Summer is a magical time of year; as temperatures rise, sales tend to fall and summer can be a slow season for many businesses. Customers skip off on holiday in an attempt to soak up the sun, children are out of school and people spend more time by the pool than in stores and opt for family barbecues over chatting with their accountants.
While the volume of emails and phone calls decrease during the summer months, this doesn’t mean you have to let your business and spare time go to waste. The summer months are in fact the perfect opportunity to increase the time you spend working on your own company’s goals and objectives.
So while you may not be in the “office” mindset and after working tirelessly over the last several months, you might be tempted to take advantage of the summer slowdown and fill the coming weeks with a little R&R of your own, and of course you deserve it, there are things that you could be doing in order to update your skills, technology, marketing, and anything else that can drive your business forward for the rest of the year.
So if you are a growing business and want to stay ahead of the game, why not, instead of wasting the slow summer days, be proactive and use the Summer to tackle projects that would usually get pushed to the side and use the slower pace to create new, unique marketing tactics to adapt to the season change.
With the summer just getting underway, now is the time to focus your talents internally and work on ways your business can continually grow. If you’re not sure where to begin, we’re here to help!
In this blog we have devised a list of helpful hints and tips that will help you make the most of the summer downtime and maximise your business potential.
It All Starts With You
Review Your Business.
As a business owner or manager there are certain areas of the business that you can personally reflect on and use as a starting point to kick start your summer marketing and business growth strategy, starting with reviewing your business as a whole.
The summer is the perfect midway point to reevaluate your business’ goals for the year. Review the business objectives you made early in the year to see if you are on track and note what adjustments need to be made to areas that need more attention. If you made goals at the beginning of the year, pull them out and see how well you’re sticking to them. You may have to set new goals for the next quarter and the remainder of the year in order to reach the goals you first put in place.
Take note of how time is being utilised. Are the daily routines actually serving the company or do you need to make some adjustments so the day runs more efficiently? Remember that your business can always improve. Keep your ideas fresh. Keep your company moving forward. Keep the momentum going!
Get Ready for Tax Season.
If you’re guilty of waiting until the last minute to organise and file your taxes, the summer is a perfect opportunity to get on track for the year. Meet with a tax adviser to see if there’s anything you should be doing this year (whether it’s changing your business structure or increasing your expenses and distributions) to optimise your tax position.
Get your finances organised, including all expenses and receipts for the year. You’ll be grateful you did when tax time rolls around.
Expand Your Network.
Use this seasonal slow time to deepen relationships with the people in your network or add new contacts. This is the ideal opportunity to remind people who you are, learn about what is important to potential clients, and share ideas with other industry professionals.
Schedule lunches to simply meet and chat. Invite just one other person, or introduce people in your network to each other with a group lunch, attend events in other industries related to yours and learn how you can help others in your network with some of their goals.
Prioritising building your network will help your business run more smoothly over the next year and expose you to new customers. Remember: The relationships you build with fellow business owners and experts are (nearly) as important as the relationship you develop with your customer base.
Rekindle Old Client Relationships.
If you haven’t worked with a client in the past six months, this is a great opportunity to touch base with them again. You may now have the skills and qualities they thought you were lacking six months prior.
You can call to ask how they are doing and tell them about any new products or services that may be helpful to them or simply invite them to lunch. You can even reach out to your past clients if they are still willingly subscribed to your marketing database. If they are you can send them newsletters, business updates and holiday cards etc.
Focus On Personal And Business Development.
Just because you have a business to run doesn’t mean you should slack on developing yourself or your business’s internal methods. Start implementing work-life balance practices and streamlining how you handle administrative tasks like finances and contracts.
Attend Your Own Summer School.
There’s no shortage of new things to learn and summer is the perfect opportunity to add to your arsenal of skills and expertise. Maybe you’ve been wondering about how to use Pinterest, how to put how-to videos on YouTube, or how to boost your website’s Google ranking. Pick a topic and focus on it.
You could even take a class or course that can give you some tips on how to make the most of Twitter, LinkedIn, Blogging platforms or Facebook marketing, speak to your peers about the tools they use and how they are successful using them, pick up a book, or find a training webinar on a specific subject.
Optimise Your Online Marketing And Online Presence
While the summer months may slow down customers purchasing behaviours, marketing online and off never stops and it is important you keep on top of your own in order to continue reaching your audience even if they are enjoying a sangria on a beach in Barcelona!
Evaluate Your Website.
Whether you need a complete overhaul of your site design or want to improve traffic and conversion rates, now’s the time to get started so you’re ready for busier months.
While the weather is getting warmer people are spending more and more time outside at beaches, events and parks after being stuck inside during the frigid winter months. A mobile responsive website is the answer.
Many people still use laptops and computers, but there has been a large shift in mobile searches. A mobile responsive platform is a great way to increase traffic during the summer because viewers will be able to easily access information while they’re relaxing at the beach.
Focus On Content Marketing.
Despite routinely being listed as one of the cheapest marketing strategies, the time investment content marketing requires causes some business owners to put it off indefinitely.
Grab some lemonade or something a little stronger, kick your feet up and come up with ideas for blog posts, videos, graphics and social media. Jump in and create content for the summer so your brand stays on customers’ minds.
You don’t have to stop there—put together a backlog for times when you simply don’t have a spare second to write, shoot or design content. Just remember any content you create needs to be useful and high quality. You then need to promote it furiously.
