How to Put Some $izzle into Your Business This Summer

Photo by AnotherPintPlease via Flickr

Photo by AnotherPintPlease via Flickr

If you’re like most business owners – you’d like to find a marketing strategy that will drive some sizzle into your summer sales…luckily we’ve got a great suggestion for you. For some companies this time of the year is the peak months of their season, for other businesses it may be more of a seasonal slowdown.  Regardless of the industry, almost everyone somehow is impacted (directly or indirectly) by the effects of summer vacations, school being out of session, navigating highway construction projects, and any other activity normally tied to the warmest months of the year.

It is the perfect time to consider some form of this time-tested proven winner.   No excuses, it is a great option for almost any business this time of the year.   The best part is it can cost as little or as much as you want.

So what is it?

Hold an after-hours or open house event

Depending on your business, this may be off-site or at your business.  If off-site it can be as simple as reserving an outside patio at one of your favorite eateries.   Your total investment could be no more than a couple door prizes and a few appetizers.   On-site open house events can be powerful tools to showcase your company, but they still don’t need to be expensive to be effective.   This past weekend, Shatto Milk held their 10th annual open house event.  The owner of the family farm dairy operation said they were expecting over 6,000 visitors again this year, based on last year’s attendance.    The two of the main attractions:  Cows & Hayrides.

If your business sells tangible products or owns any kind of unique equipment as part of the business, open house events are great ways to promote them.    Heavy equipment dealerships have used these events to give their clients opportunities for hands-on demonstrations for years.    If your company uses any type of special equipment in the business, from innovative diagnostic tools to maneuverable lawnmowers, or specially equipped vehicles, an open house event allows you to showcase your business.

Getting the word out

Thanks to social media and all the free tools available on the internet getting the word out has never been easier.    Sending out printed invitations for an event like this has become optional and in many cases obsolete.   Some of the more popular electronic options include Eventbrite, Evite,  and Punchbowl they all work great and are pretty straightforward to use.  Facebook and Linked In also have tools to promote events.  Finally – if you’re looking for design ideas for invitations, Canva has a great set of templates you should check out.  The bottom line is if space or food is part of the equation, you should request RSVP’s, so you can plan accordingly.  Actual attendance will never match the confirmed guest’s lists, but it does give you an idea.

Have reasons to attend

If you’re organizing an event it is important to create some buzz for why people would want to come.   This doesn’t have to be expensive either.  If your business has a new product, having it there for hands-on interaction is a great attractor.   Any type of educational message you can incorporate in the event is always a plus – teach people something new.   It gives your customers and prospects a reason to want be there.    Create some exclusive offers that will only be good during the time of the open house.  Give out free samples.   Have some fun door prizes, that don’t have to be costly to be memorable.

Building your business with follow-up

Have multiple ways to make it easy for your guests to be able stay connected with you after your function.  Door Prize Drawings are the easiest way to capture contact information.    You can use QR codes to send people to specific pages on your website; making it very easy for them to sign up for your company newsletter or get more information on a product or service you offer.   And, generating free QR Codes has never been easier.  The point is to make easy options for people to take next steps if they are interested in something you are featuring.

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 What is the next step?

So what do you think?   Are you ready to set a date to open your doors and put some sizzle into your business this summer?    Regardless of the size of your business, I think everyone in your company may find this to be a fun event to be a part of.  If you have had great experiences from an Open House or other similar events please feel free to share them.    We appreciate all comments.

Chris Steinlage    Kansas City Business Coach