Startup & Small Business – HostGator Blog https://www.hostgator.com/blog Web Hosting and Marketing Tips for Entrepreneurs Wed, 20 Jun 2018 19:28:42 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=4.9.6 3 Digital Security Tips for Your Small Business https://www.hostgator.com/blog/small-business-digital-security/ https://www.hostgator.com/blog/small-business-digital-security/#respond Wed, 20 Jun 2018 19:28:42 +0000 https://www.hostgator.com/blog/?p=19297 The post 3 Digital Security Tips for Your Small Business appeared first on HostGator Blog.

3 Simple Tips to Keep Your SMB’s Digital Assets Secure While most news stations report only on the attacks and data breaches of large organizations, your small business is just as much at risk, if not more. In 2017, 61 percent of SMBs have experienced an attack and 54 percent have experienced a data breach, […]

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digital security tips for small business

3 Simple Tips to Keep Your SMB’s Digital Assets Secure

While most news stations report only on the attacks and data breaches of large organizations, your small business is just as much at risk, if not more.

In 2017, 61 percent of SMBs have experienced an attack and 54 percent have experienced a data breach, according to a report from Keeper Security.

Your company may be small, but that’s what makes it more vulnerable. To an attacker, that means you’re less likely to have a solid security strategy in place, and even less likely to have a cybersecurity team monitoring your digital assets.

Just because your business is small doesn’t mean you have to accept this potential security threat. Instead, protect yourself against an attack or breach with the right insurance, knowledge of what’s most vulnerable, and better employee security management.

 

1. Identify Vulnerable Assets

Only 37 percent of small businesses feel very confident about the security of their digital asset storage. In such a remote and collaborative culture, assets need to be readily available to a large number of employees, if not most or all of them. This makes keeping them secure challenging.

The good news is, not all assets should be of concern. An old press release or recent product photos aren’t likely a target for hacking or breach.

The following assets are vulnerable to attack, however, and should be protected as such, according to Leonardo Cooper, CEO of VaultOne:

Domain name registrar: You may not even consider your domain name as an asset, but it is, and it’s one of your most vulnerable. “Management should put access to the domain name credentials in a vault or safe place, and never discuss passwords or usernames via email with colleagues. Access should be limited to a select few team members whose role dictates they need access to the DNS, and passwords should be changed frequently following basic password safety rules,” suggests Cooper.

Backup systems: Cloud storage is extremely vulnerable, with some of the largest corporations worldwide experiencing breaches to data stored here. Your best method of protection for this is twofold: make a regular habit of backing up all assets in the cloud to an external hard drive and create an emergency plan, in case the worst happens.

Secure your HostGator website with daily, automatic backups from CodeGuard.

Third party payment services: While it may seem safer to use a third party payment processor, it’s hard to be sure what their security practices actually are. Don’t let your data, or that of your customers, fall into the wrong hands by using one simple technique: two factor authentication (2FA). This adds one extra layer of security by requiring another password, a specific code, or the use of an app like Google Authenticator, making it harder to hack.

 

2. Bolster Your Cyber Defense

There are many ways to ensure you have a strong defense to protect your business in case of an attack. Here are two simple ways to bolster your current security measures.

Cyber Liability: You insure your business to avoid expensive legal issues with employees or customers, but do you have insurance for cyber liabilities as well? Update your current insurance plan to protect your digital assets:

“Some general business owner policies will include specific provisions protecting a business in the case of a cyber attack. Depending on your specific policy and business, you might need errors and omission insurance, which protects your company from liabilities arising from mistakes made by you or your employees, or even specific cyber security policies,” explains the guide, Cyber Liability: How to Protect Your Business.

This added protection can likely be included with your current policy, making it easy to update quickly.

Better Protection: If you don’t have a security team, your next best option is to work with a service provider who can monitor your domain and assets for breaches or vulnerabilities. Choosing a service provider can be confusing. Steve Bassi, CEO of PolySwarm, shares some suggestions for vetting products and teams:

“Companies shouldn’t look at any one tool, rather how is the service provider protecting them with defense and response in depth. Put another way, how does the service provider plan to layer defenses and man them with experienced technical folk?”

Don’t forget to ask the right questions, referring to specifics like automated monitoring and threat detection. Bassi continues, “A good provider here will provide tools that automate the detection of attackers on employee’s machines and across servers. Good examples of this are tools like Carbon black, which does something very simple: if it sees an application executed that has never been seen before in the enterprise it reports it. That’s one layer of defense but a good service provider should analyze any foreign applications and see if they look malicious.”

