Let’s face it, every business has a slow season. Businesses located in vacation destinations are a more extreme example. Most try their very best to make the most of their yearly revenue during the in-season months, and sometimes struggle during the off-season to generate revenue at all.
This can generate quite a bit of stress on the business owner. Especially for small businesses. But it doesn’t have to be so bad. There are few things that you can start to include in your marketing plan that just may help you increase your revenue during the off-season.
When looking for ways to connect with new customers, you’ve probably heard many times that you need to “Be Creative”, “Pay Attention” to their needs and “Create Excitement” around your small business. Sounds like a full time job all by itself, doesn’t it?
Well, it’s actually not as tough as it may seem. Direct mail can help you make those connections and, in most cases, is a very easy turnkey option that helps generate great results.
Let’s take a look at a few ideas to help you get started.
Your existing customer base is an excellent resource for generating revenue during your slow season:
- Referral Campaigns – These can help bring in additional revenue by targeting the friends and family of your current customer base. Creating a Direct Mail Postcard campaign that offers incentives to refer others, such as friends and family, is actually accomplishing two very key tasks at once. First, you’re rewarding your existing customer base and showing them that you value their business. Second, you're bringing in new faces that will give you potential access to a brand new set of customers!
- Everyone Wants a Great Deal – In order to reach customers that you haven't seen in a while, or that have not responded to your previous offers, you need to get creative. Offer something really great, a chance to enter a drawing for FREE merchandise such as an iPad, movie tickets, etc. Direct Mail works very well for this type of campaign and can really help get these customers back through your doors.
- Events – During your off-season you can always generate excitement about your business by hosting various events. For example, you could create a direct mail campaign announcing that you are having a special “Local Residents Only” shopping day and extend discounts beyond what you would offer your seasonal customers. Direct mail is a huge help for these types of campaigns because it will allow you to target a very specific demographic, which will generate a better response.
Now that you have some ideas on how you should be targeting your existing customer base, what about bringing in new faces, beyond just friends and family?
Finding and targeting people that are new to the area and are actively searching to replace the services for businesses just like yours is where direct mail really goes to work for your business.
When people move, they have to replace the businesses they use to frequent, such as their family dentist, hair salon, grocery store, auto mechanic, dry cleaners and even their favorite places to eat.
By using direct mail to target these new movers, you’re reaching out to a very important niche market. Getting the new mover through your doors first gives you, as a business owner, an advantage over your competition. Doing this will help your business establish a more stable revenue stream for the future, turning the new faces in town into loyal customers for years to come!
Brittany is the head of Our Town America’s corporate marketing department. She specializes in digital and print media, social media, and public relations.