Making the Most Out of the Off Season

Off Season

Today’s topic is seasonality in your business. So there’s a lot of industries that have lots of ups and downs when it comes to seasonality. 
If you’re in vacation cities or vacation towns and you’re servicing your customers and even businesses, obviously there’s seasonality. I used to own a vacation home on a lake and basically from middle to late May through the first week of September, everything was jam packed. But then, right after the kids went to school after Labor Day, through mid May, the town was a ghost town. So all the different businesses that were servicing the boaters and all the restaurants and things like that they literally lived and breathed on that seasonality. And there’s businesses like child care, for example, that there’s four or five or six months during the year that are going to have the best kind of ups. And there’s a few months that are often slower. And there’s, again, other niches and industries like landscaping. 
I mean, depending on where you live, that could be an up and down industry as well. And often I get asked the question of what do you do in the offseason? Do you stop doing your marketing? When do you start doing your marketing again? And really, how do you keep some customers and momentum. 
I suggest that you do things very, very differently than the competition. So if you’re in a particular industry, that is very, very season – we’ll go with restaurants, and we’ll say they’re in a vacation town, like the one that I used to have a place that they would obviously want to be focusing more of their efforts during the busy season. And then you would think that then they would kind of pause for six to eight months out of the year. But if there are several other competing restaurants, and competing businesses that are doing that exact same thing, I want you to do the opposite. Now, I’m not saying that you want to be investing a huge amount of marketing in your offseason. But what I want you to be doing is looking at, are there other tactics that you can use in the offseason that are more time energy imagination, which is guerilla marketing, than having to cost lots of money. 
So here are some examples, real life examples based on the industry that I just mentioned. So, again, let’s say you own a restaurant in one of those niche towns. Why couldn’t you be blogging and building up your website traffic so that if anyone Google’s XYZ lake that you are showing up front and center. So why couldn’t you be writing blog posts that talk about all the things that are going on during the offseason? Why couldn’t you be posting different things recipes and giving people things that they could be doing during the offseason. You’re giving them recipes for soup, for example. So if you’re in a cold area, like Buffalo, New York during the winter, and again, you’re servicing customers largely during that busy, warm summer season. Why couldn’t you be building up all of those tactics so that when your busy season hits, you’re not scrambling, and that often is what ends up happening. So if your busy season starts May 15, usually businesses will start scaling up, let’s say a month before or a couple of weeks before, and then it’s just as insanely busy for those couple of months. But what if you could make it busier? What if instead of having to throw lots of resources during your busy season, you could actually even save some of that marketing investment because during the offseason, you were not mitigating your risk, but you were doing some marketing when everyone else is sleeping, when everyone else has their wheels off, and they’re just not paying attention, their eyes are just not on the road, for example, they’re not thinking about business because it’s December and no one is coming to the restaurant, the restaurants open, but you’ve got limited hours limited menu and you’re just serving the locals. 
I want you to continue to market. I want you to continue to invest a little bit of resources so that you’re staying top of mind. The beautiful thing with things like Facebook ads and YouTube ads is that for pennies on the dollar, you can be staying top of mind. I mean, you could throw 30 to $50 a month for a YouTube ad and be dominating the marketplace. I mean, it’s the equivalent of running a video commercial on a daily basis 30 to $50 a month for example, I mean a few dollars a day. Really, really inexpensive stuff and it’s so inexpensive because your competitors are not doing it. You’re not having to go head to head against them. 
If you have an Airbnb, for example, and you’re in that vacation area and you know that it’s a ghost town for several months, I want you to be building up and getting all that momentum well before that busy season so that you are completely step, not even just one step ahead, but you’re 10 steps ahead. And my favorite tactic to really focus on in that offseason is things like blogging, content marketing, producing videos, and you can go and get a green screen off of Amazon for $100 use your iPhone and be shooting lots of video content. And you literally could be making a look like you’re shooting those videos in the middle of summer, but you’re shooting them in the middle of winter, because you’re not going to have time to be doing this stuff in your busy season because you know that it’s just go go go go go. Get all of those assets in the off season. 
Do not take your feet off the gas. Keep one foot on the gas during your offseason, during your busy season, you’re going to have to feed on the gas. But if all of your other competitors are pausing their stuff, again, I don’t want you to continue to be investing $5,000 a month in radio or TV or 10s of thousands of dollars of direct mail or anything like that. But I want you to look at what are those low cost, high impact tactics that will keep you in your brand, top of mind. 
Now, the complete opposite of the spectrum is that during your offseason, you also can and should be looking for other marketing opportunities. If you have a restaurant, why couldn’t you advertise your space and maybe you can have a local BSI or coladas group or something like that. So there’s obviously other ways to capitalize if you’ve got space, for example, there’s a toy store in the area that I live in that they were just selling toys, and they had a huge, huge toy store and what she realized was there is nothing in this particular mall for kind of kids to come in and play. 
So during the winter, the kids would come in and they would kind of play with a few of the toys that they had. But she ended up investing in an entire kind of play area, and is now turning into more of a destination. 
So she went kind of a step ahead. Whereas this particular time is normally her lesser of a busy time, Christmas and holidays are the busiest of times. Then things slow down for the first couple of months of the year. She wanted to reverse that trend. 
So what I’m encouraging you to do is leverage the offseason of that seasonality, produce content, blog posts, emails, get your marketing calendar dialed in, get graphics produced videos done, get all of that stuff ready so that you can literally flick a switch and you are just moving and action almost automatically. Get out there. Take some action.

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