It’s the ‘dog days’ of summer. According to Wikipedia, the expression ‘dog days’ refers to the hot, sultry days of summer in the areas around the Mediterranean Sea. Early civilizations would celebrate the rising of Orion’s dog constellation in July and August. The image of ancient people lounging around at night as they cooled off from a hot day, looking to the skies to watch the dog constellation arise, evokes thoughts of rest and relaxation. Unfortunately, not many of us are out start gazing these days, but the phrase still sticks. In late summer, people often plan to ‘just wait to start marketing’ in September. While I am a huge proponent of time off in the summer, I think waiting for September to start marketing is not a stellar idea.
Summertime is a great time to be planning and executing on your marketing plans. The reality is that marketing during the summer months is no different than the rest of the year. Yes, people take vacations, but there are plenty of people still around. In fact, their schedules may be a little lighter, making it easier to schedule in person lunches and activities. If you have a continual marketing and business development strategy, then you need to work it every month of the year. Following are a few tips for summertime marketing activities:
- Polish up your social media accounts. Create full profiles, connect to people you know, ask for introductions to people you want to know and begin building the habit of posting status updates routinely.
- Clean up your database. Confirm you have correct emails, phone numbers, mailing addresses, etc… so that you are ready to roll with those holiday cards or advisories.
- See people in person. Summer is a great time to get out of the office and visit your clients and referral sources. Go for a walk, grab an iced tea together or head outdoors for a quick lunch visit.
- Join a trade association that industry leaders are involved in. Reach out to the group, find out which opportunities will fit your needs and get committed to attend the fall meetings.
- Plan your calendar for the fall. Take this time to review who you want to connect with this fall and book appointments with yourself to reach out to someone every week.
- Reach out to your referral sources to say hello and find out what they are working on.
There are many things you can do to market your services in the summer. Don’t take a vacation from developing your business. Instead, take advantage of the freedom you may not always have during the year to get out of the office and in front of your clients.
One of the biggest perceived obstacles to marketing is ‘lack of time’. Today’s pace of life is crazy– balancing demands of work, family and personal time contributes to feelings of being overwhelmed and unable to add on anything. Often marketing responsibilities fall to the bottom of the list because people feel like self promotion and business development is a huge undertaking that is difficult to achieve. I would argue it’s quite the opposite. Stop thinking of business development as a chore. Rather, start thinking of it as a chance to build friendships and business relationships. With that frame of mind, it somehow feels easier to carve out fifteen minutes everyday to connect with someone. If you think about it, we easily waste 15 minutes a day on a myriad of things– running out for coffee, chatting at the reception desk or checking in on Facebook. What if you took those 15 minutes every business day to do one marketing or relationship-building task? That adds up to an hour and 15 minutes during a 5-day business week! Here are a few marketing activities you can accomplish in that timeframe.
- Send an Email. Followup on a conversation with a colleague, business acquaintance or client via email. Let them know you are thinking about the topic that is on their radar.
- Communicate via Facebook, Linked In, Google +. Post a status update, share an article, ‘like’ a post from someone in your network, ‘follow’ a company page, send a direct message or find people in your network to connect with.
- Tweet. Share a thought, article or retweet something interesting. Find others to follow, ‘favorite’ someone’s tweet or create a list on a specific topic.
- Make a Phone Call. Call a client, colleague or referral source to check in. Let them know you are thinking of them in connection with a particular topic.
- Blog. OK, I know this takes more than 15 minutes, but if you work on one post for 15 minutes over 2 days, you have a completed post.
- Update Your Website. Review your content, add new material, load a new photo. Keeping your website fresh is important for search engine optimization.
- Thank Someone. Send a written note or pop an email to thank someone who has done something nice for you or helped you to promote your services.
- Ask for Work. Follow-up with your referral sources or clients and ask them if there is anything else you can assist them with.
- Make a Lunch or Coffee Date. Choose a client, referral source or reporter to catch up with.
- Update Your Marketing Plan. Review your progress to date and create a quick plan of action to further your goals.
There are a multitude of activities you can undertake to forward your marketing goals. In reality, you don’t have to take on something complex that takes lots of time. Marketing and business development has to be part of your daily and weekly routine. Most importantly, it must be sincere. Schedule your fifteen minutes each day now for the next month. You will see results over the long haul.