What does a seasonal business mean to you and your prospects or clients?
We'll use two types of businesses as an example: a vacation rental company on the Outer Banks, and a pizza shop right next door. When thinking about seasonality, the important thing to consider is: When are clients shopping for your product or service? We all know that in the summer months, the island is packed but we know that if you wait until May to find your perfect vacation home, you will be picking through the best of what is left. This means that for a seasonal marketing strategy for an Outer Banks rental company is really a misnomer. The business owner’s off season is really the most important time to be visible, as the savvy consumer is already planning their next summer vacation. It is imperative that someone searching for vacation rentals sees your listing, sees your website and is enticed by the positive reviews they find.
Obviously, the pizza shop is on the opposite end of the spectrum. Very few people will find their dream vacation home and then move on to their dream pizza, or steamed shrimp. This should be the time for those service industries to take stock of the customer reviews from the previous season, find out what worked, what didn’t and reallocate funds accordingly.
What is important to market a seasonal business and when?
Local SEO strategies should be a part of your year-round digital marketing strategy. As mentioned, if NOW is the time that prospects are looking for you, so this is exactly the time that your SEO campaign should be running on all cylinders. This means content marketing, Press Releases, and a safe link earning strategy should be in place to assure your visibility in the search engines.
Working with an online reputation management company will allow you to stay abreast of what people are saying without getting bogged down in the day to day syndication and posting of these reviews to the many local directories that are useful.
Now, “the off season,” may also be an ideal time for vacation rental companies and other purveyors of big-ticket vacation items to invest in PPC advertising. This will all but assure that your ad shows up when a prospect searches for those keywords that are important to your business. Adwords is a deceptively simple system, and Google would love for you to manage your own Adwords PPC campaign, but be warned, an Adwords campaign that is not optimized can and will be VERY expensive in the long run. This is why you should use a company who is Adwords certified PPC.
Again, there is not much use in the pizza shop running a PPC campaign at this time of year. Now is the time that they should be cultivating their online reputation, and working with a local SEO company to increase their domain authority and keyword rankings for the moment of truth: When hungry tourist types in Outer Banks pizza.” For those service type industries waiting until April or May to start SEO and expecting dramatic improvement by June or July is like starting your diet on December 1st to fit into your New Year’s Eve outfit.
We hope that this has given you some ideas on marketing your seasonal business on the Outer Banks, or anywhere else for that matter. Make sure that you focus on when the prospect is shopping for your service, not only when they are using it.
Any other ideas? Feel free to comment. Happy Holidays!