Keep your business busy year-round with strategic off-season marketing tactics
As a seasonal trade worker, you may know the financial challenges of a slow off-season. But with the right off-season marketing strategies, you can find fresh ways to make money and keep your business top of mind for clients year-round.
To help you get ahead of the changing seasons, we’ve put together this list of off-season marketing ideas that you can apply to any business.
What Is an “Off-Season”?
In seasonal trades, part of the year brings most or all of the business and revenue. The rest of the year is the off-season, when business slows or comes to a halt. Demand for certain services drops off considerably depending on factors like seasonal weather.
Landscapers, for instance, typically experience the peak of their year in the spring or summer. When the weather cools off, so does demand for services like lawn care.
Determine your off-season by looking at revenue and new business inquiries. If your numbers consistently drop at the same time each year, this is the start of your off-season. Knowing when the off-season begins and ends is the first step in proper preparation.
8 Off-Season Marketing Ideas
With a solid understanding of when your off-season occurs, there are many strategies you can use to make the most of it. Have a plan well in advance and start your off-season marketing before your regular season winds down.
1. Run Discounts and Specials During Your Off-Season
Boost off-season demand for your services by offering discounts. You can advertise these on any of the digital platforms you use for your business, including Facebook and Instagram.
To entice prospects, reduce your regular prices and advertise them as a limited-time special. You can also promote an early payment special for clients who are willing to pay in advance for the upcoming season. This will keep revenue coming in even when your workload is lighter.
Here are three sample scripts you can use for social media posts, email newsletters, and more:
“Take advantage of our limited-time winter specials! Save 30% off our basic lawn care service October–May. Book now to save BIG!”
“Pre-season sale! If the winter has been hard on your lawn, we can help. Book your landscaping services before February 28 and save 25%.”
“From winter grass to summer plants, our All-Seasons maintenance package is on sale now. Get up to 35% off with a 6- or 12-month pre-pay. Ready to learn more?”
Get creative and customize your specials to suit your business and the needs of your clients.
2. Stay in Touch With Existing Clients
Don’t go dark during the winter. Maintain your base of clients who already know and trust you with regular emails. Reach out to them with upsells on services you’ve provided for them in the past. Create a special next-season package exclusively for them to persuade them to book again.
“We’re excited to work with you again this spring. We’re offering our ultimate landscaping package at an exclusive discount just for returning clients. Call us to learn more.”
You can also provide free educational materials in your social media posts or email newsletters to keep your business top of mind. If you run a landscaping business, share cold-weather lawn and garden care tips, so you become a trusted source of valuable information—and clients think of you when they’re ready to book.
Talk about how to prepare outdoor spaces for the winter months. Be sure to suggest how your business can help with those preparations too.
3. Collect Customer Reviews and Referrals
The off-season is a great time to grow online reviews. Reach out to clients and ask them to leave a review on Angi. Satisfied clients are usually happy to provide feedback and may just need a reminder. Make it easy by providing a link to the review site.
You can also take this opportunity to ask for referrals. Incentivize your existing clients to refer their friends and family by offering a discount on future services, a branded T-shirt, or a gift certificate to a local business for each referral that spends X amount on your services.
4. Market New Off-Season Services
Shift gears and market different services during the off-season. If your landscaping business is slow, focus on snow removal, outdoor holiday lighting, or power washing services until lawn care is back in demand.
We’ve used a landscaping service for the four-step strategy below, but you can swap out details to fit your industry. The key is to come up with new services that fit the season to prove your value.
1. Strategize for the off-season: What new services can you offer that will be valuable to your clients during these months? For example, a landscaper could remove leaves, clean out gutters, winterize gardens, and move lawn furniture to help clients prepare for the winter months.
2. Prepare marketing materials: Once you have your updated services, create new content to highlight them and begin updating your website, social media channels, Angi profile, and more.
3. Spread the word: Toward the end of the summer, advertise your new fall cleanup service across all marketing channels (and in-person when possible).
4. Think ahead: Follow this same strategy for spring cleanup to prepare clients for summer lawn care.
5. Hold a Contest
Generate buzz around your business with an off-season contest or giveaway. Offer a chance to win a free service to help build brand awareness and grow your social following.
Try this on Facebook or Instagram (or both). Have people enter by following your page and tagging a friend in the comments or sharing the post. Use a free tool like Woobox to help you pick a winner or even collect email addresses to make the contest even more valuable for you long-term.
Use any email addresses you collect to build a list of leads for when the busy season gets closer so you can send tips and promotions right to their inbox.
6. Try a New Marketing Tactic
If you find yourself with extra time on your hands, why not try something new?
If you have a lot of great before and after photos of your work on your website, blog, or Angi profile, Pinterest could help drive new traffic to the site and lead to more jobs. After all, 85 percent of Pinners say they use Pinterest to plan new projects, which means it’s likely you could reach your target market this way.
You might also consider offering homeowners tips and tricks for seasonal lawn care on YouTube, Instagram Live, or Facebook Live. It’s a great way to keep prospects coming back for more, highlight your expertise, and build a following.
Get creative with your free time to expand your business’ exposure and gain a larger database of leads.
7. Network and Attend Events
Establish your business as a friendly local face and get your name out into the community. Attend local events and festivals that will let you set up a booth. You can use these opportunities to offer giveaways or branded merchandise such as magnets or T-shirts. In exchange, you can collect leads and get people excited for your upcoming busy season.
If setting up an event booth is too much for your budget, you can network by partnering up with other local businesses. You can recommend their products or services to your clients, and in exchange, they can recommend your landscaping business to theirs.
You can also partner with your local chamber of commerce. These organizations are typically eager to help local businesses, providing a network of other businesses who may need your services. They may also be a free source of advertising, listing your business on their website.
8. Plan Your Marketing Strategy for Next Season
Use your extra free time in the off-season to look back on your year and plan for your next busy season. Analyze your busy season marketing strategies to decide what tactics to stop using and what to double down on.
The best way to evaluate a tactic is by the number of leads it generates. If the majority of your leads come from a few sources, those should be your priorities.
You can also use digital tools like Angi pro to keep track of business metrics and gain insights into how clients respond to your advertising.
How to Prepare for Your Off-Season
In addition to your marketing efforts, take action to prepare your business to weather slower cash flow during the off-season. Keep your off-season costs down by scaling your overhead spend back. Cut costs by reducing the amount of materials you purchase or by halting any subscription services you don’t need in the off-season, like monthly printer cartridges.
Payroll is another big overhead expense. Employ workers on a seasonal basis and set expectations well in advance about how long you can keep them.
You should also carefully manage your cash. Set aside a percentage of your income during the high season. Ideally, you’ll have enough reserve saved to cover business expenses throughout the off-season. Maintain good credit, so you always have access to your cash when you need it.
Equip Your Business to Weather the Off-Season
It’s never too early to start planning for the off-season. If you’re looking for a way to get qualified leads year-round, sign up for an Angi Ads account. Angi will help you build your reputation, organize leads, and book more jobs today.