Landscapers, swimming pool service companies, golf courses, ski resorts. What do they all have in common? Their businesses and activity is dictated by the season. Each of these businesses, and others, have entire months when business is not coming in. In terms of online marketing, what steps should a seasonal business take to leverage the downtime in the off season and to maximize profits when business is in season?
Unfortunately, many owners of a seasonal business don’t do much at all. They exhale deeply after a long and busy season is concluded. They start to look forward to well-deserved downtime. A lot of small businesses hire only seasonal employees with the goal being to raise enough cash to hold them through the off-season. This strategy works for a few but most SBO’s don’t have nearly enough cash to winter in Florida or Arizona, never mind the more exotic locales many of us dream about.
So, what can a seasonal small business do in their downtime to improve their chances of success? Well, just like many of the most successful sports franchises, successful small businesses work hard in the off-season to get ready for the year coming up. When it comes to online marketing, and Google in particular, your biggest gains will be made in the off-season.
Steps a seasonal small business should take in the off-season
Take Advantage of the “off-season”
If you start thinking about SEO just as your season is starting, you’re already too late. Improving your search engine rank isn’t an overnight job, it can take weeks if not months to jump from a position on the second page to the 1st to 3rd spot.
Your website needs to be search engine optimized months before people begin searching for you. Remember, your business may be closed but the internet is open 24/7. Whether your lights are on or not, Google, Bing and the other search engines are stopping by your site (crawling your site) and ranking it.
Search Engines Don’t have an “Off Season”
Businesses that have run successful SEO campaigns in the past and profited from them may be tempted to take a break for a little while. Even from ongoing maintenance work. This action may be tempting, BUT DON’T TAKE THAT BREAK! It won’t be long before you start seeing a dip in your rankings and you may not be able to recover before your season is in full swing. Google and other search engines are continuously looking for fresh website updates, articles, images, blogs along with other offsite or daily social media activity. Taking time off will have an effect. You shouldn’t fool yourself that it won’t.
Did you know that having an active Facebook page has shown to have a direct effect on local search rankings? However it’s not just enough to post once or twice every week, the most successful businesses post every few days, if not daily.
Focus on Your Website’s content
In the thick of the season it can be difficult to find time to grow your business. You’re busy serving customers and don’t have as much time to spend on tasks such as content creation and developing your website.
Use the time in the off-season to bulk up your website’s content. Search engines like Google and Bing LOVE content!
Create additional service pages, if you service customers in multiple areas consider creating a page dedicated to each town or city you serve. Make sure to fill each page with unique, relevant and interesting content.
Creating these pages now will give them time to be discovered by Google and make their way onto the first page of the search engine.
SEO is constantly changing
SEO is constantly changing, it doesn’t matter the season, it changes throughout the year. Google regularly makes changes to how they position websites in the search engine. Keeping up to date with your SEO throughout the year will help you to stay ahead of the competition and take advantage of new trends as they emerge.
Be aware of changes in the market throughout the year and take action if you can see a benefit.
How about your Competition?
Is your competition taking a Holiday? Good for them, they deserve it. While they’re away you will have plenty of time to get the work done necessary when the opens up again. You’ll be in a position to dominate in the local search pages.