Food production works in seasons. If you are a seasonal business, you don’t want to lose customers over the off-seasons. Here are our five best tips to continue to market your seasonal business during the off-season.
1. Create and Share High-Quality Content
Use all the extra time you have during the off-season to create and share high-quality content with your current and future customer base. Just because you aren’t selling anything doesn’t mean that communication with your customers should cease. Continue to send weekly newsletters, write blog posts, post pictures and videos to your social media pages. Using the time to build your marketing sites will keep your customers involved and allow you to set yourself up for the busy season.
Some great ideas for blog posts and social media posts could include:
- How to continue to enjoy [frozen version of product] in the winter.
- Photo contest of winter recipes using [insert product]
- Photos and a blog post about the preparation for the selling season
2. Develop your Referral Program
A referral program is a marketing machine! Word of mouth is the most powerful tool. Future customers want to know you are reliable and your products are great! They are more likely to trust their friends than you! A referral program allows you to tap into a new sales channel while still getting orders from your existing customer base.
Spend the high-season building relationships with your current customers and use the off-season to build a great referral program. Need help getting started? This article outlines how to get started. Furthermore, begin by introducing the program to your customers early to create buzz for the upcoming season!
3. Generate Excitement for Upcoming Season
You have to get people excited for the upcoming season! Use email campaigning, social media, and any other marketing tools to let your customers know what’s coming.
- Share photos of seeding, baby livestock, or any other pre-season work.
- Remind customers what they enjoyed last year by sharing photos from last season.
- Introduce any new products or crops you will be selling next season.
You want to get your customers to get hyped up and ready to order products before they even become available.
4. Pre-order Sales
Depending on your type of product, pre-orders can be a great way to ensure sales and continued word-of-mouth advertising before the season even starts. It is also a great indicator of how much more you’ll need to sell in-season to make your business goals.
During the off-season, you have much more time to market and achieve sales before you get busy with production. After your production planning, share your products with your customers and allow them to order for the future. Additionally, you could offer discounts to “early-bird” orders. This can help to incentivize customers to order early.
5. Host Events
Just because you may only grow product during a specific time of year, it doesn’t mean your farm isn’t around! Use your space to host different events to get your customers out to your farm. Consider farm tours, workshops, and classes related to your products or business values (if weather permits). Many farms host camps and farming classes to connect with their communities and make use of their space! This is a great way to continue to develop your relationships and help you get a little side cash in the off-season.
Seem like a big task to do on your own? Consider collaborating with local businesses, and offer your farm as a location! Working together with other businesses can also introduce your business to new customers.
Continuing to market your business and connect with customers during the off-season is essential for keeping your sales relationships and ensuring sales during the high-season. Use the off-season as the time to prepare and set yourself up for a busy selling season.
Have other suggestions to market during the off-season? Let us know in the comments below; we'd love to share your great ideas!
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Nina Galle writes blog posts, templates, free tools, and other helpful resources for farmers and markets.