For many industries and organizations, summer is the often considered “the dead zone.” Employees take vacations, clients don’t respond to your emails, and many travel for conferences and tradeshows. Furthermore, according to The New Yorker, summer tends makes us lazy for a number of reasons. This is often an excuse to sit back, relax, and let your whoever matters the most to your business fly under the radar. We often think “we’ll get in touch with them once summer is over” or “they’ll come by a month or two after fiscal year ends.” We may even think our clients or employees “need a break.” In reality, many of those individuals who you think are too busy or uninterested in the summer are often doing exactly what you’re doing—nothing. What does this mean? It means that summer could be an untapped opportunity to strengthen relationships with your top prospects, clients, donors, and employees.
High Volume & Little Noise: A Recipe for Communication Success
When it comes to capturing the attention of busy individuals, it’s often an uphill battle. A myriad of emails, phone calls, text messages and banner ads flood the attention of those individuals who you need to stay in touch with the most. The more important they are, the more likely they’ll be harder to reach. So how do we take advantage of this summer opportunity to capture the attention of these individuals and stay top of mind?
Let’s look at it from a marketing perspective. When it comes to marketing channels, you want to find channels that have plenty of volume (e.g., number of good potential clients) with a limited amount of noise (e.g., other organizations trying to contact your clients). You also want to find channels that have these to characteristics that don’t cost a fortune of course.
The way Facebook advertising has changed over the years demonstrates this. Early on, advertising on Facebook was ideal for a number of industries. There was lots of volume, little noise, and it didn’t cost a fortune. Since more people have caught onto this, the market is now more crowded (which means more noise), and the demand is higher (which means more cost). Taking this perspective to your communication channels, summer creates an opportunity where those hard-to-reach people are often easier to get in touch with. Many who are slammed with emails, calls, and meetings during the rest of the year have much more availability. They also tend to be more relaxed and open to new ideas.
Quiet Coffee Shop or Crowded Bar?
What if I gave you the option to choose the location and surrounding environment of where you would like to meet with your top prospect, client, employee or donor? Would you rather meet with them inside a crowded bar on a Friday night or would you rather meet with them at a quiet coffee shop on a leisurely Saturday morning? Obviously, both of these situations may not be appropriate depending on what industry you’re in, but the point is that in the latter situation is obviously the better one. You’d be really able to listen to whomever you’re meeting with, and there wouldn’t be a rush for him or her to jump into their next meeting or item on their to-do list. It would be relaxed. There would be an adequate amount of background noise, which according to Harvard Business Review, is key for focus apprently. You’d completely have their full attention, and you may even have the freedom to connect more of a personal level.
I recently had a meeting like this on a Sunday morning. I usually don't take meetings on Sunday mornings, but this one was an exception because the person was in town for a rare occasion. The meeting ended up being very enjoyable, and I was able connect with the individual on a much deeper level. Our meeting lasted over and hour and a half long when it would have usually lasted only 30 minutes.
How is this related to summer? Well, it’s related because summer is much more like the relaxed coffee shop than the crowded bar. It can provide opportunities for you to connect with people on a deeper and more personal level. So, while everyone else is out sipping pina coladas and not paying any attention to these individuals, you have the opportunity to take advantage of the slow Saturday morning vibes that summer creates.
Leveraging the Tangible, Digital, & Personal
If you really want to take advantage of this opportunity to strengthen relationships and differentiate you brand this summer, then just sending that email or making that phone call may not cut it. While the people you need to get in touch with will often be more relaxed and open to new ideas this summer, you still have to do the work to get your foot in the door. A task that is particularly difficult if you're reaching out to an executive or business owner.
We ourselves get around this by leveraging tangible, digital, and personal touches with these hard-to-reach individuals--a process that could be especially effective in the summer since everyone else is at the beach or dusting their computers. The blending of these three tools (tangible, digital, & personal) is what makes this process so powerful. While some people will set up the campaigns and pay for the ads, they often won't follow up with a personal phone call. While some will send the emails and make the calls, they won't take the time to send a strategic tangible message (or gift) that makes their call-to-action stand out. With our media-saturated world, people today are constantly barraged information in many forms yet few organizations make the effort to leverage the tangible, digital and personal.
The Season of Opportunity
Whether you are a beach bum or not, summer is a hidden opportunity that most of us should be capitalizing on, and I'm not just referring to taking a vacation. So, whether you end up scheduling a phone call, planning a visit, or sending a gift, make sure you take advantage of the unique opportunities that summer creates.