Memorial day has since come and gone, and the graduation parties are long over. That can only mean one thing — summer is just a couple of weeks away. While most of us dream of fun filled days at the beach, or laying around a pool sipping fruity drinks, if you’re a business owner you’ve likely come to a proverbial fork in the road. Pull back on marketing during the seasonal slump, or strategize marketing efforts to help pull you through the slower period?
Whether you own an ice-cream shop on the Jersey shore, a ski shop in the mountains of Colorado, you’ve experienced the challenges of the dreaded off-season. After your peak season ends, a stretch of slow business begins and you’re left wondering what you can do.
If summer is your off-season, you don’t have to resign yourself to slumps in revenue. Here are some ideas to help get your creative juices flowing that you may want to include in refreshing your on hold message content, and discover a cure for those summertime blues.
1. Host a Local Event
Hosting a local event can get you in front of new people and position your business as a community leader. However, since it’s summer (and we’re bringing the vacation to them, remember?), don’t think about an event with speakers and industry knowledge; think instead about hosting a relaxing event that also gets you in front of potential customers. Everyone wants downtime in the summer, and by hosting an event that people actually want to attend, you’re giving them that downtime in a way that makes your business stand out.
2. Differentiate Yourself Within a Super-Niche Market
In order to keep things steady during your slower months, consider focusing on a niche market with whom your products or services could be a huge benefit. For example, if you run a bakery that experiences frequent peaks and valleys throughout the year, try marketing yourself to a gluten-free or sugar-free crowd. Specializing with these markets will give you an edge that not as many competitors can leverage, making you the stand-out business in your industry and giving that niche market even more reason to come and see you.
This doesn’t mean you start marketing yourself as a purveyor of sugar- and gluten-free products exclusively, but it does mean you inform callers about custom birthday cakes you’ve done for customers with special gluten- and sugar-free dietary needs, opening up new marketing and sales opportunities.
3. Rewards Programs
If you haven’t yet started a “Rewards Program”, now may be the perfect time to do so and mention in your message on hold. Rewards programs like “Buy 10 sandwiches and get the 11th free” can really boost your sales because it requires your customers to buy more of your product than they might normally for the opportunity to get a free one. This can also give you a step up above your competition that might not offer programs like this for their loyal customers. Rewards programs are an inexpensive way to market your business and gain new customers.
4. Try Something New
Now is a great time to try out that new marketing idea you have been toying with but haven’t had the time to implement. You’ve already invested marketing dollars to get your phone to ring, and callers on hold represent your most targeted audience, and the best to test out your new marketing idea on. Entrepreneur and marketer Seth Godin once commented, “change almost never fails because it’s too early. It almost always fails because it’s too late.” … So, trying something certainly beats doing nothing!
Don’t just sit around waiting for something to happen. Instead, updating your on hold marketing content can help you increase inbound sales opportunities, and be your cure for the summertime blues.
Your Turn: What creative summer marketing ideas have you tried in your on hold message? Fill us in, or share on Facebook!