10 ways to promote your business this summer
Updated: Oct 16
How to ensure your small business boosts sales this summer: the year of the staycation
With so much uncertainty and continual change with travelling restrictions, this is truly the year of the UK staycation. And with lockdown easing there has never been a better time to invest in marketing on home soil this summer. The holidays were traditionally a time to avoid running marketing campaigns but this year will look very different.
What does this mean for marketing?
Much of the UK population won’t necessarily have their usual one - two week holiday and most likely not overseas. This means they’ll be more receptive to marketing. People will be out and about more, thus have greater time to listen and observe.
This could impact our media consumption too with us spending more time reading newspapers, magazines, attending local events and places of interest, as well as browsing online.
How will it impact buying patterns?
Across the UK, so many businesses have felt the impact of consumers tightening their purse strings and businesses have been forced to shut. We’ve all had to change the way we live as we spent more time in our homes.
Last year The EY Future Consumer Index identified four segments that emerged during the pandemic:
Save and stockpile – representing 38% of UK households
Stay calm and carry on – 26% of UK households
Cut deep – 25% of UK households
Hibernate and spend – 10% of UK households
And new research has shown how our behaviours will change again post-pandemic leading to five new segments.
Get to normal – representing 33% of UK households
Cautiously extravagant – 25% of UK households
Stay frugal – 20% of UK households
Keep cutting – 13% of UK households
Back with a bang – 8% of UK households
So how does this impact your business? Research from EY also shows that consumers are considering spending more on discretionary goods as lockdown rules ease. Clothing and footwear lead the way, with 21% expected to increase spending followed by beauty and cosmetics (15%). Big ticket items are expected to be the slowest to pick up with just 12% of consumers expecting to spend more in this area.
Get to normal are the least affected. On the older side, nearly half have seen no interruption to their jobs during the pandemic but they are the least willing segment to pay a premium.
Cautiously extravagant are middle-income and expect to increase their spending. Nearly three-quarters will purchase from businesses that care for staff and support the community.
Stay frugal are middle income and concerned about the longer-term impacts. They'll focus on price and won’t be increasing discretionary spending.
Keep cutting have suffered the most impact. Half plan on prioritising their finances and three quarters will only purchase essentials, reducing discretionary spend.
Back with a bang will spend money on socialising and shopping. 60% will prioritise leisure activities and 63% plan on shopping in stores. They are the youngest, smallest segment but are influential in driving sales.
10 ideas to leverage staycations
So taking this all into account, what can you do as a business to give your business a boost and make a summer splash?
Here are 10 ways to make the most of the sunny season:
1. Run a promotion
People love a bargain. You could run flash sales and incentives to entice shoppers. Promotions can boost sales, give you a talking point and help you stand out from the crowd. This could appeal to the stay frugal segment that represent 20% of households and make purchase decisions on price.
Be creative and timely with your promotions and ensure you get the right balance of offering value and not being seen as cheap or devaluing your brand. You may want to join forces with a third party to create the perfect package for your customers and stay clear from simple price promotions. Always ensure there is a strong fit with the brand you align yourself with.
Remember that promotions can work well using social media ads to give you that extra brand exposure even if you haven't used them before. Investing a small budget on social media can really pay dividends if you get the timing and offer right.
Have you placed an advert before? Remember there are always lots of different options as well as formats available – from newsletter inclusion to advertorials. It is always worth asking different media houses and publishers.
You may want to support a promotion or event with some advertising to give it some additional exposure. Read what are the different ways to promote your business in print media to learn more.
3. Host an open day or seminar
Invite people into your business. With restrictions easing, it is becoming simpler to do this. When was the last time people stepped into your business or saw you in the flesh? Although virtual events have become the norm, there is nothing quite like face to face interaction. Read our top tips for marketing an event.
4. Run a pop-up event
Consider running a pop-up event outdoors. Ensure you have a contingency plan in place and consider COVID restrictions, even with guidelines easing. These type of events can be more informal and fun for prospective customers. Research local events in your area over the next couple of months.
5. Give back
Be active in your community and consider original and mutually beneficial ways to support a local or national cause.
