In the summer, when holidays, sporting events and early afternoon finishes can all conspire against any marketing plan, it’s easy to give up until September. But as Simeon de la Torre of the SIM7 creative agency explains, there’s a lot you can do to keep on top of your marketing without much effort.
Today’s marketing manager or business owner has a punishing workload at the best of times. Various plates need to be kept spinning and when the holidays are here, the need to prioritise on ‘mission critical’ tasks is felt more keenly than ever. Social media is often the first responsibility to be jettisoned, followed by any ad-hoc or campaign-based marketing activity.
The trouble is, those tasks are mission critical. And to take a back step or lose momentum for a few weeks of the year will certainly have a detrimental effect on business later down the line. In our agency, we chart all sorts of data across our clients’ campaigns and we know that today’s engagement on social media (for example) directly correlates with enquiries tomorrow.
So, what can you do to keep your brand working for you while you’re taking some time off? Here are a few quick wins.
1) Host a social media takeover
A social media takeover is what happens when you invite someone else to post on your social channels for short period of time. It could be a complementary brand, a trusted supplier or a related expert, but it should always be someone who would be relevant and offer useful insight to your followers and audience.
Let’s say you run a mortgage brokerage, could you invite one of your estate agent clients to provide house buying hints, tips and advice? Own a software company? Could one of your suppliers supply you with relevant stats, research or imagery?
If in doubt, go up your supply chain to the bigger companies with larger marketing departments (budgets) and encourage them to get involved.
2) Document your downtime
No matter what the industry or the size of the business, your clients or customers are interested in you, your team and what you’re up to. It’s human and instinctive and it’s one reason why images of people feature so heavily in marketing (eye and biometric tracking studies prove that we find these images particularly appealing).
So take a break from your usual social media output, ask your team to pick up their phones and share shots of them walking by the beach, enjoying BBQs with friends and generally having a great summer. Hashtag the posts or add your logo to the images if you like (#SummerAtSim7) and create your own summer social campaign.
The thing about advertising is that, done well, it works. It will reach your audience, boost visits to your website and spike enquiries or even deals. The other thing about it of course, is that it costs money. However, that can be a small price to pay if it allows you and your team a couple of weeks away from your usual output. If you’re a bigger company, it’s likely that you’ll have brand guidelines and key messages, and almost every advertising outlet from local radio to magazines will be able to create an effective piece of work for you without too much guidance. Bite the bullet, pay the price and reap the rewards (hopefully).
4) Get creative
When the sun is shining, people are generally happier. And if people are happier, they’re likely to be more responsive to new marketing ideas and approaches. Could you shake things up for a month and try something off-brand or away from your existing strategy? Maybe this is the time to send your existing clients an early Christmas present. Perhaps you could run a ‘guess the number of…’ competition on social media (don’t scoff, a cake company did this recently and got 100,000+ engagements). Or, if you don’t do PR already, how about dreaming up a daft idea and sending out a few press releases? Again, don’t scoff, August is officially ‘silly season’ for journalists and eye-catching stories have a much greater chance of being published.
5) Sponsor an event
Now that the country has opened back up, there are business events, sporting occasions and smaller conferences happening all over the country. Many of these will offer ready-made sponsorship packages that will put your brand centre-stage (perhaps while offering hospitality to you and your clients) and – if you pick the event carefully – will resonate with your target audience. Simply hand over your logo and let them do the rest. You can have a good day out and promote your business with the minimum of effort – the very definition of a summer marketing quick win.
Simeon de la Torre is the Creative Director and owner of SIM7 creative agency – a Business West member company. For big ideas and bright thinking about how to attract new customers and create more profitable relationships, contact: firstname.lastname@example.org