Riding the Waves

How to Make the Most of Summer for Your Business

Ah, summer – who doesn’t love it? Lazy days, long evenings, family vacations and trips to the beach make summer a favorite season for many. And if you own a business, especially in Sonoma County, it should be your favorite season as well. If it’s not, maybe you’re doing it wrong!

Summer is amazing for local businesses for a few reasons. First, in the summer Sonoma County goes outdoors. That’s more people out and about, more people to see and hear your ads, more people already in motion who can be nudged into purchasing what you sell. And speaking of more people, summer is also tourist season – and Sonoma County is tourist country. Even if you don’t own a winery, chances are you can capture some of the over 2 Billion tourist dollars that flow into the county each year. And finally, a county full of bored kids and exhausted parents does have its advantages.

What does this mean for you? Let’s explore the possibilities one at a time.

Sonoma County Outdoors

If you are in the outdoors business, you already know how summer picks up the pace. But just because you don’t sell surf boards and sunscreen that doesn’t mean this on-the-go trend can’t be a boon for you as well.

Think about your own summer habits. Do you drive around more? Go to more events? Engage in more activities outside the home? Try more new things? Chances are good that your current and future customers spend a lot more time actively moving about the county during this season than during the one where we have 5 months of straight rain.

More time moving around and engaged with the community means more time to potentially engage with your brand as well.

The first way you can take advantage of summer action is to be where the people are. Does your city or town have a farmer’s market? A festival? Holiday parades? A summer movie series? See if you can sponsor an event, enter a float, set up a booth or have your employees volunteer. Be where the fun is happening; it’s the greatest kind of visibility!

Sonoma County Outsiders

One in ten jobs in Sonoma County is supported by the tourism industry. Tourists are a backbone of our local economy for many reasons, so it’s important to take them seriously.

You might need to think outside the box. Maybe you aren’t a business that serves tourists. Maybe you aren’t a winery or brewery or distillery or dispensary, or a hotel or motel or campground or inn. Maybe you aren’t a restaurant or a movie theater or a museum or a shopping mall. Maybe you aren’t even a local artist or craft shop or gas station or family fun center.

If you are one of those tourism-friendly businesses, make sure you are just that – make yourself welcoming and easy to access for out-of-town visitors. Keep your website up to date and make sure it is easy to navigate on both desktop and mobile. Run ads on local radio and take advantage of outdoor signs. Start courting tourists before they even set foot in the county with a well-targeted digital campaign (ask us how!). Partner with other local businesses to create “packages” that give visitors a taste of the county, and all of YOU a share of those tourism dollars!

And if you aren’t a tourist-y business, remember; at least ten percent of your clients are here because of the tourism industry. Consider supporting local tourism efforts, sponsoring events that draw visitors in, and throwing your weight behind local decisions that keep Sonoma County beautiful and welcoming.

Bored Kids

Yes, we can’t forget the kids. Summers used to be, long ago, a time schools shut down to allow children to help on the farm. And then they were a time when kids ran free, only to be glimpsed by their parents in the few brief moments between dinner and bed.

Today, summers are often a time when kids are out of school – and parents still have to work. The days of tearing about in vacant lots for hours, unsupervised, are long gone, and the result is worn-down parents and kids who are aching to do ANYTHING interesting.

This can translate, with only the smallest bit of effort on your part, into more business and/or visibility for your company. Focus your advertising on the interests of small humans. Add an interactive kids’ aspect to your grown-up services; a toy area for while mom shops, a small lending library (it keeps them coming back!), free ice cream with a child entrée. If you entertain the kids, even for 5 minutes, dad and mom will love you. Don’t even ask me how I know.

Again, sponsor a summer movie series. Offer face painting at a parade or festival. Support local families, and they will support you!

Tell us what summer means for your business!

 

 

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