Pretty much every business has to deal with the challenge of seasonal trends (any predictable change or pattern that recurs or repeats over a one-year period can be said to be seasonal). It plays havoc with everything from sales to staffing, and it can sometimes seem that there’s nothing you can do to buck the trend.
Well, that’s not strictly true. Whilst you can’t alter the fact that whatever type of business you run, some months will always be busier than others, there’s still plenty you can do to alleviate the worst effects of cyclical fluctuations, so we’ve put together some suggestions to help you iron out the worst of those seasonal wrinkles.
Create a Calendar
Look at your trading figures and plot the highs and lows. Try and use as many years figures as possible as you don’t want a ‘one-off’ event (say the Brexit vote) to skew your results. Leave space on the calendar for actions so you can both see the seasonal trends, and also outline how you will be tackling them.
Make sure you record the success or otherwise of any seasonal promotions you do. Keep it specific (no gut reactions or ‘I think that went pretty well’). You can then recycle your best-performing ideas next year. Drop them into your calendar (with plenty of preparation time built-in) and use a shared drive for your team so all files are uploaded in the same place for review and implementation the following year.
Shout About It
When running a seasonal promotion don’t just add a new paragraph to the ‘Offers’ page of your website. Let everybody know across all platforms – create graphics for email signatures, the home page of your website, social media platforms and email marketing to showcase your offer. Try to be creative and consistent with the images, and remember, if the promotion works – you’ve got them in the bank for next year!
Tweak Your Services
For each season, consider customising your services or offering side services that you normally wouldn’t, to match customer needs. A lawn care company for example, could offer lawn raking during the Autumn and drainage services in Winter, fulfilling a customer need even though it’s not relevant the rest of the year.
Check Out the Competition
Check out your main competitors to see what works for them. Do this monthly and add the best of their ideas to your calendar for the following year so you can prepare well in advance. Look at their social media to see what creates the most engagement and adapt the messaging to suit your own strengths.
Take the Opportunity to Connect
Use a holiday or season to send a quick note, update or joke to your prospects and customers as a way to stay at the forefront of their minds. Marketing is about repeat impressions and if you are falling off their radar, your marketing is failing. Aim to connect at least 5 times per year and be imaginative, quirky and different – that way they’ll talk about what you’ve sent and magnify the ROI.