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Summer brings warm weather, vacation, and frequent visits by food and ice cream trucks. More and more, people venture out to local shops, street vendors and local festivals. Savvy entrepreneurs know this is an ideal time to attract new customers—provided that they market their products and services effectively.

In this article, we present six summer marketing ideas to help grow your small or micro business.

Partner with a non-competing business

Creating an incentive package is an ideal way to refer business to partners who share the same target audience. With more prospective customers thinking about vacations, date nights or weekend getaways, a bistro could partner with a bed and breakfast and small theatre company to offer a romantic couples’ package. Alternatively, a golf course, day spa and sporting apparel store could partner to deliver a golf lesson, gift certificate toward golf or sporting apparel, and massage after the lesson. Brainstorm with potential partners to develop a package that shows you understand your clientele’s unique needs. Each business could then market and sell the package, and the partners could divide the proceeds.

Create Branded swag and support media

With outdoor festivals and farmers’ markets in full swing, engage with prospective customers where they’re likely to gather. Swag creates an opportunity for a direct relationship between your target market and your business. Ramp up your marketing efforts with support media such bookmarks, magnets, pens, Frisbees and stickers bearing your logo and company contact details.

Consider that prospects are looking to beat the heat: coolie cups, fans and water bottles are ideal for summer marketing. You can pass them out at summer events or give them to prospects who enter your business.

All of these items are relatively durable and will remain with the prospective customer for an extended period, providing repeat exposures to your message at no additional cost.

Contact your municipality’s chamber of commerce, economic development office or tourist information bureau for a list of summer events and festivals in your area.

Run a contest, raffle or giveaway

Festivals and summer trade shows offer ample opportunity to market your business. Rent a booth and run a contest or raffle. Ballots or raffle tickets collect prospective customer information in exchange for a chance to win. You have an opportunity to build leads, particularly if you follow up with entrants once the contest, raffle or giveaway is over.

For-profit businesses running promotional contests are subject to the federal Competition Act and must disclose the number and approximate value of prizes, the area or areas to which they relate and any important information relating to the chances of winning such as the odds of winning.

Host a seasonal open house

Offer your customers a tour of your workshop, warehouse or studio. Such a tour lets guests see your latest work and buy any leftover stock you’ve been trying to move.

Combine your event with a tasting or skill-sharing workshop. “Happy hour” events tend to be more relaxed and afford you the opportunity to speak to a captive audience about your expertise, how you got your start and what’s branded your business for success. Imparting your knowledge through a short workshop builds positive associations: you’ve donated your time to teach your guests a tangible skill.

Customers are more likely to engage with your business once they’ve had a chance to get to know you, hear your story and see where your magic happens.

Drop prices as temperatures soar

As the mercury climbs, draw customers to your business with the promise of discounted prices. Offer a discount based on how high the temperature soars. Offering, say, a 30 per cent discount during the dog days of summer will allow you to close sales when people would otherwise rather go to the pool or stay inside where it’s cool. Be sure your business has air conditioning!

Maximize your exposure

Summer is the ideal time to get your company message in front of large numbers of potential customers. Consider the various places you could hang a large-format vinyl banner: attractions, midways, overpasses, outdoor pools, and fencing at local fairs and festivals. By placing your hot spot banner in high-traffic locations, you’ll be able to maximize your exposure at minimal cost.

What other summer marketing ideas have you tried? Let us know what’s worked for you by dropping us a comment. Lift Legal would love to hear from you.

Mel Garbe

Mel founded Lift Legal with the goal of delivering cost effective legal services without sacrificing capability by effectively using modern tools to access the types of resources that larger law firms have access to. The result being that Lift Legal provides high level professional services at a greater value.

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