I’ve heard some rumblings of late that summer sales are a bit less than stellar for many makers. If it’s any consolation, summer sales are always painfully slow at Bella Lucce (my beauty brand). In fact, they’ve been consistently sluggish each of the 11 summers I’ve been in business. While these dips can prove particularly scary for entrepreneurs who are just a year or two into their business adventures, I’ve come to anticipate anemic summers and plan my finances accordingly. Recently, I’ve been telling my maker clients not to search for the prettiest bridges from which to leap May through August, for September beckons soon!
That’s not to say that we have to suck up the summer sales slump… no, no, no. In fact, this is a fantastic time to double-down your marketing efforts in several key areas. If you’ve been sweating your summer revenue numbers, then try a few of these proactive steps to give things an ever-so-gentle kickstart. Some of them demand a larger investment of your time, some of them take longer to bring see results, not all of them will be right for each of us, but all of them could potentially provide a needed boost.
1. Fire up your email list at least twice per month. Don’t reserve your newsletters exclusively for sale announcements. Practice the “give-give-give-ask” model…give your customers lots of value via related content, and only “ask” for them to make a sale to support you in 1/4 of your communications. Being in touch regularly + offering them value is of paramount importance.
2. Pitch to 10 new stores over the next month… and every month after that. Target them carefully + send them a killer pitch that shows you’ve done your homework. One that succinctly encapsulates your magic. Remember to embed a great product photo and give them a way to learn more and/or take your product out for a test drive.
3. Design + mail a postcard featuring your holiday products to every prospect on your wholesale mailing list.
4. Research sales rep groups in Atlanta, Chicago and Dallas. Find at least one in each market that carries complementary products. Find the name of the group manager + get in touch.
5. We’re in the midst of July, which means national magazines are finishing up their holiday issues + starting to sketch out their New Year’s issues. Almost all of us have products which could be featured in the ever-popular “new year, new you!” sort of stories. Identify 5 national magazines, get the contact info for the applicable editors + pitch your products.
6. Identify 3 blogs which are read by your ideal customer + reach out to them about a feature or product review. Blogs have shorter lead times, which equate to quicker sales and cash sooner-rather-than-later.
7. Launch something new. Remember, wholesale buyers love new. They crave it. Launch it, then announce it… on your blog, in your newsletter, on each of your social media platforms, via a press release to local media.
8. Identify a handful of wholesale stockists who seem to have gone dormant. Call them up- as uncomfortable as that may be- and tell them that you’ve missed them. Listen to their feedback. Find a way to reignite their passion for your product collection.
9. Guest blog for a friend who’s ideal customer base aligns with yours. Better yet: guest post for each other.
10. Ask a friend in a complementary product category with a similar ideal customer base to allow you to tuck samples + a postcard with a discount into their outbound orders. Do the same for them + return the favor.
Does your business experience a summer sales slump? If so, I’d love to hear how you fight back!