Sweet summertime. The days are hot, the drinks are cold, and for local businesses that know how to leverage the season, it can be a very profitable three or four months.
Regardless of your industry, creativity is the key to a successful summer marketing push. With longer days and people spending more time outside of their homes, customers are primed to make a purchase. From bars and restaurants to boutiques and more, June through September is a unique window of opportunity.
In this article, I’ll outline five summertime marketing ideas that are perfect for local businesses.
1. Bring Your Business Outdoors
Not every business has an outdoor component like a patio or deck, but regardless of your situation, you can always utilize your storefront space to draw in foot traffic. This de attention of those walking by your place.
If you are lucky enough to have some open space on your business’s property, consider hosting a bi-monthly happy hour-type event. Not only will this bring in people who are more than willing to drop by for some social interaction and a beverage or two, but it will likely bring in groups instead of just individuals.
Local businesses thrive by becoming part of the community. Make an effort to get out in front of the members in your surrounding area and you’ll begin to recognize the impact of the best form of advertising possible: word of mouth.
2. Tie In Holidays
Everyone loves a good holiday promotion. Between Mother’s Day and Father’s Day, the Fourth of July, Memorial Day, and Labor Day, there’s no shortage of celebrations happening between May and September. Think of a unique way to tie in your business’s specific products or services in a way that’s in line with the particular holiday “theme,” and you have a ready-made promotion.
Some obvious examples would be offers like discounts to moms and dads on Mothers Day and Fathers Day and veterans on Memorial Day, but there are plenty of other ways to incorporate these holidays into your advertising messaging.
3. Partner With Markets or Festivals
Traditions like church festivals, county fairs, or open-air farmers markets are a summertime staple in many parts of the country. Aside from being a great place for community members to get together and enjoy the season, they’re also a great way for local businesses to chip in and participate.
In the events listed above, there will almost always be an opportunity to sponsor a booth, stand, ride, etc. to get some positive brand exposure. If you run a local restaurant, catering these events can help others in your area learn about your company in a hands-on way without ever having to drop in for a visit.
If you’re able to find a way to get involved in these activities, you’ll cement your place in the local community and contribute to the local economy – a true win-win. Ask employees to help you find the most popular events in your area and start planning on how you’re going to present yourself in a way that’s memorable.
4. Incorporate Wedding Season
From May through September, just about everyone has (or knows many people who have) a few dates blocked off on the calendar for weddings. Few events are better to be associated with than what is supposed to be the happiest day of two peoples’ lives.
Get creative and find a way to use what your business does best to improve the day for the bride, groom, family, or guests attending the ceremony. There’s no limit to the number of ways you can help out the happy couple while also promoting your company.
If you do participate in the event in some capacity, be sure to capture it for social media. It’s free, and there’s a good chance someone else may see it and think of you when they or one of their friends is getting ready to tie the knot.
5. Run a Promotion, Build Your Email List
If we’ve established one thing so far, it’s that there are plenty of special days to celebrate during summer months. One tried-and-true digital marketing strategy is a sweepstakes or photo contest that increases engagement between you and your customer base by offering an incentive (the prize of the contest or sweepstakes) to those enter.
Of course, the contest is an advertising strategy in and of itself, but the real magic happens after the fact. By requiring an email address to enter to win the prize, you’ll acquire a highly-valuable email list that can used for future marketing efforts moving forward.
Don’t underestimate the potential of sending a monthly email including your business’s promotions to a list of people who have already interacted with your company in some capacity in the past. It’s a great way to drive repeat business, and returning customers are the key to growing your business over time.
6. Document Your Brand’s Travels
While it might not be possible to pack your company away and take it with you where you travel, you and your customers can provide some awesome content by taking images with your brand’s name on it while they’re away on vacation!
One example that’s been done in the past is a local t-shirt shop who encouraged its customers to photograph themselves or a friend wearing gear with their logo on it with an unexpected background. Even with a relatively small customer base in their surrounding area, they were able to gather pictures from beaches, mountains, lakes, boats, and even a few international photos from Europe.
It’s difficult to measure exactly how something like this will directly impact your bottom line, but the philosophy is that creating a brand that’s interesting is always going to be an advantage.
It sounds abstract and a little bit cliché but summer is all about having fun! Find creative ways that your business can get involved in the community festivities and you’ll reach potential customers on a deeper, more memorable level.
If your business could benefit from a strategic marketing partner, get in touch today to start building your brand by starting with a targeted digital approach.