Don’t let the dip get you down! There are plenty of of ways to keep sales afloat for seasonal businesses.
If you read my last blog: Fix the sales dip before it happens, you’ll know how to spot forthcoming dips in sales. In this post, I’m sharing 6 activities you can undertake to iron out that dip.
Research your customer base
While it may be obvious for some businesses why some months are slower than others (for example a seafront cafe in Cornwall relying on tourists will be quiet in winter), there are some businesses who may have identified patterns in sales that are unexplained.
In order to combat these quieter times, the first step must be to understand why they occur. A simple survey of your existing customer base could uncover some facts you can use to your advantage. Include questions to find out why they don’t purchase at certain times.
An example of this might be a stationers, whose sales always dip in August. The reason for this may be that many of their clients take holiday at this time, rather than a change in their requirements. With this knowledge, a plan of action can be implemented.
Give people a reason to buy
With your new knowledge, you can give people a reason to buy.
A beauty therapist will typically be busiest during summer and at Christmas, when people want to look their best for holidays and parties. Offering discounts or packages over quieter times could be enough to keep customers coming. For example, selling treatment courses at a discounted rate over winter or spring. Add to this clever messaging, perhaps suggesting this will ensure a tip top appearance for the start of summer, and you’ve sold the benefit to off-season purchases.
Target a niche
Is there a niche corner of your market you can target? For example gluten free/allergen suitable cooking for bakers/caterers. Ensuring your product or service is suitable for all areas of the market could mean you capture sales from your competitors.
A client of mine who is a wedding photographer has kicked off a marketing campaign for winter brides. Showcasing examples of winter wedding photography is helping win business from competitors who don’t promote them, and in the off-season too!
Diversify your product offering
A popular way to maintain year round sales is to diversify. If you operate a seasonal business, is there another market who could use your services in the off-season, or is there another product you could offer your usual base?
For example, a gas engineer would try and fill their summer months with boiler services, knowing there will be less breakdowns.
Alternatively, a busy weekend bar or restaurant could target mid-week corporate clients with a venue hosting package.
Find more information about diversification in my blog: Diversification: 3 ideas to increase sales.
Stay in touch
Ensure you keep front of mind for your customers by staying in touch all year round. Share stories about what you’re up to, share useful tips, and even try to create interest by sharing emotive content. A seaside guest house sharing images of log fires, hot chocolates and winter walks could create desire and demand for an off-season break.
When to market for the low season
With all your actions in place, the only thing left is to decide when to implement them. This is a simple case of understanding how long it takes your business to move consumers through the buying process.
If it takes three months to turn a prospect into a closed deal, then ensure your marketing is active at least three months before the dip. Remember that prospects need to see your content a number of times before they might be ready to purchase.
If you’d like help to implement any of my advice, why not contact me to arrange a Free Business Review? This is a genuinely free 2 hour session whereby I’ll come into the business and spend two hours giving you advice for immediate implementation. Click here to arrange yours now.