Ah, summer. A time for beaches, sun, vacations, frisbee and baseball. For the business owner, however, it’s time for summer school.
The summer is the best time to refresh your marketing strategy with the information you’ve gained from the past six months. What’s worked? What hasn’t? What are you dropping? What are you increasing? You’ve tried a lot of things and now’s the time to buckle down a bit and refresh. So here are 8 tactics to help you refresh your marketing this summer and plan for a successful 3rd and 4th quarter!
1) RESEARCH, REVIEW, MEASURE, REPEAT
It’s time to take stock on what happened in the past six months. Did your email marketing work well? How did your print ads perform? Did you get conversions or just calls? Did you notice an increase in business from core customers or new customers? Most importantly: Is your marketing translating into measurable business ROI? You have six months of research available to you that can help you decide the next six months, usually the most profitable seasons of the year. Chances are you are a small business or non-profit with limited funds so you MUST research your overall marketing spend and reviews the metrics to determine ROI or not. Otherwise, you’re simply throwing darts blindfolded. Now’s the time to step back from advertising a bit and step up in measuring your six month results.
2) LESS GUESSING, MORE INVESTING
This point is so important that it warrants being repeated. If there’s no way to measure results on your marketing, you should avoid it at all costs. Facebook, Google, Mailchimp, SalesForce, they all provide measurable statistics that PROVE what works and what doesn’t. The importance of measuring results isn’t just about ROI; it’s about the opportunity cost of your marketing dollars as well – imagine the areas you could have spent on and gotten phenomenal results if you hadn’t spent those dollars elsewhere. The marketing strategy of the top companies in the world rely on statistical data to drive their marketing decisions and, surprise, you have access to the same tools as they do! Maybe you can’t do the homework by yourself? Feel guilty about cutting back spending or hesistant to increase it? Or perhaps you don’t know how to react with the information you have now? Call in the marketing experts and you’ll gain a valuable second opinion.
3) BECOME THE CUSTOMER
Orders may be slowing down a bit so now you can play the role of the customer. Put down the rose colored glasses and start the purchasing process from the perspective of the customer for a change – the phone call, the store visit or the Google search. Is your automated phone system working well? Is your store front appealing or disappointing? Can you find your own business online or under a Ripoff Report? By stepping out of the manager role and entering the customer role, you can start seeing what they see and feel about your business.
4) REFRESH YOUR BROCHURES & MATERIALS
New fonts, colors and designs are constantly popping up. Start associating with the newest and trendiest out there! Hire a designer to update your materials, freshen up your logo and keep your brand as modern as possible. Change your print ad design/ layout regularly and incorporate current fonts in your social media cover photos. Freshen up your store seasonally with summer colors, florals and designs. Most importantly, be consistent in what you design across the board; consistently trendy, that is. Freshen up every season and you’ll always attract attention.
5) START A NEW PROJECT
Customer loyalty has eroded in recent years due to a less-connected online and mobile marketplace. Customers are now focused on high quality products that make their life easier. The trend of same-day shipping, in-store pickup, and free delivery all make customers lives easier. Take the summer and start a new project that makes your customers life easier. Start a weekly email campaign, packed with clip-free coupons. Create a mobile shopping app for customers to shop on their schedule. Make your website responsive and not merely a website. Start conceptualizing a new product line over the summer that can be launched quickly in the fall. By starting a new project, you’re keeping your brand fresh and customer base happy!
6) LEARN A NEW (MARKETING) LANGUAGE
You’ve done the banner ad and tried the print ads. Did they yield the results you were hoping for? Direct mail and print ads have diminishing returns so try something fresh and different. Maybe you didn’t have the time or you didn’t want to take a chance, but now’s the time to try new things! Focus on email marketing, create an eCommerce site or target your best audience through sponsorships. Find your target market, cut out the middlemen and put your message right in front of them. The summer is the best time to try new things.
7) REWORK YOUR WEBSITE & SEO
Take the time this summer to finally rework that one stubborn page on your website. Maybe it’s the ABOUT US page or the TESTIMONIALS page that needs to be reworked; now’s the time. Focus in on SEO when rewriting your pages and add in popular keywords that are more relevant today than six months ago. Sit on the beach, sip an ice cold beverage and type up five blog posts – again, keyword optimized ones – in one day. By keeping your content, website and SEO fresh, you’ll attract fresh customers and potentially higher search rankings.
8) START A CUSTOMER SURVEY
Remember the first two points above? Well, this helps you solve those problems with little guesswork. In a recent IBM /eConsultancy report, 4 out of 5 consumers say brands don’t get them. So maybe it’s time to poll your customers. Ask them what they think about your business, what products they’d like to see more of, what they need in the next six months and how you can help make their life easier. Once you have those answers, since it’s the dog days of summer, start implementing their requests. You don’t always need to predict what your customers want; you can usually ask them. The challenge is finding the time to implement it.