Ive been reading a lot lately about the summer slow down that many businesses experience during the summer months. While not all businesses experience this, it can be a serious problem for those that do have to deal with fewer customers, slower sales cycles, and decreasing revenue during the summer.
If your business happens to be in a summer slow down, here are some things you can try to help your business pick up activity and minimize the effect this time of year has on your bottom line.
1. Create a mini-plan: If you dont already have a marketing plan in place, make one now. We are only a little more than half-way through the year, which is plenty of time to put together a focused, effective plan to guide your efforts for the rest of the year. Include some low-cost or no-cost activities, like e-marketing campaigns or web site updates, that will provide you with a lot of bang for your buck.
2. Try social networking: Not on Facebook yet? Not yet tweeting on Twitter? If not, this may be the perfect time to give it a try! Although accounts on sites like Facebook and Twitter are free to set up, they will cost you some time each week to interact with the people in your network, plus the time it takes to integrate your accounts to work well together. If you are not comfortable with setting this up yourself, hire a firm to help get you started. The long-term benefits will outweigh the upfront costs to get going with this new, scorching-hot marketing trend.
3. Send an e-survey: One of the best ways to refresh interest in your business and show customers that you are listening to their needs is to send out an e-survey. You can use one of the many low-cost online services such as Vertical Response or Constant Contact to create an email survey asking for feedback about your products and services. Consider giving respondents a money-saving coupon or free gift as a thank you for participating in the survey.
4. Write an article: Take advantage of the slower pace of summer and write an article or two. Dont use any sales-y language or marketing fluff; instead, give readers truly useful information that showcases your expertise and experience. How-to articles or Top-10 lists are good examples of useful articles that are popular with readers. Post the article on your blog, use it as new content on your web site, include it in your monthly newsletter, and syndicate it on an article submission site such as GoArticles.com to get great exposure for your article and promote your business at the same time.
5. Have a summer e-sale: Create a special offer or sale on something you havent promoted in a while, or offer something unexpected, and send it as an email campaign. Make sure the offer has a beginning and ending date to create urgency, and be as creative as you can when promoting it. Make your email campaign especially colorful or eye-catching, and be sure to create a special landing page on your web site to steer customers directly toward making a purchase.
Just because summer may be a slower time for your business doesnt mean that it is impossible pick up the pace! By taking steps to boost your marketing this summer, you may discover new ways to get your customers attention and improve your revenue all year long!
Lauren Hobson, President of Five Sparrows, LLC, has more than 16 years of experience in small business technology writing, marketing, and web site design and development. http://www.fivesparrows.com