Protect your website from malware and digital threats with SiteLock:

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3. Address Your Biggest Threat: Employees

Your greatest cybersecurity threat is not outside attackers, but the people working for you—or former employees. While in some cases their intent is not to harm the company, employees have access to a wide range of assets that can be breached or attacked due to lack of strong passwords or poor sharing and security management. In many cases, even former employees may still have access to these assets.

In fact, the 2017/18 Kroll Annual Global Fraud and Risk Report found that 71 percent of businesses that reported a security incident cited insiders as the perpetrators. More importantly, they found that 39 percent of those perpetrators were junior employees and 37 percent were former employees.

There are two ways to combat this in your small business:

  • Create a culture of security, where all employees are empowered to be safe in their interactions, and requirements like 2FA for all employee logins are enforced.
  • Follow a specific procedure when employees are fired or quit. Even when leaving on good terms, your assets are vulnerable if that employee can still access them.

In general, it’s wise to create a culture of security within your small business, which encourages employees to take ownership of their security and that of the business. TechBeacon shares six great tips for making this happen with your team:

  • Remind employees: security belongs to everyone.
  • Focus on awareness.
  • Create a secure development lifecycle.
  • Reward employees that do the right thing for security.
  • Create a security community.
  • Make security fun and engaging.

 

Get Serious About Digital Asset Security

Cybersecurity is no joke for small businesses. With so many digital assets being created, used and shared, this is an important vulnerability to address. Luckily, there are a number of ways to protect your business from breach or attack, including working with a security consultant, creating a culture of security and identifying and protecting the assets that are most vulnerable.

Learn more about securing your small business website with our free Website Security Checklist.

Jessica Thiefels has been writing and editing for more than 10 years and spent the last six years in marketing. She’s worked with a number of small businesses and security clients, and you can find her work on publications like Virgin, Forbes, and Manta.

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Why Your Business Should Be Using A Virus Removal Tool https://www.hostgator.com/blog/small-business-using-virus-removal-tool/ https://www.hostgator.com/blog/small-business-using-virus-removal-tool/#respond Mon, 18 Jun 2018 21:31:19 +0000 https://www.hostgator.com/blog/?p=19443 The post Why Your Business Should Be Using A Virus Removal Tool appeared first on HostGator Blog.

Why Your Small Business Should Be Using a Virus Removal Tool As a small business owner, you need to take steps to protect your business. We’re not just talking about insurance or even legal stuff, but something else entirely—your business website. If your website isn’t properly protected you’re leaving yourself susceptible to viruses that can […]

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why your small business should be using a virus removal tool

Why Your Small Business Should Be Using a Virus Removal Tool

As a small business owner, you need to take steps to protect your business. We’re not just talking about insurance or even legal stuff, but something else entirely—your business website.

If your website isn’t properly protected you’re leaving yourself susceptible to viruses that can make using your site difficult, and even compromise your website as a whole.

Finding a solid virus removal tool will help protect your website from hackers and ensure it’s always safe and protected.

Below you’ll learn why your small business needs to use a virus removal tool and the steps you can take to get started.

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A Virus Can Harm Any Business, No Matter How Small

When your computer has a virus it can be an inconvenience, or even make your computer non-operational. Plus, some forms of malware can steal sensitive information like credit card info, or banking information. As a result, you probably already have some form of virus protection installed on your computer.

But, what about your website?

If you’re using your website for business, then this is an asset that needs to be protected, just like your computer.

A lot of website owners think that just keeping their website, themes, and plugins up to date will be enough. Although this will protect you against past security holes it won’t protect you from newer security risks.

Most software is updated only after security vulnerabilities are found. Don’t let your website be the testing ground for finding these leaks and security holes.

A virus can not only harm your website. But, it can ruin your reputation as well.

For example, if your site is infected any sensitive customer information might be compromised. If a user visits your site, and they have anti-virus software installed, then they’ll be warned to leave your site.

This makes you come across as spammy. They won’t have any idea of knowing who installed the virus, and the chances are high that they won’t return to your site.

As a result, you suffer an immediate loss in user trust and a drop in traffic as well.

 

The Overall Cost of a Virus

A virus removal tool can be a small investment compared to the overall damage it can wreak on your small business.

Instead of having to reach out to customers to let them know their data has been compromised, or having to essentially restart your website from scratch, you can simply invest in a virus protection and removal tool.

