It may seem counterintuitive, but in many cases, the best time to invest in marketing is during your off-season. Here’s why your marketing should never be put on pause.
Think about seasonal businesses like lawn care, landscaping, event planners, childcare, or tree care. When do you think people are starting to look into those things? At the moment they need them or in advance?
Generally, people do this research months in advance. That is why it’s key to be visible during that research phase so your brand is top of mind.
Marketing your business is much like training for professional athletes – who train all year. In fact, they train the hardest during the offseason in preparation for the season. Then, during the season, they continue to train, but in accordance with their competitive events.
Marketing for a seasonal business is similar. Your marketing in the offseason impacts your performance when things get busy. But offseason marketing does involve some different tactics. Here are 4 tips on how you should market in the offseason so you’re ready when your busy season kicks-off.
Tip #1 – Build your organic presence on Google Search and Google Maps
It’s vital that you rank for your best keywords when the season comes. SEO work, of all marketing tactics, is one that doesn’t have an offseason.
Continue to create content on your blog and develop SEO landing pages for long-tail keyword targets. If you want to rank for a particular keyword phrase, you should be creating the content at least 6 months in advance so it has a chance to be indexed and move up in rankings.
Also, make sure your Google My Business listing is updated, and in particular, keep those positive reviews coming. Reviews affect your ranking, and having ratings that are both positive and recent will be more persuasive to leads.
Tip #2 – Build Your Social Media Brand Awareness.
Staying top of mind – consistently – is key to getting people to remember you when the busy season comes. Social media marketing is a powerful tactic here.
Reminder campaigns are an excellent way to get ahead of a seasonal job. For example, this lawn care service put this ad out in August – before the leaves started falling:
The idea is to fill your docket before seasonal work starts. When the time comes, you don’t want to be looking for jobs, you want to be doing them.
Tip #3 – Build Your Retargeting List
Retargeting ads are much less expensive than outbound or inbound ads. They’re also more targeted. So the key is to build a huge audience list prior to the season starting so you can run retargeting ads and people see you everywhere in the digital world.
When you run ads, they can be branded banner ads like this on Google Display or Facebook:
You can also run RLSA Ads, which allow you to bid higher on a search term, targeting only people on your list. For example, someone might search for summer childcare in the Spring and visit your site but not convert. As summer approaches, they search again, but you bid on this search so your ad shows at the top. A great strategy that focuses on highly targeted seasonal traffic.
Tip #4 – Build Your Reputation
A crucial marketing tactic that you never want to think of as just seasonal is your reputation.
In fact, the offseason is the perfect time to follow-up with customers you served and make sure they’re satisfied with your work. When you do, you can ask for a review or referral and possibly even schedule them for further work if your service is reoccurring.
Business owners who think they shouldn’t market during their offseason have it backward. In many ways, the offseason is the best time to market.
The goal is to have your schedule as booked as possible before the busy season starts. When you do this, you avoid having to bid for ad placement during the most competitive (and expensive) part of the year.
That means higher ROI from your marketing and less stress trying to win work when things get competitive and desperate.
The best marketing never happens in an emergency. Make offseason marketing part of your strategy so your results are strong when you count on them the most.