Your customers are ready for some fun in the sun, but you're ready to get down to business. Your business doesn't take a vacation, but that doesn't mean you can't take advantage of those summer vibes, soak up the rays, and keep growing all season long.
Here, we're diving in and looking at 17 summer marketing ideas you can use to make a splash.
1. Hold Seasonal Promos and Sales
One of the top ideas to market your small business from June to September is to offer short-term promotions and discounts that are only good during the summer.
Madison Testa of Digital Caterpillar says leaning into the season and establishing a theme for promotions can lead to measurable results. "Offering exclusive summer promotions and discounts can incentivize customers to make purchases during this period," she says.
"These can include limited-time offers, summer-themed sales events, or bundled discounts on popular products or services. By creating a sense of urgency and providing value to customers, businesses can attract new buyers and increase sales."
You might also want to target promotions to specific audiences, like college students on summer break, vacationers, or returning snowbirds.
2. Reach Customers Through Email Marketing
One of the most effective ways to reach your audience and promote your exclusive summer campaign is through email marketing. Jonathan Merry, CEO of Moneyzine, says it's important to seize the season:
"Take advantage of the summer shopping season by offering exclusive discounts or running a summer sale," he says.
"Promote it through various channels like social media, email marketing, and your website. Email marketing is the best approach for this. When executed correctly, it can yield an impressive ROI of 42:1 and generate a remarkably high return on the money invested in marketing efforts."
3. Create Themed Social Media Campaigns
Social media is also a powerful way to interact with potential customers, especially when you design seasonally-appropriate campaigns. Stick with your most engaging platforms, and do some social listening to learn more about what your audience is up to this season.
Use a social management platform to track your engagement, repost popular posts, and boost those that need a wider reach. Make sure you also change your profile and banner images to reflect the season and highlight exclusive sales or discounts.
4. Up Your Summer Hashtag Game
Using the right hashtags can help your summer social posts get seen by a larger audience. Make sure you're using the most popular summer hashtags, but also be sure they're relevant to your post.
5. Leverage Seasonal Holidays and Causes
Summer is a season of celebrations, with Memorial Day, Independence Day, and Labor Day offering opportunities to do some holiday marketing. But Merry says you don't have to focus solely on the major holidays:
"Align your marketing efforts with relevant summer-themed awareness days or causes. For example, if your business is related to health and wellness, you can create content or run campaigns around National Fitness Day or promote healthy summer living tips."
You can find many calendars online that will help you track awareness days and lesser-known holidays, so you can be sure to back causes that are important and join the celebrations that matter to your audience.
6. Tap Into Tourism
Check out your county visitors bureau or tourism office for a list of seasonal events that attract people from outside your area.
Don't limit seasonal marketing simply to holidays — you can also tailor campaigns and promos around conventions, festivals, or conferences. Offer special deals to out-of-towners or brainstorm new products, services, or merchandise that will cater to this wider audience.
7. Build Seasonal Collabs and Partnerships
Think of businesses in your geographic location or in your industry/niche that are complementary to yours, especially during the summer. There may be opportunities to team up for an exclusive summer campaign that is mutually beneficial.
Testa says, "Partnering with complementary businesses or influencers in the summer space can help expand the reach and tap into new customer segments. Cross-promotions, joint events, or co-branded campaigns can generate excitement, increase brand exposure, and drive sales for both parties involved."
Merry has seen this kind of collaboration in action and knows that it works. "Piggybacking on these special days involves you with the wider conversation where you can increase brand visibility, engage your target audience, and demonstrate your commitment to important issues.
"For an example of how to get it right, look up how Durex teamed up with Swedish pop star Zara Larsson to promote safe sex in the run-up to World Aids Day."
8. Offer Limited Time Loyalty Programs
Encouraging customer loyalty is a best practice for any business in all seasons, but you can also use the specific season to create an even stronger incentive, according to Daniel Chabert, founder and CEO of PurpleFire.
"Providing incentives for customers to become members or sign up for loyalty programs can lead to repeat business and better client retention," he says. "Exclusive promotions, rewards, or events can be the driving force behind these programs."
Test agrees, saying, "Implementing loyalty programs specifically tailored to summer can encourage repeat purchases and referrals. Businesses can offer exclusive rewards, discounts, or early access to new summer products or services for loyal customers. Additionally, providing incentives for referrals can leverage the increased social interactions during summer and help generate new leads."
9. Make Exclusive or Limited Summer Products
Widen your revenue streams for the summer by creating new products in a seasonal theme. Maybe your bakery produces a limited edition lemonade sugar cookie for the month of July, or your candle company offers an exclusive beach fragrance only available through Labor Day.
To maximize engagement, hold a poll or contest on social media asking customers to vote on their favorite new flavor, scent, or product.