A virus does more than just take down your website. It can potentially ruin your business.

Think about the cost of losing your customers for life. Or, the traffic that lands on your infected website and never comes back again.

You’ve spent a lot of time and energy designing your website. It’s time to protect it, just as you would your home.

 

What Does a Virus Removal Tool Do?

A virus removal tool will not only scan and remove any kinds of viruses that may be installed on your site, but it’ll keep you protected from it ever happening in the first place.

You’ll get access to different features depending upon the tool you choose, but it’ll generally be equipped with the following:

  • A regular malware scanner to detect and delete any malware or viruses
  • A firewall to prevent any DDoS and other forms of attacks
  • A feature to help prevent website blacklisting (this could destroy your search engine rankings)
  • An alert system to let you know of any potential risks, or out of date software

Overall, a virus removal tool is an easy investment to make, and your website and visitors will be protected over the long run.

 

How to Pick the Right Virus Removal Tool for Your Website

There are a variety of tools that will help your website stay safe and secure online.

If you’re a WordPress user, there are numerous security plugins like:

However, if you’re currently using HostGator to host your site, then you should consider the SiteLock service. As an add-on to your hosting package, you’ll get regular malware scans and removal, along with features to help prevent website blacklisting.

 

It’s Time to Protect Your Site

Most small business owners understand the need to protect their personal and business computers, but hopefully, you now see why protecting your website is also a must.

Remember, it’s a good idea to invest in a virus removal tool before it’s too late. When it comes to online security prevention is always the best route to take.

Kevin Wood writes about technology and human potential. You can find him at his virtual homes Wooden Writing and Counter Culturist.

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6 Summer Promotion Ideas to Boost E-Commerce Sales https://www.hostgator.com/blog/summer-promotion-ideas-ecommerce-online-store/ https://www.hostgator.com/blog/summer-promotion-ideas-ecommerce-online-store/#respond Mon, 11 Jun 2018 16:35:01 +0000 https://www.hostgator.com/blog/?p=19325 The post 6 Summer Promotion Ideas to Boost E-Commerce Sales appeared first on HostGator Blog.

6 Summer Promotion Ideas for E-Commerce Sites Summer is awesome for so many reasons, but online sales revenue isn’t usually one of them. Online shopping tends to slow down in the summertime while people are traveling and enjoying outdoor fun. The good news is it picks back up in the fall as people shop for […]

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6 Summer Promotion Ideas for E-Commerce Sites

Summer is awesome for so many reasons, but online sales revenue isn’t usually one of them. Online shopping tends to slow down in the summertime while people are traveling and enjoying outdoor fun. The good news is it picks back up in the fall as people shop for the winter holidays.

The better news is that you can boost your slow summer sales by running promotions that get your existing customers to check in and bring in some new customers, too.

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6 Sizzling Summer Promotion Ideas for Your Online Store

For some fun (sales) in the sun this summer, try out one of these promotion ideas for your e-commerce website.

 

1. Promote the stuff your customers need this summer.

Your summer merch will move faster if you remind your customers that they need it and offer some limited-time discounts to get them to buy now. Obvious candidates for summer-fun-now deals are outdoor furniture, pool and swim gear, travel items, and grilling equipment.

Don’t sell those items? Brainstorm a bit. Your temporary tattoos are probably perfect for festival-bound teens and young adults this summer. Run a toy store? Highlight the best boredom-busters in your inventory and target parents who need to keep kids busy and happy this summer. Sell pet gear? Fido needs a life jacket if he’s going boating, and portable water bowls are a must for pups going on summer hikes.

 

2. Invite your customers to take you on vacation.

Summer travels are a natural fit for social media promotions and Facebook contests. You might offer a prize for the customer who travels the farthest or goes to the most unusual destination this summer while wearing a t-shirt or carrying a water bottle from your store—ask them to post their trip photos with your goods. You can also invite your social media followers to vote on the best photos and award prizes based on their picks.

Maybe your customers aren’t big travelers. You can work with the idea of a staycation instead and run a sale on items your customers can use to liven up their backyard, deck, and home for summer fun. Again, you can extend that into a photo contest on social media for prizes from your store.

 

3. Work the summer holidays for all they’re worth.

Nothing’s going to come close to the spending levels you see around Thanksgiving and Christmas, but sales before Father’s Day, the Fourth of July, and Labor Day Weekend can generate revenue from shoppers looking to pick up gifts or party supplies.

