Summer Marketing and Advertising Tips for Small Businesses in 2022
Black Friday and holiday sales are on the minds of advertisers and business owners all year round. Some companies and industries build their entire marketing strategy around and cater virtually all of their marketing efforts to, these narrow windows in the calendar year.
But, as we found out from several of our UpCity partners and contributors, that is not the right approach for many businesses. Because it turns out that there are ample opportunities for conversions, growing your customer base, and acquiring new customers during the summer months. Besides the fact that not everyone is on vacation, you’ll see that there are tons of great reasons why small business owners should plan marketing campaigns and other marketing optimization projects for the summer months. Dive into the advice from our experts below and see what they had to say about the importance of the summer season in your marketing plan.
Summer Digital Marketing Ideas for Small Business Success
Like virtually every small business nowadays, digital is the first and perhaps most sizable portion of your marketing efforts. So we started here, asking our experts to provide their best advice and strategies for small business marketing in the summer months.
“Often businesses will pare back marketing during the summer months. But we’ve found, especially for larger purchases and services, that summer is a great time to keep your marketing going. There is often a time delay (sometimes months) before a purchase is made, so building awareness and preference during the summer can put you in a prime place for purchase once prospects are ready to get down to business in September.” – Kurt Hoffmann, Creative Director/Founder at Abra Marketing
Of course, businesses that offer summer-specific or season-specific services need to be very active in marketing and advertising during the summer months. And there are several different ways to up your game for summer, including targeted PPC ads.
“Industries with services specific to the summer months can greatly benefit from increased user traffic by running PPC ads targeted to their service areas. Running highly-targeted local ad campaigns means businesses will get the most bang for their buck since users are within their service area and ready to purchase.” – Paige Howard, Digital Marketing Specialist at The Net Impact
Whether you’re launching a big paid campaign or simply trying to up your presence on social media, there’s no substitute for user-generated content. In terms of affordability and effectiveness, satisfied customers are still the best advertising available, and user-generated content is the new word of mouth.
“I’ve always been a promoter of sharing user-generated content. First, it’s inexpensive. It doesn’t take much time or energy to look through your mentions and press the share button. Second, it’s a great way to engage with your audience. When you share your followers’ posts, it’s exciting and makes them feel more engaged with your brand. And finally, it’s authentic. A real customer made that post. It’s not some ploy created by a marketing team, and your followers will notice that.” – Asad Kausar, CEO at Dabaran Inc.
Everywhere your business shows, seasonality is an important consideration too. Not only does it reflect the actual season when customers are being shown your ads, it even plays a part in improving your SEO value and ranking as well.
“If you are in a service industry, add summer-related photos to your Google My Business profile. Photos help you get found locally for ‘near me’ searches, and photos are a part of that algorithm. Plus, many people will look through photos to ultimately decide who it is they want to choose out of the top results that Google returns.” – Irina Gedarevich, Marketing Consultant & Founder at eSEOspace
Speaking of Google, many of our experts pointed out how important your Google Business Profile (formerly Google My Business) is. In terms of local search volume, results, and audiences who are looking for your business, it’s a tough-to-beat value for the small time investment required.
“Optimize your Google Business Profile (previously Google My Business). Make sure your business name, address, phone number, and schema match up on your website, as well as all niche and local relevant citations. To get the most power out of your citations, make sure you get them indexed by Google. When your brand shows up on Google Maps for the service/product you offer, it converts better than other forms of digital marketing.” – Joshua Allen, Founder of Smartlinks SEO Company
Google Business Profile is just one part of the overall SEO game, and summer is a terrific time to put the effort and hours into some strategic SEO improvements.
“Since 93% of consumers used online searches to find a local business, one of the most important marketing tips we could offer a small business this summer is to maximize their local SEO strategies. Local SEO is vital to the success of a business that relies on foot traffic.” – Patrick Kurowski, CEO at MarketKeep
When it comes to social media, images and visuals are important. But so is your posting schedule. Users have different habits and tendencies on social media between the summer and winter months, and that should be considered in your scheduling.
