In the good old summertime we often feel like taking some time to just sit back and relax. As an entrepreneur, there is no boss or set vacation schedule telling you how many days you can take off. The kids are home from school and it might be fun to spend more time with them. The business will be fine, you think.
But will it? Even the largest of companies don’t really have the luxury to cut back on their marketing at any one time of the year. Marketing covers so many key communication strategies that cutting back or stopping completely could result in a dramatic loss of business. It is important to maintain top-of-mind awareness to keep competitors from making any inroads into your customer base. Email, website and social media marketing can keep you in touch with current customers and prospects who suddenly decide they need your product or service during the summer.
And if you decide to drop out of sight for a short time, what happens if your customers decide to do the same to you?
You will have lost traction with any relationships you built, and trying to get them back on track can be an almost insurmountable chore. So what is a small business owner who needs some time to reinvigorate supposed to do? Here are a few suggestions to keep your marketing from falling off the grid:
• A little pre-planning goes a long way: Take some time now to think about your summer marketing strategy. What do you want to do, and who do you need to contact? There are many social media posts and email messages that can be written and scheduled to be released at a later date. That can make it seem like you are still in touch.
• Get some short-term help: Although your business might not yet be ready to hire a full-time employee, you might be able to take on a high school or college student for a few weeks while you cut back. Show them your marketing plan and learn about digital skills they have that could help. Can they answer any questions you receive on Facebook, send out appropriate Twitter remarks, or handle anything that comes through the website? You at least want to look like the business is still operating at full force.
• Focus on event marketing: If you can’t put a three-month marketing plan into place, you can do some focused marketing around events like graduations, Father’s Day, Independence Day, and Labor Day. Or your local town might have a big yearly event that you could capitalize on with a marketing push of your own.
• Get involved: Some towns have vendor fairs or community days with small booth opportunities for local businesses. This might be a good way to introduce your business to a whole new array of possible customers.
• Summer marketing tie-ins: Think about how your business ties-in with the summer and do some marketing around that. Can your product be used in a different way over the summer? Do you have a particular line that is more popular? Is your service helpful to others who might be more active or out on vacation as well? Show how you can be of use in ways your customers and prospects might not have thought of before.
• Bring them in the door: If you have a retail location, you still want to bring customers in the door all summer. Nothing catches attention quicker than hot dogs and lemonade. It is cost-effective and refreshing, and gives customers a welcome break.
Above all, do try and take at least some time off for yourself. It can be difficult to coordinate, but it is important to keep yourself fresh. If you can arrange some away time with family and friends, make sure you are present with them. You may have to allow an hour a day to attend to business matters, but make sure you spend the rest of the time really enjoying yourself and their company. When you get back to business, you’ll all be better for the time you spent away