World's Largest Ice-cream sundaeWith summer heating up, business can slow down as folks head to the high country or go on vacation.      However it doesn’t have to be a slow time of year for your business.  Here are 14 creative marketing ideas that will keep your business humming all summer long.

1.         Have a birthday! Make your place the official birthday headquarters for a celebrity.  For example, Arizona Diamondbacks announcer, three-time MLB All-Star Mark Grace’s birthday is June 28th.  Put together a huge birthday card or banner and invite people to come sign it, and wish him well.  Then you can send it to him a few days before his birthday!

2.         Celebrate a holiday!  There is lot of zany “holidays” in the summer.  For example, the World’s Ugliest Dog contest is held annually in June, in Petaluma, California.  July is “National Horseradish Month” and “National Ice-Cream Month;”  anyone for horseradish flavored ice-cream?

3.         Host a barbecue! Have a barbecue and invite everyone you know, just because.   Or for even more fun, invite people you don’t know.  Publicize your event through Yelp.com or Twitter.com.  Call it a networking mixer and tell everyone to bring their business cards.

4.         Here’s your sign! If your local zoning ordinances allow, and if you’re in an area where there is a lot of drive-by or walk-by traffic, create a vinyl banner or clapboard sign to put in front of your store.    Don’t make it a sign about your store.  Instead use a message like, “Come on in, it’s cool inside.”  Give away a bottle of water to everyone who comes in.  Or you if really want to get attention, put something silly on the sign like “See other side.”

5.         Set a world record! Invite your customers and friends to get involved to build the worlds’ largest ice-cream sundae, foot long hotdog, or human flag.  Nathan’s Famous Hotdogs has been sponsoring a hotdog eating contest since 1916.  If it didn’t work, they wouldn’t do it!  Use your imagination and have some fun!  Get some sponsors so everyone can get a free gift for participating!

6.         Hold a summer–themed promotion or contest.  Get your customers involved!   One of my favorite television commercials of all time is the Dodge Journey Crossover summer waterslide commercial.  It doesn’t make me want to buy the car, but it definitely makes me want to go down a waterslide in the middle of the street, and it definitely gets your attention.

7.         Do a good deed! The recession has hit all of us, but probably none have been hit harder than charities that help the needy.  Revenues are down, but demand for services is up as families struggle to make ends meet.

Save the Family in Mesa, Arizona, assists homeless families by providing a place for them to live, complete with furniture.  Once they get on their feet and move out, they are able to take the furnishings with them because they have nothing!  Right now Save the Family is in desperate need of beds for their families.  You can help!  Adopt a charity such as Save the Family, and get your customers involved  in providing for these urgent needs.   It will make a difference.

8.         Get social! If you haven’t adopted Twitter or Facebook because you just don’t get it, now is the time to hop on board.  Take a class so you can learn how to use it and then do.  You’ll meet people and be introduced to opportunities that you’ve not had in the past.

9.         Take a customer out to lunch! Better yet, take a bunch out to lunch.  Summer time is a great time to brainstorm new business ideas.  Ask your clients for feedback and ideas.  Make sure you pay for their lunch!

10.       Promote your website! If you “Google” your company name and your website isn’t the first to come up, then you’ve got some work to do.    Submit your site to search engines and local directories such as EastValleyLiving.com

11.        Be a speaker! Many associations and clubs such as Kiwanis International meet year-round and they are always looking for speakers.   One of the best lists that I have found of associations, clubs, and community groups in the Phoenix area is on Jobing.com. http://phoenix.jobing.com/org/#professionalassoc

12.       Keep in touch! Keep in regular contact with your customers via email.  For greater impact, give them a telephone call just to touch base!  Now that will surprise them!

13.       Send an e-newsletter!  Fill it with summertime tips.  Word of advice:  Keep it short and make it valuable!  My favorites sites for e-newsletters are Mailchimp.com and Verticalresponse.com.

14.       Write an e-bookDavid Meerman Scott, author of “The New Rules of Marketing and PR” did this and it propelled his business and speaking career into a venture worth over 6 figures a year! Take David’s advice and give it away for free.  Not so crazy when you start getting requests for speaking engagements.

What other summertime marketing ideas do you have?  Share them here!  Everyone who shares a comment will be entered into a drawing to win their own copy of “The New Rules of Marketing and PR.”