the majority of the bookings happen. Creating a sense of urgency can also work in your favour during the slow winter months. Come up with a logical reason as to why people should buy from you during the winter months. This can vary from business to business but its well worth sitting down one afternoon and coming up with a few ideas. If you service more affluent customers and you only deal with high-end clientele, the discounts aren’t the best strategy since this might cheapen your service. Instead, focus on getting more attention for your brand during the winter months.
Do Marketing On The Search Engines
One of our wedding business clients that we work with gets extremely busy during the summer months with wedding bookings, however, in the previous year's winter has always been more challenging due to the offseason. We were able to solve this problem by expanding their online presence and putting them in a position where they can dominate every channel of digital media. Instead of just doing Google ads and getting them customers, we decided to work on their SEO, also known as search engine optimization. This puts our clients in a position where they can show up 2x on the first page of Google.
For example, if people search for their keyword “wedding flowers Toronto” not only will our client show up in the Google ads section of the page, but they will also show up in the organic results (non-paid) section as well. Being on the first page and showing up two times allows us to funnel nearly double the number of leads our client receives and thus improving their business growth. This actually helps during the slow season as well because every other competitor is struggling to get clients due to a shortage of customers searching on Google, our client is in a position where they are getting the majority of searches simply because they show up two times on the first page of Google.
Dominate Social Media
Search engines are the primary way that people find products and services nowadays. However, there is another channel that can be utilized and very few brands are taking advantage of it. Its called socialmedia. As the business owner, you should regularly post on your company's Facebook/Instagram page and doing daily stories. If you keep up with regular posts, you’ll start seeing your page's followers increase on a weekly basis. Don’t be ashamed if you only have five followers, remember everyone starts off the same way. Move on and start putting some value on your page, if you don’t have the time to manage your social media yourself, we can handle it for you. However, we always recommend clients do manage regular posts themselves and let us handle the “paid advertising” portion of your social media.
Working on your social media has a compounding effect on your marketing mix. If clients visit you and your competitor’s site after searching on Google, the next thing they are going to do is check both of your social media pages to see what you and your competitors are doing. If you are posting regularly with engaging content, this puts you in a better position to get more customers than a competitor that just focuses on Google marketing as their primary strategy. Use social media as a way to interact with customers on a daily basis and really “put a face to the brand.” Social media is all about people, make sure you are regularly taking photos with you and your team members and posting that on your social media. Customers really enjoy seeing the people behind the brand.
By just focusing more on dominating your search engine marketing strategy and your social media strategy with the goal of outdoing your competitor, you will be in a better position to outcompete and thrive during slower seasons in comparison to your competitors.
As always there are always exceptions to every rule, some industries no matter what you do, it's hard to get clients during winter months or slow seasons simply because your product or services is not needed during those months. For example landscapers during the winter months. Orice cream shop owners during winter. For these scenarios, we recommend offering related products or services that go well with your current offerings during slower seasons. For example, if you are a landscaping company, during the winter months, you can provide snow removal. Or if you are an ice cream shop, you can always offer coffee and tea or even waffles as an additional product/service. Sit down one day and brainstorm some other products or services that you can potentially offer your company to help ease the pressure of the slow season.
There is a very famous rule in business called the “80-20rule” this can also apply to companies that are competing online. Essentially20% of the companies get 80% of the clientele. Don’t you want to be a part of the 20%? Even if you are not currently in the top 20% of your industry you simply can't give up.
You may need to work harder on your online presence and have some catching up to do if you are a new company. This is a never-ending battle, so it's best to start today. Focus on your social media, post every single day and put in the required time and energy to make sure your brand is always getting the right kind of attention from your future customers. If you don’t handle this, your competitors will simply take your spot.
Invest in your brand and start being more creative in how you approach your problems. As TonyRobbins says, “Ask a better question to get a better answer.” Business owners often say things like “what am I going to do during slow season” instead try asking yourself, “how can I add more value to my customers during the slow season.” Asking better questions will always get you one step closer to the right answer.