Who in their right mind thinks about ice skating in the summertime? People who want to cool off, that’s who!
Though most people associate ice skating with sledding, hot cocoa, and holiday carols, some smart marketers have figured out that figure skating—as well as hockey and just plain gliding around the rink—can be an ideal way to cool off if one doesn’t care to jump in the pool.
From their glitzy brochures to their website’s summer-tweaked meta descriptions, Wisconsin’s RecPlex ice-skating camp has gone all out for the area’s off-season business. Since they’re literally miles from the nearest beach—and hey, doesn’t every kid want to be the latest star on ice?—they appeal to the area’s parents, who bring their no-school bored kiddies in for their summer camps. Mom and Dad often join in the fun, once they feel how cool it is in the arena.
That’s fabulous off-season marketing. What about selling ice cream in the winter, though? Or a landscaping service? Here are four foolproof ways to market an off-season business:
1. Grow Anticipation During the Off-Season
During the peak season, offer opportunities to customers to sign up for an email list. When the off-season rolls around, build anticipation by blog posts that bring back great memories of seasonal fun. Christmases in July, recipes for hot pumpkin pie a la mode from summer’s favorite ice cream shops, all build desire for the product in the company’s target customers.
2. Find a Way to Appeal to People in the Off-Season
Get creative, like the Wisconsin ice rink mentioned above. The ice cream shop that stays open in the fall can offer seasonal favorites, like Ohio’s Young’s Dairy does with its fabled pumpkin pie milkshake. Ice cream-starved hordes come from miles around after their ice cream stands have closed to experience the creamy cool favorite. Retail stores’ swimwear departments can promote their wares as “cruisewear” for those who, tired of winter, take a cruise to parts South after the winter holidays.
3. Offer Sales on Off-Season Merchandise
A hockey equipment manufacturer, whose prices go off the chart during the pre-holiday buildup and the winter playing season, offers tantalizing deals in mid-summer to attract customers. Hockey fans looking for great deals, having subscribed to the email list, buy in droves—and tell their friends. The result? Their winter sports merchandise flies off the shelves even during the heat of summer, thanks to clever marketing, a good email list, and good old-fashioned word of mouth advertising.
4. Let Human Billboards Do Your Talking
That same hockey supply store is one fabulous marketing guru. Not only do they have great sales during the summer, but they also make promotional wear that bears their name that they offer at greatly reduced prices off-season. Some of that promotional wear is perfect for summer. What hockey player wouldn’t want a breezy cotton t-shirt that proclaims their athletic prowess on the ice even as they compete for the attention of the opposite gender at the beach?
Smart marketers find an angle no matter what season it is—and bring in the revenue all year long.