For many small businesses, there’s a post-holiday-season lull when shoppers tighten their belts and the flow of in-store and online traffic slows to a halt. These dark days of winter don’t have to be that dark. In fact, using this time wisely may yield far greater returns despite the sales slowdowns.

Here are seven ways to make the most of the post-holiday shopping rush and still drive customers to your business.

1. Host a free workshop to share your knowledge or teach a new skill.

Whether the workshop is in person or conducted online, it will provide you with insight into your customers’ interests and keep you top of mind for them.

You can get additional marketing mileage from this effort by capturing the key points and the attendee questions and repurposing them on your website, blog, YouTube channel, Facebook page, Twitter, newsletter, and more.

Additionally, this forum presents another opportunity to share your expertise with a larger audience and demonstrate the value of your business to the community beyond your products.

2. Thank your VIP customers.

If you have a steady stream of customers that you’ve been getting to know over the years, acknowledge how important their patronage is to you by sending a personalized thank you note. You may also consider a small token of appreciation, such as deeper discounts, private showings, and the like.

3. Evaluate the big season sellers and identify complementary products and/or services.

For example, if gourmet knives were a big seller, consider a promotion on kitchen tools and gadgets. In your promotion, your content should tie these elements together such as insider chef’s tips and the best tools to use for the job at hand.

4. Reconnect with local business partners.

Use the downtime to meet with local, complementary businesses and brainstorm cross-promotional ideas.

To read my other tips, check out my latest column for American Express’ OPEN Forum, “Turn the Post-Holiday Blues into the Black.”