It’s that awkward time of the year when we’re in the process of kissing summer goodbye, but we’re not so close to any upcoming holidays that we can really start decorating the office or offering up seasonal products for sale.
During the summer, sales seem to remain pretty steady, depending on the industry, and usually, there isn’t much need to push too hard to get a purchase made. Customers are easygoing, breezy, and willing to spend a little extra thanks to time off on vacation with families. A short lull will occur once the kids are back in school and come Black Friday in November, the shoppers will be back at it ready to spend on holiday gifts and reap in great savings.
Until we get to November, how can small business owners keep customers coming between these two hot seasons?
The following four tips have always proven to be tried and true in working for me to boost sales during a seasonal lull.
1) Offer a deal.
If sales or website traffic ever gets slow, offer some sort of promotion! Get some social media love while you’re at it, too.
For those who have liked your Facebook page, or followed you on Twitter, offer a free e-book or special coupon code for one of your products. This is a great way to kill three birds with one stone:
- You gain some customer activity
- Chatter on your social networks
- You get to put one of your products on public display
2) Hold a contest.
A contest is similar to a deal in that you’re gaining customer interest and promoting a product or service.
The main difference being that there is a sense of customer involvement and often a hint of friendly competition in a contest.
The best types of contests involve getting your audience’s input and engagement through voting, sharing, and commenting. Have your customers submit something original – a tweet summing up what they love about your brand, a picture of them using their favorite product of yours creatively – and then have their friends, family, and if they too own a business, customers, vote on their favorite submissions.
Gift the winner either one of your products or services for free, or something fun (like an iPad), and show off your winner to the rest of your network through a blog post or Facebook feature!
3) Use the time to prep for the next big thing.
Another productive thing your business can do in a lull period is to brace yourself for the next holiday rush. It’s never too early to prepare, especially if you know a particular season to be a busy one. Start stocking up on your inventory, organizing and filing paperwork, prepping your team, whatever you can do now to get a head start – do it!
4) Amp up your marketing efforts!
This doesn’t necessarily mean you have to pay for a television commercial or Internet advertising if your business is on a budget, you can heavily utilize social media instead! Other than offering deals and contests on your outlets, make a pact with yourself to be more active on the social networks your brand has a presence on.
Post on Facebook at least once a day, post on Twitter at least twice, always respond to customers who reach out to you as soon as you can, and prep your platforms for the changing seasons – new profile and cover pictures for the holidays are always fun to spice up your accounts with!