The term “summer slump” presents a pressing problem for a lot of small businesses. It seems like there’s always a point during the summer when sales begin to dwindle, productivity winds down, and everything sort of grinds to a halt until fall. This can be a bit frightening, especially if your business doesn’t typically see a huge boost in sales from holiday spending. However, I have found that there are a few ways to fight the slump using clever marketing tactics that can put most businesses in a better financial position this summer.

1. Start marketing early. One of the biggest reasons for summer slumps is that people just stop paying attention. They begin to shift into vacation or relaxation mode, and they don’t really feel like dealing with estimates, research, and outreach. The trick, then, is to start marketing your company early so people are actually aware of your business. You don’t want to rely solely on them seeking you out. Stay on top of your advertising and keep your marketing channels active. You’re going to have to put in a bit more effort during the summer months this way, but it’ll be worth it when you don’t have to scramble to make the money up during the end of the year.

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2. Look into local advertising opportunities. Despite the current economic recovery, consumers are, unfortunately, still spending less. Nearly a third of those surveyed in a recent Gallup poll reported spending less on eating out, travel, clothes, and other discretionary goods. However, that same survey revealed that people are still taking summer vacations–albeit scaled-back ones—and therein lies a prime opportunity for small businesses. Are there Little League games nearby? Does your community host a local BBQ? Are there any other sorts of summer-only events happening close to you? Since people aren’t going to be flying to Hawaii, they’ll be looking for cheaper things to do locally, and these are great places to become involved.

The idea is to show up and create a presence to ensure that your business is at the forefront of people’s minds so that, once the summer slump does hit, you will have already experienced more business and the downturn will be less noticeable. Even if your company doesn’t traditionally sell locally, or have walk-ins if it’s based predominantly online, just showing up and being seen around your office’s hometown will bring in a lot of local, and even referral, business your way.

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3. Rethink your market. If you notice that you’re losing a significant amount of business during the summer, maybe you should try to refocus your marketing. Now is a great time to experiment and see what sticks. Look for new customers, and try to expand your presence. Even if that just means polishing off your social media accounts and starting to blog, you’d be amazed at what a boost in SEO can do for your company. When you start to notice new traffic heading your way, do some research and see whom you’re attracting with these new campaigns. You never know when you might hit marketing gold with a segment of the population you never thought of selling to before.

Dry spells are never fun, but they don’t have to ruin your summer. If your business does go through a slump when the weather gets hot, don’t sit back and ride it out. Play around with your marketing, try to get involved with the local community, and always strive to be at the forefront of people’s minds. You may still deal with a slight drought, but it won’t dry up your cash flow.

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