Sunny skies can have a powerful impact on people, especially if they’ve spent the winter under a pile of blankets binge watching Game of Thrones. Once that warm weather hits, you can hardly blame them for getting out.
Unfortunately, their increased busyness seldom leads to increased business for you. But it doesn’t have to be that way. We spoke to a number of small-business owners and marketing consultants to find out how you can turn great weather into great business opportunities. Here's what we found out.
1. Take Advantage of Foot Traffic
Freelance marketing consultant David Everett Strickler (@mktgmantra) says, “Summer is a wonderful opportunity to do two things: move last season's inventory and sell hot on-trend consumer goods.”
But he adds that if you want to take advantage of the increased foot traffic that summer often brings, you should be smart about your setup.
“Have both what they were drawn toward (the sale selection) and current items that may be of interest to them,” he says. That way you encourage multi-unit sales.
Here’s how: Strickler suggests getting shoppers' attention with a bright, bold sale sign. Then group items to encourage consumers to purchase them together.
For instance, a surf shop might sell hoodies at a deep discount, but place new wet suits alongside them. The hoodie pulls them in, and the savings may help loosen their purse strings for other purchases.
2. Find Your Customers' Motivation
Shaun Walker, the co-founder and creative director of HEROfarm (@herofarm), says your business can take advantage of the season's business opportunities if you focus on your customers.
“Everyone has needs and, as a business, your job is to try to fill them,” he says. “Take a look at your customers and see what is driving them at the moment.”
Here’s how: Let’s say you own a store and have a lot of parents in your client base.
“During the summer, children often find themselves with huge chunks of free time while parents worry about the mischief and headaches that can bring,” says Walker. As a storeowner, he says you can address that problem like Target did with its “Big Honkin’ Summer” campaign. The store packaged several products together that both filled and enhanced the empty time.
3. Look into On-Demand Geofilters
Paul Lemley (@PALemley), the chief digital strategist with Lemley Media, says Snapchat Geofilters are a good way to take advantage of the countless outdoor festivals, beer gardens, beach parties, and athletic events that pop up during the summer months.
“Oftentimes, sponsorship of these events are extremely cost prohibitive, exclusive to specific brands, take months to prepare, and only garner the attention of individuals in attendance,” says Lemley. But creating a customized Snapchat frame or image is “a targeted and inexpensive option to capture the attention of attendees and their Snapchat followers.”
Here’s how: Start by identifying events that your clients might find interesting. For example, Lemley says a clothing store may want to take advantage of the crowds a concert or festival draws.
“They can create a unique filter that engages the concert attendees, targeting only the grounds on which the event is occurring,” he notes.
Lemley acknowledges that this is currently a “pure branding and awareness tactic,” but points out it has “the potential to be seen by thousands of individuals.” Snapchat also added advertising capability, so he recommends you be on the lookout for case studies in the fall.
4. Know What You Want
Before you set up sales or promotions, think about the end game.
“Summer sales, like at other times of year, have to make sense,” warns Culinest (@Culinest) principal and CEO Terry Frishman. “Know your margins, what you can afford to discount, and what you want from it. Are you trying to sell more at one time, like buy two, get one free, or have a loss leader to get people in the door or purchasing for the first time?”
Here’s how: Once you’re sure of your goal, Frishman suggests matching your offer with your ideal customer. That might mean taking a new product to the local farmers markets for feedback or hosting an outdoor movie night that both builds community and creates sales opportunities.
5. Attend ‘Boardwalk U’
What exactly is Boardwalk U? For Bill Corbett, president of Corbett Public Relations (@liprguy), it’s literally the boardwalk in Long Beach. He breaks out his sneakers, puts on his headphones, and enjoys the nice weather, all the while listening to podcasts and audiobooks. By the end of the summer, he says he has a “renewed understanding of marketing strategies, new technology, and sage advice from the top gurus in the sector.”
“In my opinion, it is not so much as what you can do; it is what you can learn during the lazy days of summer,” says Corbett. “For me, this means reading, researching, and listening.”
Here’s how: Corbett says Boardwalk University is “any place where you can focus on professional improvement.” Don’t have a boardwalk in your town? How about a quiet coffee shop or the library? Of course, these days, you can take the library wherever you go. Pick a spot and make good use of the extra time you have.
Looking for more ways to take advantage of the season? Perhaps the answer is in “Should Your Business Have Shorter Hours in the Summer?”
About the Contributors
Bill Corbett is president of Corbett Public Relations, an award-winning professional public and media relations firm based in Floral Park, New York. He is a recognized public relations, media relations, crisis communications, digital media, and personal branding expert with over 25 years of experience. Known for effectively building and protecting reputations and brands, Corbett’s mission is to provide businesses and entrepreneurial-minded individuals with effective and goal-focused marketing strategies and services.
Multiple-award-winning Terry Frishman (Columbia MBA), principal of the boutique food consultancy Culinest, inspires and helps food start-ups and more established culinary businesses profitably excel. Frishman has been a repeat industry expert on Food Network, International Restaurant Show, and the Fancy Food Show, served on many professional Boards of Directors and taught food business classes to thousands of aspiring food entrepreneurs. As Product Manager at Kraft, she won 6 team awards, launched a $20M brand and successfully managed $120M brand.
Since receiving his master’s degree in communication, Paul Lemley has guided multiple organizations through digital transformations, from non-profits, global manufacturers, and e-commerce brands to national franchises. As founder and chief digital strategist of Lemley Media, he brings this background to small and medium-sized businesses looking to grow their digital presence but tie their strategies to return on investment.
David Everett Strickler is a marketing and branding consultant and writer with over eight years of experience in marketing and advertising. A self-proclaimed "Millennial Marketer," Strickler has successfully launched brands, personalities, and small businesses through professional marketing and identity services. He regularly speaks to students and professionals alike about marketing, careers, and life experiences in the New York Metro area.
Shaun Walker is the creative director and co-founder of HEROfarm Marketing, Public Relations and Design, a New Orleans-born agency that arose post-Hurricane Katrina to help do its part in rebuilding the city and empowering entrepreneurs there. Founded in 2009 by award-winning industry veterans Shaun Walker and Reid Stone, HEROfarm is built on a social mission and simple philosophy: Do great work for good people.™ It strives to transform the traditional sell-buy-consume process into a meaningful connection between consumers and companies while making a positive impact on the world.