As the temperature rises and the days get longer, many small businesses assume that sales will take a nosedive during the summer months. But here's the truth: summer is not a sales slump, it's an opportunity waiting to be seized.

So myself and Cara Bendon went live on Instagram to help small business owners find the opportunities within the 'slower' summer months and offer practical tips and ideas on how to keep connected with customers when you might not be online every day. You can watch the live back here or continue reading for a summary.

In this blog post, I've summarised our chat where we talked about:

  • Why it matters for small businesses to show up this summer
  • Debunking the myth of the summer sales slump
  • The frequency of emailing over the holidays
  • The power of finding a theme or angle to your emails
  • Keeping your design consistent

Why small businesses need to show up in Summer

Summer is often seen as a time when people are on holiday, spending less time online and more time soaking up the sun. But that doesn't mean they're not interested in making purchases. In fact, summer presents a unique opportunity for small businesses to connect with their customers in new and exciting ways.

By showing up this summer, small businesses can tap into a market that is hungry for products and services that enhance their summer experience. So don't assume it will be a quiet season – instead plan your emails in advance, get them scheduled and take some well deserved time off.

Myth busting the Summer sales slump

Contrary to popular belief, the summer sales slump is not a universal phenomenon. While some businesses may experience a dip in sales, many brands continue to thrive during the summer months. How is this possible? Well, it's not just about having a product that directly relates to summer.

Even if your offering is not summer-specific, you can still find creative ways to capture the attention of your audience. Think about activities for children, outdoor events, or even ways to save time during the summer hustle. Or pick the summer of sport with the Olympics starting soon, you can use this if it ties in with your products but also if it goes against them. By finding an angle that resonates with your customers, you can keep those sales flowing all season long.

Frequency of emailing over the holidays

When it comes to email marketing during the holidays, finding the right balance is key for your peace of mind and for your customers. It's important to maintain a consistent rhythm of communication with your audience, but bombarding them with emails won't do you any favours. Instead, focus on quality over quantity.

Plan your email campaigns in advance, incorporating a few themes that align with the summer season. Whether it's a special promotion, a limited edition collection, or simply sharing valuable content you've created. Aim for at least 1 email per week ideally, but if you're not yet sending to this frequency then it's not the time to start, just stick to what you're currently doing. Striking this balance, you'll keep your audience engaged without overwhelming them.

However, if you are closing your online shop for the a few weeks this Summer, that's okay too. You just need to make it really clear across your website, emails and all other marketing channels that there will be a delay in customers receiving their orders whilst you're away.

The importance of finding a theme or angle

In a sea of emails flooding your customers' inboxes, finding a theme or angle can make your message stand out. It's also a way of making composing emails a lot easier, because you're not starting with a blank page.

Summer offers a wealth of opportunities to get creative and capture your audience's attention. Consider showcasing your products by colour, curating a Sorbet Shades collection that screams summer vibes. Or perhaps you can create a Swifty Eras Tour that takes your customers on a journey through different eras of fashion. And let's not forget the power of a Festival Inspired Edit that taps into the music and fashion trends of the season. By finding a theme or angle that resonates with your brand and your audience, you'll make a splash and increase your chances of making those summer sales.

The most important part of finding a theme to your emails is making it super relevant to your audience, so if they are not into Taylor Swift, don't use this as a theme. Instead, brainstorm the seasonal events and things going on in the Summer that are relevant and you could use for your email marketing.

Top tips for email design

Instead of bombarding your customers with an endless list of products or sending an email as long as novel with no products at all, focus on highlighting a few key items in each email. This will create a sense of exclusivity and urgency, encouraging your audience to take action. Even if you use a theme for your emails to bring in a bit of playful fun in these warm summer months, do not forget to include products within the email itself.

This is really easily done if you are using Klaviyo too. Simply add a product feed into your email (which is connected directly to your Shopify website) and choose either a dynamic feed (where the products are selected for each person viewing the email) or a static feed (where you curate the product selection on show) and allow customers to easily browse products and tap straight through to your website to buy.

Remember, the goal of email is to bring traffic back to your website so this should be the focus of all emails you send. Especially over the busy summer months, we want emails to be as easy to shop from as possible.

So here's you quick tips checklist if you want to take action today:

  • Plan in advance (if you can) and schedule your summer emails before you take a break - you can always pause them or edit because as a small business you can be reactive when things happen
  • Keep up with your usual email frequency so customers are still able to connect with you and you have less pressure to start again in September
  • Use themes and angles in your emails to help you create interesting emails, but don't forget to show your products too
  • Find your summer relevance, even if your business doesn't seem directly relevant to the summer months. Think outside the box. Is there a way to tie your product or service to events happening now and what your customers are going through
  • Don't think that people aren't buying or shopping because it's Summer, birthdays, anniversaries, weddings and other gifting occasions (not forgetting back to school) do not stop just because it's warm!

If you've found this helpful, please consider joining my free bi-weekly email The Ecommerce Edit 💌 where I share loads more free tips and advice to help you grow your online shop using Shopify + Klaviyo.

July 02, 2024 — Elle Williamson

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Hi, I’m Elle. I specialise in all things ecommerce for small businesses selling and growing online. I created The Ecommerce Assistant to help busy brand owners make more sales on their online shop by teaching them how to use Shopify + Klaviyo.