Show Customers Some Love.
Your regulars might be busy lounging in the sun and jetting off on adventures, but that doesn’t mean you should sit back and wait for them to return. Spend some time developing a plan for a customer loyalty program and/or revamp your customer service and support.
Slow months are perfect for trying out new programs and methods, giving you ample time to work out the kinks.
Then, put together plans for customer appreciation events so you’re the first business they think of when their tans fade and vacations end. Streamline your customer support services and improve satisfaction to really show them you care. This way they will remain loyal.
Update All Your Social Media Profiles.
If you have a LinkedIn profile, make sure it’s up to date with your latest skills, experience, contacts, endorsements, etc. If you use Twitter or Facebook to connect with your customers, take some time to review your bio and profile description. In general, you want to make sure that all your digital calling cards are accurate, up-to-date, compelling, and loaded with your important keywords.
Get Out Of Your Comfort Zone.
Break away from your tired old routine to find new inspiration this summer. It could be as simple as going to a different coffee shop in the morning, trying a different exercise class, or attending a festival you’d never consider going to. You never know where your next great idea will come from, so look anywhere and everywhere this summer for inspiration.
“Summer-ise” Your Marketing.
Think of creative ways to incorporate summer themes into your marketing, such as blog posts, Facebook updates, newsletters, events, and more. Give your readers good summer content like grilling recipes, your summer reading list, or summer pet care tips. If applicable, you could even treat your top clients to a summer activity like golf, a baseball game, summer wine tasting, lunchtime barbecue, etc.
Reevaluate Which Social Media To Use And Try New Ideas To Boost Engagement.
No matter where your audience goes during the summer, they will probably still be on social media. They will still be taking photos, uploading videos, sharing links, and displaying their summer adventures. However, there may be some social media platforms that people are less likely to use during summer, such as LinkedIn and Google+.
When developing a content strategy for the summer months, you should utilise social media sites that put great emphasis on visual and video content; for instance, Facebook, Pinterest and Instagram.
Since your audience is out and about, they are less likely to read content such as a blog post. Instead, they are more likely to watch a video or look at a picture since it requires less effort.
Just because business might be stagnant doesn’t mean you should abandon your audience. Instead of attempting to sell to them, why not try increasing their engagement? Engaging with your customers will show them that you are still thinking about them, which will strengthen their loyalty towards you. It’s up to your business to think of unique tactics to increase engagement.
Below are a few ideas in how you could do this:
Social Media Contests – Holding a contest is a good way to generate buzz among new and existing audience members. Try asking them to submit photos or videos of their weekend and vacations.
#Hashtags – #Hashtags aren’t exclusive to Twitter. They have been integrated in Instagram, Facebook, and even Google+. Brands have been inventing new catchy #hashtags because they have become the easiest way to search for content. This summer, try creating a unique #hashtag to draw in user engagement!
Polls – Ask your customers about their questions and opinions! This will allow you to familiarise yourself with your audience. Ask them what cool locations they will be vacationing to this summer or what their plans for the weekend are. Once they tell you, respond to keep the conversation and engagement flowing.
If you need help optimising your summer social media strategy we have experts in social media management, content production and advertising.
Get Out Of The Office More
There are a vast amount of outdoor events during summer! Whether it is a town carnival, summer sporting league or even a charitable event, becoming involved in these events is an excellent way to showcase your community involvement. In turn, this will raise awareness for your brand. Your company’s involvement also allows you to strengthen your relationships with your local audience and coworkers in a fun way.
Build Momentum For Autumn.
Although summer may be a slow season for business, it is the perfect time to plant the seeds for your bigger plans during fall and winter. Use the downtime of summer to network with new and potential clients, spread awareness and generate buzz for a new product or event that will be launched once the slow season ends.
Research Your Competition.
A bit of competition is good for everyone. Study your competitors. It does not hurt to see what they are ‘bringing to the table’.
Many businesses intend to celebrate wins but it’s tough to find the time. Summer is the opportunity to take a few hours and celebrate those victories, like new clients, new projects or new hires, that you’ve won throughout the year. Plan a day trip or just an afternoon getaway to get out of the office. Having time outside the work environment to connect with coworkers makes for a healthier professional bond and increased productivity. It also allows for creative brainstorming in new, fun environments in a casual setting.
A change in scenery also, often sparks new ideas and opens up the imagination…leading to new ideas and innovations for your business.
Summer Strategy Sorted
Just because business slows down doesn’t mean you should too. The summer slow-down should be viewed as an opportunity to invest your down time in generating new ideas and tweaking your business strategy.
But, breaks are important. Tie a “treat” to each goal you meet, whether it’s taking an afternoon off to go to the beach or sneaking away to an air-conditioned theatre for a breather.
Your hard work will pay off. Come fall, you’ll be re-energised and ready to implement your new ideas that will hopefully pay off in terms of strengthening current relationships and creating new ones.
When summer ends and you’re back in full swing, you’ll have your strategies sharpened, a focused mind and a business ready to handle the upcoming rush, you’ll appreciate the time you spent focusing on what goes on behind the scenes.
Here at MAMA we have a great team of individuals who are experts in their relevant field. From consultancy to marketing strategy, to social media management and event management, we can help your business grow.
If you are interested in learning more about our services and what we can do for you, contact us today