With summer heating up, many businesses see their sales slow down as customers go on vacation. But, just because it’s summer doesn’t mean it has to be slow for your business. Here are 9 summer marketing ideas that will help keep your business sizzling all summer long.
1. Celebrate a celebrity’s birthday! Make your business the official birthday headquarters for a much loved celebrity who is in the news. For example, Pirates of the Caribbean 4 star, Johnny Depp’s birthday is June 9th. Put together a huge birthday card or banner and invite people to come sign it. Name a menu item in his honor or offer a special promotion. And even if their birthday isn’t in the summer, you can still celebrate it, Lady Gaga’s birthday is in March, so why not have a half birthday celebration for her in September? Publicize it on social media, in your email newsletter and even send out a press release. The ideas are endless as to how you can capitalize on this, and so is the fun.
2. Celebrate an unusual holiday! There is some unusual holiday celebrated almost every day, week, and month in America. For example, June is National Bathroom Reading Month and National Candy Month. In July you’ll find National Gummy Worm Day and National Horseradish Month to name a few. Just search online for “unusual holidays” and you’ll find a ton. If you can’t find a holiday you like, you can always make up your own! Here’s a great website where you can find some unusual holidays. Brownielocks.com.
3. Here’s your sign! If you are a business that finds that the majority of your sales comes from local traffic, create a vinyl banner or clapboard sign to put in front of your location. You can also purchase colorful custom sun blade or teardrop flags that will make your business stand out from the crowd. If you don’t have a physical location, purchase a vehicle wrap or adhesive window signs and promote your business everywhere you drive!
4. Fly the flag! Along those lines, July 4th is a perfect time to hang an American Flag outside of your business. Flags become landmarks because people pay attention to them. Install a row of flags at your location and watch your sales soar! If you don’t have a physical location, why not give away miniature US flags when you attend summer networking events, sales calls or mixers?
5. Go to the movies! Summer time is blockbuster time at the movie theaters, so why not get in on the fun by enhancing their summertime movie experiences. For example, a restaurant might offer Pirates of the Caribbean 4-inspired drinks, or desserts. You don’t have to own a restaurant to invite movie goers to redeem their movie tickets for a free gift or a discount, or use Pirate themed marketing materials and offer tickets or Pirate themed bonus offers as incentives to buy.
6. Showcase a product offering of the day, week, or the month. For example, Old Navy regularly has an item of the week- this week it’s summer dresses. While they discount summer dresses, all other items are at regular price. Old Navy knows that when buyers come into their store, they most likely will be more items than just the featured one.
7. Start or join a Meet up group based on a favorite hobby. Sometimes as business owners we have a rather myopic view of the way that we network. We go to chamber events, networking groups, business groups, etc. But why not join or start a group related to your hobby, and let business leads become a byproduct? That’s what Farmers Insurance Agent Jayson Hoffer has done and I’m guessing it’s been both a fun, and profitable experience. Jayson is a member, now organizer, of the Valley Gun Group, an active Tempe, Arizona, Meet up group with 282 members. I recommend that if you start your own group for hobbyists, make sure that you state up front in your profile that you are a business owner. And furthermore, don’t sell. Use the opportunity of the meetups to get to know people or to advertise your business by sponsoring the group.
8. Sponsor a giveaway. Krispy Kreme Donuts recently took advantage of “National Doughnut Day” on June 3rd, to give away a free donut to everyone in America. Not only did they get to introduce themselves to thousands of new customers, they also scored some premium publicity spots on television stations around the country. This isn’t the first time Krispy Kreme has done this so my guess that the value of the free publicity and new customers far exceeded the cost of giving away doughnuts. However, you don’t have to give something away to everyone in America to take advantage of this tactic. Use giveaways as incentives for customers to do something for you; i.e., post a comment on your blog, check in on social media, or sign up for an email newsletter. That doesn’t mean that everyone who gets the freebie will become a customer, but it does mean that you got the attention of more prospects. And that’s exactly what you wanted.
9. Do something different. You’ve probably heard the saying, “If you always do the same old thing, you’ll always get what you’ve always gotten.” Take a break this summer to revisit your 2011 marketing plan. What’s working and what’s not working? What’s going well and what’s not? If you’ve been spending money on a marketing strategy for six months and it’s not meeting your goals, it’s time to adjust either your goals or your strategy or both. Just do something different.
Summer time doesn’t have to be a slow time of year. Put your creative energies to work by using some of these marketing strategies, or come up with your own and the summer of 2011 can become the best one yet. Have a great summer!
PS. I’m giving away one copy of my book How to Build Buzz for Your Biz to two random commenters to this post who answer the question: What is one of your best summer marketing ideas?
Wendy Kenney is the bestselling author of How to Build Buzz for Your Biz, Tap into the Power of Social Media, Publicity and Relationship Marketing to Grow Your Business, available on Amazon.com. She has been featured in the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, USA Today, and Newsday. She lives in Mesa, Arizona, with her husband and three very hungry teenage sons. One of her goals in life is to visit all of the Major League ballparks in the US before she turns 49. So far she has been to 13. Grab your free ebook; How to Build Buzz for Your Biz; 23 Creative and Inexpensive Marketing Strategies That Will Get You Noticed at http://23Kazoos.com.