Rebecca Millburn, Fundraising Consultant from The Fundraising Agency advises:
“Now more than ever local charities need help from businesses and by providing charitable support this summer you can gain some great exposure and positive PR for your good work. In addition, the majority of customers now consider the companies' charitable work when making a purchase, and by aligning your business to your customer's values and beliefs you can gain their trust and loyalty. Tap into this summer's good vibes and support local charity events. You could make a donation for each product sold, donate your goods and services or ask your staff to fundraise or volunteer for a charity. "
Remember the cautiously extravagant segment account for a quarter of all UK households. They are the second largest segment and we know they are motivated by brands that support causes, so this is a crucial consideration in your marketing strategy and wider corporate social responsibility policy.
6. Create relevant blogs
This is a good time to mix up your blog content and pause your usual schedule. Instead, consider the mood of the public and your audience and tap into trending themes and topics.
The weather is always a hot topic in this country. Other ideas include BBQs and days out. Research popular summer blogs for inspiration. For example how to entertain the kids this summer, the hottest summer picnic ideas, 10 free summer activities, and summer bucket list ideas so consider how they could fit with your business and add a relevant twist to align with your business.
Why not leverage national awareness days. Up and coming events include National Picnic Month (July), National Play Day (05 August), Afternoon Tea Week (10 – 15 August, and World Photo Day (19 August). These all pose great opportunities for small businesses.
7. Leverage PR
PR presents so many opportunities and could be something you haven’t considered before. Jess Morgan, Founder of PR agency Carnsight Communications provides some useful tips:
Starting with your audience and what they’re into, think about PRing changes in consumer behaviour and purchase patterns. For example, have sales of local lollies gone through the roof this year with 10 x the amount? We've seen how a cream tea manufacturer did this for clotted cream and got some superb coverage.
It’s extremely important to keep an eye on trends and news. You can newsjack and use awareness days for PR.
As Brits are likely be staying at home this summer, can you bring any relevant product launches forward?
This could be a good time to invest in some market research to find out more about your target market and customers and you could PR the results. Including research in your PR is a great way to create interesting and engaging headlines to grab the attention of people doing a bit of ‘light summer reading’. Is there a piece of research or a survey you could do to support your PR efforts ?
Learn more why small businesses should invest in market research.
8. Send out a door drop campaign
With more people at home this summer, door drops could be the perfect medium to reach your ideal customers. According to the DMA, 80% of the UK’s top advertisers use door drops.
Door drop campaigns make an immediate impression, generate a quick response, and build positive brand perception. They can achieve cost-effective market coverage and target households who fit the demographic profile of your customer. The flexibility of door drop marketing allows for activity to be targeted as accurately as a single street, or as broadly as every UK address. The DMA has provided a superb guide if you're considering a door drop.
9. Make an impact with branded merchandise
Branded giveaways or promotional products are not only effective brand-building tools but also encourage action from consumers.
Research from the PPAI indicates 8 out of 10 consumers researched a brand after receiving promotional goods. And a whopping 91% of households have at least one promotional item in their kitchen and 74% had at least one promotional product in their work area.
Here are a few tips to follow:
Consider sourcing products that will be particularly useful and relevant for people over the summer. For example waterproofs, drinking bottles, cool bags, and anything suitable for days out.
Ensure any giveaways are high quality and represent your brand in the right way
Check you can customise and the item is suitable to show off your logo
Research how they are produced ensuring they comply with any regulations as well as follow your procurement policies.
10. Invest in new signage and ambient media
Never underestimate the power of strong outdoor signage and branding opportunities.
And we're not just talking about traditional shop signage. As a small business, advertising can be highly expensive, particularly on a permanent basis. Take advantage of any branding opportunities and ambient media, from personalising uniforms and bags to staff vehicles. Remember it takes up to seven times for a prospect to see something before they act, so the more times they see your brand the better.
And if you're fortunate enough to have premises and looking to refresh your signage, here are some tips to follow:-
A good sign should be...
- In keeping with your brand
- Have longevity
Get your brand out there
So get planning now. Put your shortlist of ideas together and ensure your brand is out there this summer. We’re in this interim period and not quite resuming normal activities so don't discount doing any marketing during the summer holidays. You never know what it could lead to. Good luck!
Do you feel your business needs some help with marketing planning? Then please get in touch.
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