Ah, the lazy, hazy days of summer. They’re here, and while children around the nation are excited, business owners often dread the slowdown that accompanies the season.
For some, like resort wear retailers, summer is the hot season. For others, the sizzle isn’t so hot. But with a little creativity and out-of-the-box thinking, your summer marketing efforts can keep the heat up.
Here are five tips for working a summer theme into your marketing efforts. These will help you reach prospects who are likely running between barbeques, camps, concerts and other summer events.
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- Seasonal Giveaways – people love free things, and the summer season allows you to create fun, useful and
affordable giveaways to tie into your marketing. Think of long-term, repeat use items that you can easily brand, such as beach towels, beach bags or even barbeque equipment.
Promotional companies offer a great variety of product options to choose from. Whether you’re a real estate agent or a dog walker, a software company or a nail salon, you can incorporate these giveaways to entice customers through the door (or website). Plus, shirts, water bottles and hats for example, serve as a free marketing tool for your business!
- Discounts – combine your giveaway with special summer pricing for anyone who signs up, buys or participates between June and August. You can entice them to buy now by offering significant price discounts to drive additional business during your slower months.
- Hit the Concert Circuit – concerts are quite popular in the summer, with people attending everything from local jazz concerts to big, sold-out tours.
Get creative and think about ways you can piggyback with the concert crowd – use concert hashtags in your social marketing (make sure they make sense with the content), create related themes or contests, buy a pair of tickets to give away in order to drive traffic to your store or website, and if you can, ask permission from the concert promoter to attend a concert to hand out some of those free giveaways discussed above. (Or send an intern who will think it’s the best job, ever.)
One contest example could be a themed tour asking customers to enter a photo and brief description of who their biggest idol is to win a free pair of tickets. Integrate social media promotion into the campaign to draw interest from your social communities, as well as your customer’s circles.
- Throw a Party – It’s summertime and people want to be outside. Any excuse for good food and drinks can bring people together. If you’re a local business, throw a community-themed cocktail party.
Many restaurants allow you to cordon off a segment of space at affordable rates, or partner with you at a discount if you promise to bring in a certain amount of patrons. You can pre-order appetizers, and if budgets are tight, offer each attendee a set number of drink tickets, with the option to buy more drinks on their own thereafter. Stay subtle with the promotion – have a 15 minute Q&A or panel discussion, hand out a small giveaway or discount coupon and let the networking flow.
Sites like Meetup are a great place to post your event, or send a more personal invitation with sites like Eventbrite for online organization of your RSVPs.
- Partner Up – identify businesses that are naturally busier in the summertime and offer to partner with them for Perhaps they can incorporate an offer from you, and you can return the favor in the fall or winter seasons when you’re busier and they’re slower.
Think of seasonal operations such as hotels, amusement parks and concert venues. Ask marinas, summer camps or the local bicycle shop if you can create a co-branded marketing offer. Think out of the box and if local, think local. Community-oriented businesses are usually very keen to help each other.
Remember, summer business may be a traditionally slow time for you, but creative marketing efforts can still bring in hot leads, early bird buyers and those who like to pre-plan. Play to their interests and you’ll have a golden season.