You can also check out National Day Calendar’s website to see what quirky options line up with your store’s merchandise and customers. Maybe you’ll want to run a flash sale on ballet shoes for National Dance Day in July or discount board games throughout August in honor of Family Fun Month. You can always make your own summer holiday sale, like Amazon does with Prime Day. (There’s a reason they put that big day in the middle of summer.)

Give your current customers a heads-up with a promotional email that includes a one- or two-day preview sale before you announce it to the public. Once it’s open to everyone, share it on your social media channels.

 

4. Flash sales don’t need a holiday.

Got a small batch of cute new sunglasses or artisanal beard wax you want to sell? Flash sales are an ideal way to promote and move limited-quantity items. They’re easy to set up on Facebook or Instagram and they can help you capture new customer email addresses.

To make your flash sale a success, make sure you have reliable real-time inventory tracking in place so you don’t sell more than you have on hand. It’s also a good idea to create special terms for your flash sale, like no returns and no retroactive discounts on previous purchases of the same item, to make sure it’s a profitable promotion. Have your shipping supplies ready to go, because you may be packing a lot of orders in a short amount of time after your sale ends.

hostgator flash sale

5. Pop up in person.

Pop up shops can help you connect with new customers who want to try in person before they buy online. Pop ups can also help you go where your existing customers are during the summer, like festivals, fairs, or vacation destinations.

To do a summertime pop-up event well, carefully plan your location, your mini-store space, and the merchandise you think will sell best. For example, if you’re going to vend at a music festival, you’ll almost certainly sell more earrings, bracelets, and necklaces than you will shoes or clothes that have to be tried on.

Learn more about what goes into setting up a pop up shop, promote it via email and social media, and plan lots of day-of social media posts to encourage nearby people to drop by. You might want to do a giveaway at your pop-up shop to boost traffic, too.

 

6. Look ahead to the school year.

As a kid, maybe you didn’t like seeing back-to-school sales flyers in late July when you were just trying to enjoy sleeping in and watching Nickelodeon.

Now that you’re an adult with a store to run, you may feel differently—especially if you sell clothes, shoes, or computers. Back-to-school and back-to-college spending reached $83 billion in the US in 2017, with much of that spending taking place in the month before classes begin. Most US schools start in mid to late August, so if you promote your BTS products well, you can end the summer on a high note.

Because most parents are planning their BTS shopping by August, it makes sense to get your deals into their inboxes and onto their social media feeds by, yep, mid-July.

 

Prevent the E-commerce Summer Slump for Your Online Store

Planning a season’s worth of fun promotions for your online store now can help your store avoid summer doldrums this year and in the future. Save your data from each promotion to see which sales do the best for you, which items are the strongest sellers, and which customers are your best summer shoppers. Then you can go into next summer with an even stronger promotion plan.

Casey Kelly-Barton is an Austin-based freelancer who enjoys writing about business development and marketing, e-commerce payments and fraud prevention, and travel.

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About Us: How to Tell Your Business Story the Right Way https://www.hostgator.com/blog/about-us-tell-business-story/ https://www.hostgator.com/blog/about-us-tell-business-story/#respond Mon, 11 Jun 2018 16:30:24 +0000 https://www.hostgator.com/blog/?p=18996 The post About Us: How to Tell Your Business Story the Right Way appeared first on HostGator Blog.

About Us: How to Tell Your Business Story the Right Way The About Us section of your website has the potential to draw in customers, establish trust, and make people want to do business with you. But choose a couple of dozen small-business sites at random and you’ll find that many have About Us pages […]

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how to write an about us page

About Us: How to Tell Your Business Story the Right Way

The About Us section of your website has the potential to draw in customers, establish trust, and make people want to do business with you.

But choose a couple of dozen small-business sites at random and you’ll find that many have About Us pages with next to no information, or that overload visitors with full-page blocks of texts that go into far more detail than most people can absorb.

Here’s how to write an About Us section that showcases your business story, demonstrates to customers that you’re the right choice, draws in people searching for what you sell, and sets the tone for your customer outreach.

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Show What You Can Do for Your Customers

It’s about you only to the extent that you have something your customers want or need. So tell your story in a way that shows you understand the problem your visitors want to solve.

Zappos does a great job by describing the founder’s failed, frustrating shoe-shopping experience at a mall. No one wants to waste an hour and go home without new shoes, so right away, Zappos shows it understands something about its customers: They want convenience and selection.

tell business story with founder history about us page from zappos

What if you’re blogging? Blog and media site Scary Mommy uses some frank descriptive wording on its About Us page to show that they get the struggles and rewards of motherhood: “We’ve seen it all, heard it all, and smelled it all, but we wouldn’t have it any other way.” You don’t have to be that direct if it’s not your style or not on-brand, but there are many ways to show that you get what your audience needs.

