Down season never equals sloppy to anyone who truly cares for their brand.
Wintertime is usually the time of year when things aren’t running at full tilt, and that’s what makes it perfect for attending to some processes that you don’t have enough time to address during the busy months.
Although some businesses experience a seasonal dip during the year, there are things they can do to make the best use of this time.
Small business owners, for example, could focus on areas like growing their brand and tweaking their marketing strategy, organizing promotional discounts and events to reconnect with their audiences, and perhaps catching up with all the administrative and organizational tasks. This might seem a lot at first, but bear with us.
All of these add up to effective branding and can help everyone, not just small enterprises, grow their brand and business.
Time to retrospect
It has been said many times that one of the keys to success and accomplishment is looking back and taking a moment to reflect.
In the business context, this means taking the time to look at the good and the bad, and taking all those wins and fails into account when you’re making a strategic plan for the following year. This is particularly important, since you want to be aware of the areas which need improvement and those you can exploit even more.
Winter downtime period is a great time to talk with your teammates, employees, business partners and associates, as they are the ones who can give you invaluable feedback.
Teams tend to focus on delivering tasks during the year and all the regular meetings and meetups are mainly there to serve that purpose. That’s why the off-season is the right setting to ask your team and workers about their impressions.
Is there anything that bothers them? What kind of problems have they experienced with work and non-work related matters? If it’s work-related, do they have any suggestions about how to solve those issues?
The employees are the most valuable brand ambassadors and creating an atmosphere that says that even though there might not have been enough time to address certain things during the busy period, their opinions and voices matter and that the company truly cares about how they feel about their work.
More importantly, you can ask your customers what they think about your work, services, and the content you have provided this year in the form of a short survey. Create an email which tells your email subscribers how much you appreciate them and how grateful you are that you had the chance to work together. Then, kindly ask them to answer a couple of short questions that can help you improve your products and services.
An interesting idea is to interview your close friends and family who are familiar with your business. Ask them to be as honest as they can and tell you what they think about your social media activity, for instance. What was great about it? What was not so great about it? Were the posts interesting, humorous, engaging, or were they a bit OTT at times?
Time to revamp your online presence
The winter slowdown, more often than not, causes people to feel not so rad about doing business. They use the downtime to catch up with friends, family, and social media. 🙂
That’s your window.
Focus more on your own channels, update the info, add the milestones you’ve met this year, and update your portfolio.
“Winterize” your content, starting from page photos to blog posts which can cover topics like resolutions, past year progress reviews, future planning, and even something funny such as “Our team’s favourite Christmas movies”.
These topics not only have the potential of driving traffic to your online addresses, but they also give you a chance to connect better with your online community.
Together with social platforms, evaluate your website and see what upgrades and makeovers need to be done.
You’re probably thinking: Wait, didn’t you just say that people spend more time online during the winter season? Wouldn’t I miss out on a few chances, traffic, and interactions due to a huge website overhaul? That’s a bit counterintuitive, isn’t it?
We completely understand why you might be feeling this way – but think about it for a second.
How much time do you actually have to do this during the busy months when your website and eShop should be working flawlessly?
Time to reconnect and engage with the audience
As we mentioned earlier, the time to reconnect with your audience is now.
We all know that building and engaging with your community requires effort. If you have been neglecting your socials by any chance, get on it right away! Or as soon as you finish reading this post. 🙂
A great way to show appreciation for their support and even a chance to generate new leads is by offering discounts and sales promotions.
Let’s say that you run a summer gear retail and have an eStore. Give your clients off-season special prices with the message to get ready for next summer and clear your stock. And anyone who subscribes to your email list gets an additional discount and “holiday present”.
Increasing your brand awareness in this way also keeps you in the heads of your customers. So even if you don’t create a lot of conversions at the given moment, you will be lingering somewhere in the back of your client’s mind until the busy season starts.
An additional idea is to organize a pre-season sale of products and/or services that you’re preparing to launch. People love exclusivity and offering them to be the first ones to try out something new is A) a great sales strategy, and B) a way of saying that your brand is always looking for ways to evolve and improve.
This can also be the right time to start thinking about reaching out to new audiences and geographical markets with different season or weather.
If you have a business that sells gardening equipment in Montana, you might want to think about how your products can reach Florida next year.
New Business Partnerships
Think about partnering up with a business that has a different downtime than yours. By putting your heads together, you can help each other out by offering combined products or services at special prices for instance.
It’s great to nurture good relationships with your “neighbours” so that you give each other a hand when needed and earn some profit at the same time. Additionally, you get to tap into each other’s customer bases and extend your reach.
A good tip here would be to think carefully about whether your two brands are in alignment when it comes to the values and messages you are creating. If you want to improve the way customers perceive your brand, you’ll want to make an alliance with a company that shares your core beliefs. Because when your brand is in good company, positive perceptions can be reinforced. If not, you risk your hard-earned reputation just for the sake of profit during slow times.
Organize giveaways and contests to reinforce your brand image as a company that values their community and takes care of them like family. For example, if you have a local business, organize a seasonal event or a party for your most loyal customers and show them what you’re preparing for the next season. Also, you can offer special prices for early purchases and discounts for early payments. Winning your customers’ goodwill has far-reaching effects and inspires customer loyalty. Of course, just make sure to pay attention to all the legal requirements.
Winter downtime period might be the perfect time to get out of the office and get to know your clients. As quite a lot of business today is done online, you could use this opportunity to organize an event where you could introduce yourself personally to your customers.
This can deepen the relationship that you have with them and improve your mutual understanding and communication. Besides, this could help you personalize your approach next time you do business. Once again, it gives out a strong signal that you appreciate their support and are willing to create more meaningful business relations.
If you seek to make big changes during the ‘down’ season
Here’s a peculiar question, have you thought of rebranding? Or quite perhaps, are you planning a big campaign for the next season? We are inclined to urge you to build your brand on .ME and integrate a call to action into your messaging, making it nice and smooth for your customers to interact with you.
Short on ideas? How about creating a landing page for your campaign? Choose a great name for your landing page – make sure it matches the name of your campaign and don’t skip on being playful with the .ME end. Personalize your business to suite you and your customers, and enjoy the benefits the personalization of a brand brings.
To winter up
A seasonal slow-up is an opportunity to invest more time in branding activities. When you get the time to step away from the busy schedule, you can evaluate how things have been going so far, reconnect with your online community and thank them for their support, reach out to new people, and focus on what’s going on behind the scenes.
After winter ends, you will have a clearer strategy for the new season and the ability to work at full capacity.