Strategies to make the most of the summer slowdown
When most people hear the word “summer,” thoughts turn away from work to days at the pool or beach, summer sports with kids, and ice cold drinks. We normally think of summer as a time when work generally slows down (unless you’re in the sunscreen or swimsuit business). However, spending marketing dollars during a slowdown has actually been shown to increase sales once spending picks up- according to one study, businesses that increased advertising budgets during the ‘81-‘82 recession saw sales increase an average of 2 ½ times more than businesses who kept ad spending flat. Here’s how to get a head start on online marketing efforts this summer:
An online marketing strategy like SEO or SEM only works well if your site is equipped to deal with the increased traffic. Hire a web developer or web programmer to make sure your site is easy to navigate, well organized and has the capacity to handle more visitors. If you don’t have an ecommerce section, now is a good time to accept credit cards on your site and build a shopping cart. Companies providing merchant services could also have special rates given the economy and season.
Try New Ideas.
If you’ve been putting off launching a social media strategy, such as starting a blog or using Twitter, now is the time. During the summer, you’ll have the time to implement a strategy, hire interns to do the leg work and track different programs making adjustments along the way.
Take advantage of summer talent.
A good online marketing campaign requires a certain level of maintenance, or day-to-day monitoring. Hiring a summer intern is a great way to get skilled help for very little cost- sometimes even for free. Check with your local community colleges, universities, and graduate schools to see if they offer school credit to students who work for local businesses.
The summer is also a great time to assess your yearly progress and make adjustments to your online marketing plan. Consider the recent strategy of the Cleveland Indians, who tracked game attendance statistics according to factors like school vacations, weather, and special promotions. Unsurprisingly, games were more heavily attended when children were out of school, and less crowded when rain was forecast. But they also found out that certain promotions were overwhelmingly more popular than others- the appearance of one specific former player increased ticket sales by 6,600.
In the summer, you have at least half a year’s worth of sales information to track. Figuring out which strategies work will allow you to plan better for the rest of the year.