For many, summer is the time to kick back, relax, spend time with family and enjoy the sunshine. It's a season for trying new things and maybe even stepping outside the comfort zone. For small-business owners, though, summer holds a different meaning.
Depending on the industry, June, July and August can be the busiest months of the year. For others markets, these can be the slowest and most frustrating span of time. However these months affect a business, it's important to make the most of the clientele and time available to make the rest of the year go smoothly.
Consider some of these tips when planning for the summer months.
If business is slow...
Yes, it can be very tough to move past the months of low sales and perhaps even lower productivity. However, this time should be seen as an opportunity to do a little office reinvigoration. Use summer to the business' advantage, don't let it bring everybody down. Try out some of these tips to see if they would work for full implementation during the rest of the year:
...Try a new social media platform
Some people try parasailing at this time of year while others try rock climbing, but for small-business owners, the summer is the perfect time to test out a new or different social media site, ConstantContact suggested. During the busy months, it can be really difficult to try out all the new applications and websites that could potentially help out the business. However, if this season is a bit slower, use the available downtime to play around with something like Instagram or Twitter.
If the business is already familiar with these apps, take this time to fix up the existing social media pages. Change the profile pictures, add updated information and let customers know that while they may be on vacation, their favorite store is ready for business.
...Make content a priority
A company's website should be one of its biggest priorities all year round, but summer is really a good time to examine the content and see what could use refreshing. As InfusionSoft noted, focused content can boost traffic on the website, which in turn has the potential to increase revenue and get people onto the online store or into the brick-and-mortar equivalent. If summer leaves the business with some extra time, think about reformatting the existing content on the website or perhaps even starting from scratch.
Or, if a business owner is feeling really ambitious, write a weekly blog and post links to it on various social media sites. Give customers updates on where the company is going and detail how the summer is full of new and interesting projects. Use blogs to keep people thinking about the brand and make them excited to come back and spend time in the store or on the website. Check out the video below for some more reasons why blogging is a great idea for small businesses.
If business is booming...
For companies in destination locations, the summer months bring an onslaught of customers. The days pass quickly when employees are running around and keeping busy. Since there's an increase of people coming through the doors and visiting the website, use this time to get customer reviews and testimonials up on the website and create a buzz about the brand that lasts all year long.
...Encourage customers to write reviews
While the company is getting a lot of foot traffic and rave reviews for products and services, put those words to use on Yelp!, Facebook and up on the company website, Sign reported. These testimonials can take the form of a note card in the check book at the end of the meal or reminding customers to visit a certain site on the bottom of the receipt. If there's an added incentive attached - such as entering into a drawing for a free gift - more people will be inclined to write their positive thoughts on the business.
If the business is in a summer destination town, it's good to think of the out-of-town clientele that will be visiting over the season. They check websites like Yelp! and other forums to see which restaurants and stores they should patronize over their vacation. Having current reviews up on these sites tells visitors that the establishment is still relevant and as great as ever.
...Get people to sign up for a newsletter
Maybe a monthly newsletter isn't quite the company's cup of tea, but a quarterly or seasonal newsletter might be the ticket to keep people thinking about the brand during the off-season. While customers are in-store or on the website, remind them to sign up for the newsletter so they don't miss out on deals and promotions for their favorite summertime company, Sign suggested.
"Newsletters encourage people to spend time and money at a business."
When May rolls around, send out a bulletin that serves as a reminder to the out-of-town crowd to patronize the store when they come back for their summer vacation. These newsletters, when used sparingly, have the potential to encourage people to spend time and money at the establishment, rather than pester and annoy like some email promotions.
Summer doesn't have get companies down, nor does it have to wear them out. This is an important time to take advantage of the lot that's handed out. If the season is busy, use customers and their word of mouth to the business' advantage. If it's a little on the slower side, spend the time to refocus productive energy into new marketing campaigns for the winter months and reconfigure the website to be more user-friendly.
The world of business doesn't take a holiday season, therefore summer tenets don't really apply to people in it. However, it's the perfect time to escape the winter and cold and enjoy colleagues and patrons. The summer will be over before anyone knows it, and businesses should remain steadfast in their endeavor to provide the best services and products to their clientele regardless of the weather.