Mid-to-late summer is often a slow time of year for many businesses. People are on vacation, kids are out of school, and the warm weather often creates an air of sluggishness around the office. But even if the phone’s not ringing, clients are out of town, and nothing much seems to be happening, there are still several important things that marketers can do right now—even during the “slow” time of year—to help boost their sales results.
The bottom line is that if you take time and invest some energy in making some extra effort during the slow time of year, it will help to lay the groundwork for future success once business picks up again.
Here are a few key marketing tips to keep in mind during the slow season:
1. Revisit old business leads and unfinished projects
When business is brisk, it’s easy to fall into a pattern of grabbing low hanging fruit, putting out fires, and only responding to the most urgent customer inquiries. But marketing is not just a matter of closing deals with the customers who are most immediately ready to buy—it’s about laying the foundation for ongoing, long-term sales opportunities. With that being said, the slow season is a great time to revisit your long-term marketing goals or revive some unfinished marketing projects. For example: Are there some old sales leads who said they weren’t interested when you first contacted them three months ago, or asked you to call back another time? Take some time now, during the slow season, to get back in touch with these contacts. Their business needs might have changed in the past few months, and they might be ready to say “Yes” to your offer. Sales leads that went cold might warm up again when given a fresh contact during the slow season.
2. Re-evaluate your marketing process
The slow season is also a good time to take a look at the big picture of your marketing and sales process and try to make corrections and improvements. Are there things you could fix or upgrade on your website to make it easier for inbound sales leads to find you? Have customers complained about any aspects of your marketing process? Is there something in your sales process that is broken—online forms that don’t work, processes that are too slow or cumbersome?
Also take a look at your overall marketing tactics: What are you doing with marketing automation, and what could you be doing differently? Could you do more to generate inbound sales leads via your website and social media channels? Are there certain marketing strategies that are underperforming or outdated and requiring a disproportionate share of effort and investment? Remember Pareto’s Principle, which says that 80% of your results come from 20% of your efforts. The slow season is a good occasion to cut down on the 80% of your marketing efforts that aren’t bearing results. Ask yourself, “Which marketing activities should we STOP doing altogether?” Out with the old, in with the new.
3. Ask for referrals from existing customers
If you have good customer relationships in place, the slow season is also a good time to follow up with your existing customers to see how they’re doing and ask for referrals. But you need to do this carefully. Don’t just come right out and ask your customers for referrals—instead, couch the referral request as part of a larger conversation where you remind them of how much they’ve enjoyed working with you, and ask them if they can do you a favor in a mutually beneficial way. Offer excellent referral bonuses to your best customers for referring new business to you. Think about what a new sales lead is really worth, especially if it’s a well-qualified “warm” sales lead referred by a well-trusted customer. Keep in mind that when a customer is referring business to you, they’re not just your customer—they’re part of your marketing team. Reward them accordingly!
Remember, the notorious slow season is not really “slow” if you use your time wisely. There are always things to be done to help pursue your marketing goals, whether it’s revising your website, canceling an underperforming marketing campaign, getting in touch with sales leads from six months ago, or paying a courtesy call to a favorite customer to see if they can offer you some new contacts. Treat the slow season as an opportunity to really work on the fundamentals of your marketing operation. So, even if the phone is not ringing, there are dozens of things you can do right now to get ready for bigger results once the busy season resumes in the fall. Where are you going to start? Please share in the comments below.