Subscription Box Basics with Julie Ball

Planning for the Summer Slump

March 30, 2020 Julie Ball Episode 19
Subscription Box Basics with Julie Ball
Planning for the Summer Slump
Chapters
Subscription Box Basics with Julie Ball
Planning for the Summer Slump
Mar 30, 2020 Episode 19
Julie Ball

#019 - A lot of businesses experience a decrease in sales through the summer months. It's called the summer slump. In this episode, Julie outlines some of her ideas to help you prepare for the summer slump.

Links:

Sparkle Hustle Grow
Bellwethr Retention Engine
KingSumo
A Year of Boxes
My Subscription Addiction
Impacting Millions

Show Notes Transcript

#019 - A lot of businesses experience a decrease in sales through the summer months. It's called the summer slump. In this episode, Julie outlines some of her ideas to help you prepare for the summer slump.

Links:

Sparkle Hustle Grow
Bellwethr Retention Engine
KingSumo
A Year of Boxes
My Subscription Addiction
Impacting Millions

Speaker 1:

So you want to launch a subscription box and don't know where to start? Girl, you are in the right place. I'm Julie Ball, a subscription box coach and your host here at Subscription Box Basics, a podcast for new and aspiring subscription box entrepreneurs that want to avoid overwhelm. So grab a coffee, some pen and paper and let's have some fun. Hey friends, thanks for joining me today for today's episode of Subscription Box Basics. I'm Julie Ball, your host and your subscription box business coach. Today I'm talking about a big pain in the butt. It's called the summer slump. A lot of businesses experience a decrease in sales through the summer months. For me, that's May through August when I experienced that negative growth. Maybe your customers are on vacation, leaving less discretionary income for your subscription box. Maybe they need to redirect their money to things like summer camp for their kids.

Speaker 1:

There are literally dozens of reasons that could cause them to skip or cancel. The key here is to prepare. So today I'm going through a short list of ideas to help you prepare for the summer slump. The first thing you need to have is awareness. Some people, myself included, get surprised by the summer slump during their first year in business. So I'm talking about this now so you don't fall into this category. So if you don't know now you know. As you plan your summer months, you can proactively just plan ahead for lower sales by intentionally decreasing your inventory. In other words, cap your maximum sales for the month at a lower than usual number or maybe you project flat numbers instead of positive growth that you're used to experiencing. But don't be afraid to actually cut back on your sales projections. Yes, that means negative growth, but I don't know about you, but I'd rather cut back on purpose, sell out and create a waitlist for next month rather than not cutting back and having a ton of excess inventory to offload.

Speaker 1:

Another thing you can do is offer products geared to the season. So maybe you have a special edition box for the summer creating new demand, or maybe you use this as an opportunity to take excess inventory and do some fun things with them like surprise packs. We sell surprise packs on our website using excess inventory that we mix and match from previous months. Or you could have, you know, an inventory clearance sale to make space and free up cashflow for Q3 products. From a marketing perspective, you could plan ahead to increase a value packed content or email marketing. Take a look at how often you email your list now and maybe crank it up a notch. I'm not just talking about your leads list though, but also your subscribers list because remember it's easier to keep a customer than to find a new one. We found that our average length of subscription increased when we started emailing our subscribers a once weekly newsletter just letting them know what's going on this week, pointing them back to our Facebook group to specific posts where they can engage or get resources and it really, really helped. Another way that we work on our retention or keeping our customers is by implementing a retention engine like Bellwethr. They offer a really affordable software that helps you save customers at the point of cancellation. I just interviewed Samantha from Bellwethr's retention engine, so be sure to catch that in the next podcast episode, but if you can't wait for that, check out the software at RetentionEngine.com/JulieBall. Speaking of email lists, you could use this less busy time to grow your email list. Honestly, you should be building in time for that anyhow on your calendar. So try doing a giveaway to grow your email list. We use and recommend King Sumo as a great easy to use platform for viral giveaways.

Speaker 1:

A couple of rules of thumb for giveaways. We usually like to shoot for 10 days for our giveaways. That just gives it enough time to gain some traction, but it doesn't make it so long that it becomes kind of annoying. We always, always, always recommend that you offer a prize that is specific to your exact target audience. Otherwise, if you just give away a basic Amazon or target gift card, you'll get a bunch of entrants that aren't your potential customers that wouldn't ever buy your subscription box. So be really specific with that prize. You could even collaborate with a colleague that runs a similar yet noncompeting business that could be a another subscription box. But having another business that will be regularly promoting that giveaway can really help you get in front of new audiences. Okay. More marketing ideas. Um, you could start planning out a referral affiliate or influencer program now so it's up and running before the summer slump hits.

Speaker 1:

You could test out Facebook ads now to grow your email list and grow your sales in anticipation of the upcoming summer slump. I know that's a little scary to spend money on ads, but while I didn't use ads a lot in the early stages of my business, I use them all the time now and I especially use them when I hit plateaus or during slow seasons. Another marketing idea is to capitalize on longer subscription terms. For instance, you could offer a discount if subscribers join for a longer term, like three months, six months, or even an annual instead of month to month subscriptions or tap into your existing subscribers. You can email all your month to month subscribers and work on upselling them to a longer term. Maybe offer a gift with purchase to entice them. Well, how about visibility? That's another way that you can start preparing for the summer slump.

Speaker 1:

It start working on your PR and visibility now so that can translate into opportunities the summer. You could research and submit your box to review sites which are websites that are specifically made to share subscription boxes with eager consumers. You've probably heard of some like A Year of Boxes and MSA My Subscription Addiction. You could also pitch the media or write guest blog posts, so if you need help with your visibility, I highly recommend my publicity mentor, Selena Soo and her amazing Impacting Millions program. If you didn't hear my interview with her a couple of episodes back, you should listen to that one next. In the Impacting Millions program is the course that taught me how to pitch the media and landed Sparkle Hustle Grow mentions in places like USA today, Forbes, and even Reese Witherspoon's Hello Sunshine. You can get more details on Impacting Millions at SparkleHustleGrow.com/Impacting-Millions.

Speaker 1:

It opens this week early April 2020 and we have some really, really sweet bonuses available. So go check that out and we'll make sure to include that link in the show notes. Okay, so I've given you a ton of ideas of how to combat the summer slump, but it's worth saying that you could also plan to take a little bit of a break during the summer slump. You definitely need to plan seasons of rest in your business so you can minimize burnout. So it's okay to rest or use this downtime for other projects. Just pay attention to your cash reserves and make sure you aren't digging yourself a hole that you can't get out of later. All right guys, I hope these ideas help you prepare for the summer slump and know that you are not in this alone. We will be experiencing the summer slump at Sparkle Hustle Grow right alongside you, but the more prepared we all are, the less stressful it will be. You'll be fine if you just think ahead and do a little prep work using some of the ideas I just outlined in this episode. I dropped a few really helpful links in this episode, so be sure to check out the show notes for those resources. Thank you so much for listening today, and I'll see you in the next episode.

Speaker 2:

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