How to Utilize Your Off-season

By Corey Gilbert

After the holiday hype has settled down, how do you take advantage of the typically slower winter season? If you find yourself in a seasonal slump this time of year, have no fear there are plenty of options to help stir up buzz and business.

Inside of a garden centerYou’ve got a great location, why not share it with the masses?!

Can your space be used in other ways? In winter, that greenhouse at the garden isn’t as abundant as in the spring, invite the local farmers market to use your space as a winter shelter. Their business will drive more revenue for your business as higher numbers are drawn in and circulate your shelves.

Do you have an extra room that you could spruce up and use as a meeting space? Say you’ve got a quaint cafe or catering business, is there space you could free up and rent out to business people? Offer catering services as well as a reasonably priced spot to smooth out the details of the next big deal.

Giveaway sign with blue sky backgroundDo you have an offer they can’t refuse?

Hold a contest or giveaway that highlights top aspects of your business. Give the people what they want while creating hype about some of the best you have to offer. Giveaways are a great way to drive an audience to your social pages as well as keep your store in their minds.

Giveaways are also a great way to say thank you to your loyal customers and to have some fun while you’re at it!

Teamwork makes the dream work!

Collaborating with another business, whether an unlikely pairing or a match made in heaven, the right partnership can help grow your business and theirs. While you grow your network, you offer your customers a new and unique experience. Along the way, you will learn a lot about your business and maybe think of some new ideas too! Great examples are when coffee shops use a local florist to adorn their tables and entryways with stunning bouquets and displays. Of course lets not forget the hilarious example Ryan Reynolds has set for us all.

Cafe sign above a menu at a cafeDrop it like it’s hot (or cold depending on where you live)

A great way to show some love for your local patrons is to say thank you with a promotion just for them. This could be yearly, monthly or weekly. Pick what suits you and give them a discount on something they will appreciate. A downtown deli can create a special sandwich named after a local place or pun and offer it at a discount at lunchtime. Another great example is a hardware store that offers 10% off to all local customers in the spring for their spring projects. Showing appreciation can go a long way with your most loyal patrons.

Grow with the times

Engage with your email and social media audience more, come up with fun tips and ideas to keep them engaged and keep your business on their minds. The average american spends 3 hours a day one their phone. Pick your target audience and get them engaged! With social media, consistency is key. So, on top of your regular posting, you should take this slower season to focus on campaigns that catch the attention of your audience and drive new business to your store or site. You can try marketing to a niche audience to create new traffic, like a bakery selling new products to a vegan market or a brewery selling to the gluten free consumer.

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