By: Samantha Scott, APR
Grand Poobah / President
Summertime, even the word, tends to bring thoughts of lazy days, rope swings, lemonade and fun times, but we can’t just stop our businesses because of a season change! So, what should you do if your business is in Southwest Florida (or really anywhere) and it’s summertime, and perhaps, business has slowed a bit. Sink into a comfy chair and wait? No! Leverage the downtime to get your marketing in order.
Take a vacation, get a little break in, but then get to work. Summertime is the perfect time to access marketing efforts from the first half of the year and plan for the second half, and even beyond. Here are a few examples of some summertime activities that could help your business succeed and possibly grow in the second half of the year, or in “season” as we refer to it in Southwest Florida.
What did you and your company work on in the first half of the year (increasing awareness, increasing sales, adding services)? What tactics or strategies did you employ (new marketing techniques, public relations efforts, new social media channels)? Was there a plan involved or was it reactionary (did you do it because it was planned or an internal idea or as a result of something in the market)? By taking a few moments, maybe a day and reflecting on what the goals, plans, and ultimately, the outcomes, were from the first half of the year you are better equipped to move forward. Take note of any peaks or valleys (in sales, activity, web traffic, engagement, etc.) and try to determine what caused those – and how you could potentially duplicate or avoid them in the future.
When was the last time you pulled your head up from the grindstone and took a look around at your competitors? At your target audience? These are critical activities that often get overlooked as we work “in our business” rather than “on it”. Have your competitors added new services, products or locations or have they pulled back, making more market share available for you? What about your customers? Are they still the same demographic profile as when you started your business or have you (or they) changed?
With so many measurement systems available these days, many of them free, it still amazes me how few companies use them. While in this reflective time, take a hard look at the impact of your efforts in the first half of the year. We’ve addressed what you DID, now let’s look at what that RESULTED in. Google Analytics would be a good place to start as well as sales. Were there any correlations, peaks, valleys or plateaus? What about staffing? Did you hire or lose staff? Were marketing efforts in full swing until Easter (when the snowbirds started to head north) and then drop off in May? The only way you can truly know the effects of your business development and marketing efforts is to measure them! Get the data, charts, sales figures and determine what happened and where you are currently so you can accurately move forward.
Plan for Your Success
Notice I didn’t just say “plan” or “develop a plan”. I would encourage you to plan for your success. Don’t fall into the cliche “failure to plan is planning to fail.” You got this! Take what you have learned and develop a strategic plan with a goal or goals, objectives, strategies and tactics. It sounds overwhelming, but without a road map you are sure to end up other than where you’d planned. Once you have an outline, apply it to a time line (6 months or even a year) and start assigning responsible parties. It’s virtually impossible to do this on your own, so rally the troops and get people involved. When the business succeeds, everyone benefits, so it’s in their best interest too!
Need help or not sure where to get started? We can help! Pushing the Envelope, Inc. offers consulting, needs assessments, planning and a host of other services to help you get your marketing in gear. How can we help you learn from your past and current efforts and develop a strong, strategic plan for the future? Give us a call 239.221.2858.