How to Promote Your Seasonal Business During the Off-Season

Whether you own a local burger stand, a trendy beachside rental, a mountain town ski shop, or a pool cleaning service, every seasonal business owner dreads the inevitable "off-season." After a busy and thriving peak season, your sales and store foot traffic are starting to taper off. Your business is beginning to make the necessary preparations to hunker down for the off-season.

Many small business owners will take advantage of the slower season to step back and freeze their marketing efforts. Instead, we recommended you take this opportunity to double down on your social media strategy to maintain a connection with your customers and nurture relationships with new prospects. 

In this guide, we’ll cover various social media tactics your seasonal business can use to build brand awareness, community engagement and drive revenue growth during the off-season. 

1. Stoke excitement for peak season

Create excitement around your business on social media by promoting major updates coming down the pipeline for the upcoming peak season. Promote early-bird specials, off-season discounts, social media giveaways, or show off new inventory for your shop. These off-season specials and engagement opportunities will keep you top-of-mind to your audience and keep customers aware of opportunities to shop or work with you, even in the off-season.

2. Engage with your local community

If your business is tourist-driven, that means your main clientele consists of out-of-towners looking for a unique experience or product only your business can provide. But when the tourists head home for the off-season, who's still around? That's right–locals!

The off-season is an excellent opportunity to offer special sales and discounts to locals, join a local Facebook group to talk shop, exchange ideas with other small business owners in your community, or collaborate with local businesses for a fundraiser or charity event. When you foster a good relationship with your community, you can better connect with them as a person instead of a faceless business entity. 

3. Gather and share customer feedback

Doing market research isn't just a savvy marketing tactic; it's good business. Social media is another avenue to receive feedback from your customers during the slower months. For example, on Instagram, you can use Story stickers like Polls or Questions to request feedback and testimonials from your followers. 

Facebook and Instagram are great platforms to gather and show off invaluable word of mouth marketing for your business. Plus, testimonials add credibility to your brand and make you look more trustworthy to prospective customers and clients. Make the feedback process simple for your customers by messaging them a link to a short review form or survey. Pay special attention to your reviews and always respond to any negative feedback, messages, or comments in a professional and respectful manner. 

4. Share your experience

You don't want to be that brand on social media only pushing your product or latest sale. Keeping the conversation centered on you at all times can be a risky move–users can detect a dishonest brand from a mile away. Social media is a unique ecosystem created for cultivating community. It's a place where brands are encouraged to get real and pull the curtain back on their business.

Customers appreciate it when brands share their day-to-day activities, exciting behind-the-scenes developments, upgrades or seasonal maintenance to a vacation rental or facility, or when business owners open up about their challenges and joys of running a seasonal business. Leveling with your audience on social media through relatable human content will not only increase your engagement rate and credibility but lend itself to more sales during your peak season. 

5. Leverage the power of user-generated content

Another way to use social media during the off-season is to leverage user-generated content (UGC), or any content—text, videos, images, memes, etc.—created by people rather than your brand. UGC is a powerful growth tool for social media because it showcases the best of what your business has to offer in an authentic and relatable way. It also provides invaluable social proof for your business. 

Reinforce brand preference by encouraging your happy customers to submit their content under your unique branded hashtag, ask your vacation rental guests to share their experience on Instagram and tag your account, or host an end-of-the-season photo contest!

6. Create valuable content

Set aside time during the off-season to create content that preps for the busier time of year. For example, if you own a ski shop, you can create a series of videos or educational Instagram Reels that offer your customers valuable tips to stay warm and safe on the slopes. 

Producing a series of posts that showcase your product or service in action will provide value to your audience and help nurture them through the sales journey when business ramps up again.

Preparation is Key

Another busy season has come and gone, but that doesn't mean your brand's marketing strategy has to leave with it. Keep up the momentum by using this time to build your brand on social media and continue engaging with your loyal fans while warming up promising new leads.

The off-season is another great opportunity to reevaluate your card reader–you could be overpaying in processing fees. With a SumUp Card Reader, you never have to worry about hidden fees or monthly minimums. Simply pay 2.75% per in-person transaction; it’s that easy. 

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Ash Czarnota