Almost every industry has a slow season. Whether it's leaner summer months or the after-Christmas lazy time, every niche has its own period when businesses experience a natural dip in sales and activity. In many cases this can be a good break from the norm, but still, your labor costs will remain the same, and a slower period can see you lose momentum.
So how can you keep things moving, and keep your marketing team busy and motivated, when there's less work to be done?
The upside of a slow season is that you can generally predict it, enabling you to prepare yourself and your team to face it with an action plan. And having an alternative in place can drive significant benefit - in this post, we'll go over a few ways which can help to ensure that, even in slower periods, your digital marketing team remains productive, and you continue to reap practical benefits.
1. Try a New Tool (or Tools)
Judging your marketing team's success by the number of sales makes total sense - but when sales are predictably lower, this can make it a stressful time for your employees.
So stop counting sales for a month and set a new goal - for example, focus on engagement or conversions in order to improve your branding and community efforts, and test what's possible with a different approach.
You may find that changing goals can breathe new air into your marketing tactics and processes. Your teams might also find themselves more interested in the work when they have a more reachable alternative goal set for them.
The shift in focus also gives you a good excuse to try some new tools and campaign types, which is great experience to have.
To give you a few specific ideas, you could assign your social media team to find new tactics to reach out to niche influencers, or learn new ways to analyze your audience data.
Similarly, you could consider tasking your content team to focus on engagement instead of traffic and conversions. Tools like Alter could be worth a try, as it automates engagement, yet gives you tools which enable you to adjust what you want your readers to engage with:
2. Re-Visit Your Old Content
Re-visiting your old content is something you always mean to do, yet it's one of those tasks that never seems to make it through from the bottom of your to-do list.
Well, slower season is exactly the time when you can finally make it happen, or at least set the foundation. Here are a few ideas and tools that will help you refresh your old content:
Involve Your Sales Team
Get your sales team come up with ten key questions that they most often hear from customers, yet your existing content is either lacking or outdated for them to rely on.
This is a good way to get valuable, direct insight, which can also help you overcome organizational silos by getting your teams to work together on your content approach.
Implement New Optimization Tactics
Last year, when I started optimizing my old content using Text Optimizer, I saw a 34% traffic increase within two months. I would never have believed that possible till it happened.
Text Optimizer, which analyzes your content and recommends SEO tweaks, can be used for both new content ideation and research - but it should also be used for optimizing old content. By applying the tool to older material, you can better understand which search queries you should be focused on, aligning your broader focus.
To get the most out of Test Optimizer:
- Select a query for which you currently rank #3- #15 on Google
- Optimize the page using Text Optimizer suggestions (or have your team do this)
- Monitor the results.
If you're able to set out just a few weeks each year to re-visit your old content and existing rankings, you'll see significant improvements in your SEO performance over time.
Another great idea to give your old content a new lease on life is to utilize 'content repackaging', which essentially means transforming your old content into a new format.
One of my favorite ways to repackage old content is to turn it into videos - and with tools like InVideo, you can actually do this in a matter of minutes.
All you need to do is pick out some key takeaways from your content, select the video template you like, then let the tool do its job.
Now you can upload your video to your YouYube channel, and link to your existing post from the description. Suddenly you have a new asset to publicize and promote, and with video driving better results on all platforms, this can be a great way to re-awaken your popular, older posts.
3. Make Noise When Everyone Else is Silent
It's generally understood that there are days of the year when no one wants to be on social media. On Christmas Day, New Year's, or indeed, around any major event, most brands avoid social posts, leaving their staff, and their audience, time to spend away from the screens.
And while it's true that most people are busy with family commitments, there are also likely an equal amount of people looking for a break from the same, and when you're marketing to different people, in different tim zones, and competition in social feeds is at its lowest, this can also be a great time to speak up.
Transferring this idea to slower seasons, they work the same way. Your competitors have long figured out they can't expect much during these periods, so they're likely planning something else for that time.
So why not zig when everyone else is zagging?
You could set up a contest, come up with an original deal idea, get your team to share their marketing ideas for the slower season.
Yes, it may only work well so long as your competitors fail to see what you're doing, but a timely, creative, interesting holiday campaign could give you a significant boost, and help you connect with consumers at a time of limited competition.
It won't be for everyone, but it is worth considering the evolution of social media behavior, and how that relates to your outreach. Did you avoid social media completely over the Christmas period?
While the holiday periods can be great for slowing down, they can also provide you with ample opportunity to try new things, which can then guide your thinking for the year ahead. Motivate your teams to turn those slow months upside down and you may even end up with them becoming your most successful months instead.