Stay in Contact with Seasonal Customers to Improve your Small Business Reach
Customers are the lifeblood of any business, but in the event that many of them are not local to your area, staying on contact with them can become a lot more difficult. Seasonality in a business makes it a lot more crucial to capture as many sales as possible during the peak season, and one of the ways to do this is by taking steps to ensure that you can recapture the business of customers who are returning to your area for the season. Beyond getting them to come back, ideally you want to encourage them to share their experiences with your business and tell their friends and family about it, expanding the reach of your business within the communities that they go home to. Here are a few ideas that can help your business remain in the minds of your seasonal customers, even after they return to their homes.
Encourage them to preserve their memories of your business. Positive experiences, especially while on vacation, are likely to be shared. It is essential for your business to be on social media and encourage connections with customers, because the more you appear in their feeds, the more your business will be exposed to their networks which can lead to more business should they also come to visit your areas. Additionally, with the help of hash-tags and location based tagging that is now possible on many social media networks, your business will begin to build up a user submitted catalog of photos which can add to its ability to be discovered. You can actively encourage social media engagement with your business by including hashtags on branded materials or in your physical location or even putting up photo-op props to encourage picture taking.
Try and capture follow up information. A mailing list is a start, but the more customer information you have, the more options you give yourself for following up with them when your season is about to begin. An email newsletter may or may not be an ideal strategy, since depending on your business model people may not wish to be reminded of their great vacation in the dead of Winter. Still, an email address will allow you to send early-bird offers or coupons to past customers during the time that they being to think about taking another trip. Timed during the year, reminders of your business can help keep a visit in the itinerary of past seasonal customers.
Create a referral program. For getting new business from out of town customers, creating word of mouth buzz in their area is a good way to go and it can be made a lot easier by offering rewards. Loyalty cards don’t work as well for customers who are not around for the whole year, but family discounts, referral codes and other items they can bring with them and then give away can be effective.
Photo Credit to New Amsterdam Market on Flickr