A lot of small businesses are seasonal, which means they have busy times of the year and certain months that are considered off-season. If your business is seasonal, chances are your revenue reflects this as well, with substantially more revenue coming in during busy months, and slow (or no) revenue coming in during the off-season. While it might seem to make sense to only market during high season, here’s why you should consider marketing all year long.

Using the off-season wisely

Having a seasonal business means there may be certain times of year to take well-earned time off, and you should! However, you should also use this time to plan and prepare for when business is at its peak. For example, with extra time to spare, consider investing in a small business marketing strategy. Surprisingly, 50% of small business owners don’t have a marketing plan, but not having one could be costing you revenue. Consider these stats from a survey by Search Engine Journal:

  • 25% of respondents are unsure of how they plan to grow their businesses.
  • 55% of SMB owners spend less than 5% of annual revenue on marketing.
  • Over 58% of SMB owners spend five hours or fewer on marketing every week.
  • 86% of respondents would rather spend their time on other business activities than marketing.

Having a marketing plan can help you understand what tactics are working, where your target audience is, and how best to convert those prospects to paying customers. For seasonal businesses, dedicating any amount of time to a marketing plan during the busy season simply won’t happen, but during the slower season, a good marketing plan will set you up for future success. Seasonal business means seasonal revenue, so fiscal downturns are inevitable. A reliable marketing strategy takes into account all of these downtimes and has enough foresight to plan around them.

Marketing even during the off-season

While your small business may be the season, your potential customers’ planning and budgeting may not be. For example, your business may focus on winter sports and recreation. While most certainly you want a large marketing push during prime season, many of your prospects are likely planning for winter recreation in the middle of summer. If you’re not marketing during the off-season, chances are that your competition is. When you market your business during the offseason, you keep your brand top of mind until the peak season starts again. If your offseason marketing is successful, you can count on potential customers considering your business once the offseason does come to an end. Regardless of your specific line of business, it’s best to keep your marketing efforts up all year. Keep updating your social media, maintain your website, and focus on your overall digital presence on a regular basis. The better maintained your online presence is, the more credibility you’ll have with your audience once high season for your business kicks in.

Low-cost marketing ideas during the off-season

As mentioned previously, off-season for many small businesses means little or no revenue coming in. While marketing all year long is crucial, not all small business owners have the money to invest in marketing when little or no revenue is coming in the door. However, there are several no-cost and low-cost marketing efforts you can pursue during the off-season. Staying top of mind with your prospects using some of these marketing tactics will feed your sales pipeline when the busy season starts again. Keep in mind it’s also important to use a variety of marketing efforts to reach your prospects. Below are low-cost marketing tactics you can do while business is slow:

·        Social media – depending on your audience, try Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, TikTok or Pinterest. A marketing strategy will help you determine the best platform(s) to be on, or work with a small business marketing consultant for guidance.

·        Blogging – blogging is great for attracting people to your website who may not know your business exists. If you’re blogging about topics of interest, searchers will find those blog posts online and visit your website to get more information. To get started, think of your current client pain points and questions, and write about those and how your business addresses them.

·        Speaking engagements – there are a lot of professional conferences and events that happen all year round, and with in-person events surging again, organizers are hungry for speakers to talk about relevant topics. Speak at events to help spotlight your expertise and the solutions your company offers.

·        Email marketing – email marketing is a very good low-cost way to stay top of mind with prospects all year round. There are a variety of inexpensive platforms to choose from, including Mailchimp, SendInBlue and Constant Contact.

Need more free and low-cost marketing ideas? Here’s a comprehensive list!

Even if your small business is seasonal, your marketing shouldn’t be. Follow these tips and ideas to keep your marketing going all year long. The payoff will be more revenue during the busy season, and yearlong brand awareness for your small business.

Patty Hughes
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