Business News Daily describes the measure of success for a brand’s social media and digital marketing efforts as the ability to use it “to grow a flourishing community of fans.” I couldn’t agree more, though I’d probably add that lasting success comes from the use of social media and digital marketing to both grow and maintain that community—to keeping it active and engaged, something summertime vacations and distractions can make all the more challenging.
I’ve written before about the importance of keeping your foot on the marketing pedal during so-called “off-peak” times of year, such as over the Winter holidays and during the summer. Much of a brand’s marketing success comes from visibility and top-of-mind awareness, which comes through frequency and consistency. Stepping away from your marketing efforts—just for a little bit, even during supposedly down times of year—can often make or break your success.
Luckily, today’s marketing tools make it possible to keep your customers engaged even when they’re away:
- No one ever really disconnects anymore, at least not for long. Chances are that no matter where your customers go, they will still have online access to the Web and email. Who’s to say a well-placed and well-timed blog post, Tweet or Facebook share won’t capture their attention at just the right time? Best case, it can help plant a seed that later bears fruit. Worst case, it keeps your brand message front and center so that when customers get back from vacation and back into the buying mood, they won’t have forgotten about you. (Besides, what’s more reassuring when you’re far from home than getting an email blast from the Barrel O’Monkeyz team?)
- Engaging vacationing customers isn’t always about making a sale or planting a seed. It can be as simple as maintaining a connection between your brand and the customer when he or she is far from home. Whether it’s summer or not, continue to deliver quality content through your social media shares, your blog, and targeted email. Unless your customers are completely off the grid, they’re still likely to check email and their various social media feeds on a daily basis. Don’t disappear just because you think they have (because they haven’t).
- Encourage customers to share their vacation experiences on your social media platforms. There, they can post pictures, videos, and share stories of their adventures. Hold contests, such as “Who ventured farthest from home on their vacation?” or “Who had the most creative stay-cation experience?” You get the idea.
- Before vacation season even gets here, prep customers to be your brand ambassadors while they’re travelling. Sell or give away branded gear that customers can wear, promoting your business. (Nothing does my heart prouder than seeing a Monkeyz t-shirt or ball cap making the rounds while I’m at Outdoor Retailers or Comic-con!)
- Go a step further and encourage customers to post photos of your brand in the world’s most exotic places. Imagine a Facebook post of someone wearing your company t-shirt atop Machu Picchu or on the Great Wall! (Of course well-placed t-shirts and ball caps won’t necessarily result in a tremendous marketing boon—especially when worn in unchartered territories—but there is a benefit to staying connected with your customer even in this subtlest of ways.)
- Don’t forget that your staff takes vacations, too. (Right?) Outfit them with quality hats, t-shirts, water bottles, beach bags, etc., which are always popular and a great way to promote your brand. Just as you do with vacationing customers, encourage them to share pictures and stories via social media and even on your blog.
Grow that community around your brand. Nurture it all year long with quality content and genuine interaction. Your marketing doesn’t have to come to a screeching halt just because your customers are out of town.
You into a Summer Time Groove, Nothing Will!
So I ask again, “It’s Summer. Do you know where your customers are?” Sure you do. They’re on the other end of their laptop, smartphone, tablet, email, social media posts, etc., just as they always are, waiting to be engaged . . . and I’d hazard a guess they might be far less distracted and more receptive than usual.
What has your experience with customer engagement during off-peak times of year been like?
Share stories of your successes here.
Paul June is King Monkey of BARREL O’MONKEYZ, a full-service digital media and marketing group specializing in more creativity, ideas, and fun for action sports marketing, sportswear marketing, sports product marketing, active lifestyle consumer products, health product marketing, and brands in San Diego and Southern California.