*Sigh* Today is June first, the beginning of the summer season. If you’re in the yarn & knitting industry you know you’re about to face a long summer of sluggish sales and possible cash flow troubles (unless you’re lucky enough to be in a tourist town like my lovely shop Fringe).
In light of the “panic” I always hear this time of the year, I wanted to provide some helpful tips and ideas to take advantage of the slower time here:
Optimize your website for mobile users:
Mobile phone use is increasing at an ever increasing clip. Over 93% of Americans own a cell phone and mobile phone use is up 34% from last year. Trends indicate users are engaging in what’s called ROBO behavior, “Research Online and Buying Offline”. That means, they use their mobile phones to look up your shop, check the hours, get directions and then come in to buy yarn.
According to this article on SearchEngineLand, 20% of Americans access the mobile web everyday. With FourSquare, Twitter Geolocation and Yelp for Mobile on the rise, this is not a passing trend.
Quick summer tasks here include:
- Ensure your key contact info is accessible and obvious on every page (phone, address, directional information (we’re across from the marina etc).
- Experience your website on a mobile platform. Opera has a mini mobile view just for this purpose.
- Create a mobile-friendly version of your site. Use a converter like Mofuse for this purpose. There are also wordpress plugins for mobile use.
Optimize Your Website for SEO
An often neglected task that’s worth revisiting in the summer. What are your stats looking like for your website? Could you use this downtime to work on search engine optimization?
Quick summer tasks here include:
- Relevant Commenting on other blogs
- Improving your social bookmarking (here is a good list to start with)
- Work on your inbound links (reciprocal are not as highly valued as incoming)
- Improving your title tags, and keyword density
Begin to lay the foundation for your FALL social media efforts:
I wish social media worked like my lightswitch– *flick* and you instantly have 100 fans on Facebook and 100 followers on Twitter. If this were true, I’d be out of a job! Although social media is an incredible tool for engaging your customer base, it doesn’t happen overnight. NOW is the time you should be laying the groundwork for Fall:
- Set up your accounts on Facebook, Twitter, Ravelry.
- Design your backgrounds, headers and such to brand the spaces.
- Begin to generate postings which eventually build the traffic— by Fall you’ll be poised for the busier season.
I might add– that if you DO have a nice social media following already– then congratulations! This is one of THE BEST ways to stay in touch with your customers when they’re NOT coming into the shop during the Summer! Connect with them through contests, events and sales to motivate in-store visits.
Other things to consider during the Summer slow season?
- Evaluate and freshen up your merchandising and displays.
- Have you considered carrying other non-seasonal items such as gifts, fabrics or beads?
- Offer summer events to get folks in the store such as wine-tastings, yarn crawls, Ravelry parties or other clever ideas.
- Take a breather and care for yourself! Now is the time for personal restoration or vacations!
Of course, if you find you want some help with any of these tasks–our full media kit of services offerings is available here. We also offer a new line of service offerings dedicated to website improvements and SEO. Download that here.