“Consider when your social media posts are going live. People use social media differently in the summer vs the winter. They tend to hop on earlier in the morning and later in the evening (when it isn’t nice and sunny outside), so consider adjusting your posting schedule.” – Lydia Martinez, CEO at Elle Marketing and Events
As with any kind of advertising, you want to reach people where they are. And with digital advertising for summer services or activities, there are exciting marketing tools and methods to get your message in front of the right audience, especially locally.
“More people are out and about during the summer months, so consider a geo-targeted ad campaign. When a customer’s phone passes within a certain distance of your location, send them a useful coupon or offer directly. It doesn’t even have to be when they come near your business. If you sell soccer equipment, why not target people around a local soccer field?” – Michael Miller, President of Good Ideas Marketing
There are a ton of services and products that people always search for during the summer months, and more business can mean more content for your marketing efforts.
“For businesses like pest control or lawn care, summer is the busiest time of year. So you can use the influx of customers to earn as many reviews as possible by setting up a review acquisition strategy. By turning as many of those new customers as possible into reviews, you’re not only getting more traffic from search channels, but you’re also more likely to convert that traffic into leads.” – Andrew Peluso, CEO at Pesty Marketing
Our panelists also pointed out thinking ahead; in other words, using the summer months to lay the foundation for the next season and continued success.
“In many companies, summer months like August may feel slower. This is a great time to put together a downloadable offer/sales funnel, plus an ad campaign using LinkedIn, Facebook, Google Ads, and maybe TikTok to drive to it. Taking time to create a downloadable sales funnel using your CRM can set you up for success with an asset that continues to drive leads.” – Margee Moore, CEO at BigOrange Marketing
Speaking of TikTok, it’s more than a fad. Many of our experts mentioned TikTok as a potentially valuable ad channel and an important marketing tactic. In addition, it can be a useful way to keep track of trends in everything from hashtags to visuals and more.
“Honestly, with the shift and growth on the TikTok platform, we are encouraging small businesses who have a target audience on the platform to explore and try brand awareness campaigns through TikTok Spark Ads. The CPC, Cost Per Follow, and Cost Per Like of these ads are low compared to other traditional forms of digital marketing.” – Bailey Hahn, Digital Marketing Manager at Summit Digital Marketing
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Read the latest tips, research, best practices, and insights from our community of expert B2B service providers.
Content is Still King for Small Businesses and Social Media Marketing
As you already know, there’s much more to advertising success than where your ads run. Ultimately, what you have to say is the piece that will make the biggest difference, and our experts had numerous tips for small-business content options and approaches.
“Video is the best performing piece of content that customers are looking out for. It is quick and easy for them and is optimized for all devices. So one of my biggest pieces of advice is to create video content that is relevant for your target audience.” – Robert Weiss, President at MultiVision Digital
Choosing or creating quality content that’s relevant to your audience is important, but so is content that shows people your expertise. No matter the industry or field your small business operates in, people want to know that they’re working with true pros.
“Utilizing content to show your expertise in the space is a great way to generate interest in your business and a way to build trust that you are a premier provider of services. Not only that, but content creation is great for search engine optimization (SEO), which will help clients find you when researching your products or services online.” – Robb Fahrion, Partner at Flying V Group
Planning and strategizing your content is important as well. And there are a lot of factors to consider, including seasonality, audiences, and keywords that will have the most impact on our business.
“When developing your content calendar, make sure to enter your focus keyword(s) into Google Trends. You’ll notice that interest for most subjects peaks during specific periods throughout the year, so you can focus on topics most likely to receive high engagement during the summertime. Seasonality is vital to consider when creating content, yet often overlooked.” – Ryan Lingenfelser, Independent SEO Consultant at RDLDIGITAL
The latest technology that is available to you can have a tremendous impact on the success of your marketing efforts, and some of our panelists pointed to AI tools that are now available as potentially impactful for small businesses.