 

Establish Your Trust and Expertise

Besides looking for a solution to a problem, people who check out your About Us page want to see if you are the right person to solve their problem. An effective way to show your expertise and at the same time show that others trust you with their problems is with social proof. Your About Us page can include:

  • positive customer reviews
  • testimonials
  • case studies from clients
  • media mentions
  • awards you, your employees, and your business have earned

If you provide services, you can include well-known clients on your About Us page, as visual organizing tool Trello does.

You can and should inject some personality into your About Us page, because site visitors want to know there’s a real person behind your site. That’s why popular toymakers Melissa & Doug come right out and say they’re real people on their About Us page, which is every bit as lighthearted as you’d expect for people who make toys.

humorous about us page example

Your About Us page also needs to include:

  • your name
  • your location
  • a photo or video of you that reflects your brand and personality
  • contact details like a phone number, email address, and company social media accounts.

Before they shop with you, customers also want to know that they can reach you if they need to. Consider this About Us excerpt from Round Rock Honey: “We believe in our honey so much that if you ever have a question, just look on the back of our bottle. You’ll find our names and phone number.”

 

Get Found by Your Audience

A good About Us page helps prospects decide if your site is a good match for what they need. A great About Us page also helps more people find your site.

To do this, you’ll need to use some SEO tools to help your site show up when people search for what you offer. Make sure your About Us page includes:

  • Long-tail keyword phrases that help people zero in on what they need. If you sell school uniforms in Dallas, don’t rely on “school uniforms” to drive search traffic to your site. Include “school uniforms in Dallas” or “school uniforms for Dallas-area charter schools” or whatever is accurately describes in detail what your customers search for.
  • On-site SEO titles, meta descriptions, and tags for your About Us page with your most important keywords. Your meta description will appear in search results, so make every word count: “Zippy’s is the fastest and best courier service in the greater Houston area. Call 703-555-1212.”
  • Optimized images for the best possible search results. Tag and describe them in ways that help people find your site. That team photo on your About Us page can be titled “Bakers of Custom Birthday Cakes in Duluth” instead of “teamphoto,” for example.
  • Fast load times. When you’re done with your About Us page, run it through Google’s PageSpeed test to make sure it loads quickly enough to avoid getting downranked in search results.
  • Mobile-friendly display and navigation. While you’re testing your About Us page, use Google’s mobile-friendly test tool to see how it performs on mobile devices. Better performing pages tend to rank higher in search results.
  • Schema.org markup tools to optimize search results displays. You can use a schema plugin for your WordPress site or delve into this step-by-step guide on schema and Google Rich Snippets to format your About Us page for good-looking search results.

For more information on these and other SEO strategies for your About Us page, check out HostGator’s ABC’s of SEO e-book.

 

What’s Your Business Story?

However you set up your About Us page—a serious rundown of your firm’s accomplishments or a set of whimsical videos about your handmade housewares shop—keep the tone, appearance, and language consistent with the rest of your site and with your brand.

Consider your About Us page an ongoing project, keep it updated and focused on the goals above, and it can be a powerful marketing and customer relations tool.

Casey Kelly-Barton is an Austin-based freelancer who enjoys writing about business development and marketing, e-commerce payments and fraud prevention, and travel.

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8 Fun Summer Promotion Ideas for Small Business https://www.hostgator.com/blog/summer-promotion-ideas-small-business/ https://www.hostgator.com/blog/summer-promotion-ideas-small-business/#respond Thu, 07 Jun 2018 15:30:46 +0000 https://www.hostgator.com/blog/?p=19386 The post 8 Fun Summer Promotion Ideas for Small Business appeared first on HostGator Blog.

Make the Most of Summer with These Fun Promotion Ideas Unless you sell swimwear or ice cream, your small business may see a drop in sales over the summer. Consumer spending on things besides travel tends to slack off during the hottest months, but you can encourage your current customers to come shop with you […]

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Summer Promotion Ideas for Small Businesses

Make the Most of Summer with These Fun Promotion Ideas

Unless you sell swimwear or ice cream, your small business may see a drop in sales over the summer.

Consumer spending on things besides travel tends to slack off during the hottest months, but you can encourage your current customers to come shop with you and attract new customers, too. Use some of these promotion ideas and best practices to rev up your business this summer.

