Ah summertime… the dog days of summer… sweating under the sun with the smell of coconut and salt water wafting by…
Wait a minute!
If you’re in business, then those may not be relaxing thoughts at all! It’s time to do something about growing your business!
Unless you’re in a tourist industry (in which case you need marketing ideas fast) or other seasonal business, summertime may be a slower time of year. Customers, clients and prospects are more inclined to be on vacation, and that can make it harder to get results with your marketing.
So how can you use the slower season to your advantage? Here are several ways you can use right away!
1. Develop Your Content Marketing Plan
I’ve said it for years. On the web, content is king. Regardless of any search engine “tricks of the trade” you (or your web designers) may have employed, none of them will have any significant long-term effect if you don’t have good quality content.
But having the right content strategy is even more valuable now than ever before.
2 words: social media.
In a time when Facebook fans are being shown to spend hundreds of dollars more per year than non-fans, it seems awfully attractive to “get some fans.”
But you won’t… not without highly focused content.
Developing a solid content marketing strategy takes time and energy… even if you’ve got someone else to implement it. More importantly, however, it can take some time to get results — particularly if you’re just getting started or if you’ve neglected this for a while. So there’s no time like the present to get started!
2. Revisit Your Contacts Database
If you’re old school, this means whip out the Rolodex and go back through it. Here’s what you’re looking for:
- Potential Joint Venture or Referral Partners: Separate out the non-competitive contacts who serve the same market you serve, or for whom there is significant overlap. For each one, write down 2-3 possible ways that you could each cooperatively reach out to your existing relationships with an offer for the products/services of the other. Teaming up gives you the ability to share resources and gain new prospects at very low cost.
- Customers You Haven’t Heard from In a While: You’re looking for people who used to buy from you, but who dropped off the face of the earth. Set aside an hour or two a week to reach out to them. If they’re local, take ’em to Starbucks or to lunch. If not, set phone appointments. Find out what’s changing in their world. Your goal here is to listen, not to try to win back their business. This is one of the most valuable exercises any business can engage in since the changing needs and wants of a given customer can be a big clue about what needs to be changed in your business. Maybe a new product or service needs could be rolled out that’s a better match for their needs. Perhaps your message is missing the mark. You won’t know until you listen!
- Happy Customers: Find the people you’ve done a “bang up” job with and reach out to them. Find out: why they bought from you, what thrilled them about your product or service, and who they know that needs what they got from you. After you’ve heard them tell you in their own words about their experience, ask if they’d mind if you write down what you heard them say and post it on your website, Facebook, YouTube, etc. after they approve it. Even better: get a photo (or video… keep reading!) to add authenticity and credibility to their words.
3. Acquire a New Skill
Marketing is a continuous process. It happens all the time in your business whether you want it to or not. Proactively getting the right message out in today’s world involves using some skills you may not have need in a while (or ever before!). Here are some of the most valuable skills you can acquire right now — either by learning them yourself, sending a team member for some training, or hiring someone who has one or more of them:
- Writing better copy. We all need marketing copy all the time. Your Facebook posts, Tweets, blog posts, postcards, in-store promotions, e-mail, newspaper ads, radio spots… whatever you’re doing to reach out… they need to effectively communicate and compel the right people to take action.
- Simple video production. Using video on your website, Facebook posts, or even on YouTube can pack a substantial punch in terms of communicating quickly and powerfully with prospects and customers. Here’s a tip: grab an inexpensive digital device like this Flip UltraHD Camcorder that makes creating and uploading videos a snap! You can get great results even if you’re shaking like a cold Chihuahua when you show up at a customer’s location and shoot.
- Actually using Social Media as a marketer. It’s one thing to share pictures of the kids (or grandkids… you know who you are!) and “like” the latest funny video posted by your friends. It’s another thing to roll out an engaging stream of content from your business fan page or Twitter account that measurably produces new sales.
Incidentally… while I hope that the thoughts here have been useful to you, we’ve got a valuable webinar coming up next week that I’d like to invite you to. If you’re an e-mail subscriber, you’ll get your personal invitation automatically. If not, sign up here and get a free download in the process! It’ll be worth your while… I guarantee it!