If it's been a long, cold winter for your business, it's time to kick things off with the season that generally equates to tourism and travel. Here's how you can capitalize on those things and get your marketing in a position to capture some of those summer crowds.
Honor Groups with Discounts
Use your social media profiles to create flash discounts for different groups in your community. For instance, people buying last-minute things for Father's Day on the Friday or Saturday, Veterans, first responders, teachers, people wearing blue, or any other official or unofficial group you'd like to honor.
These discounts are available only on a certain day or few hours to drive action. By conditioning customers to turn to your social media profiles for these flash sales or discounts, you will be giving them an incentive to follow you closely. These ideas to drive more business can also be used at the last-minute to balance out a lackluster month.
Create a Summer Photo Contest
Host a photo contest on Facebook. Ask people to share pictures of themselves either enjoying your product or service or doing something synonymous with your business. For instance, an ice cream shop could run a contest for messiest face while eating ice cream or pets who love ice cream. Or if you run a beauty salon, you could host a discounted or free makeover for someone who wants to upload a picture of themselves and share why they need one. Just make sure you get the rights to use the pictures in any promotions you decide to do later.
Add Something Cool for Summer
Create a special summer something in your offerings or products. It could be a summer program or discounts on several bundled services, a summer menu, a special summer tasting, or you can help entertain kids with a class or activity while their parents shop.
Offer a Summer Pairing with Another Business
Summer is a great time to try new things. Often people are out on vacation and enjoying themselves. That’s the perfect time to partner with another business to offer an exchange for services or a beneficial discount to customers of both. For instance, a spice shop could invite in the chef of a restaurant in town to create a summer grill class and then give discounts to come experience the summer menu at the restaurant. Or a gym could partner with a masseuse to offer massage discounts to its gym patrons and vice versa.
Create a Summer Must-do Adventure List
Create a summer must-do adventure list in your town. Give it a special hashtag and encourage people to post pictures using the hashtag. Provide a discount, sticker, t-shirt or whatever special designation appropriate to people who check off several (or more) of the activities.
Reward Good Grades
Give something to students who achieve good grades on their final report card for the year. Ideas include business swag, a summer-related freebie, a discount, a BOGO coupon, or their name and pic on your board of honor. Give them a moment to brag and their parents will appreciate it (and likely come to visit your business again.)
Transform Your Social Media
Transform your social media page with a summer theme. For instance, encourage people to upload or send you their summer sunset pics or beach activities, favorite summer food, favorite summer activity, best way to cool off, cutest patriotic pet, etc. You could host a new theme every week.
Host a Summer Appreciation Event
There’s no better time to thank customers (and potential customers) than with a summer BBQ, live music, or any other gathering that will bring in the crowd. Send invites to your current customers and ask them to join you as you want to thank them for their patronage. If you make a big production out of it, others will be drawn to your location too.
Go Live on Facebook
Are you doing your own exploring this summer or are you meeting all sorts of exciting people at your business? Want to showcase some of that? Go live on Facebook with a quick tour of where you are or an interview of who you’re with.
Where In the World Am I?
You can host a fun social media event by going somewhere and taking a picture or shooting a video and then asking people where you are. Let them guess and then offer the winners something.
Encourage People to Take You on Their Travels
Encourage customers to take pictures of your logo with them as they travel this summer. Ask them to post the result with a hashtag and give them something for doing it. Your brand could reach all sorts of new places.
Create a Funny Bumper Sticker
Create a funny bumper sticker with your business branding and hand them out to customers. Your brand may be seen in a whole new light and in all sorts of interesting places.
What will you do to bring in business this summer?
Christina R. Green teaches small businesses, chambers, and associations how to connect through content. Her articles have appeared in the Midwest Society of Association Executives’ Magazine, NTEN.org, AssociationTech, and Socialfish. She is a regular blogger at Frankjkenny.com and the Event Manager Blog. She’s a bookish writer on a quest to bring great storytelling to organizations everywhere.