Are you on track to make this the best summer season ever for your business? Whether this is your peak season or your annual sales doldrums, the summer is only half over, so you have plenty of time to squeeze in more marketing magic.
1. Turn the weather to your advantage.
In most places, everyone loves to be outdoors in late summer, so it’s the perfect time to host a BBQ to thank your best customers or introduce your business to new prospects. Make it family-friendly with games and entertainment, or make it an adults-only wine tasting. (Be more original and do a Single-malt Scotch or craft beer tasting.)
Turn your event into a charity benefit, by “charging” a voluntary entrance fee (money, canned food, toys or clothing) and thanking each donor with a discount coupon they can use later at your business. Promote your charity function with a neighborhood-wide postcard marketing campaign to encourage participation (and show people your business supports the community – something people like and remember).
If you’re located where summer isn’t all that inviting outdoors, host a “keep cool” indoor event.
2. Promote what’s moving slowly.
If summer is traditionally your “lemon” season, make lemonade. Move poky merchandise to the front and make it an irresistible deal for a limited time. Or package slow-movers with popular items. Create a direct mail campaign for a week in August specifically targeted to former customers or patients you haven’t seen in a while, to bring them back in the door.
Even if summer is hot for you (in a sales sort of way), ramp up revenue even more by filling in the gaps – run special promotions only for your slowest day of the week or time period during the day.
3. Host “getting down to business” demos or workshops.
If you sell home improvement supplies, try “revive your deck (or re-do a room) in one weekend.” If you’re a garden center or landscape company, try “late-summer bloomers to beautify your patio right now.” You get the idea.
If your business location isn’t conducive to hosting on-site activities, team up with another business or venue in town or produce a video instead that you can post on YouTube and promote via social media, your website or blog.
4. Put your prospects and customers to work.
Engagement builds interest and loyalty. Ask your Facebook fans and Twitter followers to name the one thing (related to your business) they want most for fall. Create a collaborative Pinterest Places board and ask customers to pin pictures of how they’re using your products or services this summer.
Create a contest for your service business asking prospects to post or pin “evidence” of why they are most in need of a free (or discounted) make-over from your business. Use multiple online and offline tactics to invite people to vote on the winner. (Offer them a little incentive to vote, and you’ll get more response. You don’t have to give something to everyone, make them eligible to enter a drawing for a few desirable prizes.)
5. Get creative for Back-to-School.
Did you know that studies show the vast majority of parents and kids shop in person, not online, for back-to-school? Be there for them, but not with the same-old-same-old. If you sell outdoor gear, feature a special on backpacks complete with online and in-store tips for choosing the right backpack for carrying books. Team up with a local gym, physical therapist or chiropractor for this to broaden your reach.
Don’t sell school-related stuff or services? So what! Offer a back-to-school-relief special for frazzled moms. Boy, will they appreciate you!
And while you’re focused on adding zest to your late summer sales, don’t forget that – along with back-to-school – there are myriad fall-related marketing opportunities headed your way. Will you be ready to make fall a hot seller, too?