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All businesses are challenging, but seasonal businesses present a plethora of unique challenges, including budgeting, hiring seasonal labor, and managing cash flow. Another unique challenge that we growth folks know all too well is how seasonality makes paid search particularly difficult. As Adam Greenspan, VP of marketing at Everfest, says, “The whole industry is riding that wave, so from a paid search perspective, there’s definitely an increase in competition - not to mention all metrics can swing wildly. It’s a little nerve-wracking trying to catch that wave on the upswing each year, but it’s what you’ve got to do to hit the season hard.” However, when executed properly, seasonality can present an excellent opportunity for your business to beat your competition and thrive. In this guide, I will detail the learning, planning and execution steps required to crush your goals despite the unpredictable nature of seasonal businesses.

  • ML

    Mark Lindquist

    over 1 year ago #

    Great post. I think seasonality is something most people think don't affect their businesses. For instance, most B2B marketers probably see their traffic dip around Christmas and rise after New Year, but if they looked closer at their Analytics and industry trends I bet they would find some seasonality that they should take into account.

  • SP

    Sujan Patel

    over 1 year ago #

    I've seen this in most of the companies I've been a part of. I try to use the downtimes to test out different tactics that I don't want to risk during the busy times. Gives me more time to tweak and tinker and if one shows signs of life, I have time to ramp it up when things get busy.

  • MB

    Michael Berliner

    over 1 year ago #

    Great stuff, SEO can have so many influencing variables even before introducing seasonality, thanks for the insight.

    When I think about these businesses such as lawn care and festivals, I wonder how much emphasis Google puts on keyword optimization relative to authority. Obviously both are important, but looking at the trends of how Google is more and more trying to serve up answers in these types of categories, it seems like the direct intent that comes along with seasonality might prompt Google to default to authority with higher weighting than in other categories to try to connect users with better answers, quicker. What do you think about that tradeoff?

    I mention it because another company I was talking with, UpCounsel (legal services marketplace), has quadrupled their SEO traffic just by pumping out a sh*t ton of content (1000/ month).

    • RF

      Ryan Farley

      over 1 year ago #

      I still think authority trumps all in SEO unless you're in a vertical where every site has authority. Then on-page behavior matters a lot more.

      If you're serving up an offering on landing pages that doesn't match your seasonality, your rankings can fall really quickly (and vice versa). One example I've seen is that Craigslist tends to rise in the rankings for lawn care related searches (from the labor section) because more people are posting lawn care related postings. Then they fall during the offseason. This is more by accident than planning I'm sure, but certainly there are companies that can learn from this phenomenon.

  • JR

    Jessica Robinson

    over 1 year ago #

    I’m in a seasonal business as well. This is a super helpful guide. However we don’t do as much SEM. Do you guys do much Facebook marketing / have any tips for planning?

    • RF

      Ryan Farley

      over 1 year ago #

      I'm not as well versed as FB but I'd imagine there are folks that are. With Facebook I'd imagine you need to invest more in creatives ahead of time, given that typically you need to switch them out to avoid audience fatigue.

  • NS

    Nitish Sharma

    over 1 year ago #

    Seasonality affects more than just what you would consider traditional seasonal businesses. Almost any retailer knows there are fluctuations that even occur outside of the holiday season. Something few people consider though is whether or not the tail is wagging the dog - i.e. people usually advertise for things like, say, Valentine's day or Father's day, and then they see a correlative uplift in conversions. It's not often people will do a holdout experiment, though - where they randomize locations and advertise to only half of them - to see what the value of the ads are in general. Something to consider. Great article overall though! Lots to think about.

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