It’s already August; the final month of summer. People are squeezing in one last vacation getaway and rushing to enjoy the last days of sunshine before school, autumn, and cooler weather sets in. No matter what type of business you have, you can leverage this time to market your services and products. How? Here are five creative and free marketing ideas you can complete before summer ends.
Take a Staycation
If you and your customers can’t sneak away to the beach, bring that allure to your business! Position yourself or products like a staycation. Highlight if you have a patio at your restaurant, run a sale on “cool” air conditioning services, or simply explain how you make their life a “vacation.” Test emotional words like cool, easy, or relaxing. Here are 50 summer email subject lines to give you some inspiration!
You may not view your business as a getaway, but your customers can! Many businesses run sales and promotions to attract business in the slower months. Facebook advertising now allows you to run “Offer Ads.” These let you advertise a special and a Facebook user can even bookmark the ad to reference later. Special offers also increase click-through rates on PPC campaigns like AdWords. Cross promote your marketing ideas with your advertising channels for extra awareness.
Create a Referral or Loyalty Program
Word of mouth is the best form of marketing. People love to tell others about positive memories – just look at what people share on social media. Expand your business this summer by launching a referral or loyalty program. Whether it’s asking people to forward an email or check-in on social media, friends of your customers will learn about your business. For loyal, repeat customers, try to offer an incentive for coming back.
Another trending marketing strategy is creating an “Ambassador Program.” Ask your passionate customers or local influencers to apply in exchange for special offers and discounts at your business. In return, they post about your business on their blog or social channels! It’s a win-win situation.
Host a Photo Contest
A picture is worth a thousand words. Some fun summer marketing ideas are to host various photo contests. Ask your customers to post a photo with your product or at your business. If that doesn’t work, have them take a creative photo of something related to you! When people submit entries, be sure to engage with participants by liking their photo or sharing it yourself. Make sure you ask them to tag you online or use a special hashtag that you and your audience can follow. To ensure success, make sure people know about the contest! Advertise it weeks before and follow-up multiple times before you open submissions. Then, be sure to announce any closing deadlines well in advance so interested participants can prepare.
“Content is fire, social media is gasoline.” – Jay Baer
Gain Some Reviews
Rather than simply promoting your own website, try promoting your review sites instead. A positive customer review on Google or Yelp goes a long way online, especially for customer discovery. Advertise the places where people can leave you a review. Put a sign in your shop window or near your cash register. Place links on your social media pages and website. Send a customer-wide email and simply ask for one! Make it as easy as possible! As an additional incentive, offer a small discount or free offering on their next visit if they leave a review.
Regardless whether the review is positive or negative, ALWAYS respond. It’s easy to thank someone for their business and make happy customers feel appreciated. As for upset visitors, ask how you can make it right next time. You can easily turn a bad review into an opportunity to shine. “Hug Your Haters” is a great book explaining the importance of review sites and how business owners can use them as their own marketing channel.
Use This Month to Plan
While you’re sitting here wondering where in the world June and July went, it’s time to take a minute and reflect. Unless you’re a seasonal business, summer months can be a slow time for any industry. (Ever wonder why there are so many summer sales?!) This is the perfect time to look internally. Take advantage of this slower month to create a simple marketing plan for the months ahead. Try out these simple steps to get started.
Begin by describing your current business situation and noticing where you need help the most. Ask yourself questions like: Are you trying to attract new customers or bring back old ones? Do people in your area know about you? Can people find you easily on Google and Maps? What do customers think about you? Are you trying to sell more product or build brand exposure? Jot down these questions and try to conclude one or two main missions that seem most important to you. The rest of your “marketing plan” should attempt to focus on these missions!
Next, list some short-term goals you know you can accomplish this month. For example, you think you’re struggling with brand awareness so you want to build a bigger audience on social media. Write down the goal, then draft a checklist of small steps you can tackle one at a time to complete this goal. To attract that bigger audience, you dedicate 10 minutes a day to this platform and set out to gain 100 new followers before the end of August. Accomplishing these tasks will give you a huge sense of accomplishment.
The last step of your marketing plan is wrapping it up! Dedicate some time at the end of August to review what you did and see how well it worked. Take what you learned and start over again!
Marketing Ideas for August
Summer is a coveted season because of the relaxing and carefree attitude that it brings upon us. Channeling this positive and happy energy into your business isn’t only profitable, but motivating and uplifting. Set yourself up for success by taking some time to plan ahead. August is the opportune month to create a small action plan for you and your business. The above five marketing ideas are timely to summer and free to launch. With some time on your end to set them up, you can accomplish five big marketing ideas that will help your business all year long.