Is your business seasonal? Perhaps you sell ice-cream or frozen yogurt, or maybe you run a Halloween store. If your business model implies expected seasonal highs and lows, here are a few marketing ideas to make sure you have your marketing planned to get the most advantage of both.
The good thing about this business model is that when it rains it pours. You are really busy, and you can forecast your sales around a specific timeline. The bad thing is of course cash flow ebbs and flows. (In some cases, you may not have any revenue coming in during your off season.) So how do you plan your marketing budget and your marketing priorities to ensure you cover all the essentials and continue growing your brand no matter what season you are in?
The answer is branding. Yes, branding is what makes the difference. And if you are a retail or CPG company, your customers’ experience – how your customers perceive your brand – is what really makes you a brand. You would always keep this in mind when planning your marketing.
This is how your marketing and branding tasks will change during the year.
Marketing in your off-season.
Your sales are usually low and your customers have something else on their mind. They are not thinking about your product just yet, but it doesn’t mean they should forget about you altogether.
At this time your marketing goal is not to sell, but to work on staying in touch with your customers and engage them in a conversation, so they don’t forget about you (e.g. when the summer is here and it’s time to eat frozen yogurt).
When creating your monthly marketing and editorial calendar, think what type of content you can give to your customers, so it keeps them interested and engaged. Simple and fun contests, giveaways, how-to’s, tutorials, or fun downloadables – something that is useful to your customers. In a way – it’s your time to give back to your customers and reward them for their loyalty. Give them something to remember you by, and they will sure come back to your store when it’s time to buy.
Marketing budget: make sure to save the biggest chunk of your marketing budget for advertising during your busy season, so you can drive traffic to your store when people have the need for your products.
Marketing channels to consider off season:
- Facebook engagement ads (talk to your existing fans. They already know you and trust you. At this point we are not looking at gaining new customers, we just want to make sure we stay in touch with those who already know the brand. )
- Occasional email (close to your busy season you will want to send an email letting your customers know what’s hot and what’s coming to get the anticipation going)
- SEO (it takes time to build a good reputation with Google. Consistency and dedication pays off in the end. You cannot rest on your laurels though. Even though your website might be ranking well already, ensure you take the time to keep up with SEO to ensure Google still favours your website when it’s your time to sell)
- Website (now it’s the perfect time to review your website and your overall brand consistency across all marketing platforms). Make sure your website is ready before your business reaches its busiest time of the year. You simply will not have the time or desire to think about your website then. You will want it to help you sell your product. Check how your website renders on mobile, and most popular browsers. See what’s new in user engagement and usability to ensure you provide your customers with the best experience when they come to buy your products.
Marketing during your busiest season.
Now, this is where all the fun begins. Now, your customers have a clear need for your product, and since you’ve kept in touch off season, now they still have you on their mind.
Marketing channels to consider during your season:
- Facebook Likes campaign (now you can think of reaching new customers as they have the need for your services and will be more likely to convert – like your page and start listening to what you have to say.).
- Facebook reach (targeting to existing customers to ensure they get your updates and know what’s going on in your store – e.g. weekly promos, deals of the day, hot products, etc – anything time-sensitive)
- AdWords (now your customers are looking for your product – time to ensure they find you)
- AdRoll (or any other re-marketing tool, to ensure your brand stays on top of your customers’ mind)
- Email newsletter
- Content marketing (this will contribute to your SEO, your customer engagement, brand reach on social media, and many other marketing goals. Stay connected with your customers and provide timely tips and incentives that will bring them to your store or prompt them to share your content with their friends)
Just like seasons in nature, there’s time to plan and there’s time to execute. If your business is seasonal, you are one of the lucky ones to be able to predict and plan your marketing focus more accurately. Of course there’s a lot of things to consider when it comes to marketing. Give us a shout or stop by our Marketing Greenhouse in downtown Vancouver, on Robson street.
… we always have chocolate.