Summer is the time when people like to get out and soak up the sun. It’s also the perfect opportunity to get creative with seasonal marketing tactics that will boost your audience and sales.
Here are proven marketing strategies to help your business avoid the dreaded “summer slump.”
1. Free giveaways.
Does your product or service have a special use during the summer months? If so, it’s a perfect excuse to engage face-to-face with loyal and prospective customers with a branded street team positioned in high-traffic areas, handing out samples and delivering key messaging. If not, there are plenty of summer-related products you can give away, consider water bottles, coolers, Frisbees, etc. (all tastefully branded), to distribute to your target audience.
2. Partner with a non-competing business.
Think about another business that shares a similar customer base but does not directly compete with your offerings. Build a strategic partnership and put together a customer-pleasing summer sales package. Create a unique offer in which both (or multiple) businesses offer a special promotion while also assuming shared responsibility.
Partnering businesses “can sell at a higher volume for less effort, make more profit, and the customer gets an amazing package at a discount price,” notes PsPrint Design’s Brian Morris at Business 2 Community. “The possibilities are endless — you just have to find willing partners.”
3. Sponsor or participate in a local event.
Summertime kicks off a variety of outdoor events—concerts in the park, little league baseball games and endless marathons. Invariably, these events require sponsors to help pull them off, which provides a great opportunity. Your business can highlight its local involvement with the community and boost customer awareness. Investigate local sponsorship opportunities and heighten your brand visibility with signage to advertise your company name and brand.
Outdoor events generally include booths where you can distribute brochures, flyers, business cards, product giveaways, etc. Brainstorm ideas about how to set your business apart during the event, perhaps with eye-catching vinyl banners or a demonstration showcasing the many features and benefits of your product or service.
4. Host a sidewalk sale.
It’s summer — people are out and about. For retail businesses, hosting a sidewalk sale is pretty much a no-brainer. Display your products and provide information about your services. Also, consider incorporating seating and refreshments, so passersby feel encouraged to engage and relax. Keep your target audience top of mind, for instance balloons and games always attract kids. You don’t have to settle for random pedestrian foot traffic — leverage focused targeting tactics leading up to the event. For instance, distribute email invitations to your loyal customers, and include incentives such as special discounts.
5. Offer military discounts.
With summer occasions like Memorial Day and the Fourth of July on everyone’s calendar, consider offering a special military discount to veterans and their families. Encourage followers on your social media networks to talk about the meaning of these holidays and recognize the sacrifices military personnel make for our country. It will help humanize your brand, connect with your audience and infuse goodwill.
6. Take your best customers to lunch.
If the pace of business slows somewhat during the summer, take the opportunity to treat your best customers to lunch. This provides invaluable face time with people who mean the most to your business and, as Brian Morris points out, helps “reinforce your business relationship, foster customer loyalty, and glean information that can improve your company and customer satisfaction.”
7. Redouble your social media efforts.
When business is brisk and there are orders to fill, it’s easy to delay social media activity until you have some breathing room. However, your customers haven’t stopped posting photos on Facebook, uploading vacation videos on YouTube, and sharing tidbits about adventure travel on Twitter. Think about hosting a social media contest, inviting customers to share exciting stories or intriguing photographs around a summer theme, and offer a “grand prize” to the best entry. You’ll get people talking about your business in the process, while also collecting contact information from contest participants. Be sure to identify prospective customers who you can reach out to at a later time.
8. Build on your summer momentum.
Don’t let the momentum of summer marketing campaigns fade away in fall and winter. If you’ve been diligently adding new names to your customer database, continue reaching out with newsletters, special offers, promotional discounts and other activities so your small business stays fixed in the mind of your target audience year-round.