Small Business Saturday Blog

Top summer marketing tips!

Wednesday, August 15 at 17:02

Summer is now well and truly upon us — and what a summer it’s turning out to be! This season can bring booming sales or a challenging slump depending on the type of business you run. But whichever category you fall into, it offers a unique opportunity to approach your marketing with extra creativity. Here are some ideas from our friends at Square to help you use the great British summertime to the full.
Do something for the kids
The school summer holidays can be a testing time for parents, so they’ll be seeking out activities to keep the kids occupied. To lure them to your business, you could host kids’ entertainment like storytellers, a bouncy castle or a simple setup with pencils, paper and puzzles. As much as this entertainment is for the little people, you’re providing respite for mums and dads too, so use the opportunity to make them aware of your products — cafés can have summer mocktails on standby, salons can give discounted treatments and shops can simply offer the relaxation of being able to browse without distraction.
Collaborate with other businesses
All kinds of businesses experience a dip in footfall and sales through the summer, so why not club together and pool your marketing efforts with someone else? You could set up a product stand in each other’s stores, or run a joint social media campaign to highlight summertime offers.
Before you choose someone to partner with, ask yourself these questions:
Is there any risk of competition?
Do they share my company’s values?
How much exposure and extra business can they help me get?
If it’s a good fit, get the details down in writing to make sure everything happens fairly.
Create an ‘awareness day’ event
With businesses competing for attention through the summer, this is a time to avoid generic events and draw people in with something more imaginative. August and September are packed with awareness days that can be used to inspire an event fun and memorable, such as:
International Vulture Awareness Day - September 1
Roald Dahl Day - September 13
Whatever your theme, cater for the tastes of a sun-hungry summer crowd. Dress up your shop front with bright colours, theme your dishes and definitely use your outdoor space if you have one.
The added benefit of theming your event around an awareness day is that you can tap into the wider marketing activity taking place. This could be as simple as using relevant social media hashtags throughout your promotion.
Run flash discounts
Discounts are a tried and tested method of incentivising people to buy your products. During the summer lull, it’s time to think outside the box and use the power of the moment to drive business. As an example, the British summertime is notoriously unpredictable, and for a tea room that serves hearty, homely cuisine (not typically a summertime favourite), those unexpected rainy days are an opportunity to offer catchy discounts to drive footfall. To create a sense of urgency, post a tasty-looking photo on social media and let people know how little time they have left to catch the discount.
Change your opening hours
As the seasons change, so too do customers’ buying habits and the business approach you should adopt. You may find it better to open and close later in the summer as people spend more time outside and stay out longer in the evening. In other cases, an earlier start might be work best. Online tools like Square Analytics enable you to see what you’re selling when, on which days and whether new or existing customers create most of your sales. With this insight, you can make informed decisions about how to work with people’s changing schedules and tastes.
Open a pop-up
When the crowds don’t come to you, it’s time to go to them. Pop-up shops work really well for cafés, barbers and boutiques. And one that’s planned well could make up for the potential loss you’d otherwise make in your bricks-and-mortar location through the summer. It also gives you a chance to specialise your offering for the summertime crowd, or even try a new summer-themed idea that you’ve been mulling over. Start with some research before settling on a concept. Your idea needs to stand out from the competition out on the street, and you need to be familiar with the tastes of the audience who eat there.
Give out freebies
You can use the power of freebies to keep your brand front of mind through the summer lull. Invite passersby in from the heat to enjoy an ice-cold glass of coconut water whilst perusing your clothing lines. Or offer a refreshing facial spritz and sunscreen to sunbathers in the park, using that moment to tell them about your business. Keep your freebies themed around summer — what do people crave at this time of year that can be used to draw them in?
It’s important to have clear goals when you’re giving things away. Who are you targeting and what would you like them to do in return for their freebie? Don’t approach anyone and everyone. And if it’s not possible to make an instant sale, think of other goals such as getting them to sign up to your mailing list.
Take a break
There can be a temptation as a small business owner to sacrifice any time off, causing all kinds of setbacks in the short and long-term. If the summer period really is that bad for revenue, it’s probably the best time for you to recoup and plan ahead. Enjoy the opportunity to step back and get a bird’s-eye-view your company. You could use it to get your finances in order, start a company blog to increase awareness or plan a seasonal marketing campaign for your peak season. Achieving growth isn’t always about knuckling down and grafting — sometimes it’s about getting to know your business better, and ensuring you have everything you need for the future.
Check out Square  for more small business tips

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