How to plan for a successful winter as a social enterprise

We certainly can’t complain about the British summer this year – it’s been fabulous for nearly every corner of the UK.

Alas, with August rapidly flashing by, it’s time for businesses to start thinking about how to market themselves in the coming winter months.

Why now? Because if you start planning early, you’ll stand a much greater chance of ensuring sales don’t take too much of a hit.

Retail businesses might boom during the winter, but if your social enterprise typically struggles when the nights begin to draw in, the following tips will help you make the most of that time.

Schedule time to reflect

Sometimes, you just have to grin and bear it; the winter may simply not be a good time for business for your social enterprise.

That doesn’t mean you should give up entirely, though. Along with your standard marketing activities, use some of the additional time you’ll probably have to reflect on the year to date. Look back at your business plan and assess how well you performed against it. Make changes, and set new goals.

Finding the time to invest in the enterprise when you’re busy dealing with busy trading periods is tough, which is why time spent during the quieter months on business planning and assessing performance is invaluable.

Think about how you can turn your products into gifts

Again, if your social enterprise is based on a retail operation, there’s a good chance you’re well set for the festive period, but if your product or service offering isn’t what you’d describe as present-friendly, give some thought as to how you could make it so.

It might be that you can create an experience out of your product, or bank on the fact that people will want to spread festive cheer by giving presents that deliver some form of social impact.

Why shouldn’t you grab some of those Christmas sales?

Consider how your target customers might be spending their time

The key to successful winter marketing lies in timing, and reaching potential customers at just the right moment.

That means putting your social enterprise’s brand in front of your target audience when they’re most likely to be engaged. And, while this is an important tactic throughout the year, during the winter, you actually have the best opportunities to do so.

Think about how your customers might be spending their time. If the nights are shorter and the weather outside less inviting, they’ll probably be spending longer indoors, sat in front of the TV, smartphone in hand. They might even take more trips to businesses who’s services closely align with your own.

Work out where your potential customers will be, and focus your winter marketing efforts on reaching them via the most appropriate marketing channels, be it increased social media pay-per-click advertising, or partnerships with other businesses.

Play your own content marketing game

If your budget has dried up a little, you might be staring into what looks like a winter abyss of zero promotional activity, but that doesn’t have to be the case.

By publishing regular blogs for your website over the winter period and even starting up your own YouTube channel with weekly behind-the-scenes glimpses at the operation, you’ll be investing your time in your own content marketing campaign. Just promise yourself you’ll keep it going (even if that means investing in the services of an external expert to do it for you)!

Over time, this will help you increase visits to your website and further establish your social enterprise as a thought leader in its field. It won’t cost you anything but your time, and if you have more of it during the winter months, why not put it to good use?

Wrapping up

Winter doesn’t have to be a slow time for business, promotional activity or the all-important reflection and planning which should go into every social enterprise.

Use our tips above, and you’ll no longer fear the colder months.

Winter is coming; let’s make the most of it.