Small business owner doing business in the summer.

Summer marketing strategies for SMBs

Summer is almost here, but now is not the time to take a vacation from marketing. Depending on your industry, you might see sales ramp up or slow down during the summer. Either way, you don’t want to stand still while your competitors get ahead of the curve. Summer marketing can be different in many ways compared to other seasons, since people are much more out and about and wanting to interact. With tourism picking up and the weather heating up, don’t miss out on this golden opportunity to market your small business. Marketing strategies will vary from business-to-business since so much depends on the industry, goals, and budget that’s available. That’s why we put together a list of easy to implement and low-cost marketing strategies to help boost your business during this summer.

Tourism & Holiday Marketing

For most people, summer brings warmer weather, blossomed flowers, and iced coffee. For small business owners, summer brings people, holidays and peak shopping months. During the summer, people are more likely to venture out to local shops, street vendors and local festivals. This is an ideal time for your small business to attract customers that you wouldn’t have access to otherwise. Depending on your location, this may have minimal impact on your business. But if tourists are gathering to your locale, make sure your business is easy to find. Most tourists use smartphones to find recommendations and places to go, so invest in having your business rank high in local search rankings. To take it a step further, agree on partnerships with locale hotels or restaurants and have them recommend your small business to tourists. By practicing these tips, word-of-mouth marketing will occur naturally, and people will be lured to your small business. What’s more, the summer brings 3 distinct holidays for most provinces. This is a major opportunity to offer summer discounts on some of your products or services and to implement themes for these celebrations. For example, if you’re a local bakery, you could offer Canada Day baked goods which highlight colors of the Canadian flag. Be creative and don’t shy away from throwing your hat in the ring to attract new customers. Finally, keep an eye out on your competitors and find out what they’re doing. If they’re offering summer discounts, match those discounts or offer even better deals on similar products or services.

Get Involved in Your Community

In most cases, the most anticipated events of the year are held during the summer and there’s a good chance your target audience will be attending these events. Your presence at these events or festivals guarantees your business will be seen by lots of people, generating brand awareness and increased visibility. Make a detailed list of potential events which align well with your brand and identify the ones you’re interested in targeting. If you have the budget, buy a booth at an event and offer promotional products or samples to visitors. You can even offer giveaways, which are a great way to get customers excited and to interact with your business. Incorporate your social media channels or website into giveaways, incentivizing visitors to search for your business online. And make sure your social media channels and your website are visible to the naked eye to passerby’s. If you can’t find any events worth sponsoring, don’t hesitate to host your own event. Organize a small pop-up shop at a popular local location to showcase your new offerings. Better yet – teaming up with other small businesses who offer complementary products or services and who share similar target audiences can be mutually beneficial. Customers enjoy seeing local businesses work together since it offers them the chance to discover new businesses with whom they can develop relationships with.

Embracing Summer Marketing

It’s important to capitalize on the summer season by incorporating summer themes in your digital marketing efforts and with marketing materials or collateral. Summer is the perfect time to get your messaging in front of large numbers of potential customers. Here are a few ways to engage your audience through messaging and marketing collateral:

  • Social media channels should be utilized more than ever during the summer months, since people are traveling more and searching for nearby businesses or upcoming events on these platforms.
  • Consider the various places you could hang promotional banners in high-traffic locations, increasing your exposure to new customers and engaging with them where they’re likely to gather.
  • Take advantage of summer themes such as back to school promos and discounts for students in the later stages of summer.
  • Giveaway free promotional items to your customers to celebrate the summer months such as sunglasses, hats, water bottles, pens, frisbees, all bearing your logo and contact information. These types of items are durable and will likely survive for many years, providing repeat exposures to your messaging at no additional cost.
  • Work with a local website designer to give your business website a fresh new summer look or freshen up your physical location with summer-themed displays which captivate attention.

The options are endless! Don’t be afraid to stand out from the crowd. Let your originality and creativity shine through your advertising and marketing.

The Bottom Line

Safe to say, this summer will be one to remember. With restrictions in Canada being completely eased and tourism ramping up, small businesses are due for a busier season. That said, sales can be low during the summer for some small business owners. If you normally struggle with sales during the summer, these strategies can help you revitalize your business and to make the most of your downtime. And if it doesn’t pan out, not all is lost. Your efforts will carry over to the next fall and winter. Be ahead of the curve by planning your summer marketing strategy early and taking advantage of this opportunity to boost your business. Embrace the summer fully and let the power of marketing work its magic.