Summers can be tough when you’re in business. Demand dips as people go on holiday. It’s difficult to get people to make business decisions until everyone’s back in the office in September.
Here are our top 7 tips to surviving the summer lean period.
- Organise a summer sale.
It’s an age-old technique, but it works. It’s a ploy well used by retailers, but if you’re in a B2B company, you could do the same. They key thing is to make your sale prices time-sensitive to stimulate short-term demand. For example, a retail store might have a blanket 10% off for a month sale, or 25%off certain lines, or a two-for-one offer.
If you provide a monthly service to other companies, you could offer the first month half price provided new clients sign up before the end of August. Or, you could offer something free alongside your monthly fee if they sign up before the autumn.
If your service is good, it could even lead to those new customers staying with you all year round.
Use your website, a special summer sale landing page, and your social media accounts to promote it
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- Draw up a strategy to answer your customers’ problems.
In the summer months, your customers have a number of added ‘problems’. Many will be desperately trying to clear their decks at work so they can go on holiday, others will be worrying how to care for school age children throughout the holidays, and many will find money tighter after they come back from their breaks.
Ask yourself how you can lessen their pain in some way. For those who sell seasonal products – ice cream, sunscreen, or luggage – and those who operate tourist attractions, the answer’s obvious.
For some of us, the answer’s less obvious. Yet, anything which gives people more time and saves them money is a boon in the summer months.
- Make August ‘refer-a-friend’ month.
Give incentives to your existing clients to refer new business to you in August. You could offer them a freebie or a cash incentive, or the chance to win a prize if their friend becomes a new customer. It’s worth bearing research by the University of Chicago in mind. Surprisingly, it found that non-cash incentives were 24% more effective at stimulating referrals.
Research by Nielsen showed that 84% of people tend to trust recommendations from friends and family. A study by Software Advice found more than 50% of people offered an incentive, access to a loyalty programme, or recognition on social media would refer a friend.
If you use your social media channels, referral marketing becomes even more effective. In a Market Force survey, 79% of people said they ‘like’ a company’s Facebook page to get discounts or offers and 81% said they were influenced by what their friend shared.
Referral marketing is very effective.
- Create or sponsor a summer event.
There’s nothing better for your brand than being associated with a feel-good event. It raises awareness of your business in the right way, gives you new contacts for networking, and can generate new leads for your business.
If you sponsor a summer show or create your own event, you could organise a competition and get many more email contacts from potential customers as they enter. That’s dozens or hundreds of email addresses which you can add to your database and email on a regular basis.
- Review your suppliers.
Could you cut your costs this summer? If you have some down time, use it to review your costs and search for suppliers who may be able to save you some money.
- Make sure you’re ready when things pick up in September.
Do you need to tweak your business strategy, get new products ready, or create a new marketing campaign? Use the summer to ensure you’re firing on all cylinders in September when most people are back in work.
The summer’s also a good time to go back to your business plan and review the projected cash flows and the business’ aims. Make your business plan a living document.
- If you can’t beat them, join them!
Take some time to have a break yourself. If your customers are away on holiday, that might be a good time to recharge your batteries too.
If you want to get your marketing plan fit for purpose over the summer, we can help! Call us today on 029 2000 5988 to see what we can do for you.