Some businesses are seasonal.
That’s a fact of life, business owners know that going in, and the common thinking says that owners just have to wait.
When the money stops flowing, it’s easy to feel powerless, like you’re subject to the cyclical nature of seasonality, and all you can do is wait it out and tighten your belt until it’s your time again.
Luckily, that does not have to be the case!
You can actually move the needle yourself to lessen the effects of an off-season or slow time, or even turn it into a success driver.
The two kinds of slow periods are off-seasons and slow times.
An off-season may be winter for a swim shop, or summer for a college town bar. A slow time might be 2pm on a Tuesday afternoon for a family restaurant.
Tips for Beating Slow Periods
Find Your Day
Regardless of the “natural” dip in sales during a particular time, you’ll always be able to find a holiday or event that you can connect with!
Major holidays are easy targets for promotions, but look at minor ones as well. Pi Day (March 14) is an easy way to show off your desserts. If you book live music, get a jazz artist for International Jazz Day (March 30). Offer a student discount on International Student Day (December 17).
The options are almost endless. The trick is to find a fit that makes sense for your business and your audience, and then capitalize on it.
Find another local business who you can partner with to promote both you and them. Partnerships can help you form a great relationship with another organization in the community, it shows that you’re involved and part of the community, and it gives customers a great opportunity to enjoy the presence of both companies.
You may want to find a business in their peak season to piggyback off of some of their success. Or, one in the middle of their slow season can help you bolster both of your sales. Maybe try holding an event benefitting a local cause that you believe in!
Diversify Your Offer
There’s naturally a temptation to up your promotional activities while sales are in a slump. Of course, lower sales can mean lower ability to spend money on expensive TV or other traditional advertising.
That’s where text message marketing works really well. When you’re planning a campaign to support a slow time, it’s important to think about the type of offer you’re planning!
During times you know you’re going to be busy (peak seasons and times), you should still try to capitalize with promotion. But your promotion may be focused less on incentives like deals and discounts, and more around delight. For example, a simple text letting customers know that the game will be on tonight.
That allows you to save some of your promotional dollars for the slow time, when you can switch to offers that will draw customers in (deals, discounts, etc.)
Use the Off-Time to Your Advantage
Each off-season or slow time has certain characteristics that make it slow for a business like yours.
That means, if you flex your creative muscles, you’ll find characteristics that you can capitalize on.
You may know that you’re only going to get business lunch customers on a Tuesday afternoon. At first glance, you may only see a small customer pool. But if you think of it another way and try to capitalize, you may send a text to customers letting them know to bring their coworkers to lunch for a business card raffle this month.
Get creative and see how your off-time might actually be able to work for you!
Generate Off-Season Hype
But even in your off-season, you can start gearing up to make this peak season even better than the last!
You likely won’t sell that many sunhats in the winter, but you can always remind people of the sunny days to come so that when it’s time to gear up in a literal sense, you’re top of mind. Or, head for the land of nostalgia with a throwback!
You should never resign yourself to just waiting out a slow period. Text message marketing is a great way to bolster your business performance, no matter the time of year or time of day. Take a few minutes to think of how you can beat the off-season!