7 Ideas to Put Some Spring in Your Summer Marketing

Summer is coming. And if summertime is typically slow for your business, you should plan your creative marketing strategy now to keep sales up.

While you can’t change how many people leave for vacation in your community, you can reach out to those who stay to make summer more fun for neighborhood families. The summer slowdown is also the perfect time to get out in your community and make lasting connections with old and new customers.

If you’re a retail business, the National Retail Federation gave you something to smile about in their most recent forecast, predicting an increase in retail spending between 3.8 and 4.4% in 2018. While the percentage of families planning to leave town for vacation has increased, most only take 1 to 2 weeks away. That leaves at least 8 to 10 weeks of summer to use to your advantage.

Here are some ideas for your summer marketing campaigns:

Host a Summer Event

Use direct mail and email to invite families to your summer event and provide a discount code they can use to save money on purchases. Your summer event could be a cookout, parking lot dance, children’s carnival, neighborhood yard sale or other fun affair. Offer prizes and drawings to entice more people to attend.

Participate in Community Events

Outdoor markets, fairs, festivals and other local events are a great way to meet new customers. Talk to event organizers to get more information about an event and the type of audience it attracts. This way, you can figure out if the event is right for your business before you book a booth.

Once you decide on the events, get busy putting the word out through direct mail, email and in-store flyers. Depending on your business, you might also want to have loyalty cards to hand out. Since it will be summer, offer free refreshments like cold lemonade and popcorn and if you sell products at the event, be sure you can accept cash, debit and credit.

Go Where the Customers Are

Particularly if you are a restaurant, take your food on the road and go where the customers are. Mobile concession stands and food trucks are very popular and a terrific way to gain more exposure for your business all around town. Consider setting up at various locations over lunch for one day each week. Set up in the bowling alley parking lot, the city park, at a sports event, or at the public pool. (Be sure to obtain permission first.)

Offer a Summer Promotion

If things are slower for you during the summer, you can use this time to reach out to customers you haven’t seen in a while. Sort through your email data and send an exclusive offer to lapsed customers to bring them back in. Or, if you have inventory you need to move out, promote a “limited time only” summer sale or bundle with a popular product at a package price to get it moving.

Host a Social Media Summer Contest

Use your social media channels to conduct a contest. Post about it every couple of days. Be creative and build a social media contest that ties into your business. For instance, if you’re a restaurant, ask your fans to take fun selfies while dining at your venue. Then you can hold a random drawing for a free dinner for 4 or giveaway such as tickets to a theme park. Check the contest/sweepstakes rules for each social media channel you use to confirm your contest is in compliance.

Sponsor a Local Event

Sponsoring an event gives you positive brand exposure. Choose a popular event in your neighborhood like a concert or festival. Or, choose a charity and donate a part of your summer sales revenue. You can get the word out through your social media channels, as well as through direct mail and email.

Capture Summer Tourists

Take advantage of vacation season to attract summer tourists to your business. Work with your chamber, local hotels and bed-and-breakfasts to provide rack cards with your business information. Be sure to offer a discount or incentive to increase appeal.

These are just a few ideas for how you can keep revenue streaming in during the typically slower summer months. The key is to begin NOW.

Valpak has provided direct mail and digital business marketing solutions for 50 years. The Blue Envelope® of coupons is distributed across the U.S. and Canada every month featuring discounts from over 41,000 businesses. Contact your local Valpak franchise for more information.