June 22, 2019 03:04 PM
By Meg C. Hall
Does your marketing include summery flair? (Photo: haveseen/Shutterstock)
Summer is here, and consumers are out and about enjoying the sunshine. Is your small business taking advantage of the warm weather and positive feelings the summer months bring?
“Marketing your small business in summer can be very straightforward if your business peaks in the summertime, but it can be very challenging if summer is not your ‘hot’ season,” said Mark Fortune, owner of Fortune Marketing.
Regardless if your small business has a warm-weather boom or a summertime slump, here are a few savvy marketing tactics to help your shop shine this summer.
One way to extend your brand’s reach is by adding your logo to summertime essentials, such as water bottles, sunglasses, T-shirts and more. These seasonal items can be sold in your shop or used as freebies for community events.
“These are nice things to hand out at booths at local festivals or farmer’s markets or to give to clients to thank them for their business,” said Fortune.
Small business marketing consultant Lara McCulloch suggested creating a limited-edition summer version of your regular products and services.
“My biggest tip for small business owners is to get in the mind of your customer. What does summer mean to them, as it relates to your products and services? What's exciting about this season? What are they looking for?” she said.
Everyone loves a good sale, so why not have some fun with the discount? For example, your store could have a special during a heat wave where the deal gets sweeter as the temperature rises outside, said Fortune.
“Be sure to use Celsius, unless you want to give your product away for free,” he warned, “especially if you’re in the South.”
Fun contests are another sure way to draw interest from new and returning customers. McCulloch suggested using a weather-related giveaway to engage with the local community.
“Hold bets on when the hottest day of the summer will be and offer a prize to the winner,” she said.
Summer is also a great time to give back, said Fortune. He suggested donating some of your products or services to a favorite cause or charity, or holding a company-wide volunteer day.
“Not only will it generate some great positive publicity for your business, but it can also be very rewarding for employees to give back as a group,” he said.
Summer is all about getting out and getting social again, and this applies to your business too.
“Reach out to other local entrepreneurs and find ways to cross-promote your products and services,” suggested McCulloch.
An ice cream shop, for instance, could partner with a local bakery to sell homemade ice cream sandwiches at summer festivals. Not only would both businesses increase their brand awareness with the community, they could also cut costs by renting a single booth.
Special events are another great way to market your business during the summer, especially since everyone is itching to enjoy the outdoors.
“Consider partnering with a local pool,” said Fortune. “Invite your best clients and their friends for refreshments and an afternoon at the pool. The kids can swim while the adults chat and relax; all while you promote your business.”
You could also hold a block party with other local retailers, said McCulloch. Not only will it foster a sense of community, but it will also create buzz at your store’s location.
Your storefront is prime real estate for business promotion, so liven it up with a fun sandwich board sign or street art.
“Hire local artists, like spray painters or chalk artists, to create a sense of theatre outside of your shop location,” McCulloch suggested.
Chalk art can do more than catch the eyes of passersby. Visitors might even take photos of your artwork and post them to their social media platforms, which can create even more exposure for your small business.