5 Ways to Grow Your Business in the Off-Season
When you own a seasonal business, you're well aware of the off-season. Learn how you can use that time to build up instead of slow down your business.
If you own a seasonal business, you know there are times when there aren’t enough hours in the day to do all your work, and times when no one is calling. Once the busy season ends, there are proactive things you can do to ensure your business booms when the seasons change again. Here are some productive ways to build your seasonal business during the off-season.
Ask Customers for Online Reviews
Customer reviews are a key deciding factor for many potential customers when hiring any service. Ask current customers who are happy with your work to consider writing a review on your site or a site that gathers reviews, like Yelp, HomeAdvisor or Thumbtack.
Oren Farkash, owner of South Land Remodeling, says client reviews are a key driver in his business’s success. “We strive to go above and beyond for all of our clients — in both craftsmanship and service,” he says. “Our reviews let prospective clients know we deliver on that. In many cases, when being contacted by prospective clients, they mention they’ve seen our amazing reviews on websites like Yelp, Houzz, Google, etc.”
It’s also a good practice to analyze your customer reviews, because they can provide insight into what you’re doing right and where you could improve. And by studying reviews of your competitors, you can learn what their customers complain about as well. Keep those things in mind so you don’t make the same mistakes.
Learn Social Media Marketing
Social media is a powerful tool that can grow your business. It puts your brand in front of thousands of potential customers. Also, it’s an inexpensive way to showcase successful projects/jobs. Taking a class on social media marketing during the off-season, either online or through a local college, is a worthwhile investment in your business. Social media is here to stay, and that’s how many people get their information.
“Having an active social media presence allows current and prospective clients to get an idea of what we’re working on as well as our high level of skill,” says Farkash. “We not only want to show off our hard work but also give helpful pro tips to anyone looking for design and remodeling inspiration.”
Write Content for Your Site
Writing content on your website targeted to your audience (potential customers) is a popular marketing approach to consider. It can be a powerful tool to build your business.
If you’re a roofing company, for example, a post with the title “Common Roofing Problems In [Your State]” will draw the attention of someone whose roof needs repair or replacement as they search the Internet. Besides attracting potential customers, this content promotes your brand as an authority. Others who see the content may not need your services now, but they’re more likely to come to you when they need an expert in the future.
Offer Seasonal Discounts
Seasonal discounts can increase business during slow times of the year. If you’re offering a discount, budget-conscious customers will be motivated to have work done. Similarly, you can use seasonal discounts to encourage customers to do routine maintenance when they might not need your primary service.
“To motivate our customers to act and schedule the service they need to properly maintain their septic system, we sometimes offer specials during our off–seasons,” says Jeanie Lentz, co-owner of Lentz Wastewater Management, Inc. “This motivates our customers to schedule their maintenance at the best time for us, and our workers have a steady supply of work during slower times.”
Note: Discounts don’t need to be limited to the off-season. Plan and promote your seasonal discounts as your busy season approaches. It’s an easy way to get ahead of your competitors and start people talking about your business before they actually need your services.
Create a Referral Program
If you don’t already have a referral program in place, your off-season is the best time to set one up. A referral program can turn your customers into your best salespeople. By offering them incentives to promote your business, you can grow it faster and gain brand loyalty.
“Word of mouth is always a great marketing tool, however, a lot of customers need a bit of motivation to do so,” says Jane Wilson, a marketing executive for Fantastic Cleaners. “What has worked for us was setting rewards, like discounts for future services and free add-ons to their booking, to people that refer us to others. This way customers are even more motivated to share the experience they had with the company.”
Wilson adds that no matter how great your advertisements are, people will always trust other people more than a giant billboard or an ad in a coupon flyer.