For most Americans, summertime is the time for vacation. Like it or not, business activity slows down in the summer. For those of us trying to grow our business, this can be frustrating. But fear not - you can take advantage of the down time to focus on some activities that are hard to get to when client and prospect demands are consuming you. Here are some suggestions on how you can cure the summertime inbound marketing blues.
Catch up on your education and certifications
There is no shortage of opportunities to learn new sales and marketing tactics and catch up on certifications that are required for your job. I have two of HubSpot's free certifications on my to-do list this summer: the new Email Marketing Certification and the Inbound Sales Certification. HubSpot has several free certifications in the areas of sales and marketing that are relevant to audiences ranging from entry-level marketers to C-Suite executives.
You could also brush up on some of your technical skills. Need to take your Excel skills to the next level? How about Google Analytics or AdWords? As stated above there is no shortage of educational opportunities and many of them are free. Rather than worry about the slowdown in activity, put yourself in a better position to take advantage of it when it picks back up.
Review and update your inbound marketing processes
The summer is a great time to make sure your inbound marketing is functioning properly and producing the results you need. Here are a few things you can do:
Review the ten blog posts that are producing the most traffic to your site. If appropriate, update the posts to reflect current conditions. With the rapid changes in the inbound marketing environment, the information you shared last year may no longer be accurate. For example, some of my older blog posts talked about reviewing keyword information that Google provided. The problem is that Google stopped providing that information, so I needed to update the posts. Review the conversion paths in your top ten posts. Are they producing leads commensurate with the traffic they're driving? If not, change the CTAs and/or landing pages to see if you can get conversion rates up. For most sites that have been practicing inbound marketing for some time, those top ten posts will be producing a good percentage of your site traffic. Make sure to make the most out of it.
Review your marketing automation process to ensure your maximizing your lead generation. Dead links and other minor problems can result in major leaks in your marketing automation process. It's a good idea to review your analytics to see what is working well and what isn't. Now you have some time to do it, so plug those leaks!
Review your email marketing. Are there opportunities to segment your contacts for better email engagement? Do you have non-engaged users that you should prune from your list? Which of your emails generated the best results and why? These are all questions you should answer to fine-tune your strategy for the final push to hit your annual numbers.
When we're busy with clients and selling new business, we often don't pay the attention we should to our own marketing processes. Use down time in the summer to make sure you're on track.
Do an honest retrospective review of your six-month results
One trap that I've fallen into is that I sometimes get so busy that I don't take the time to sit back and reflect on the big picture. It's always useful to review what went right and went wrong in your business over the past six months. Don't delude yourself! What do you need to change to achieve the results you want for your business?
Don't delude yourself! What do you need to change to achieve the results you want for your business? Are you working with the right type of clients? Perhaps more importantly, are you making sure not to work with the wrong type of clients? Is your sales process helping identify, qualify and generate opportunities with the kind of customers that can move your business forward?
Summer is a great time to reflect on these big picture questions and adjust your strategy as necessary.
Rekindle positive relationships
Many of us get so busy that we lose touch with the people that can help us most. The squeaky wheel always gets the grease, so we often find ourselves spending all of our time with people with whom we will never have a mutually beneficial relationship. Take advantage of the summer slowdown to reconnect with those people
Take advantage of the summer slowdown to reconnect with people who can help you achieve your goals (and who you can help too). For many of us, the people we need to take pains to connect with are our family. Our families are our ultimate support system. Too many times we focus so much on the day-to-day problems of life that we forget what's really important!
Sometimes a pause to reflect can produce profound changes in the results we produce in our lives. Take advantage of the summer holidays to set yourself up for a fantastic rest of the year!