Seasons mean everything in South Dakota. Many of us enjoy the beauty and variety, even in its extremes. Seasons are often unpredictable – and that’s the last thing you want in agriculture, tourism or business.
But the fact remains, seasonality is something we must all account for in life and business. With so much out of our control, it becomes especially important to manage the things in our control.
As summer approaches, the HS crew offers these things to consider when planning your seasonal marketing strategy.
Know Your Business Marketing Trends Inside and Out
Some businesses live and die by the seasons. Agriculture is an obvious example. But there are others, too.
Consider the Sturgis Motorcycle Rally and the main street shops that rise up to greet a half-million people for a few summer weeks. Or how about the ski lodge depending on snow, the lake or riverside watering hole counting on boaters and campers?
It’s one thing to know your business depends on a particular season. It’s another thing to understand the full seasonality of your business when you operate year round.
- Do you know the ‘more predictable’ sales trends month to month?
- Are you paying close attention to year over year numbers?
- Can you pinpoint a reason for any +/- change in income and expenses?
- Do you have a capital fund in place for unanticipated downturns?
- Do you continue to look for reasonable opportunities that extend what you can offer?
It’s a common theme among small business owners that they are so involved running the business, they are stretched too thin to manage the business. Looking forward or backward is a time luxury some can’t afford. But it’s crucial to make time to do so.
Knowing your trends inside and out alleviates some stress. It helps you make better purchasing and hiring decisions. And it gives you a window into when you should plan to invest in things like:
- Overdue maintenance
- Employee training
- Client appreciation events
- Strategic planning
- And…a well-deserved vacation
Use Digital Tools to Plan for Seasonal Marketing
The digital tools we have at our disposal are powerful indicators of how we may proceed in business, and how we adjust to seasonality.
At the end of the day, revenue in and expenses out are still the ultimate measuring sticks. But today, we don’t have to wait until the end of the month or year to see what that looks like.
Real time Point-of-Sale technology traces exchanges to the second. Digital and social interactions help predict popularity of products or messages. And consumer behavior and location can be pinpointed to a city block, IP address or specific device.
HenkinSchultz’s Digital Marketing Director Emily Sorenson speaks to this in a fun video explaining all the tools available and how they’re used.
The main point is to use the data at your disposal. Looking at it will give you seasonal insights that can help you make better decisions moving forward.
Crisis Management and Planning for the Unplannable
In Sioux Falls, we’ve faced our share of spring flooding, urban tornadoes and yes, COVID-19. All of these things have some level of predictability. But how do you account for the human reaction? A change in weather forecast? Or other factors beyond your control?
The first way is to think about them ahead of time.
Nobody wants a crisis, but do you have a plan in place should one happen? Do your employees, clients and other shareholders know what to expect in the event of a crisis? No one wants to imagine a tornado ripping the roof off of their retail building. But should it happen, are you secure in your plan to deal with it?
Security in having a plan may not always ease financial impact, but it can ease personal stress — and offer comfort in moving forward. Panic and anxiety are not friendly to business. So, how can you mitigate them?
- Communicate clearly and transparently with your employees and customers
- Stock healthy cash reserves when business is great
- Know what your plan is when seasons change
- Continue to seek out new revenue streams that align with your business philosophy
Stay Involved During Your Business’s Off-Season
When planning for the off-season at your business, invest in a marketing strategy to stay connected with your customers. If you need an advertising partner during the down time, or any time, reach out to HenkinSchultz team.