Article Summary: Each industry has its own busy season, and that season may or may not align with other businesses in your area. There are many things you can do to take advantage of your busy season, but here are 6 that I think can be super easy, quick wins for your business.
- Grow your email list
- Increase social sharing
- Encourage reviews
- Team up with other local businesses
- Offer Repeat Customer Perks
- Motivate your staff
Recently, I interviewed the owner of an auto-body shop in Michigan. I know nothing about cars. Since I grew up in New Jersey and lived in Manhattan without a car after that, I didn’t even know how to pump gas until I was in my mid-20s! Suffice it to say, I had a lot of questions for this busy business owner. One of the interesting industry details I learned was in Michigan, the busy season for a mechanic is in the spring when people are willing to start repairing the damage the long winter inflicted on their cars. Maybe this isn’t shocking to you, but it completely surprised me.
As a business owner you know exactly when your customers are rushing your door and here are 6 ideas to take full advantage of your busy season.
Grow your email list
Now’s the time to take advantage of the traffic your business is seeing. Ask customers to share their email address and add them to your mailing list. You may be surprised to learn that email marketing is one of the cheapest, simplest, and most successful forms of marketing around, which makes it a great tool for small business owners. Don’t forget there are laws and best practices surrounding email marketing, so make sure you’re following them.
No matter if you sell a physical product or an intangible service, happy customers sharing photos and videos on social media is always good for business. You know which sites your customers live on, so create a hashtag, create a contest or use one of your creative ideas to get your customers to interact with you on social. One store I was in recently set up a cardboard cutout of an Instagram post on an easel, and customers were lining up to take pictures in it. It was a super inexpensive, easy win.
While the idea that you can’t control what people will say publicly about your business may be terrifying, the bottom line is that online reviews matter. The best way to ensure a positive to review is to treat every customer (no matter how difficult) with respect and to address negative experiences as soon as they happen.
Asking customers to leave reviews on specific sites is a standard practice, but just remember you can’t incentivize customers to leave a positive review. Choose the review sites that work best for your business and double down on collecting reviews while you have more customers coming through the door.
Note: When you inevitably receive a negative review, your response is almost more important than the review itself. Make sure to address the issue and invite them back to try your business again.
Team up with other local businesses
A local exercise studio in my town is always partnering with other local businesses that have similar audiences. They often allow local apparel shops, restaurants, beauty salons, and even the frozen yogurt shop down the street (that one’s a little mean) to set up a table or put out postcards in the reception area. This is so smart because when I walk around our town, I see their promotion cards all over the place from all the businesses they’ve partnered up with. For small, local businesses working together is better than working alone.
Offer repeat customer perks
You may not think that your busy season is the time to give discounts to your repeat customers – it seems more like a slow season activity. However, getting your customers into the habit of frequenting your business during the busy season will only encourage their return when it slows down. You can use punch cards, postcards, social check-ins or anything else you can think of as proof. Giving away little freebies, like a free drink, or small extra bit of service, or even $5 off their next purchase to give customers a positive feeling toward your business and keep them coming back for more.
Motivate your staff
If your business depends on a staff to make sales, the motivation to put in extra effort can wane when it’s not too difficult for them to make a sale. Keep your employees pumped up by having contests, prizes, or other fun activities to push them to double down on the busy season with you and propel your sales into the stratosphere.