Most businesses face a sales slump during the summer months. These seven ideas can help you bring in more customers during slow months and combat seasonal income fluctuations.
Families might love summer because it means time off from school and long weekends at the beach. However, small business owners are less likely to appreciate this time of year. In fact, summertime is infamous in the marketing world because it tends to correspond with a serious sales slump.
According to a report by the web analytics firm SumAll, online shopping figures drop 30 percent between December and July. As a result, many businesses are left scrambling to make up for lost profits. Here are seven effective tips to fight summer slowdowns and ensure sales figure rise along with the temperatures this year:
1. Hold a social media contest
Sponsoring a social media contest is a great way to generate excitement during a slow time in the sales season. Not only is a social media giveaway great for engaging customers and increasing page views, but it also creates goodwill for your business.
For best results, incorporate the season into your contest while personalizing it to reflect the type of business you operate. For example, an online clothing retailer could invite customers to submit photos of themselves in their Fourth of July outfits. On the other hand, a local gym might ask its clients to share tips for how they keep up with their workouts while traveling for vacations. You can offer a gift or discount to the winning entry.
Because Facebook and Twitter tend to remain popular regardless of the season, business owners can be confident that social media contents will help them reach a wider audience and, ideally, boost sales.
2. Add value instead of cutting prices
Marketers are often tempted to cut prices during the summer months when sales are slow. Unfortunately, cutting prices also reduces your business’s profits.
Instead of selling items for less than they’re worth, strive to entice customers to buy by boosting the perceived value of your products and services. For example, a local nail salon could offer a deal in which customers who purchase both a manicure and a pedicure get free nail art.
Similarly, you can opt to give away branded items like beach bags or water bottles with purchases of $25. Not only do these branded gifts serve as great marketing tools, but they also boost goodwill among your client base.
RELATED: 8 Ways to Increase Your Small Business Profits
3. Be seasonal and smart
Just because the December holidays have passed doesn’t mean businesses should hesitate to take advantage of seasonal marketing opportunities. To get started, brainstorm a list of summer events to highlight when promoting your products.
Along with holidays like Flag Day and the Fourth of July, small businesses can look for marketing opportunities centered around popular summertime activities like cookouts, beach trips, and days at the baseball park.
The idea is to provide readers with summer-themed content, such as blogs and social media posts, and use them to promote your relevant products and services.
RELATED: 7 Summertime Publicity Ideas
4. Try out a new item
Many small businesses wait until autumn and back-to-school season to release new products. However, marketers looking to overcome the summer slump might want to consider announcing a new product during this time of year.
Because there are fewer new items on the market at this time, your product has a better chance of standing out and attracting attention. As an added benefit, introducing a new item or service during summer gives you a chance to try it out with a smaller audience to gauge interest.
If it turns out your clients aren’t interested in dog massages, you can cancel the offering without much fanfare or embarrassment.
5. Email your customers regularly
The promotions and special offers you plan won’t do you a lot of good if customers don’t know about them. Posting to your social media accounts may help, but your posts, if they show up at all, could get buried in your followers’ feeds.
Get the word out more reliably by emailing customers and prospects. Let them know about new products, planned events, and special summertime offers. Be sure to collect email addresses of new customers you acquire during the summer so you can stay in contact with them the rest of the year.
6. Partner with another business
Collaborating with another business can be a great way to boost sales for both parties. Because people are often eager to get out of town during the hot summer months, you might want to consider partnering with a travel company or local tour guide business. You can offer customers who spend $25 at your store another $25 in credit with your partner.
Not only do these offers incentivize buyers to visit both shops, but they also afford each business access to an audience it might not otherwise come into contact with.
RELATED: Customer-Attracting Cross-Promotions
7. Stay positive
As a small business owner, you set the tone for your employees and contractors, who then take that attitude with them to your clients. Minimize sales downturns during the summer months by maintaining a positive outlook in front of your team.
When you speak to your sales representatives, avoid using terms like “slump” or “downturn” and focus instead on encouraging each rep to boost personal performance. Additionally, you can incentivize stressed-out sales staff by planning some fun summer activities for them. For example, you might want to host a team-wide bowling night or invite your employees and their friends to a picnic in the park. You don’t have to spend a fortune to boost spirits and invigorate your staff.
Summer sales figures might be historically low, but that doesn’t mean your small business profits have to suffer as well. Follow the above suggestions to keep your sales numbers up no matter how high the mercury soars.
Disclaimer: The content on this page is for informational purposes only, and does not constitute legal, tax, or accounting advice. If you have specific questions about any of these topics, seek the counsel of a licensed professional.