7 strategies to help avoid (or get out of) a seasonal sales slump

7 strategies to help avoid (or get out of) a seasonal sales slump
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Every business owner or creator experiences seasonal sales slumps. So, if you noticed your online course, digital downloads, or coaching sales plummet, take comfort in knowing you’re not alone.

While businesses in different niches might experience seasonal sales slumps at different times, pretty much all online business owners see a dip in their sales during the summer season. And there is a good reason for it.

When the days are longer and the weather is nice, people tend to put purchases on hold and swap suits for swimsuits, their commutes for travel, and spending time with family and friends instead of in the office.  

Despite people’s decreased interest in shopping online, or in taking online courses, there are still ways you can ensure that your business thrives, even in a slow season. And today we have seven strategies you might want to implement to help you keep your audience engaged.

7 tips to help manage seasonal sales slumps

Take advantage of the biggest seasonal events

Each season has big holidays and events when everyone is looking to shop and spend some money, and summer is no exception. So, mark important seasonal events in your calendar and consider planning promotions and sales around those events.

Key summer events are:

  • Mother’s Day
  • Father’s Day
  • Memorial Day Weekend
  • 4th of July
  • Labor Day
  • Back to school

Running special offers and offering discounts is a very effective way to boost your sales during a slow season. RetailMeNot conducted a study on consumer behaviors, and they discovered that even 67% of consumers have made unplanned purchases because of discounts or coupons.

So, spend some time planning how to do a seasonal sale around one or all of the seasonal events. You can do something as simple as a 24-hour flash sale, or run a week-long promotion offering a new discount or promotional offer for each day.

Run giveaways

Giveaways are one of the most effective ways to show appreciation to your audience and boost your engagement. Email giveaways have a very high average email open rate (45%) and Instagram giveaways makeup even 91% of all the posts with more than 1000 comments.

Running a few strategic giveaways can help give your social media accounts a boost. High engagement on your posts shows apps like TikTok and Instagram that users are enjoying your content, which can benefit your account because you will reach more people.

Apart from that, giveaways are also a great way to give back to your audience. Chances are that those who will participate in any giveaways and contests are already super fans of your brand. So, giving away gifts or discount codes, or even bonus content is a nice way to say “thank you for supporting my brand.”

Consider a collaboration

Why not reach out to other online course creators and create a limited-time offer online course bundle? Collaborating with other online course creators allows you to build new, meaningful connections with people in your niche. And it also allows you to reach a new audience.

During the month of June in 2020, online course creator and marketing educator Jenna Kutcher partnered up with many other online course creators and created a Business Bundle that had 72+ online courses that each taught a different business skill like content marketing, social media promo, copywriting, etc.

sales slump strategy

The bundle was sold for a very limited time, at only $100, while all courses combined were worth thousands of dollars. It’s definitely an offer that’s hard to resist, especially when people have more downtime during slower seasons like summer.

You could even consider posting sales through affiliate marketing and having your current students promote your offerings to their audiences too.

Be smart with your social media strategy

During summer, social media platforms are filled with pictures of people’s vacations and “out-of-office” style content. It’s a smart idea to tailor your content to fit the summer season, so your audience would get to enjoy those carefree summer vibes, too.

If you have a chance and if it works with your business and overall marketing strategy, consider posting images that showcase how your products can be used during the summer season.

For example, if you have an online course teaching people how to paint with watercolor, consider staging pictures outside. An image of you painting with watercolors on the beach, by the lake, or even in your back garden surrounded by nature will remind your audience that learning a new skill like painting with watercolor is possible anytime, anywhere.

Build referrals

92% of customers trust referrals from friends and family over other forms of advertising. It’s one of the most powerful and effective forms of marketing. And online course creators can definitely benefit from it, just like any other business.

No better time to start building referrals than a seasonal sales slump! A referral program can be a powerful (and free!) tool that brings you new business throughout the year once you set it up. And it requires very little time investment to maintain.

Teachable has a Student Referral feature that allows you to quickly and effortlessly create your own referral program that your online students can use. You are the one who determines what the referral reward is, and how your referrals work.

Consider creating a seasonal offer

This strategy requires a little bit more preparation before the seasonal sales slump starts and requires a little bit more time and money investment. However, creating a limited-time seasonal offer that fits well with the summer season can be a great way to boost sales.

This might work better for some industries than others, so keep that in mind before you invest your time and money in creating a new offer. However, if you are in the wellness or fitness industry, creating a “summer program” can be very effective.

For example, let’s say you sell online courses teaching people pilates. You could utilize the summer season and launch a new course that teaches people quick yet effective pilates workouts they can do while on vacation. Bonus points if you can get a set up of your workout videos to be at the beach, or by the pool.

Focus on building community

Lastly, one of the best ways to overcome the seasonal sales slump is to shift your attention to your community and focus on building a stronger connection with them. There are many ways how you can approach building a community:

  • Organize live events: TikTok Lives, Facebook Lives, or Instagram Lives are amazing ways to connect with your audience in live time.
  • Create a private group: create a Discord server or a Facebook group where your students or general audience can network with each other and have a chance to chat with you.
  • Organize challenges: if you’re in a wellness or personal finance industry (and some others), organizing a challenge your audience can participate in can be a great way to unite your audience and build community by giving them a common goal to work towards and providing support along the way.

Finding your sales slump fix

Try one or a few of these strategies to help prevent a sales slump, or to help get out of one if you’re already experiencing it. You can also take a slower time in your business to review all of your offerings, update them where necessary, or even take a break so you don’t experience burnout.

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