“With the global recession, small business owners need to really up their game to be competitive, and AI can be a real game changer in this regard. AI can help to create the ideal content and cadence for email marketing, ensuring that small business owners can take full advantage of the summer season.” – Brian Rayner, Founder and Managing Partner at JTB Online
Going back to the video for a second–don’t forget that summer is the time to get great footage, especially if your business or service has an outdoor component. You want to take advantage of the summer weather to grab as much useful video and imagery as you can.
“Video shoots often benefit from nice weather, and that window for recording is closing soon for many parts of the country. So if you’re planning to make a video this year, prioritize getting that started.” – Tom Barr, Video Producer at Lightsail Video
If you’re in the kind of business that lends itself to great visuals, then social is of course going to be a very important part of your marketing tactics. And choosing which social media platforms to engage with can be difficult. One of our panelists made sure to point out that, depending on your business and your audience, you shouldn’t forget about Pinterest as a very useful avenue.
“I’d strongly recommend leveraging Pinterest for your content. The cost is low, and conversions are easy to dial in with good content. And my other recommendation is Discord. Build a tribe and community for a consistent stream of business and revenue.” – Ben Precious, CEO at Pace Social Media
Summer Marketing Success with Sales and Offers
The UpCity panelists we spoke to also pointed out that sales and special offers are reliable ways to boost your marketing efforts and business, and that summer is a terrific season for themed offers.
“Do a massive summer sale at the beginning of the season, or at the end – even if it’s online. The summer weather leads to consumers itching to spend, but they are also aware of the trends of summer sales. So if you don’t have a summer sale, your competition likely will.” – Jeffrey Miles, Owner of Jeff Social Marketing
And whether you are running an eCommerce business or a service provider or a small retail outlet, one thing to keep in mind is that your offer needs to be compelling. In other words, go big!
“If you are going to offer a discount, make it substantial. Consumers are tired of smaller offers and coupons, and they’re smart enough to know that 10% isn’t going to cut it. If you want to get a return on your marketing dollars, the offer is as important as the funnel you choose to use.” – Kelly Hamburg, Principal, and Owner at Hamburg Solutions
“One of my top tips for small businesses this summer is to create an offer so outstanding that consumers will feel like they’re missing out if they don’t get it. Plus, adding a time limit will help get customers to act right away!” – Robert J Huebert, Digital Agency Owner at HBT Digital Consulting
“Depending on your industry and location you may use the season to target the vacation crowd or organize some holiday events. Your location may be ideal to target some vacationers by offering some discounts or organizing some outstanding events for them. You can pepper your summer advertisements with some attractive offers, ideally, it would be some summer discounts, summer-related giveaways, or open-air events. Especially in summer, people want to have more fun and forget about work for some time.” – David Ispiryan, Founder of Effeect
One of the advantages of running a small business is that you are in a position to offer something that others cannot. And that is a benefit that is even more important nowadays, with customers looking for more than just a certain product.
“It may be ‘old school,’ but the new world (post-pandemic) is all about home deliveries and services that come to them. Offer services that come to the person and you’ll be offering something your competitors don’t (or can’t).” – Paul Letourneau, Director of Digital at YEG Digital
Finally, there’s a lot of strength in being a small business, and our panelists don’t want to see that get lost in your marketing efforts or your concern about competing with the big guys. Instead, they recommend focusing on how great a small business is, and the connections that people can make with your company.
“Don’t try to hide the fact you’re a small business. Be loud and proud about it! Competing with big companies is hard, but with a touch of small-business charm and/or local marketing you can benefit significantly. That will connect with people a lot more than whatever a big company can offer.” – Nick Leffler, Owner of Loclweb
Summer Marketing Tips that Go Beyond Digital
While the bulk of your marketing budget might be earmarked for digital, several of our experts were quick to remind entrepreneurs and small business owners that there are some very budget-friendly and effective marketing techniques outside of digital.
“Everybody is focusing on online marketing which is certainly where most businesses should focus their resources. But I have had great success with offline avenues such as local magazines and newspaper ads. As more businesses focus their energy online, there are more opportunities for forward-thinking businesses offline.” – Miguel Cairo, CEO of Unique Web Designer
Getting out in front of customers is still one of the most important ways to communicate your brand and message, and summer offers a lot of different ways to do that.
