Do you run a seasonal business? Many businesses struggle with the “feast or famine” effect of seasonality, and the unpredictability that comes with having a business built on conditions during a particular season. Construction, landscaping, retail; many of these businesses rely on sales during just one quarter, or even a small portion of one quarter, to put their businesses back in the black. If the customers aren’t there because the weather is bad, or there is just less seasonal spending these businesses can be in trouble. Carefully planning your seasonal marketing tactics throughout the entire year can help reduce unpredictability and increase profits when the season finally rolls around.
1. How to Tell When Your Business Starts to Get Hot
Identifying when your season actually starts for your buyer is extremely important for timing your seasonal marketing. Google Trends provides a great free tool to watch trends in search terms. Try out a few common terms in your industry and you should notice it correlates pretty well to your busiest seasons. If your marketing efforts begin after the frequency starts to rise, you’re starting too late.
For example, florists who get their big bumps on Valentine’s Day and Mother’s Day start spiking in search traffic in early January and late March respectively, signifying the beginning of the buying cycle for many prepared shoppers. Though they may not make their orders until much later, this education and evaluation stage is key in a customer’s buying cycle, and a perfect opportunity to get in front of them.
2. The Sales Cycle Extends Beyond the Season
The off season is a time for building and cultivating leads and laying the groundwork for when sales really start coming in. Take landscaping for example. Conventional wisdom says not to plant before frost isn’t an issue, and many landscaping companies do not ramp up their efforts until May. However, internet searches for landscaping begin to rise as early as late January and actually peak around May 5, the same pattern occurs in our Call Generation Platform, a programmatic advertising solution for our pay per call partners. Data from our platform shows that there were 1,651 impressions in the “Landscaping Contractor” category on February 1, by May 5, there were 12,787 impressions in the same category. By waiting to begin marketing until too late, many companies could end up entirely missing the beginning of the buying process.
To make sure they don’t miss the beginning of their customer’s buying cycles, landscapers should begin to ramp up their marketing efforts when the plows are still out. Try to time your marketing efforts to hit when the early birds first start searching. That way, by the time they’re ready to make that purchase, they’re aware of your business.
3. Convert Them Early
If you can identify a moment early in the buying cycle when your customers are starting their yearly shop and put an offer in front of them to convert them early, you’ll get the jump on your competition and increase your cash flow when you need it to augment your other marketing efforts.
Running a click-to-call campaign on a social media platform, like Facebook, is a good way to get in front of your customers at the right time. Your business can start running targeted seasonal ads when searches begin to spike for your product or service. BIA/Kelsey recently reported that there was a 133% increase of mobile calls to businesses from 2011-2013. Much of this is accredited to successful mobile ads, which convert five times more than comparable click-to-buy ads.
Learn more about marketing strategies for seasonal businesses by reading through this analysis.
At Soleo, we pride ourselves on quality pay per call marketing solutions that translate to real, targeted leads that your sales team can deliver on.