How to Season-Proof Your Business
By Erin Burke | September 21, 2018
Winter is coming…
Yes, that was a cheesy Game of Thrones reference, but it’s true!
Long gone are the hot and humid days of summer. As fall creeps up on us with colorful leaves, pumpkin patches, and hot beverages, we can all feel the chill in the air hinting at the snow that will soon be here.
For many people, winter is a time for slowing down, and it also means a slower season for many companies — particularly home improvement.
We’ll discuss how to season-proof your business when the busy season takes a break.
1. Research the economy’s impact on your industry
Staying afloat during the quieter seasons can be a challenge. Particularly in the winter, it can be incredibly hard to complete existing projects or engage new prospects. If you’re in the home remodeling industry, winter can be a time where you don’t have many ongoing projects and you’re gearing up for home shows and events.
Learning about the historical ups and downs of the home improvement industry is an excellent use of your down season.
Did you know that from 2010 to 2016, new construction accounted for nearly 3 million units? While homes built in the 1980s and earlier are currently in the market for renovations, the 3 million new units built between 2010 and 2016 will be next in line for renovations as their second owners decide to make changes.
Along with doing research, take this slow season to establish clear lines of communication with your bank and partners so that you are prepared for the season ahead.
2. Utilize the seasons to your advantage
Beyond knowing your industry, utilize your extra time to work ahead for the coming year by creating content that will be useful to your clients and prospects, including:
- Social media posts
- Printed materials
You don’t have to limit content to busy-season topics — make sure you have some seasonal flare! Talk about how to decorate your space for a soon-to-be holiday, or share home maintenance tips that people will find valuable during the winter months.
Once you have your content lined up for the busy season, start thinking about the slow season as well. For example, if you design luxury three-season porches for clients, and winter isn’t a great time for new customers, market to prospects about how they can start thinking about a change inside their home.
Thinking ahead will get you far. Paired with knowledge of the industry and where it may go, you'll be able to set your company up for growth year-round.
Seasonally focused content expands your brand awareness in the marketplace. By positioning marketing materials to keep your business top-of-mind in every season, you’ll bring in more new business during traditionally slower periods. Lastly, don’t forget to leverage social media to boost your seasonal content and brand awareness!
3. Refresh the content you already have
Another great use of your slow season is to refresh the content that you already have.
Content should be relevant and unique, but there’s no need to reinvent the wheel. If you have existing content, evaluate whether it could be reformatted to be more engaging to potential customers.
For example, if you've already written about all the different types of siding, make a video (or an infographic) explaining the same thing. Make sure you’re focusing on the visual experience as you move forward with your refresh. You’ll be able to leverage existing content while also increasing its value .
4. Re-engage your existing customers
In busy seasons you might not have time to connect with current customers as you’re focusing on leads. Use the slower season to re-engage with your clients. When you re-engage with your customer base, they may be inspired to refer your services to others or hire you for additional work.
Aside from spending time on social media, create a mailing list that generates your leads. People often plan ahead when it comes to home improvements. Email marketing is a great way to stay in touch with contacts who are on the move or are “snow birds”. No matter what, make sure your content is valuable and relevant. Because seasonality thrives on well, the season, tailor your content to special events and holidays with seasonal print materials like holiday cards.
Another idea: try out a customer day where you send out content and promotions in return for referrals, recommendations, or testimonials. That will create a win-win situation where you get in touch with current clients and potential new prospects while engaging your existing customers.
When you get to know your customer, they’ll feel that their wants and needs are understood. It’s essential to garner referrals and recommendations during these slower seasons.
5. Increase promotional activities during the slow season
Beyond content creation, upping your promotions during a slow season may help season-proof your company.
Many business owners think that increasing promotional activities translates to increased costs — but that isn’t always the case! According to the Search Engine Journal, “Most businesses will not reduce the level of costs and expenditure during quieter seasons, so the need to maintain a healthy level of revenue is paramount for long-term success.”
One way to season-proof your business is with paid advertising. Paid advertising helps to distribute low-cost content with remarketing strategies. Or, you might want to look at your budget to see where new paid avenues like LinkedIn or Facebook promotion could be useful. Incentives work — regardless of the time of the year.
When you engage with your customers during the slower months while also offering something promotional you’ll set yourself up for a brighter busy season!
Getting out of those slow seasons
Now that you have five helpful tips to get you and your company out of the winter doldrums, get started on your journey to season-proof your business.
At Denamico, we’re ready to help you get the most out of your slow season by creating strategies to get the most for your digital marketing efforts.