As a business owner, manager, or marketer, you’re probably well aware by now that every business has its off-days. Off-months, actually, is more accurate. It’s frustrating and unfortunate, but it happens. And despite your best efforts in online branding, managing, and online marketing, these slow months can really take a toll on your sales and—by extension—cash flow.
Ultimately, the best way to combat these slow months is to take preventive measures. Contingencies, as it were, to soften the drop. If you’ve yet to find one that works for you, keep reading. We’ve put together five of the best online marketing strategies you can use to keep those leads coming and that cash—hopefully—flowing.
1. BE PROACTIVE.
If you’ve been in business long enough to know when your slow months are, then you’ve definitely got enough experience and lead time to prepare for it. So instead of sitting there dreading the eventual drop in your sales—and, by extension, your cash flow—we recommend using the time you have to put some helpful contingencies in place.
For instance, start planning for your off-season marketing strategy as early as now. That way, you’ll still have the financial resources you need to use for whatever the strategy entails (like tools, marketers, third party contractors, etc.).
Alternatively, you could go double-time on your online marketing and promote like crazy before your season is officially over. We’re not talking in-your-face, foot-in-doorway selling, but if you can afford to spend a little extra on boosting or sponsoring your posts just to up your sales a little, then do so.
2. KEEP IN CONTACT.
Just because your sales are slowing down, doesn’t mean your communication efforts have to. During your slow months, keep in touch with your consumer base. Keep posting on your social media platforms, respond to comments and direct mentions when you have to, and don’t be afraid to send them the occasional “Hey, how’s it going?” email.
However, do not go overboard with the selling! Because it is the off-season for your product, chances are, your market isn’t going to want to buy anything. And any hint of selling or direct marketing from you will likely turn them off.
Stick to giving your audience the same high-value content you usually do without any mentions of your products or store. An email telling them about a new blog or article you posted is fine. A quick DM or announcement post telling your audience about a new video is okay. But an email or social media post telling them to check out your new stock of fleece turtlenecks?
3. GROW YOUR DATABASE WHILE YOU CAN.
This is a prime example of “prevention” being better than any “cure.” During your peak season, it’s best to do everything you can to exponentially grow your database while your target market is actively seeking you out. Being passive or stagnant during this time of abundance will give you nothing but lukewarm first impressions and missed opportunities for some truly effective online marketing.
You need to be open and welcoming to anyone who expresses interest in your brand, even if there’s the barest hint of it. Consistent cognizance towards all prospects and potential consumers is key to mastering online marketing, regardless of the time of year. It will also help ensure that you have relatively fresh prospects that you can spend the slow months warming up to.
4. CREATE ONLINE MARKETING HYPE, EVEN DURING OFF-SEASON
This can be a little tricky to get right, especially since we’re trying to avoid being “sales-y,” but generating safe hype is all part and parcel of online marketing.
It also guarantees sales when your off-season is over.
Going back to our “turtlenecks in summer” example, one way to generate hype about your product would be to tease your new designs for sweater weather—something that could get people excited for summer to be over, especially when the heat starts getting to them.
Alternatively, you could even post early promotions for your new line of thin cotton turtlenecks—hinting that they could be perfect for the transition period between Spring and Fall.
Whatever you choose to do, do it tastefully. Again, don’t push the sales. Don’t make it obvious that you’re in your slow months. Keep communication consistently casual and don’t get aggressive with your online marketing approach. Give them value by way of helpful articles, videos, and blog posts.
If you want to take it a step further, offer things like early-bird specials and off-season discounts. Such goodies can generate substantial excitement and, consequently, make them look forward to when your products are in season once more.
Related Content: Should I Put My Marketing Efforts on Hold During Lean Months?
5. ORGANIZE OFF-SEASON SALE EVENTS
Another great online marketing trick for when sales are slow?
“Off-season” and “slow months” mean nothing for true fans and shopaholics who generally cannot resist a good deal. A lot of brands do clearance sales or “end-of-season” sales where they slash prices down to 50% off (or more) to make way for new inventory. If you really want to generate some cash during your business’s downtime days, organizing an off-season sales event might be just the thing you need.
At the end of the day, there is (sadly) no online marketing cure for slow months. Sometimes sales happen non-stop, and sometimes they slow down. That’s the reality of business. As a brand owner, manager, or marketer, knowing when these slow months are and taking necessary measures to lessen the blow when they happen is a crucial skill that you need to learn ASAP. Hopefully, these five tips will help.