Use special events during summer for marketing

Summer is here and it’s time to take to the streets. In the summer, your customers feel festive and spend more time outdoors. So, it’s the perfect time to get outside and get creative with your marketing efforts. Here are some ideas to try.

            Take part in a community event. Summer in most towns is packed with fun runs, street fairs, music festivals, outdoor movie nights, concerts in the park…you get the idea. Contact your chamber of commerce and your city’s parks and recreation department to find out what events are planned for the upcoming few months. Decide which events are likely to attract your target customers, whether that’s health-minded seniors, parents with toddlers in tow or Millennial music fans. Once you’ve chosen some events with potential, you could:

· Sponsor the event in return for your name on flyers, programs or banners at the event

· Host a booth at the event and give out free samples or sell your product. (Be sure to collect contact information with a signup sheet or fishbowl to collect business cards).

· Donate product to the event (a health food store could donate healthy snacks for refreshments at a fun run, for example)

            Host an event for your customers. Get creative with a barbecue or beach party for your best clients and prospects. Or consider springing for something more adventurous like a Duffy boat rental or a wine tasting afternoon at a local winery. This can be a way to reward your best customers, learn more about their needs and provide them with networking opportunities that will lead to more referrals and more business. You don’t have to be a B2B business to make this work. If you own a retail store or restaurant, host a summer-themed event for your most loyal customers, like a special shopping night where they get to shop after the store is closed, or a special five-course dinner and wine tasting on a night your restaurant is usually not open.

            Join with other business owners. If your business is in an area with lots of foot traffic, consider joining with the other business owners to hold a sidewalk sale or other outdoor event. Get with your chamber of commerce and plan how local businesses can attract foot traffic to the area. This could include:

· Having a sidewalk sale where each store puts specials out on the sidewalk and offers deals to draw customers inside the store as well

· Hosting a “stroll and savor” event where local eateries sell small samples of their menu items outside on the sidewalk

· Hosting a music night where local musicians play inside restaurants or shops and “busk” out on the sidewalk to attract passersby

There are many other ideas, from closing off the street to cars and hosting an arts fair or classic car show, that can bring foot traffic into your shopping area. Brainstorm with other business owners to generate the best strategies for your area, and work with your city to be sure you get all the appropriate permits.

How will you market creatively this summer?