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1. Discount Punch Cards

Summer punch cards aren’t just for kids’ reading clubs. Punch cards can bring more traffic into your store all season long by giving customers a discount when they buy upfront.

These programs are a natural fit for yoga, fitness, and dance studios, and you can almost certainly create a punch promo for your business: a pre-pay discount on an iced coffee each week all summer long, car washes, dog washes, eyebrow waxing, or anything your customers will want more than once during the summer.

 

2. Giveaways

People love free stuff, even when it’s hot outside. Summer is the perfect time to give away small items like skincare product samples, fashion jewelry, stickers, and food.

Promote your giveaways on social media and make it clear what the terms are: good while supplies last, today only, free item with purchase, or however you want to structure your deal.

 

3. One-Day Sales and Deals of the Day

Between summer holidays you can create your own sales events. One option is to offer a one-day-only discount on your most-popular or highest-margin items. Department store chain Macy’s does this several times a year.

Another option is to offer a discount on one item each day (like Amazon’s Deal of the Day offers) to keep customers checking your social media and dropping in for buys.

amazon deal of the day

4. Work with the Weather

Keep an eye on the forecast and plan ahead, and you can have hot-day and rainy-day flash deals ready to go when the temperature gets above, say, 95 degrees or the skies open up.

You can also offer afternoon “happy hour” deals to boost traffic during the hottest part of the day, like Sonic does with its half-price drink deals.  

 

5. Partner with Local Nonprofits

Try connecting with nonprofit groups nearby to host a fun event for a good cause. Got a dog-friendly patio or courtyard? Talk to a local animal shelter or rescue group about hosting an adoption event. Have indoor space for a show? Host a live music or dance performance.

You don’t need a big budget to do this if there’s a performing arts school in your area with a student troupe – they may be delighted to have a chance to practice their performance skills, and their friends and family will show up to cheer them on. If you have enough lead time, you can send a press release to local media and invite them to cover your event.

 

6. Offer Classes

Craft stores like Michael’s have long known that on-site classes can boost store traffic and demand for their products.

Virtually any business can offer a free class on something related to what they do: cookie decorating, drawing, pet grooming, nail art, wine knowledge, caring for houseplants, maintaining lawnmowers, and so on.

Besides promoting your classes via email and social media, write a press release so community websites and papers can include your event in their calendars.

 

7. Pop Up in New Spots

Summer is special-event time in most cities, so go where your customers will be. Look now for vending opportunities at festivals and shows, and start scoping out retail locations where you could rent space for a pop-up shop.

Learn more about running your first pop-up shop here.

 

8. Make the Most of the Summer Holidays

American shoppers expect sales ahead of Father’s Day, the Fourth of July, and Labor Day, so go all out.

Gifts, party supplies, beachwear, and things to help beat the heat are all popular sellers around these holidays. And if you sell anything at all related to back to school or back to college, start promoting those items before the end of July—Deloitte found that people who do their back to school shopping before August spend more than those who wait.

Think now about deals you might offer on clothes, school supplies, and tech. You can also combine back to school with a special event to have a last-party-before-school  event and sale.

 

Best Practices for Your Summer Promotions

Know the ground rules. Each state has laws about giveaways you’ll need to follow. You’ll also want to know the maximum capacity for your shop if you’re doing an in-store event so you don’t have your event interrupted by the fire marshal.

Set your terms. Flash deals and one-day sales can be a little tricky if you don’t spell out the terms of your promos. I know business owners who’ve been contacted by customers demanding a partial refund of something they’d bought weeks before because that same item was now part of a flash sale. Spell out clearly that flash sale deals are valid only on items purchased that day to avoid headaches.

Make your punch cards pop. Include your shop’s logo, contact information, and social media details on your punch cards, and include the deal’s terms.

Write your promo copy ahead of time. On the day of your flash sale or special event, you want to be selling, not writing. Have your social media posts ready to go beforehand.

Collect customer data. If you’re offering a free class or hosting an event, ask people to register ahead of time or on site. This allows you to plan ahead and it gives you new email addresses you can roll into your email marketing program.

Track promotion performance. Look at which promotions generated the most revenue and new customer contact info and which were the easiest to run. Next summer you can focus on the types of promos that delivered the best return on your time and effort this year.

Casey Kelly-Barton is an Austin-based freelancer who enjoys writing about business development and marketing, e-commerce payments and fraud prevention, and travel.

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