How To Keep Your Business Thriving During Off Season

Most businesses go through at least one period a year when sales are low and there is hardly any activity in the office or store. The dreaded off season is a challenge not only in trying to stretch your dollar to meet all financial obligations and business overhead expenses, but in staying busy and keeping the business from looking like a 24/7 graveyard shift.

There are four goals you can work on during off season which will pay huge dividends for when your sales start to pick up. In fact, it is even possible that by achieving at least one of these goals, you will be able to cause sales to pick-up and shorten the off season period!

Goal Number One: Start working on upgrades and/or renovations

If your business sorely needs a facelift, this is the time to do it. You will have to plan this carefully during your peak season so your cash flow does not suffer.  Although if you want to work on upgrades right now because it is your off season, start with low-cost changes. These could be:

Goal Number Two: Expanding your network and database

The time to grow your database is when you don’t have to go heavy on marketing. Build your email marketing list, convert visitors to your website to subscribers, get in touch with previous buyers and remind them you are still around, and push hard on new and valuable content to generate leads.

You can also work on improving your calls-to-action or CTAs with a blog or tempting offers. Basically, you have to work on improving traffic and quality of traffic. You want to get the right people to your business site; potential customers or clients.

Goal Number Three: Solicit Reviews and Testimonials

If you have been in business even for a few months, you will be able to gather reviews and feedback from previous customers. Just be careful not to overwhelm them with requests for reviews or you could get tagged as a spammer. This is a critical phase in any business because today’s consumers are using reviews to help them decide on a purchase. Around 70% check online reviews before buying while 88% say that reviews have changed their buying decisions.

There are different ways to generate customer reviews:

  • Chat with them if possible through email or when they are on your website
  • Make it easy and simple for people to post reviews
  • Post comments and thank those who offer reviews. In fact, answering negative reviews show a pro-active stance of a business owner who is not close-minded and willing to listen

Goal Number Four: Keep your social channels active and dynamic

There is one huge misconception about social media. A report released last September revealed that Millennials are not shopping through their social media accounts! However, this does not mean that social media should be abandoned. On the contrary, social media is all about branding and brand awareness. Thus, keep working on your social media marketing because consumers are learning about exciting products and promotions through their social media accounts – and they are on their social media accounts at least one hour a day.

 

 




How to Create Off-Season Hype

megaphone“Who got the biggest pay hike last season?”

“The 5 teams that look to make it to the Magic 5!”

Sports organizations like the NBA and the NFL are amazing in creating off-season hype. They do this to keep fans talking about the teams and always in the news. It works and it is a strategy that you can use quite easily with your business – albeit on a less expensive scale.

No, you don’t have to pay anyone to put you in the news. You can create posts that can go viral. You can set trends and stir up excitement for your upcoming season. There are many ways to generate leads and improve on your subscriber base. Here are some ideas that might interest you:

Offer off season discounts

There are many shoppers that like to buy off season. They wait for the sales after the holidays to grab what they can – cheap – even if they don’t need it. They are experienced enough to know that they will need it in the future and when that happens, it might be more expensive.

From another angle, there are products that go on massive discount sales during special holidays.  According to fatwallet.com American consumers buy around 36 million mattresses a year but mattresses are cheapest on Memorial Day sales. You can also entice shoppers to buy off season products by offering discounts on these special holidays because shoppers are on the look-out for these discounts.

Offer Early Bird Offers

Early bird ticket offers are tricky marketing campaigns but when they work, they work beautifully. It is important for early bird offers to be:

  • Enticing
  • Reasonable
  • On a limited offer only

This is the kind of deal that sell because of impulsive buying decisions. If you keep using it, it loses its appeal.

Stalk your Competitors – but in an ethical manner

If you have the time, check out what your competitors are up to. They may have something on the website that could give you an inkling as to what their direction will be in the new season. You should also look up new technology and apps that can help you improve operations and marketing. There is always something new that catches the interest of the Internet public – find out what it is and how you can incorporate it neatly with your business.

Finally, make adjustments to your product. For instance, if your product has something to do with education and it’s summer or holiday break, a different angle like short courses or tie-up with other companies might be a new product you can offer.

 

 

 




4 Reasons Not To Go Offline During Your Off Season

opensignIn spite of the convenience and practicality of doing business online, many businesses still prefer to stay traditional. For new businesses, this could prove to be a fatal mistake. A study on new businesses revealed that businesses that are not online and easily available to Internet users have a higher chance of failing.

