Planning for quieter times in business should be a priority for any entrepreneur.
There’s no better feeling than having consistent clients flocking to your business. But what about those less busy times when phone calls decrease? You might refresh your inbox every 5 minutes to check if you’ve got any interested customers needing your services.
It can certainly feel frustrating.
It can happen at any moment following an economic or industry downturn. This was certainly the case during the 2020 pandemic: During the second quarter of 2020, spending was down 9.8% from the previous year.
Many businesses, especially small or new businesses, fail to plan for such declines in demand.
These are the times when you can cultivate new ideas for your business. You can also follow this 5-point action plan to help you bring in more sales when you most need them.
Prepare for Quiet Times With These 5 Actions
Quiet times are unpredictable. By planning for the worst times with a great action plan, you and your business will be better equipped to overcome a difficult period reasonably unscathed.
Here are five actions that you can take during less busy times.
Build and Nurture Your Audience During Slow Periods
It’s easy to get bogged down in a marketing campaign when you’re pushing a new product or cycle of services. Building and nurturing your audience during quiet times is also worthwhile if you hope to maintain afloat when facing a sales slump.
Use social media to help garner more attention for your business and to let your potential and existing audience get to know you and your brand better. Greater brand awareness is conducive to your customers trusting you more and thus will help you bring in more sales.
Social media is also a great way to learn more about your audience, which can help you cater to their needs more effectively.
Relying on your email list during quiet periods is also a great way to reach and nurture your customers.
You can dispatch several kinds of email sequences through your email list to spruce up your audience’s interest.
A re-engagement email sequence will help your subscribers get reacquainted with your products.
Create a lead nurture email sequence to focus on converting leads you might not have connected with.
Having an email list is vital for every brand. If you don’t have one yet, you should plan to start.
Regardless of your communication type, you can bring in more business during quiet times by focusing on connecting your customers with your brand and vice versa.
Maintain Good Customer Relationships
A quieter period in your business is also necessary to nurture your existing customer base and make them feel valued.
Though there are different reasons why your customers might already be loyal to you, they still need to feel the love. Finding a new customer costs much more than encouraging an existing customer to spend again. Loyal customers will be there for a business during difficult times.
You can start by focusing on brand awareness and reminding your loyal customers why they fell in love with your brand in the first place.
You can also instigate existing customer loyalty by being generous with those who support you during tough times.
For instance, you can provide your customers with discounts, opportunities to try out new services or products first, or online contests where they might get a chance to win prizes.
You could also go out of your way to improve customer service and give your customers a higher, more personalized experience, especially when there’s quiet time or little client work.
Keeping existing customers happy is the best way to maintain long-lasting relationships and grow your business through word of mouth.
Create a Special Offer for Your Quiet Period
Speaking of discounts: If you’re facing a quiet period in your business, this is a great time to launch a special offer (or two) to re-engage some reluctant buyers with the product or service they’ve expressed an interest in.
A product or service discount is the most obvious way to do so. This might encourage those with a smaller budget to buy from you.
Here are some other kinds of special offers you can launch to bring in more sales during less busy times in your business:
Flash sales: This kind of promotion offers customers a discount on your products or service for a limited time, which can instill a sense of urgency in them.
Free shipping: If you sell physical products, this is a great way to increase your online sales.
Bundles: Package your services or products together at a slightly discounted rate, and it can help draw in the buyer who’s always out there fishing for a great offer.
Enhance your service offering: Similar to bundles; you can offer a bonus to a pre-existing service you provide to sweeten the pot. A coach can contribute an extra hour to their clients. A freelance writer can provide additional revisions, etc.
Remember, though, these special offers are a way to incentivize your customers to buy from you in the short term. Don’t let it become the norm. You’ve got to create smart offers for both YOU and your clients.
Focus on Smaller Business Parts
Feeling discouraged during a seemingly endless sales slump is understandable. This is especially true if we notice that your higher ticket items are not selling as much as you expected for a specific quarter.
Changing your perspective from the larger ticket sales that are dwindling to sales of smaller items is a great pivot that can help you mitigate any damage to your bottom line.
More often than not, customers trim luxury or more expensive items from their budgets during periods of economic hardship. This can impact you immensely as a business.
An important step you can take in this case is to encourage sales of smaller items that are more accessible for people’s budgets.
If your current or new customers can’t afford more costly items, offer them lower value, i.e., lower priced items.
If you don’t offer low-value products or services, get creative with your products and services and consider ways to break them down into smaller, more affordable offerings.
Use social media and your email list to put these lower-ticket products in front of your audience. Including them as part of bundles can also help you increase the purchase of these more affordable items.
The amount of money you can get from smaller sales can help you make it through the tough times in your business.
Strategically Plan Your Spending Cuts During a Quiet Period
Resorting to budget cuts might be the best you can do to keep afloat during quieter times in your business.
Planning your budget cuts ahead of these lulls is a smart action every business owner should take.
Though every business is different, you might cut down on bulk orders for materials or even try out hiring staff seasonally if you know the demand for your services or products ebbs and flows.
Creating a business budget might be a great way to determine where to cut your expenses without impacting your business.
Often, businesses facing sales declines will cut out marketing items. This can inadvertently impact their business negatively. Without marketing, you cannot reach your potential and existing customers.
During a busy period, you focus more on delivering a product or service or taking care of current customers as they use your products and services. It leaves you little time to prospect or find new clients.
By cutting out marketing during quiet times, you’re decreasing your chances of being busy again.
If you’re working with a marketing agency, you can reduce your spending and focus on the marketing aspects that will impact your numbers the most instead of cutting them out completely.
Quieter times are the best time to focus on time management, implementing new ideas, and finding new customers. That’s why you need to plan ahead of time for the less busy times in your business, so it doesn’t go to waste.
Here’s a quick summary of what 5 actions you can take:
- Build and nurture leads for your business through social media and email marketing.
- Make your existing customers feel the love by being generous.
- Create special offers to increase sales.
- Tap into and prioritize the smaller revenue streams in your business.
- Rely on good marketing to replenish your customer base and increase sales.
You will be ahead of most businesses by incorporating these action steps early in the subsequent sales slump.
Attention small business owners! Are you tired of marketing yourself?
Consulting with an expert marketing or business consultant is a great idea for planning during quieter times, especially if you’re self-employed and can’t figure out how to build and nurture your audience.