Summertime and the living is easy. At this time of the year, businesses might be tempted to relax their marketing activity for a couple of months. For some small and medium enterprises (SMEs), there’s even a perception that marketing in summertime is pointless.
They look on the summer months as a period of slower business and fewer opportunities for growth. Unfortunately, the perception can become a self-perpetuating prophecy.
“Everybody is on holidays” is the common refrain. That statement might hold some truth here in Ireland, in that if we get a hint of a heatwave, we are distracted by what’s rare and wonderful. Worried that the heatwave will not be a recurring experience, we want to seize the opportunity to rejuvenate the batteries in this rare and relaxing environment.
What’s more, in the absence of such heatwaves on this Island, many people decide to travel abroad to get their ‘fix’ of Vitamin D. This adds to the SME perception that marketing in summertime is a waste of time and money i.e. when nobody’s around new business is harder to find.
We in O’C&K like to look at this in another way. If a business owner is to have any chance of new business, their company has to be front-of-mind, or at least more so than their competitors. So to reduce marketing communications at any stage, never mind the summer months, could result in competitors gaining an advantage.I would suggest that using marketing in the summertime is actually a smarter business move rather than a wasted activity.
I will use the rest of this post to outline some ideas for how you might go about this.
Use Marketing in Summertime For Your Business Advantage.
Think about it, if many businesses do slow down during July and August then there will be less competition for your promotional efforts. There would also be fewer people attending networking events, which means your relationship building can be more focused. And, if the aforementioned inertia exists you should get more bang for your marketing buck.
If nothing else, summertime is also a good time to check your progress against your start-of-year business plans and to stockpile some fresh ideas.Summertime is a good time to check your progress against your start-of-year business plans and to stockpile some fresh ideas.
Here are some ideas for using the summer months to build competitive advantage:
- Write blog posts, take videos or do interviews and create a stockpile for future use
- Audit the content on your website and if required, update for better SEO
- Catch up on your industry related reading – those ones you placed in Evernote for reading later
- Bookmark content that may be of interest to your existing customers
- Identify previous content for repurposing on industry specific sites
- Audit your social media presence for branding and professionalism
- Have a look at how your competitors are promoting themselves (online and offline)
- Brainstorm with staff in relation to marketing in summertime initiatives
- Write a thank you note to your top customers. Not selling, just showing your appreciation
- Plan for the back-end of the year, based on performance to date
Of course, we all need to take a break every now and then, but if you use your summertime constructively, you just might sneak ahead of your competitors by the pool.
8 Ideas for Marketing in Summertime
For instance, summertime is a particularly good opportunity to run online contests. People are more relaxed (on holidays perhaps) and are more open to entering relevant competitions for fun. Here are some tips if you are going to use a summer giveaway in a contest:
- Make sure the headline includes the benefit of entering (i.e. the prize)
- Prizes could include: tickets for a local event, a shopping spree, a night out, a day trip or clothing
- After a person enters, prompt them to share the contest with friends (if they do they can enter again)
- Run an advertising campaign. Organic reach won’t be enough, so you might invest a little money
- Share-to-enter contests (on Instagram and Twitter only) – increase reach to common audiences
- Give away your product, a gift card or a joint-promotion coupon with a similar brand in your industry
- Set up a Facebook group and host an online summertime sale
- Host a photo contest with a summertime theme
I believe that the warm summer months definitely offer opportunities for smarter marketing. Even if you don’t sell items that relate to the summer, chances are that you can still build a summer-themed campaign.
Boosting Summertime Sales
Let’s presume that the weather, on the whole, is better during the summer months. This allows business owners to try on-street marketing initiatives in the local market. Examples would include: handing out flyers with coupons, using street artists or entertainers, providing free samples or relevant giveaways. Giveaways would include, beach towels, sun cream, water, coffee, picnic samples, ice cream etc. The idea is to make the giveaway relevant to the audience and if possible, to your brand.
You might offer discounts if customers share the love by sharing a picture of their purchase on social media. You could link discounts to the actual temperature outside. Open up a pop-up store on the beachfront or at a local festival. Any activity that gets your brand to where the audience is – is worthwhile pursuing.
Finally, not that you should limit your showing customer appreciation just to the summer months, but summertime allows you say thank you in novel ways e.g. host a BBQ, or offer free outdoor classes (wine tasting, craft making etc.).
13 Activities for Marketing in Summertime
- Use outdoor banners at festivals for hashtag competitions
- Place postcards at tourist centres and flyers at shopping centres
- Run social media photo sharing contests
- Host an event that relates to your business and issue invites to the public
- Partner with non-competing businesses to package attractions
- Use sponsorship for awareness and product sampling
- Use street side teams to distribute product samples
- Try professional graffiti branding in unexpected places or chalk drawings on pathways
- Piggy-back on unique holidays
- Leave business cards in leisure facilities or hotels (with permission of course)
- Generate summer newsletters full of summertime activities and news
- Write a summer themed blog for the local press or be interviewed on local radio
- Use table tents, with holiday tips, in your own premises (if applicable) or other agreed venues
Marketing in summertime can really help to boost sales or build the profile of the human side of your brand. Most people are in a positive mood during the summer so cash in on the sentiment with your marketing. It is a time of year that you can try out new marketing tactics (which can also be a test for future use).
The main thing to remember is to have fun, be smarter about your marketing – and don’t burn the hamburgers.
“Thank you for reading our blog post today, we hope our pointers will help your business grow.
Cheers – Aidan & Jim.
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