10. Give Out Summer Themed Freebies
"Everyone loves a good freebie," Merry says, "especially during the summer. Consider providing seasonal freebies with purchases or as part of a loyalty program. This not only adds value to your products or services but also creates positive associations with your brand, fostering customer loyalty."
A summer freebie could go a long way in ramping up business well into the fall and beyond.
11. Design a Summer Subscription Service
Subscription boxes and services are wildly popular, and they give customers an opportunity to receive custom-curated surprises in the mail for a monthly fee.
When you create a seasonal subscription, you also create a feeling of exclusivity and urgency. Since the offer is only available for three months of the year, you can build a sense of FOMO — if customers miss out now, they'll have to wait until next summer when it comes around again.
12. Try a Summer Giveaway
Just like a freebie, everyone loves a giveaway. The bonus with a giveaway is that you generally collect information in exchange for entries, and that information can have a lot of value for your business.
Chabert explains how it should be done: "Conduct a giveaway contest on social media platforms with seasonal prizes relevant to your business offerings. This boosts brand awareness and increases customer engagement. The investment in the prize may be minimal compared to the increased business gained."
He goes on to detail a case study from his own business. "I implemented a combination of seasonal promotions and local collaborations for our e-commerce brand. We witnessed a 25% increase in sales and a 35% increase in website traffic within a three-month period.
"These marketing ideas are effective because they capitalize on the season's trends, needs, and opportunities. They also create a sense of community and connection with the customers, resulting in powerful word-of-mouth promotion."
13. Tailor Content for Summer
Everything you create to market your business is content, and the opportunities are nearly endless.
Testa says, "Creating engaging and relevant content around summer themes can help capture the attention of customers and increase brand visibility. This can include blog posts, social media campaigns, and video content that highlight summer activities, travel tips, or seasonal trends.
"By aligning marketing efforts with the interests and aspirations of their target audience, businesses can build brand affinity and attract new customers."
Content also helps with SEO, which gets your website found by potential customers and is critical for both online and brick-and-mortar businesses.
14. Change Your Look
You don't wear down jackets or snow boots in the summer — just as your style changes season to season, so too should the look of your business.
Merry says, "Spruce up your website, social media profiles, and other online platforms with summer-themed graphics and visuals. This creates a fresh and engaging look that captures the attention of your audience.
"Use vibrant colors, imagery, and catchy slogans to create a cohesive and inviting brand image. The visual appeal can help attract more visitors, encourage longer browsing sessions, and potentially lead to increased conversions."
15. Change Your Language
Just as you change your look, you should also change your language for the season. Fortunately, summertime gives you ample options for themed slogans and catchphrases.
Be as bold, silly, or humorous as you want, but make sure the seasonal language you use still aligns with your brand tone and voice.
16. Host a Themed Event
Events, both outdoor and indoor, are very popular during the summer months. Travel is more convenient in the summer, and the weather is conducive to either soaking up the sunshine or the AC.
"Organize live or virtual events that are aligned with seasonal themes, holidays, or popular summer activities," says Chabert.
"These events can be workshops, webinars, or even contests — anything that engages your audience and helps them connect with your brand on a personal level."
17. Target Summertime Brides
Summer weddings are extremely popular, and if your business provides any service or product that can be used for a ceremony or reception, you've got a great opportunity for an effective seasonal campaign.
Even better — fall weddings are gaining in popularity, and you can bet brides will be planning throughout the summer, so this is a great time to win them over.
Commonly Asked Questions About Summer Marketing
Here are answers to some of the most common questions about marketing in the summer:
Is Summer a Good Time for Marketing?
Summer is definitely a good time for marketing. There are numerous holidays throughout the season, and it's a time when travel and tourism are at their peak.
Summer is also a great time to start planning for the fall and winter's busy holiday shopping season. Use these balmy months to find ways to get more customers.
How Do You Make a Summer Campaign?
Make a summer campaign by leveraging the unique elements of the season, like holidays, vacations, weather, and events. Be sure your summer marketing campaign includes social media, and adjust your branding accordingly.
Consider offering limited-time deals and sales around a summer theme or offering new seasonal products or services.
What Is Peak Season in Marketing?
Peak season in marketing varies according to the industry and the business, but it generally refers to the time of year when a business experiences an upswing in sales.
If you operate an ice cream shop in a tourist town, for example, summer is likely your peak season since kids are out of school and vacationers are passing through. Even when you're off-season, you can still plan ahead and start building habits that will grow your business.
Baby, Your Business Is a Firework
Your business will be booming if you follow the tips and ideas above for summertime marketing. If you're focused on growth, Incfile is here to help. Our Platinum Package offers all the business formation services you expect plus incredible value designed to maximize your business and help it thrive.
Wendi is a freelance writer based in Indianapolis, IN, with over a decade of experience writing for a variety of industries from healthcare to manufacturing to nonprofit. When she isn't working on solutions for her clients, she can be found spending time with her kids and husband, working in the garden or doing more writing (of the fiction variety).