Sizzling summer sales and marketing ideas

Summer is finally here after a long spring of fluky weather. With the temperatures rising and more people out and about, it’s time to look at a few quick and simple marketing ideas that could generate hot sales for your business. Enjoy the summer!

Signature marketing program: Signatures are the small text files you set to appear at the bottom of each email and text message you send out. Are you using them to market your products and services? One idea is to change your signature file weekly to promote a different product or service you offer. Large organizations: create a signature marketing program. Create a collection of signatures and rotate the signature use in all departments. Be sure to tie signature URLs to landing pages on your website so you can track the traffic and inquiries.

How many links do you have? Link popularity is the total number of websites that link to your site. Do you know how many sites link to yours? The CEV has more than 300 pages linking to our website.  Most of the major search engines now factor link popularity into their relevancy algorithms. As a result, increasing the number of quality, relevant sites that link to your site can actually improve your search engine rankings. Find your ranking now at and start getting your website noted by other sites.

Comparison sheets show the real winner: Show how your products are better than those of your main competitor by creating a simple three-column, 8-1/2 inch by 11 inch comparison sheet that can be used during a sales presentation or as a “leave behind.” The left-hand column should contain the comparison factors, such as cost, time-savings, delivery, and other benefits. The middle column should contain your product’s comparison factors (in response to the left-hand column), with your competition’s factors in the right-hand column. Keep the copy short and to the point. The prospect should be able to get the message with a quick read through.

Overnight mail draws attention: Use next day delivery, with its wonderful oversized envelope, to grab the attention of an important prospect. It gets opened immediately and is worth the price if you’re trying to shorten the sales cycle. A less expensive vehicle is to use faxes. With so much email, PDFs and digital media, the old-fashioned fax is often an attention getter.

Make your invoices work harder: Your invoices hold a key to more sales. It’s called blank space. Use this space for small ads to promote other products and services that your current customers may not know you offer. This works great for fax cover sheets as well.

eBay your surplus: One client takes all their returns and old inventory and sells it on eBay twice a month to recoup their costs and turn surplus inventory into cash. Another client even has an eBay location in their warehouse for surplus inventory and a third party comes in to handle all the selling and headaches for a cut of the revenue.

Nostalgia marketing: Most people buy products due to an emotional response or connection. Have some baby boomers as prospects? Remember that the baby boomer folks are now in their 50s. Gain their attention by reminding them about the good things of their childhood through your marketing. Here are some examples of how childhood marketing can work to attract business:  A graphic artist sent the 64-piece Crayola crayon pack (with the crayon sharpener!) to ad agency art directors with a note that creativity never grows old. A freelance copywriter sent out blank black-and-white marbled composition books (remember grammar school?) to marketing directors at large companies with a note: the blank page is no problem. Sell the emotions attached to the past.

Reading can be fundamental… for business: A smart real estate agent we know goes the extra mile to make sure the children of the client’s family are remembered. She orders a year’s subscription to a children’s magazine for each child in the house. She delivers a copy of the magazine personally on move-in day and tells the child to watch the mailbox for the next issue. This can help the child feel more welcome and a bit more comfortable in new surroundings. This also reminds the parents of her kindness every time a new magazine issue arrives. One local pizza place gives a free 10” pizza to kids who read 10 books in a month. The parent always joins their child and buys something. This promotion increases sales and promotes their business to school aged kids and their families.

Stick it on: Stickers stand out and get noticed. Do you have older packaging and can’t afford to change your brand or look? Try adding a bright, attention-getting sticker to your products and use it to convey a short, crisp advantage of your products or company. For example, play up your local ownership, organic ingredients, a new product, an award your product or company received, or key differential advantage.

Tom Dorr is the director of the Center for Economic Vitality (CEV) in downtown Bellingham. The CEV helps businesses increase their sales through innovative and creative marketing. 


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