“Summer presents a perfect opportunity to participate in local events and put a face to your company. You can attend community events, hand out business cards, or take it up a notch and sponsor a booth. Whichever route you take, it’s the perfect opportunity to create chemistry with prospects and make people smile in the sun.” – Edan Ben-Atar, Founder at WebLime
If sponsoring an event is too large an ask, there are often other ways that your company can get involved locally and gain some much-needed visibility and consumer awareness.
“Summer is chock-full of indoor/outdoor events that people will be flocking to and can be a good opportunity to get your brand in front of your target audience while supporting a worthwhile cause or community event. You can have giveaways, social media booths, or contests that are all great ways to generate leads and can generate excitement around your product and services.” – Colton De Vos, Marketing and Communications Specialist at Resolute Technology Solutions
Getting out into the community came up many times and for good reason. Your business is local, so putting your energy and efforts into your local customers is the foundation of success.
“Get connected with your community. Summer is the outdoor season and the best time to get into your community. Small businesses are naturally at a disadvantage regarding marketing budget, and summer allows them to catch up with creative, low-cost outdoor content that can be easily created and distributed.” – Xiao Faria daCunha, Founder of Westerlund, Co
“People are outdoors enjoying the nice weather. So make sure your marketing assets are right out there with them! You can take your business to the next level with sidewalk signage, posters at events and venues, trade show displays, and more!” – Cynthia Ord, Marketing Manager at YellowDog
Speaking of enjoying the nice weather, what about considering some summer freebies? In other words, giveaways and goodies that are perfect for the season.
“Take advantage of the warm weather by sending out summer-inspired promotional gifts like sunglasses or waterproof mini speakers. By reaching out to your clients during the summer season, you’ll be able to stay top of mind and keep in touch.” – Meg Mothershed, Co-owner & COO at Mothershed Design Co.
“Branded promotional items work great to advertise your small business. Promotional Products Association International states that 65% of advertisers cite promotional products as highly effective in reaching consumers, and more than 80% of promotional products are used for more than a year.” – Paul Bies, President/Partner at Mystique Brand Communications Inc.
Even if your products or services are summer-specific, you can still have fun and boost your success by focusing on seasonality with your promotions, sales, or initiatives.
“Creating a summer-themed promotion or contest is a great way to generate interest and excitement about your business. Plus, summer is a great time to take advantage of seasonal events and promotions, and even partner with other businesses or organizations to cross-promote.” –Juan Pineda, Managing Director at Agile Digital Agency
And when it comes to those offers, consider making summer-themed promotions that are exclusive to your social channels. Even if you don’t have the budget to promote with influencers and multi-channel campaigns, you can offer your customers something exclusive to the social followers, which will keep them engaged and strengthen their connection to your brand.
“Social media is a great way to reach prospects and offer promos. Have fun with it, and enlist some of your best customers to help by sharing, commenting, and spreading the word. Most importantly, show how your business/product/service can help them cruise through summer with ease.” – Laura Sandino, Content Marketing Manager at SmartBox Dental
Plenty of Fun in the Sun for You and Your Business
Our experts were able to provide a ton of terrific tips and advice that’s sure to help your summer marketing metrics. But rest assured that there is a lot more to learn, and a lot more advice available for your company’s summer needs. Whether you want to brainstorm a referral campaign or find new ways to reach potential customers, you can reach out to UpCity’s network of digital marketing agencies and advertising agencies for advice that’s ideal for any season.
About the author
Rebecca helps keep all things content running at UpCity. Prior to joining, she was a magazine editor at an agency for several award-winning publications based in the Minneapolis-St. Paul area, and a content specialist for several brands within the SMB/B2B landscape. She also has significant experience in digital content creation, most notably targeting hunters and anglers (despite being a vegetarian) during her time at Gander Outdoors. Rebecca has also worked in PR, covering a diverse terrain of products and events, including the promotion of local musicians and music festivals and the latest craft beer offerings from local breweries.