No one thinks about an ice cream shop during the winter.
But what if the owner was a friend, and you kept talking about ice cream with them all year long?
You’d anticipate the reopening, counting down the days until the sprinkles pour over their purple fudge brownie ice cream – in a cone, please and thank you.
By marketing year round, customers of seasonal businesses never stop thinking about what they want to buy, even though the season is over. Instead of ignoring your email marketing when the season starts, they’ll be counting down the days waiting for the email that says, “We’re Open!”
Create a simple plan.
The simplest form of marketing is just keeping your business top of mind. Instead of emailing customers only when your season starts, keep the emails rolling consistently all year so they’re always thinking about your brand. Plan on sending at least one email a month to keep your business fresh in their minds.
What should you send? Here are some ideas:
Keep the conversation going
The easiest way to engage customers is to talk to the people who are already customers. The ones that are thinking about your business are more likely to talk with you, instead of just reading what your email says.
Your friend at the ice cream shop could send an email at the end of the season to all of the customers that visited the shop that year and signed up to receive emails. The email could thank customers for supporting the business, and tease what’s coming next. If customers hear whispers of a new flavor, they’ll start thinking about what they will want. The possibilities are endless.
Get customers involved
Once you get customers thinking about the products they would like to buy from your business once the season returns, give them the opportunity to share their ideas. If a customer knows you’re listening, they’re more likely to share their thoughts, and engage with your business.
A survey and poll email series could help customers submit their ideas to the ice cream shop, then vote for the winners to become new flavors next year. Customers vying for their flavor will be full of anticipation if their idea is in the running. You can almost hear them chanting, “Give me that purple fudge brownie!”
Build the line waiting for your doors to open
The more anticipation builds during the off-season, the more successful your reopening. As each customer becomes engaged with your business through email marketing, you’re adding another person to the line outside your door at the start of the season.
The customers that followed along with your emails all winter long will not only be knocking on your front door, but they’ll also bring their friends. If their flavor wins, they’ll become an ambassador for your business, screaming tales of their glory, and your ice cream, from the rooftops. You could offer the runner-up ideas a discount for being close, or offer them as limited release flavors to get them in the door too.
Keep marketing to keep customers thinking about you
Turning off your marketing could hurt your business when your season starts up again. Instead, keep your business top of mind by keeping the conversation going with your customers through email marketing. The goal is to engage customers so they start anticipating your emails, and start anticipating your business reopening.
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Author: Ben Duchesney