Blog

Grow Your Business This Summer – 7 Marketing Tips that Won’t Break the Bank

Monday, August 22, 2016
By Caron_Beesley, SBA Contributor

Looking for ideas to incorporate the summer season into your marketing plans this year? Whether it’s a busy or quiet time for your business, here are some things you can do to take advantage of the summer months!

Take Your Business Into the Fresh Air

Don’t wait for your customers to come to you; look for ways to get in front of them. Whether you run a retail store, restaurant or provide a service to customers, consider the following:

  • Host a Cookout – Invite your customers (past and present) to join your business for a celebration of summer. Use your parking lot or public park and plan on catering yourself (a grill, hot dogs, hamburgers, salad, and cold drinks are fine). Look for ways to make this a worthwhile event for folks to want to join – hire a magician, moon bounce, or give away prizes. Don’t forget to offer incentives (demos or special offers) to those who attend so that they have a good reason to keep frequenting your business over the summer.
  • Take Your Food Business on the Road - If you are in the food business, taking a concession stand on the road is a great way to earn money and give new customers a taste of what you’ve got to offer back at your restaurant or store. This article can help you understand how to start up a concession business: Starting a Mobile Food Concession Business.

Spoil Your Customers

I mentioned hosting a cookout above, but what about treating a select group of loyal customers to an appreciation event like an afternoon at a winery, a round of golf, or an afternoon of fishing? Don’t forget, as long as there is a business purpose for these activities—and substantial business discussions occur before, during or afterwards—you can claim the cost of customer entertainment expenses (including meals) as a tax deduction (typically up to 50 percent of the cost).

Hold a Themed Week or Day

Like restaurant week or Small Business Saturday, think of ways to really showcase what your business does for one week or one-day only. You might want to use some of the tips in this blog – events, community charity participation, promotions, and giveaways – or combine them to maximize visibility and interest in what you do. You could even partner up with complementary businesses or those in the same district as you and co-market each other’s products, services and specials with fliers, coupons and teasers. Try to come up with a theme, something like “ABC Town Small Business Week,” “Take a Staycation with Us,” or “Back to School Week” and weave it into all your marketing and advertising.

Give Back to the Community

Community projects are a great way to build your brand and give back to the community. Why not organize or sponsor a community service day or charitable event? Pick a cause that’s a good fit for your business and reach out to the media, in addition to your own marketing, to publicize it. You can also deduct certain expenses related to any volunteer work or charitable giving.

Summer-ize your Marketing Activities

From your website to your email newsletter, look for ways to incorporate summer themes and information that are relevant to your customers. Send out newsletters that showcase your summer specials, but mix it up with good content—summer fashion tips, recipes, or pet care in the heat.

Pre-order low-cost summer promotional items now. Branded goods such as Frisbees, beach balls and drink coolers will ensure your logo is in front of customers all summer long.

Drum Up Business with Promotions

If summer is a slow season for your business, consider offering financial incentives to increase foot traffic. Don’t just dive in with a wholesale across-the-board discount; instead, consider some of the following options:

  • Discount Certain Products and Services – Test the market to see if you can shift slower selling products with a limited-time discount (say, for the month of July). Promote your offer to a select segment of your email list, perhaps those who haven’t purchased from you for some time.  Monitor the results. If the offer works, then consider extending it to other products and consumers next month.
  • Package Promotions – Offer a discount if customers buy more than one product or service. For example, buy a coffee and a donut for $3.50 instead of $5.
  • Off-Peak Specials – Many people have more flexible schedules during the summer months. Consider ways to draw people in during your off-peak hours, whether it’s a time-bound discount or another incentive (free corkage, bring a friend for half price, or a free consultation).

Plan for Your High Season – Take the Pulse of your Market

Again, if summer is your slow season, use the time wisely and start planning your marketing activities for the rest of the year. Conduct market research to gauge what your customers think of your business and the products and services you offer. What could you do better/more of/change? Is there a certain product that they’d like to see you carry? Are there any market or demographic trends that might impact your business in the coming year? Market research doesn’t have to cost much money; this blog explains some free resources that can help: Conducting Market Research? Here are 5 Official Sources of Free Data That Can Help.

SBA’s SizeUp Tool can also help you benchmark your business against competitors, map your customers and locate the best places to advertise.

You can also use surveys to gauge customer buying and spending habits. Use this data to inform your product marketing strategy and any other changes you may need to make in your business before your high season starts.

2016 Metro Denver Healthcare Job Fair

Friday, August 12, 2016
2016 Metro Denver Healthcare Job Fair
Monday, August 22, 2016
1:00 p.m. – 4:00 p.m.
Hosted and Sponsored by:
Doubletree by Hilton, Denver Tech Center 7801 E. Orchard Road
Greenwood Village, CO 80011
1:00 p.m. - 1:30 p.m. Job Fair Opens for VIP*
1:30 p.m. - 4:00 p.m. Job Fair - General Public
Meet representatives from Kaiser, Centura Health, Children’s Hospital, University Physicians,
SCL Health (Lutheran, Good Samaritan, St. Joseph’s) and many more
To Register for this Event, Please Visit:
please also ensure you are registered with www.connectingcolorado.com
The Denver, Jefferson, Arapahoe/Douglas and Adams County Workforce areas in collaboration with the Greater Metro Denver Healthcare Partnership, invite you to attend the 2016 Metro Denver Healthcare Job Fair. This event is free to all participants!
*VIP includes: Veterans, WIOA Participants and Talent Pool Members

Colorado Black Chamber's "Business Smart" Workshop with the SBA

Thursday, August 11, 2016

"Business Smart"
a workshop with the SBA

in collaboration with the Colorado Black Chamber

Date:  Wed., August 24, 2016
Time:  9:00 AM - 4:00 PM
Place:  Aurora Central Library, 14949 E. Alameda Pkwy., Aurora, CO  80012

Register here...
Event Description:
The CBCC and the SBA are partnering to present the "Business Smart" Workshop.  This series is part of SBA’s FREE education program for people who want to start a business, new business owners (in business less than two years) and established business owners (two years or more in business). 
         

Discover Franching Options for the 50-plus

Friday, August 05, 2016

Do you want to be your own boss, but not willing to take on the risk of starting your own business from scratch? Franchising, the business model that involves one business owner licensing trademarks and methods to an independent entrepreneur, can be a great alternative, especially for those 50+.
 
AARP, SBA's District Offices of Region VIII and franchise consultants and SCORE mentors from both FranNet and FranChoice are here to help.

Please join us for a free, hour-long webinar,
Want to be your own boss? Discover franchising options for the 50 plus:
August 10, 2016 at 10AM MT that will cover and answer your questions about the following:

•    The different types of franchise options;
•    How to find the right franchise for you;
•    Financial implications and assistance associated with buying a franchise; and
•    The benefits and responsibilities of owning a franchise.

New to Webinars? All you need is a computer with Internet access and audio capacity.

Can't make it to the live event? No problem. Just register and we will send you a link to listen to the event later at your convenience.

Register now.


LeadingEdge- new info sessions coming up!

Friday, July 29, 2016

Our premier business planning program LeadingEdge, will launch soon.  Learn about it and our other resources at one of a series of "info" sessions listed at this link.