With Memorial Day having come and gone, summer is now in full swing. But don’t let the warm weather put a damper on your business. Use these creative marketing ideas to ensure your business remains as hot as the temperature.

If summer is your off-season, you don’t have to resign yourself to slumps in revenue. Using the right small business marketing strategy can help you increase sales – and there are many ways that you can take advantage of the summer months to introduce some creative marketing ideas that will help you grow your small business. As a small business owner, time is money, and we know that you’re not the type to sit around watching valuable time pass you by. Here are four off-season summer marketing ideas to help get your creative juices flowing and make sales as sizzling as the weather outside:

1. Take It On the Road

Customers may not be walking through your doors, but it’s the perfect opportunity to think beyond your brick and mortar location and dive into more creative marketing. With summer comes a variety of seasonal marketing opportunities at popular summer activities such as pop-up sales, fairs, farmers markets, festivals and other community events. There are countless ideas and events to take advantage of. Take a look at your local calendar to see what’s scheduled for your area this summer and start looking out for the types of events that your ideal customer would likely attend. Make arrangements to set up a booth, table, or exhibit at the ones that are most likely to help you find more customers.

2. Start a Rewards Program

Rewards programs are great for small businesses all year round, as they stimulate sales by encouraging customers to visit your location more frequently and buy more products from your business. Because summer is a slower period, this type of program is perfect for encouraging customer loyalty during the off-season. A coffee shop owner might use a loyalty program like AppCard to offer customers a free coffee after the fifth purchase, giving them a competitive advantage from other businesses that sell coffee in that area. Launching a rewards program during the off-season also allows for time to test a variety of programs and work out all of the kinks with a select group of customers. Plus, a program like AppCard provides detailed reports that will help you gain insights that are sure to inspire other creative marketing ideas for small business growth in the future.

3. Partner Up

You’re not the only business concerned with increasing sales during the slow season – combine promotion ideas to broaden your reach. Teaming up with a non-competitive business to launch a promotion or offer a giveaway can help you gain referral business both now and in the future. For example, your pet supply store could distribute coupons for the dog groomer located a short distance away, and the dog groomer could give out five dollar gift cards for your business to all of her customers.

staff brainstorming creative marketing ideas

4. Increase Word of Mouth

Make every customer that walks through your door count! Word of mouth referrals are always a powerful form of small business marketing, and you can encourage customers to spread the word about you in creative ways. For example, you could offer a 10% off discount to anyone who posts a selfie when making a purchase at your store to Twitter, Instagram or Facebook. For added brand awareness for your business, make sure that they tag your location with @YourBusinessName or use a hashtag with your business name.

As a small business owner you want to do more than just keep busy during the slow summer season; you want to make sure you do whatever you can to impact your bottom line. Use this slow season to get creative about your marketing ideas, and identify new opportunities to find more customers during the summer and beyond.

About the Author

Yamarie Grullon has years of experience creating helpful & engaging content for small business owners. As Manager of Content Strategy at ShopKeep, Yamarie provides merchants with practical advice on all things related to their business or their POS system.