10 great ways small businesses can beat the summer lull
Does your business suffer from the summer lull? It always seems like everyone’s packed up and gone on holiday… except you!
The summer doesn’t have to be a complete loss for your business. There are so many things you can do whilst it’s quiet to help you make the most of the busier back to school period.
I’ve pulled together 10 things that will help make an impact on your business. What will you try? Tell me in the comments at the end.
Spruce up your social media profiles
When was the last time you updated your Facebook Page cover photo? Or even the one for your Twitter account? And did you know you can have a cover photo for your LinkedIn profile?
All these spaces are valuable for any business owner. They are spaces you can communicate with your target audience.
Remember, people will visit profile pages, so it’s well worth making use of this space. Think about what it is you want to communicate to your target audience. Then use a tool like Canva to create the individual covers.
I typically tend to have the same thing across all my profiles. It helps me to push a single campaign message out to my audience.
The trick is to know your call to action – what you want visitors to do. Facebook makes this easy for you by providing a button visitors can click. So, in the image (or video) for your Facebook Page cover, make sure you draw attention to the button.
On Twitter and LinkedIn, I include a short link (I use Bitly) within the design of the cover photo. Again, I think about how to draw attention to that. I also customise the end of the link so it’s easy for people to remember and type into a browser.
Want to know if your social media profiles are working hard enough? Read this blog post.
Review your email list
Yes, I know we’re all GDPR’d out! I’m not talking about getting permission. I’m talking about taking a long hard look at your list to see what’s going on.
Have your opens and clicks decreased? What can you put that down to?
If your opens have decreased, run a report of everyone who hasn’t opened the last say, 6 emails. Think about how you can re-engage these people. Maybe you can send them a free tips sheet or invite them to a webinar or open evening.
Put yourself in their shoes and ask yourself: “What would entice me to open these emails.”
What about if your clicks have taken a nose dive? This could mean that your content isn’t hitting the mark with your readers. What would encourage them to click? Unless you’re a mind reader, the best thing to do is ask! So, why not send out a short survey to those who haven’t clicked on anything in a while?
If you think doing this isn’t worth your while, read this post!
Pick up a good book
Summer’s a great time to catch up on all that reading you keep meaning to do. And when the weather’s good, you can go outside and get away from where you work completely.
Doing something that is completely different from your normal routine actually helps you be creative. If you’ve been turning a challenge round and round in your head, chances are you’re close to frustration.
Letting your brain focus on something unrelated lets you shift your thinking, and, quite often, the solution to the problem that’s been bothering you just comes to you.
Reading is good for the soul and it’s also good for your business. The summer lull is a great time to work on your business. Reading business books allows you to find new ways to help your business flourish.
The summer lull is perfect for learning
Don’t you find that summer just puts you in a good mood? Me too! And when you’re in a good mood, doesn’t it stand to reason that your brain is more open to learning? I have no hard statistics to prove this. It’s just how I feel!
If you’re nodding your head at this point, think about how much you could learn in the summer that will help your business and give it a boost in the autumn.
Working on your business is every bit as important as working in it. If things slow down for you in the summer, then grab the time to work out where you want your business to go for the rest of the year.
There are lots of great reasons for learning during the summer. Read this post for some more and also to see a selection of training happening across the country.
Create that marketing success plan
How many times have you promised yourself that you’ll create a marketing plan? How many times have you found something else to do, or just been too busy? I hear ya! It happens to me too.
But, think about it. How much easier would your life be in the busy times, if you had a plan? All you’d have to do is work to a plan, rather than think about what to do.
Get started by looking back at the last six months. What marketing did you do? What worked well and what didn’t? This will give you a good idea of the types of tactics that work for your business.
Now turn your mind to a marketing plan for the rest of the year. If you’re not sure how to get started, read this blog post. Don’t forget to download my Marketing Success Plan at the end!
Summer is the perfect time to plan your marketing success! Read about 9 other things you can do to make the most of the summer lull.
Create a content calendar
Now that you have your marketing success plan, coupled with a review of the marketing that worked well for you, sit down and create your content plan.
Yes, another plan! But, this one is going to keep in you in content for the rest of the year. Content for your blog, your emails, and social media networks.
Imagine that! Knowing exactly what you’re going to write about. Plus, it will be tied into your marketing goals, which means all your content will help you move one step closer to what you’re trying to achieve!
What’s more, I have a really fun way to do this. It involves sticky notes – what could be better? Learn how to put together your content calendar by reading this blog post.
Use the summer lull to network
Networking really is the small business owner’s friend. We often spend time working by ourselves, and it can get lonely. But summer’s a great time for BBQs and summer parties.
Networking events don’t stop when summer arrives. Plus, the weather makes it possible for them to happen outdoors, which is a bonus!
Going to networking events helps you build relationships. This is important for any small business owner. Firstly, to combat loneliness, and secondly to help you build your business. It’s a revelation when you realise that you’re with a bunch of people who know exactly the highs and lows of running a small business.
In addition, it just gets you out of the house. I always feel more energised when I come back from a networking event. I’ve been in a different environment and broken up my routine. I also find it helps me be more creative.
So, learn how to make networking an effective part of your marketing by reading this post.
Revisit old contacts
Networking isn’t just about getting you out of the house/office/shop. It’s also about building relationships and figuring out a way to help one another.
We all go to networking events with the best of intentions to follow up with the people we meet. Invariably, this slips when we get back to the reality of running our businesses.
Well, if summer slows down for you, go back over the people you’ve met earlier in the year. Did you promise to do something for them? Did they have a particular challenge you remember?
It’s never too late to go back to these contacts, as long as you’re not asking them for something! Be generous and offer them something that will help them. Have you read an article lately that would be great for someone? Send it to them. You’ll be surprised at the reaction.
Once you’ve made contact, now’s the time to nurture that relationship and find the common ground. Remember, it’s about arriving at a win/win for you both.
Summer networking and following up with contacts helps you feel productive and energised to work on your business.
Update your website
Slow summer months are a great time to update your website. Didn’t you read an article about how to write the perfect ‘about page’ but you never quite got round to do it? Well, if your business slows down over the summer, now’s the time to get it done!
Look at the other pages on your website. What could do with updating? Perhaps you’ve changed your opening hours, introduced a new email address or have new phone number people can contact you on. These are all important pieces of information that your website visitors will expect to find.
Another great thing to add to your website is a video. Videos are known to increase the number of visitors and conversions. What’s more, it doesn’t have to be anything too expensive. You can easily create something yourself using a tool such as Lumen5.
Stock up on some blog posts
Remember that content plan I said you should pull together? Here’s where it comes in handy. Armed with the knowledge of the blog post topics you want to write about, you can set aside time to bulk write.
Think about when you’ve spend focused time on an activity. Haven’t you been productive and got things done? You can achieve the same results with your blog posts.
Set aside time in whatever chunks suit you. That might be a couple of hours to a whole day. Knowing the topics you want to cover means you can spend this time researching and writing the posts.
How do you think you’ll feel when you have content you can publish regularly? Pretty happy with yourself, I bet. Plus, publishing posts on your website means you’re updating it, which Google loves. So, you’ll show up higher on Google search rankings.
Scratching your head about what to write? Read this blog post for some ideas.
Blogging regularly helps you show up on Google searches. Use the summer to plan and write yours!
I hope you’ve seen that summer doesn’t have to be a complete disaster for your business. I know it can be disheartening not getting the same level of business through the door. However, if you use this time wisely, you’ll hit the ground running come autumn. And who doesn’t want that?
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Also published on Medium.