Businesses often suffer from a summer slump. People are on holiday, parents are juggling children, and let’s face it, when the sun’s shining we’d far rather be outside than in front of a computer.
In fact, a survey conducted by business development consultancy Sandler Training, found that two thirds of the 2000 organisations surveyed believed that their productivity levels dipped in the summer.
But the truth is that six weeks is more than 10% of the year, so we can’t really afford to let things slide too far. Here are some great ways to generate leads and ensure you keep moving through the quieter months.
Run a special offer
The could be a discount, package deal, added extra or even a free consultation to generate contacts, leads and potential sales calls. Think about what your audience will be struggling with right now, and target that need as directly as you can. If you’re a VA and your target audience is busy employers, this is the perfect chance to show how your services can fill gaps while staff are on holiday. Why not offer an extra hour’s free holiday cover for every new client booking throughout August?
Create a seasonal product
If your target audience’s needs change during the summer, why not change or add to your offering? Wild Country Woman, aka Lesley Waldron, could have shrugged her shoulders and accepted the fact that mums would stop attending her classes during the school holidays. But she didn't. Instead, she's created family fitness sessions so they can come along and bring their children with, not only allowing them keep their exercise regime going but helping to solve the 'what to do with the kids for six weeks' problem. Brilliant!
Motivate your team
It’s not just the fact that you’ve got staff on holiday that’s killing your productivity. Whether consciously or not, those that are left behind are probably taking their foot off the accelerator pedal now that the warm weather is here. Perhaps they’re busy planning their own break, or they're just too hot to work properly. Setting fun incentives for your team can help them through this period, whether it’s an ‘employee of the summer’ contest or a seasonal bonus linked to specific key targets. Do make it enjoyable though, rather than a stick to beat them with, or it could have the opposite effect!
A quiet patch is a great chance to put more effort into your marketing. Get out networking, write a batch of blog posts, spend some time making connections on LinkedIn. Every little action counts, and you’ll feel like you’re achieving something, which will keep you motivated. The trick is to be strategic and create a long term plan that you can maintain even once things pick up again. Make sure to budget properly and, if possible, see what you can outsource so that you are free to focus on the client work that your marketing efforts generate.
Try something new
If you’ve been meaning to start a blog, or thinking about whether Instagram could work for your business, or whether an animation could be a great marketing tool, now’s the time to give it a go. To be fair, the results may take some time to kick in so it may not be the answer to this summer’s slump. But it will give you something productive to work on which will hopefully set you up with a stream of quality leads that reduce future slumps (after all, it’s not all that long until Christmas!!).
If your summer slump is more to do with you not having enough capacity because of the school holidays, consider getting in help to cover whatever it is you might struggle with. That could beadmin support, someone to write your blog posts or even a freelancer to help share the burden of client work. Yes, there’s a financial cost now, but there's a cost to losing business too, and if it helps sustain things so you don’t have to make as much effort to build things back up in September, it’s probably worth it.
Finally though, don’t be afraid to take a break. If you’re responsible for driving new business within your organisation, it can be hard to turn the computer off, disable the email app on your phone and walk away for a week or two. But if you do, you’ll come back rested and rejuvenated, and far more efficient as a result.
If you want to talk through any ideas you've got for your content marketing, give us a call - we're always happy to chat.