Updated: Jan 15
It’s the dead of winter here and many of us are feeling uninspired, lethargic, and... cold.
But as business owners, we can't let ourselves fall into the trap of winter-blues. Instead, we need to embrace this time of the year and use it to our advantage.
Whether you run your own business or you work for an organization, we can get use this time (or any "slower" time of the year) to get intentional about the seasons of our own business and use it for our message and marketing.
What do I mean? And how do you do that?
Here are some tips to use the slower season in your business to map out all the seasons, and use them as a guide for what to do, when, and how.
Make a "Big Picture" Calendar (and actually make it big)
We all intend to plan ahead, but too often we let the day-to-day minutia get in the way of making a calendar for the year.
Sure, you can’t know every detail to anticipate. Heck, you can’t predict half of the things that will pop up in any particular month. But you can plan for big picture seasonality, busy-times, and events.
My suggestion? Plot out the next three months (and use a big whiteboard or roll of flip-chart paper so you can literally make it big). There’s something about having a big, visual calendar that everyone can see that helps you remember and prioritize all.the.things.
Don’t get bogged down with every little XYZ.
This can contribute to business overwhelm. Try focusing on what you know from past experience and the timeliness of each season, such as:
What is a naturally busy time for your business? Fall, late spring, the new year, etc.?
How can you promote your most popular product and services during this season?
What’s your best mix of fun + practicality, or inspiration + advice that you can be sharing with your clients/customers/followers?
What is a naturally busy time for the customers you serve? What time of the year do you realize that there’s a lot of “noise” out there competing for their attention? (Back to school, holidays, etc.?) How can you acknowledge the stress in their lives and bring them encouragement with a confidence-boosting quote or a service or product that can help them manage this busy time?
When is there typically a lull for you in business, where you can have a little more fun? (Summertime, during winter vacations, etc.?) Sometimes just sharing things or "planting seeds" (even silly or fun ones) can help keep you top of mind for the future. It can be as simple as celebrating 'National Dog Day' or sharing your favorite road-trip tips or what you're currently reading – it doesn’t always have to be serious and it helps you build a connection with your customers - therefore remembering you when they need your services or products!
When are annual events within your business or organization? Do you have an annual event that you always do to give back? Is there a yearly tradition that your business always takes part in? Are you showcasing or talking about these things, or can you share more of a "behind-the-scenes" with your customers so they can feel a part of your tradition too?
You can go all out and plan a whole promotion or campaign around a seasonal event, or you can just remember to incorporate the season into small things: a social post, a postcard, or an email to your customers.
(And yes, I'm talking about your business seasons AND the actual seasons... do you see both the differences and similarities now?)
Whether you go big or small, consider how your social media photos, graphic design, blog post headlines (or even just using a famous quote or lyric about the season) can make its way into your message, imagery, and content.
And remember to BALANCE your brand voice and your business purpose with the season.
Too much posting about “pumpkin spice” (ugh, is anyone else sick of that yet?!) can overpower what makes your message so special.