The weather is warming up, and demand for your seasonal business is about to get hot. Here come the brides, the tourists, the sports enthusiasts and the homeowners looking to buy wedding cakes, restaurant meals, tennis rackets, lawn care and a host of other goods and services that people tend to need more of during the summer peak season.
Now that you’ve made it through your slow period and took care of any pre-season prep needed for your business, you can breathe a little easier about your company’s finances. But you can’t afford to get too comfortable if you don’t want that throng of customers running toward your competitors. Instead, use these three strategies to draw customers to your business and stay ahead of the competition.
1. Serve Up Superior Customer Service
To beat the competition during your industry’s most hectic season, you need to up your customer service game. Forbes advocates the 10-5 rule: any customer who gets within 10 feet of a staffer should be acknowledged with eye contact and a smile, and anyone five feet away should receive a greeting. According to Forbes, every employee receiving a request for assistance should be authorized to take charge of meeting it, rather than passing the customer from department to department.
In the rush of peak season, that kind of attentive customer service requires adequate staff and excellent training. If you need help financing any additional hiring or training costs, you may want to consider a short-term small business loan to quickly get the funds needed to cover these investments.
2. Launch a Timely Promotion
If you’re a restaurateur in a tourist town, consider doing a special promotion targeting vacationers or planning a themed menu around a festival or museum exhibit. If you’re a retail business, consider cross-promoting an event with its own ad campaign to sell related merchandise.
Holiday promotions are another way to boost peak-season sales. Make your business stand out by giving a big promotional shout-out to dads on Father’s Day, raffling off golf lessons or tickets to a baseball game. Fourth of July is also just around the corner — you could offer an incentive to people who visit your retail store in patriotic garb, or perhaps you can offer discounted lawn service while everyone’s busy at the local parade. However you choose to celebrate, order your reds, whites, and blues, and start marketing now to build up buzz before your competitors join the race.
3. Connect With a Cause
Check your city’s calendar of fundraising galas, walks, races and cook-offs for opportunities to lend your support and earn the goodwill of potential customers who care about those causes. You might even consider hosting your own event for a charity that dovetails with your business mission. Another option is to donate a percentage of sales to a nonprofit organization.
Your marketing campaign may be short-term or ongoing, but the goal is for your seasonal business to develop long-term relationships with customers who appreciate companies that give back. When you partner with a nonprofit, you also stand to gain more customers when the group touts your support to its donor base.
These three tactics — focusing on better service, more creative marketing and winning the hearts and loyalty of customers — will give your business the edge it needs to knock out competitors during this peak season, so you can ride the wave through the slower, winter months.