What is one fun way predominantly online businesses can attract more customers during slower months?
The following answers are provided by members of Young Entrepreneur Council (YEC), an invite-only organization comprised of the world’s most promising young entrepreneurs. In partnership with Citi, YEC recently launched StartupCollective, a free virtual mentorship program that helps millions of entrepreneurs start and grow businesses.
1. Build Relationships
Slower months are an opportunity to get creative with how you build relationships. See if the competition might be a referral source. Send invitations to high quality leads asking them to breakfast. Spend a bunch of money on a great conference and show up to experience it with other business owners (and then follow up with those new relationships!). Slow is a gift. Use it.
2. Be Your Customer’s Recess
During slow months, businesses have the opportunity to connect with their customers on a more casual level. When we are betweenonline courses, we put out fun videos like “The Science of Twerking” and “4 Types of Difficult People” to build brand value and give ourcustomers something to do during their breaks — we become their online recess.
Slower months are a great time to reconnect with existing and previous customers; drop them an email and ask how they’re getting on. Show an authentic personal interest and start a conversation. It may not lead directly to sales but it’ll certainly remind them you’re there, and get you back on their radar.
4. Run Giveaways
I have always had huge success running giveaways that have attracted a massive viral following on social media during the slow summermonths. Giveaways get you that all-important customer data, which you can leverage in your sales funnel towards future profits.
5. Create Incentives for Sharing
In the slower months, it’s important that your customer base is using your product/service and sharing it. Remind them to use it, make sure the have a great experience and encourage them to share it. Incentives help, but what’s even more important is making it easy and natural to share (email, text, social media). If your customers have to do it all themselves, they won’t — regardless of incentive.
6. Take Your Process Offline
Host events to engage potential new customers the old-fashioned way: in person. Find partners who can also benefit from hosting an event to your target market. Then leverage one another’s user bases and social media followings to drive attendance.
7. Prepare For Future Growth
Slow months provide a tremendous opportunity to focus your time and energy on future growth. While you may have fewer clients, you do have more time at your disposal — do something great with it. I personally find summer months to be the perfect time for preparing something new to grow your business long term: a new revenue source, partnership or a converting website perhaps.
8. Work with Bloggers
It wouldn’t be “social media” without the social. Get out there and network online with the bloggers in your industry. Get them involved to spread the word about your business, but make it worth their while too. The most fun you’ll ever have in business is actually talking with people, so enjoy the moment while you build relationships and spread the word.
9. Prepare in Advance
You have to look back to look forward. Take a look at the data. All the profits are in the data. You’ll see your potential buyers’ past behavior, what has worked for you best and where your biggest opportunities are. Then you can set your budget based on the areas of greatest potential. There is always money to be made. It’s just a matter of finding where.
10. Hold Thoughtful Contests
It’s always good to do a contest that creates 360-degree involvement from your customers. It shouldn’t just be a “Pin to win!” Gear your contest towards creating engagement and conversation around your brand, which will help drive sales.
11. Increase Your Range
Marketing 101 tells us that range is defined as the total set of products or services that a company offers. During slow months, a simple way to boost sales is to increase your range with something that offers value at an affordable price point, while not detracting too much from your time or core business. The easiest way to do this is to create an info-product, like an e-book or course.