“Summertime and the livin’ is easy …” – The lyrics from George Gershwin’s Summertime remind us that we should kick back and take some time off, enjoy our family and friends, golf, go to the beach and basically just have fun.
But should we take time off from continuing our inbound marketing efforts during these hot summer months?
Of course the answer is no.
Remember that marketing is an investment in your business. You need to invest time and resources to keep your marketing activities going throughout the hot summer months. Taking a break could be the kiss of death for your small business. Even if you are busy now, being consistent with your marketing is essential to keep your pipeline full of prospects.
But for many businesses, summer tends to slow down and revenues decrease.
Rather than panic, take advantage of the slower pace in your business and get some things done you normally would not have time for. There are a lot of marketing activities you can do that don’t cost a lot and can help you gain visibility.
Whether you are on vacation or find yourself with a bit more time on your hands, here are some summer marketing tips that can help you stay on track.
The content marketing component of inbound marketing is important to do regularly and consistently.
- If you have a content plan, create your content for a month in advance.
- If you have old blog posts that would benefit from an update, work those into the content plan to ease the burden of coming up with a lot of new content.
- Since people have even less time to read in the summer, add a few pieces of content on the lighter side. Not all your content has to be in-depth articles.
Knowing your business is maintaining visibility even while you are on vacation can make your time off much more enjoyable.
There are many tools to help you automate your marketing including:
- Lead generation – Use email auto-responders to create a sequence of emails to those who sign up for your lead magnet. These email sequences can keep a new subscriber engaged with your content.
- Blog post publication – Write a month’s worth of blog posts and schedule them to publish while you are away. WordPress enables this quite easily.
- Social media posts – Use automation tools like Buffer or HootSuite to schedule post to go out at the most appropriate times for your target audience. I use Buffer and love the ability to set different schedules for each social media platform, to easily share content using the Buffer extension for Chrome and finding useful content for my audience through the Content Inbox.
Knowing that you have your content written, lead generation funnels automated and posts scheduled can get you through your vacation and make that vacation much more relaxing.
Get Temporary Help
Offload tasks to others by outsourcing to freelancers who can help you with your marketing. There are many marketing virtual assistants available who may be better executing your marketing activities than someone internal who doesn’t do this regularly.
When looking to outsource, do your homework. Check your LinkedIn network for freelance marketing or virtual assistants. Depending on what you need, you could use LinkedIn ProFinder to help you find local freelancers.
I use external resources to write content so I can spend more time doing the work I need to do for my clients and for my business.
Evaluate your web presence
Do a web presence analysis and determine where it needs work. If your business is not visible for your top keywords, put a plan in place to update the third component of inbound marketing, your search engine optimization. Include a review of your web content, looking for content that needs optimizing for specific keywords. This is a good time to focus your marketing on the things that can increase your visibility and expert reputation.
Review and update your local citation sites for consistency of your name, address and phone number. A local citation is any reference to your business that can be found online. These include Google My Business, Bing, Facebook, Yelp, Yellowpages, Better Business Bureau (BBB) or other authoritative websites that may provide an online directory to businesses in your industry. Inconsistent listings with out of date information or different spellings of your business name can lower your visibility.
Optimize your Google My Business listing
Having a well optimized and accurate Google My Business listing can increase your visibility in the search engine results. You can control how your business is seen in Google’s search engine results pages and other Google applications. Updating your entry will increase the accuracy of your business’s information in Google and any application that relies on Google for their data.
There is a lot to creating and managing your listing with all the new features Google has recently added such as posts, question and answers, bookings and of course, reviews.
Review your service offerings
Are your service offerings appealing to your target audience? As your business evolves, your services need to evolve with it. Update and enhance your current service offerings to provide more value or add a new service entirely. Make sure your services are priced based on the value you provide. Kick back on your deck with your tablet and use Evernote to start jotting down ideas.
Create or update your marketing systems
Identify marketing systems that need to be created or updated. A marketing system creates a repeatable, step by step routine to help you efficiently execute your marketing plan. If you have systems in place to take the guesswork out of what needs to be done and when, your marketing will flow more smoothly while you are on vacation.
Make sure your marketing supports mobile
Your customers and prospects are also taking time off but that doesn’t mean they are disconnected. Make sure your email marketing and website supports mobile devices. While on vacation, I see many people on their tablets, checking email and staying in touch. If your website isn’t easy to use with a tablet or smartphone, you could be driving your prospects and customers to your competition. Make sure your marketing campaigns are mobile friendly.
I will admit that it is very difficult to stay focused on your business when so many other things are calling your name! For us in the northeast, this great weather doesn’t last all year so we want to take advantage of every sunny day while we can. I would love to golf more, head to the beach or just lay on my deck and relax. But I owe it to myself and my clients to stay visible and active during these lazy, hazy, crazy days of summer!
But if you plan ahead and build in some down time to re-energize, you can be ready for September’s increase in activity.
What are your plans for inbound marketing while you are enjoying your summer vacation?