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summer slump

6 and a half ways to make the most of the summer slump

Schools are on holiday and your business has slowed. You’re wondering how to avoid the summer slump and stay productive. Well, the summer months are great for working on your marketing and getting ready for when everyone goes back to work. Using your slow months to plan ahead is a good way to make the best use of your time. Here are six ways to counteract the summer slump.

1. Review your marketing campaigns

Take a look back at the last six months of campaigns. Figure out what worked and what didn’t. Understanding the impact of your campaigns will help you plan what to do for the rest of the year. Work out ways to do more of what did work and bin anything that didn’t work.

2.  Work on your marketing plan

The summer months are perfect for working on your marketing plan. If you don’t know where to get started, read this post. Having a plan for what you’re going to do for the rest of the year will free you up to run your business, and have regular marketing campaigns.

3.  What’s your budget?

I’ve said it before, if you’re spending money on marketing, you have a budget. You need to make sure you’re tracking what you spend so you understand how much money is going out of your business. To understand the effectiveness of your campaigns, one of the things you need to understand is what you’re spending on them. If you don’t know how to get started on putting together a budget, read this post.

4.  School time for you

Slower months are perfect for learning new skills to help you with your business. The pace of change in marketing, especially digital marketing, is fast. If you want to make the most impact with your marketing campaigns, then you need to know the latest in the world of marketing. Take time this summer to read up on what’s changed and how it might affect marketing for your business.

5.  Clean up your email list

I can hear the groans. A clean list means more successful email campaigns. Think about how many people you have on your email list. If you don’t have the correct details for even a third of them, that’s a third of your list that never sees your emails. So, now you have some time, work on getting your email list up to scratch. If you need convincing to do it, read this post.

6.  Create your content calendar

I’m a big fan of planning. And it’s never more useful than when it comes to your content. How much time do you spend wondering what to write for your blog or your newsletters? A bit of planning up front will help you stop wasting time doing the thinking, when you should be doing the doing. What’s more, it doesn’t have to be a massively complex plan and it needn’t take you ages to do. I speak from experience – I put together my content plan for the whole year in three hours. If you want to know how I did it, read this post.

6.  And a half… take some time off!

If business is slow for you in the summer, then make the most of it and take some time off. Recharging your batteries is important. So, take a week or two off and take the time to do things for yourself. You’ll find you’re much more productive afterwards.

So there you have it. Whether you decide to do one or all of the above things, you’ll be sure to have made the most of the summer slump for your business.

I’d love to know what you’re doing to stay productive over the summer. Let me know in the comments box below.

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4 things my dad taught me about marketing

Father’s day is fast approaching and, of course, thoughts turn to what I could buy my dad. But it also got me thinking about all the things he’s given me as a business owner. My dad has turned his hand to many jobs; he started working when he was 15. His career was varied and full of hard work. He learned many lessons on the way, and he’s passed those lessons on to me, making me the business person I am today. Here are four important things I learned from him and how they can be applied to marketing.

  1. Never miss an opportunity

If you know me well, you’ll know I’m a planner. I have to have a plan for every eventuality – with a list attached! Having a marketing plan and budget for your business is important, but you have to remember one equally important thing.

Be flexible!

You just can’t plan for some things, and having flexibility in your plan and your budget will help you accept opportunities you didn’t know were going to come along.

Being flexible doesn’t just mean changing your plan or allocating your budget differently. It also means looking at all opportunities that come your way, even if, at first, they don’t seem relevant to your business objectives.

  1. The final price is NEVER the final price

You want to advertise, exhibit, insert any marketing activity you like. You’re talking to the supplier and the price they’re quoting is just too high.

Let me tell you now that it’s not the final price. All suppliers have room to manoeuvre. So brush up on your negotiation skills. It could be as simple as making the ask: “I’d love to take you up on your offer, but my budget just won’t stretch that far. Is there anything you can do?” You’ll be surprised how willing suppliers are to negotiate.

Alternatively, offer them something in return. If you have a large social following, offer sharing something from the supplier with them. If you have a great blog, offer to write some posts for them.

Be bold – I can’t tell you the number of times I’ve seen my dad get the deal he wanted.

  1. Have a system

Running your business is tough. You have conflicting priorities and customers to keep happy. Having a system will help you run your business more effectively, and more efficiently.

Setting up processes, especially if you have a team, is a great way to make you more efficient. It makes doing a repetitive take easier to do – you don’t have to think about how you do it, you just get it done.

As your business grows, you’ll need help. That’s the simple truth – you just won’t be able to manage everything. Having a system, preferably documented, will help you to outsource certain aspects of the running of your business. For example, if you have guest writers for your blog, as it grows you’ll need help managing them.

Having a system frees up your time and helps you work smarter. It’s as simple as that.

  1. A sense of humour goes a long way

I always saw my dad having a laugh and a joke with his customers. His humour helped build a great relationship with them.

It’s no different with your business. A sense of humour lightens any situation and helps you build strong relationships with not only your customers, but your suppliers too.

A winning smile and taking the time to get to know and laugh with your customers will pay dividends for your business. And let’s face it, when has word of mouth never worked for your business? Those relationships you build will help you get more business.

I’ve learned a lot from my dad over the years. I hope these four tips from him help you with your business. Oh, and Happy Father’s Day to all the dads out there!

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