Small Biz Leverage Spring Growth Tactics
by Sharron Senter
Here are some low-cost solutions for increasing your cash flow this spring and summer.
Now that Old Man Winter has hit the road, small businesses can increase cash flow this spring and summer by implementing four affordable marketing tactics while spending very little, including: leveraging community events, partnering with complementing businesses, launching a spring promotion and tailoring sales messages to include spring solutions.
-- Leverage Community Events
Think about what annual spring and summer activities your town sponsors and create a promotion around it. For example, let’s say you're a personal trainer. Consider coordinating a spring fitness program that coincides with your town's summer fundraiser road race. Your news brief could read, "Running the 5K Yankee Homecoming Race? Don't go it alone. Jumpstart your workouts with other race participants at 6:30 a.m. every Monday and Wednesday morning. We'll meet at Smith's Field for 20 minutes of calisthenics, followed by a short run, gradually working up to a 5K. Cost is only $195 for six weeks. Call Jane Doe, personal trainer and founder of Fit for Life at 000-000-0000.”
The great advantage to this marketing tactic is that the town takes care of increasing awareness of the event by posting banners around town, advertising, publicity, etc. You simply dovetail on the awareness.
-- Partner with Complementary Businesses
As a small business owner, you can make greater sales strides by teaming up with other small businesses. For example, a professional coach, make-up artist, professional organizer, nutritionist, hairdresser, personal trainer, personal chef and fashion expert could join forces and co-market a “Life Makeover” seminar. Each could speak for approximately 45 minutes about their expertise and how participants can reach their personal best. What's more, now you have seven additional customer databases to draw from and an annual event that enables you to build more credibility year after year. Even better, you've just added another revenue stream to diversify your income.
-- Launch a Promotion
Create a spring and summer promotion. They can be the same; although, if possible, I recommend two different promotions. More activity tends to create more urgency. I categorize spring as late March through late May and summer as early June through the first week of September. The idea behind your promotion is to reach your customer before they begin their "emotional" summer vacation. Most of us still have to work, but in some fashion we tend to take an emotional vacation June through early September. The key to any promotion is to create a unique offering, something you've never offered your customers and that your customers haven't seen from your competitors. Compound your promotion's potential for success by including a late May end date, adding to the urgency. Then let a week, no more than two, pass, and launch your summer promotion early June.
-- Tailor Sales Messages
As the seasons change, you need to consider how your customers perceive your products and services. They may misappropriately categorize your products or services as “off season,” diminishing your sales. Instead, take control of your sales messages and position your solutions to match the time of year.
For example, let's say you're an errand service. The summer may or may not work to your advantage. However, it's your job to evolve your marketing messages to encompass seasonal services. For example, you could promote a house-sitting service while customers vacation and include plant, lawn and pool management.
Or, let's say you're a personal coach. The summer lends itself to taking a break from improving emotional well-being and usually shifts to a physical focus. This said, try introducing a very aggressive coaching series. For example, in mid April launch a promotion that locks your customers in during July and August; however, also offer two floating appointments, so your customers have the added flexibility they need in the summer.
Sharron Senter is a New England-based marketing consultant, speaker, writer and founder of Senter & Associates, a marketing communications firm that helps small businesses deploy low-cost online and offline marketing strategies. Sharron is best known for her free weekly emailed marketing tips, found at http://www.sharronsenter.com. She’s also the author of the Small Biz Survival report series that illustrates affordable ways to grow a small business.