Along with warmer temperatures, summertime always brings opportunities for small businesses to get creative with their marketing efforts. Even if your company doesn’t sell gear that’s specific to the season, chances are you can still work a summery theme into your campaign.
Here are seven ways to boost sales and build your brand this summer.
1. Lower prices as the temperature rises. Goodbuy Girls, a vintage shop in Nashville, Tenn., this year plans to repeat a summer promotion that’s proved successful in the past. Customers receive $10 off any purchase of $100 or more when the temperature is above 100 degrees.
Other ideas for pegging prices to the weather: Advertise “sizzling summer sales” to promote your company’s services when it’s hot outside. Or offer “rainy day discounts” to attract customers looking for something to do indoors when their outdoor plans get canceled or postponed.
2. Reach for the chalk. If you operate a storefront, consider writing a promotional message, such as “$4 meals for the 4th of July,” in chalk on the walkway in front of your building. Or use chalk to depict a colorful summer scene — featuring your products and business logo, of course — on the sidewalk.
Chalk art can do more than catch the eyes of passersby. “Visitors often take photos and post them to their social media accounts, which can create viral exposure,” notes Leslie Handmaker, SEO program manager at Next Day Flyers, an online printing company that also assists small businesses with marketing campaigns.
3. Give away seasonal items. Offer a free beach towel, T-shirt, or a bottle of sunscreen to customers as a reward for making a purchase, suggests Simon Vainrub, owner of Vain Advertising in Chattanooga, Tenn.
If you have clients who come in for appointments, considering giving them a summer-related item when they show up for the consultation.
4. Make some noise. Drive up sales by having an event at the beach or the lake or even in your own parking lot, Vainrub advises. Spread news of the upcoming event by word of mouth, social media, email invitations, or running an ad in a local newspaper.
At the event, hand out flyers and promotional materials and offer free food and music. Buy prizes to give away or talk to sponsors who might be willing to donate items in exchange for some publicity, he says.
5. Give discounts for spreading the love. Goodbuy Girls will also give summer shoppers 10 percent off if they take a picture of their purchase while in the shop and post it to Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, or Pinterest with the tags @goodbuygirls #summer #fashion #nashville.
Other ways to use social media: Offer customers a discount on their next purchase if they post a picture of themselves using one of your products while on vacation. Or hold a contest, such as asking for submissions of the most patriotic photo around July 4; award a free consultation or another service to the winner.
6. Go where the people are. Take advantage of places that attract summer crowds, such as local festivals, outdoor shopping areas, and nearby beaches or recreational areas. Bring flyers to pass out or set up a stand and hand out water bottles featuring your company’s logo.
7. Show customers your appreciation. Touch base with key clients. Offer to take them to a baseball game or treat them to a round of golf. (You may be able to deduct up to 50 percent of the cost of client entertainment on your federal income taxes.)
To show appreciation for a large group of customers, host a barbecue. Or share your expertise by holding a free class. For instance, if you run an arts and crafts store, hold a workshop to show families creative craft ideas for kids during the summer.
Your gestures will demonstrate that you’re thinking of customers this summer — and will be there for them when the season ends, too.