Aside from this scary scenario, there are at least four reasons why a business should never go offline for more than a couple of days – even during their off season.

Reason #1 You’re missing out on free exposure

You’re not just missing the opportunity to be viewed by millions from your side of the world. You are missing on worldwide exposure! If done properly, Internet marketing can generate leads and improve brand recognition even during off season. There are apps galore that you can use to tap into new markets and expand your database.

Do you realize that even if it is off season where you live, it could be peak season in other countries for your product? For example, if you are in the business of surfboards and beach wear, it may be snowing in your corner of the world right now (freezing even!) but in Australia, they are in the middle of their summer months – and it is hot!

Reason #2 It’s the right time to start connecting with people

The downright truth is that there is never an off season for connecting with people. Digital economy never sleeps or experiences a down season for the same reason as stated above. There is always something happening somewhere! This means whatever your product, if it is something consumers can use – then you can market it all year round. The key is finding the right formula to market to specific markets. For instance, you cannot market to Asians the same way you market to the western countries. Just recently, Absolute Vodka launched a marketing campaign in South Korea that led to a catastrophic result. The South Koreans were up in arms over the ad to the point of rallying in the streets against the brand; an ad that would have worked just fine in the United States.

Reason #3 You have time to let your creative juices flow

During the busy season, you don’t have enough time to do everything for your business. For many, it’s a struggle to keep up with the demands of running a business when your product is most relevant to the consumers around you. With the off season, you can take time off to come up and test new ideas in marketing, promotions, and strategies.

Start writing fresh content. Write as much as you can and schedule the posting so that when the busy season starts, you have enough well-written material to use.

 

Reason #4 Study your past analytics and search for trends and ideas for the upcoming season

Your off season is actually just as busy as your peak season because this is the time for you to work on the plans and strategies for the upcoming season. Study past months’ analytics and see what loopholes you can plug and issues you can avoid. This is the time to brainstorm and mentally prepare yourself for a new season.

Work on building your SEO so that your website is visible and easy to find. You can also work with paid search at a lower budget so you don’t disappear altogether.

You can also develop your logistics and start accepting orders from around the world. There is actually a lot of work to be done here whether you have an actual product or something digital like information or expert services.




What Platforms You Should Focus on to Get Reviews

leather-1516000_1280A very quick answer to this question would be to use a platform that is popular and trending. However, doing so without considering other factors could be fatal to your efforts to solicit great reviews. How so? If the audience on a platform does not fit your market, then you have a problem. You may not get reviews and any reviews that happen to come your way accidentally may never be read by the people you want to reach.

Thus, it’s not good enough to go on Facebook because “everyone’s using it.” Studies show that while 1.18 billion touch base daily with Facebook, majority of these active users are from the 25 to 34 age bracket and 76% are female. Also, most of the traffic on Facebook happens between one and three in the afternoon on Thursdays and Fridays. Could it be because the young adults are planning their weekend activities? Moreover, only 42% of businesses find it relevant to be on Facebook – because it is where they can find their market.

Thus, choose a platform not just based on popularity but also on these factors:

  • Target market
  • Type of engagement you want to achieve: friendly, professional, on-the-go
  • Type of content
  • Competition – where are they and do you want to join the rat race or venture out on another platform
  • Your business goals and mission
  • Budget because it’s cheaper to be on a lesser-known platform than on Facebook especially if you want to place ads

In other words, there is a logical way of selecting the first platform to use and what platforms can follow as supporting avenues.

First, the platform should be dynamic. This means it is constantly being studied and upgraded to address the needs of your market.  According to Harvard Business Review, there are platforms that end up disrupting a business. Just think of Yahoo! whose value collapsed and became less relevant to the market compared to Google.

Second, when selecting your social media platform, understand the options well. For example, if you want to introduce a new product and get feedback, you might want to limit your choices to Facebook, Pinterest, and Instagram. If you want to promote a corporate brand and get feedback from professionals from your industry, LinkedIn would be the best option.

Finally, what platform appeals to you? It’s important that you trust and feel an affinity with the platform you will be working with. If you don’t believe in the platform, it does not make any sense to use it because you will feel forced to work with it. The only way around this is to hire an expert to use the platform for you with specific instructions to generate legitimate reviews.