Summer is a fun time for most people. They’re so busy enjoying the outdoors, TV ratings and Internet usage drop an average of about 15 percent.
Barbecues, baseball, boating and outdoor parties all make it hard to get their attention to make retail sales.
So your marketing must be equal to the task. Heat up your marketing to match the hot temperatures.
Here are 13 ideas:
1. Hold a contest honoring local radio personalities
Let’s say your target audience is young adults, 18 to 34. Identify the radio stations in your market that play your target demographics’ favorite music. For stations targeting young adults, summertime ratings are the highest of the year – offering you a magical opportunity.
Depending on your region and market size, your radio-format choices probably range from contemporary hit radio to country.
Poll your staff and customers to vote on your community’s “hottest” radio personalities. Make sure the choices include stations which DJs who have fun personalities. Notify the winning DJ or morning DJ team.
Invite creative employees to write a short song complete with rhyme or puns. Tell the DJs or their producers or the station’s program director that a couple of your employees would like to visit the station with a short, fun presentation such as a quick song, and a fun plaque with flowers.
If you have a large young staff, you might really tune it up a notch – have contests for the “hottest morning show” and for the “hottest afternoon show.” If you keep it fun and short, you’ll be rewarded with three minutes of free PR.
Even if you have an older target audience, you can still do this promotion. Not to criticize, radio personalities are hams and they appreciate attention.
It’s true I have insider knowledge about broadcasting with 20+ years on-air experience before my consulting practice and planning a return to radio with a business-coaching program on an award-winning station in Seattle (KOMO News Show).
Incidentally, retail sales can be slow in February, too. Valentine’s Day is a perfect occasion to stage a promotion for the “most lovable” DJ.
If you keep it fun and short, you’ll be rewarded with three minutes of free PR.
2. Leverage the news media
Start dreaming up promotion ideas. (Many ideas will follow this article). Ever wonder why some companies are always in the news or how they succeed on the Internet?
It’s a good bet they have a good PR consultant or they have mastered the art of writing press releases. You can level the playing field with strategic press releases.
Bone up on strategies to leverage the news media.
3. Create summer specials
Think about products or services that are applicable only for the summer. Offer the deals only in the summer. Hopefully, you’ll create a tradition for which your customers look forward.
4. Promotional giveaways
Create seasonal items unique for summer weather. Interact with your customers, for example, with free sunglasses or towels for the pool or beach. Free refreshing bottled drinks also work.
If you are ambitious-enough for a parking-lot barbecue, talk well in advance with your local health department.
5. Create strategic partnerships
Look for possible partnering businesses that don’t compete with you. For instance, summertime is the time to enjoy road trips. That’s why I’ve partnered credit union-clients with car dealer-clients.
Credit-union car sales are perfect for both the financial institutions and car dealers. Financial institutions have to put their assets to work to make money — by loaning money and charging interest to offset the interest they’re paying to savings account depositors. Otherwise, financial institutions suffer from red ink, and you know what car dealers need to do.
6. Sponsor events
Look for events that can boost your brand. Pick one or two that will highlight your participation and will help enhance your community-service image.
If you live in a region with a substantial number of environmentally minded consumers, sponsor a green event but take precautions to brand your business as green.
7. Take some of your products outside
Consumers always seem to notice sidewalk or parking-lot activity and signage. Make your outside sale inviting – to attract attention and be persuasive for consumers to stay for a while — to make purchases.
8. Align with a credible charity that’s a natural for your business
Customers love community-minded businesses. You can rest assured that cause-related marketing can increase your sales by double digits. Cause-related marketing is one of my favorite recommendations.
You have a few choices:
— Keeping in mind the typical profile of your most-desired customer, and pick a charity to help. Ask the charity’s executive director to suggest past events that raised the most money.
— If you think you have a more novel idea, suggest it instead. Then, host a charity event at your location (s).
— In your advertising, promise to dedicate a percentage or fixed-dollar amount for every product customers buy.
— You can also serve as the host of a charitable event, but beware many in the audience might consider it grandstanding on your part, especially if your on-stage appearance takes more than 30 seconds.
9. Stage a customer-appreciation event
For example, you can have a special barbecue for customers (again, get advance approval from the health department). Or, for families hold a carnival event or buy a block of tickets for a baseball game.
Make it a memorable time so customers have lasting memories for repeat buying.
10. Align a hot sale with the temperature
Use hot summer temperatures to your advantage with cool (discounted) pricing. For instance, publicize that you’ll give a nice discount on days when the temperature climbs to a specified hot temperature.
11. Hold how-to demonstrations on weekends
On weekends, most consumers don’t leave the house until noon. Organize and publicize how-to demonstrations that will start at 9 or 10 a.m. That’s to get sales started early in the morning.
Suggest to your customers that they bring friends. Then, give discounts on the products that are part of the demonstration.
Heavily promote your events. Consider no-obligation enter-to-win contests.
12. Leverage social media
By now, you probably know all about creating a social-media presence. But did you know there are 11 ways to make money on Facebook?
But it might surprise you to know why marketers increasingly are using Instagram? Here’s why: Instagram beats Facebook, Twitter and Google+ in brand engagement.
13. Commission mobile apps
Make sure you have a mobile-friendly Web site. If not, get started. Businesses are increasingly using mobile apps to sell products.
From the Coach’s Corner, here are related strategies:
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What are the Secrets for Success in Advertising? Creating 5 Perceptions — There is evidence that links advertising quality and execution to making the cash register ring, and it shows creative counts more than the media plan.
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You Risk Sales If You Don’t Use This Mobile-Web Strategy — You know, of course, strong brand perceptions and emotional engagement drive sales. You also know your mobile-site strategy should be a priority, as a result of the skyrocketing popularity of mobile devices. But here’s a question: Is your mobile site actually hindering brand perception and emotional engagement?
“People are always going to go shopping. A lot of our effort is just: ‘How do we make the retail experience a great one?’”