Few businesses are completely immune from seasonal spikes and lulls, and that includes the stock market. A 2006 Pepperdine University Graziadio Business Review study set out to prove that buying Dow stocks on November 1 and selling them on April 30 (FPS or the favorable period strategy) will always be profitable in the long run.
Researchers found the buy and hold strategy (BHS) commonly encouraged by Wall Street insiders was the least profitable means of investing from 1970 to 2005. Not only was the FPS buying and selling model more profitable than BHS, but there was a 100 percent guaranteed return when investing was limited to once every four years during Presidential Elections.
Like buying stocks, the key to running a seasonal business is to maximize profits during peak periods, while using downtime to plan ahead and implement new strategies. These three tips provide a guide to do just that:
Determine Peak Web Traffic Months
Its simple to determine peak months with highly specialized businesses like Christmas tree farms (October – December) or landscaping outfits (summer). Those with less obvious high web traffic periods can use Google Analytics or some other statistics counter to view historical data in 12 month intervals, notes Launch Digital Marketing.
The goal here is to pinpoint peak traffic months, which is when you’ll spend a vast majority of your digital marketing budget. Off-peak months will be the times dedicated to organic search engine optimization (i.e. blogging). For instance, assume the past two years of web traffic data show your peak months to be September and October, while every other month is relatively equal.
Those two peak months are when at least 90 percent of your budget should focus on paid marketing efforts to maximize sales. Life insurance salespeople can purchase high quality leads filtered by age and health concerns, while a dry cleaning company can print flyers and place them on the windshield of cars at downtown parking garages.
All businesses can up their budgets for promoted posts on their Facebook business pages. You can also consider Google Adwords, which gives you immediate high search engine rankings for the keywords you select.
Standout Customer Service
Bicycle shop owners know they must make a vast majority of their profits during the summer months, unless of course they’re located in a warm winter climate. That is why the bicycle industry loses about 1,000 shops per year that are then replaced by startups looking to enter the business, according to the National Bicycle Dealers Association. The number of independent bicycle dealers dropped from about 8,000 in the 1980s to 5,000 in 2004.
Despite these seemingly ominous statistics, Intown Bicycles has been open for 30 years and was featured on a list of the best bike shops in America by Bicycle.com. The shop has a 4.5 (out of 5) star rating on Yelp and has a consistent theme when it comes to the reviews: good customer service.
A 2013 study sponsored by Zendesk found that 88 percent of those surveyed said one negative online review about a company that mentioned bad customer service influenced their buying decisions. Your off-peak months are the best time to improve customer relations and even close a few sales in the process.
The best part is that good customer service costs you next to nothing. Be respectful, show empathy, and act like a human being when dealing with people. Brick-and-mortar outfits need to keep their restrooms clean, offer cold water on hot summer days, and even candy for the kids.
Capitalize On Holiday Season
No matter what type of business you have, those six weeks from mid-November until New Year’s Day every year are an opportunity to boost year-end profits. The average American family spent about $740 each on Christmas gifts in 2013, according to a Gallup poll. No matter what type of business you have, the holiday season is the time to extend special offers and discounts.
Landscaping companies can sell discounted certificates good for a spring cleanup. Air conditioning repair companies can do something similar by offering a pre-summer maintenance checks good through June. Summer apparel companies can offer discounts on last year’s line to clean out warehouses for the next peak season.
Seasonal businesses can be just as successful as their non-seasonal counterparts with proper management. Downtime should always be preparation time so all your energy can be focused on sales during peak season.
Of course, determining how to react to seasonal trends with your online marketing strategy can be overwhelming. Titan Web Marketing Solutions has you covered. Call us today at 877.935.3796.