Remember the polar vortex? Of course you do; you survived what most call the worst winter in recent history. Now that the sun is shining, pools and beaches are open, and ice cream trucks are rolling down the streets, it may be easy to pretend it never happened. But as schools close for the season and vacations are in full swing, summer can seem like a sales and marketing vortex for some companies – an endless season of out of office replies, scheduling and rescheduling, dismal sales, and unfortunately lower revenues.
And while that may be true, the summer doesn’t have to be a bust when it comes to your marketing initiatives. Following are five tactics that you can use this summer to reach prospects, develop relationships and support sales:
1. Expand your reach. Half of your client list is on vacation – so what? That means the other half are in the office. You can also expand your potential reach with fresh new lists too. With events and other marketing activities taking a backseat, due to summer schedules, now is the time to invest budget into list expansion and cleanup. And because it’s often difficult to reach contacts during the summer months, you should also take a best practice approach that targets individuals via email, direct mail and on their phones (both office and mobile). Append lists as needed and go multi-channel.
2. Develop deeper relationships. It’s well known that it costs more to gain a new customer than it does to keep an existing one. Spend the summer months getting to your current client base, and more importantly their needs, better through frequent visits and communication. Thank them for their business with a special incentive or a promotional item, and ask for their feedback. Use what you learn to target messages, products and promotions that will make your clients feel valued and promote loyalty and referrals.
3. Plan your next campaign. Because it can lend some down time, summer is an excellent time to get proactive. Schedule creative brainstorming sessions that will fuel multi-faceted marketing campaigns throughout the season and the year. Considering offering deep discounts, free shipping, or package deals as incentive to buy now. While margins may be lower, you can generate higher sales activity to compensate.
4. Take advantage of great weather – plan a networking event. With summer fun on everyone’s mind, consider creative strategies to get potential customers out of their homes and offices and in a casual setting with your sales team. Schedule a local beach bash, picnic or concert event for buyers that will appreciate a family-friendly environment, or a swanky networking reception or golf outing for professionals. You can use marketing lists that target by geography to draw a local crowd.
5. Take a page out of Christmas’ book. It’s never too early to get your customers and prospects thinking about fall budget planning or end of the year surplus budgets. Sales cycles, especially for organizations in the B2B space, can often take several months. While it may not best to start singing carols in July (trust us, the fella in the next cube will thank you), consider marketing messages that remind your readers that fall planning is just on the other side of their family vacation.