Summer will be here before you know it, which means hot times, cool vibes and unique marketing opportunities for small businesses that are versatile enough to take advantage of them. Latch onto the laid-back attitude that prevails this time of year and use it to your advantage to reach out to current and potential customers.
Regardless of where you do business, the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) offers the following five strategies to keep it booming right through to the fall:
Take Part in Summer Festivals and Fairs
Everyone loves a good time, so sponsoring or participating in a local community event not only brings you together with customers in an unpressured environment, but it can work wonders for your brand as well by getting your products or services out for all to see. As an active member of your community, you should be familiar with ongoing events and know which would best serve your marketing objectives. Your local Chamber of Commerce is a great resource, as are the local newspaper, community flyers and town website.
Take Your Customers Out
A long-time common practice in the corporate world, small business owners should consider hosting an activity for their valued loyal customers and vendors. A barbecue in the park, chartered fishing expedition or a visit to a nearby attraction, show or sporting event are all outings that they’ll truly appreciate when you’re picking up the tab. Perhaps best of all, customer entertainment expenses are tax deductible as long as there is a clear business purpose for them and business discussions are held at some point during the event. More information about business tax deductions is available from the SBA.
Take Your Business on the Road
By going where the customers are you can extend your reach, supplement your revenue and increase your brand recognition. Running a concession at sporting events, local carnivals and festivals and other tourist attractions can help you make the most of the summer season, and it’s easier than ever with mobile and wireless solutions that make accepting credit cards quick, easy and secure no matter where the sales occur.
Sponsor a Contest
Everyone loves the chance to win something for nothing, and contests are a great way to raise your visibility in the community and gain publicity. Get your employees involved by asking for their contest ideas. A few suggestions include a cook-off or eating contest sponsored by a restaurant, a yard makeover by a landscape designer, or a pet show by a groomer or veterinarian. Be sure to make the prize(s) something that’s directly related to your business to keep customers coming in after the competition, and promote your contest with a blend of traditional and new media—and don’t forget to post the name and picture of your winner(s)!
Dress Up Your Website
It’s advisable to update your company website on a regular basis to keep it fresh and to showcase your newest products and services. Some summer graphics and seasonal content are simple adds that keep your site relevant to your customers.
Make this summer a memorable one for your business and your customers, and have a little fun while you’re at it!