Selling swimming pools means operating on a highly seasonal market: few prospective customers decide to dig a pool between November and February, when the weather is freezing cold and they are more preoccupied by deciding what boots to buy for their next skiing holiday! And yet, any expert in selling pools will tell you it’s important to market your offering during the off-season while you wait for brighter days to return – both literally and figuratively. But how? Here are our top tips.
1. Use social media
Social media (primarily Facebook, which is way out in front of Twitter on B2C markets) are the best means of reaching out to customers all year round, and telling them about products that have just been released. The best approach is to run an active Facebook page almost 365 days a year. Post photos of products, and of stunning pools in faraway places that give them something to dream about (especially in autumn and winter!), organise simple competitions… in short, stay top of mind. That will prompt your customers to come and pay you a visit before the spring, having decided it’s best to get a head start!
2. Promote products that can be used even off-season
Sure, swimming pools are often designed to be heated by… the sun, between May and September in the warmest regions of Europe. But there are other products in your range that you can promote, such as heated pools, enclosures, and solar heating systems. These are ideal for a special promotion campaign at the time of year when they are most useful, i.e. when the temperature is too low to heat the water above 18°C!
3. Organise open days
Of course, you are never actually closed on Saturdays. But holding an open day is a means of creating a special event and a buzz to draw in and talk to your customers, and you can add an extra boost by setting up a special limited promotion – such as a 10% discount on all orders signed on that day.
For an open day to be a success, it must be advertised beforehand on the social media, your website and/or in the local press. This will also help you draw out prospective customers who need reminding that summer is just round the corner!
4. Run “early bird” offers
Are you unveiling a new product in your store during the off-season? Promote it by running a special offer (a discount or freebie) to customers who buy one before waiting for summer to arrive! And whilst you’re at it, why not also organise workshops or training sessions for users?
5. Don’t forget maintenance!
Convincing your customers to take out assistance, maintenance or servicing contracts is a means of staying in regular contact with them. It can be difficult to take care of a swimming pool during the winter – turn that into a business opportunity!
6. Participate in events
Often held outside the peak season, pool and spa industry events (such as Piscine Global) are excellent means of promoting your products during quiet times, prospecting new customers, and checking out the latest innovations in the sector.
7. Set up an online store
Giving yourself an online showcase does more than just raise your profile, it also boosts your chances of selling off-season. Visiting a pool showroom doesn’t cross many customers’ minds in the middle of winter – in which case you can offer them an alternative.