How to Recognize Your Off- Season
The best way to predict when your off-season is to research search trends surrounding your product. To do so, look at both general industry trends and your own unique search trends through Google Analytics.
In the graph above I selected three products (ice cream, winter tires, winter coats) that are all highly seasonal. By simply comparing the three charted lines you can begin to see how seasonal changes can dramatically influence the demand for a product from one month to another.
These graphs, provided by Google Trends, will also allow you to understand user search behaviour from before, during, and after your high season. Equipped with this information, you can understand user-demand from an annual perspective and plan accordingly.
Now that you know your off-season, how can you handle it?
Build up, Prepare, and Collect Leads for your High Season
If there's one important thing that I learned with seasonal products and services, it's that you have to prepare for your off-season during your high season and prepare for your high season during your off-seasons.
During your high season, try to remember that, just as it is in the movie industry, the buildup is everything. So as you are marketing for the high season, remember to collect as many leads, emails, and followers to cover your entire year.
Make sure that you appropriately market to these leads throughout the off-season in order to keep you and your product at the top of their minds.
Never underestimate the off-season market. Don't stop your marketing in the downtime.
Never assume the off-season is a time to relax. During off-season the market is usually much less saturated and the competition is less active. Use this to your advantage and push all forms of advertising throughout the off-season.
There is always a market that is not tapped into or under-utilized. If you understand trends and consumer behaviour properly, you will be able to associate occasions (a specific time of year with your product) no matter how "off season" it may be.
I recommend creating a marketing calendar up to a year ahead of time. I also recommend connecting with one new person every single day in order to continuously expand your network. Come up with new content every week (either a blog, video, or podcast) and, on a larger scale, create a new campaign or event to invite people to every 45 days or so.
Whether it be with an eBook, webinar, public speaking event, or anything else, the fact remains true: When you plan your calendar year accordingly, you are continuously coming up with new content and events to grow your network. And a larger network will to help minimize your off-time purely by volume of users.
Trying, Measuring, Analyzing, and Updating
Marketing has always been about trying. Trying new approaches, new tricks, new creatives, new algorithms, etc. A great marketer is the one that knows that there is no magic trick, there is no ideal formula. A great marketer is the one which makes the most mistakes and learns from them.
In marketing, you need to try, measure, analyze, and update accordingly.
What works now may not work in the next few weeks, months, or years. The only way we can stay ahead of the game is by continuously trying new things.
Off-season is a great time to test, measure, update, and prepare the ideal marketing-mix for the high season. This way, when the high season does come around, you can focus all your efforts on capitalizing on the busy period without needing to try out new (and potentially ineffective) marketing strategies.
Stay Active: Be Present, Helpful and Supportive
Most of the companies or start-ups out there tend to give less attention to the low season compared to the high season. Yet, in this day and age, if you are not present and active at all times, you are dead in the water.
Staying active, resourceful, and present, whether it be on social media, blogs, forums, etc., is key in the off-season. Not only will regularly engaging with your user-base help build a great reputation and create loyalty, it will also differentiate you from your competition. No matter the time of year, always make time for your network, and the effort will pay off.
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