6 Outdoor Marketing Ideas to Kickstart Your Summer
As summer ramps up, you can count on one thing: more people outside basking in the beauty of the great outdoors. And more people outside means more opportunity for creative outdoor marketing!
Whether your local area’s “great outdoors” is a casual stroll through an urban park or a drive through the open country, there’s plenty of outdoor marketing opportunities in every location. To get inspired for your summer campaign, start with our list of outdoor marketing tips and ideas below.
1. Start with the basics.
It’s easy to overlook the simplest solutions in search of something more creative, but we always recommend getting the basics down first. Start your summer marketing strategy by asking yourself one simple question: Is my brand/message/offer as visible as possible?
The answer is probably no—at least not yet!
Consider where people might be naturally passing by your business (or even just thinking about businesses like yours), and then put up a sign right there. Depending on the location, this sign could be almost anything:
- A huge banner hanging on your business exterior (large enough for drivers to see)
- A series of wall posters or a sandwich board in a popular pedestrian area
- Yard signs throughout local neighborhoods and shopping centers
- Flyers on park bulletin boards, neighborhood clubhouses, or public pools
To make your outdoor print marketing as effective as possible, get some tips on color psychology (including advice on how to incorporate seasonal color themes!).
2. Sponsor a local event.
One of the most helpful marketing maxims we’ve ever heard is this: “Go where your customers are.” Instead of trying to attract customers to you, you’ll often save time, effort, and money by putting your business where your customers already are.
And in the summer, most people are—you guessed it—outside!
Summer is a terrific season for all kinds of outdoor events and community gatherings, many of which accept sponsorships for a modest fee. Look for local activities that will already be attracting your target market, such as:
- State and county fairs
- Pop-up amusement parks
- Community picnics
- Music festivals
- BBQs and bake-offs
- Cultural festivals
- Marathons or other races
- Pool parties
- Summer sports tournaments
- Fourth of July parties
Once you’ve signed up as a sponsor, ask the event organizers what kind of outdoor marketing you’re permitted to do. At the very least, you’ll likely be able to hand out smaller print pieces like brochures, flyers, or business cards.
Pro Tip: On any and all print marketing you do at the event, it’s a terrific idea to direct people to your website so that you’re giving them an easy next step to take. Even better? Advertise a special offer that’s only valid for event attendees!
Especially if you'll be attending multiple events this summer, tracking print marketing is essential to getting the highest ROI. Check out our tips for tracking your print marketing efforts.
3. Host your own event.
If you have the capacity to do so, you could also consider hosting your own summer event! Of course, this takes a bit more work on your end, but it also gives you much more control over the kinds of outdoor marketing you’re able to do.
Even small touches of print marketing can turn a regular old event into a real guest experience:
- Design branded tickets or wristbands to make your event feel more exclusive and fun for kids.
- Hang an extra-large outdoor banner to welcome guests to the event.
- Hand out flyers before, during, and after the event. (You could list out the schedule of events, provide a map of the event grounds, include a coupon for something free, or simply provide your business information.)
- Having some kind of food festival, summer bake-off, or food truck fair? Then print table tents and bottle tags!
While attendees enjoy all the activities, they’ll see your brand on various print pieces and naturally associate your business with care-free summer fun.
Hosting an event can be as simple as posting it on Facebook, using a third-party app like Meetup, or even just advertising through your customer email list. Depending on your business, you could host a family-friendly festival, an open house, a “behind the scenes,” or a meet and greet.
Want some more creative ideas for local events? Check out our list of cost-effective community events to host.
4. Offer a summer special.
Everyone loves a sale, and with more free time available, summer is a great season for limited-time offers.
For instance, if you own a restaurant, then perhaps your chefs could dream up a “Summer Solstice Salad” with fresh seasonal ingredients like radish, rhubarb, and strawberries. If you run a pet boarding facility, you could offer free animal pickup for summer vacations of one week or more. Or maybe you’re a babysitter and can offer a tongue-in-cheek discount for “parents who need a break from summer break.”
Whatever your specific offer might be, make it more captivating by weaving in fun summer-y themes like these:
- Blue skies
- Kids out of school
- Ice cream
- Block parties
Creating a summer offer is the first step. The next step is to use outdoor marketing to get the word out! This can be as easy as designing and printing your own door hangers to highlight your offer and urge local residents to claim their savings now.
5. Give out freebies.
You can also take the concept of “special offer” one step further and actually give things away for free! Freebies are a fantastic way to build brand awareness and just to do something nice for potential customers.
Consider these ideas for summer freebies:
- Set out an ice-cold bucket of free water bottles with branded bottle tags, helping to quench people’s thirst as they stroll past your business.
- Make cute summer baskets of on-the-go must-haves like mini sunblock, lip balm, tissues, or hand fans (plus your business card, of course!). Give them out as freebies with any purchase.
- If you’re hosting or attending an event, set up a “photo booth” with a cheap camera and printer. Print free photos on paper with your logo and contact information.
- Pass out loyalty cards with one stamp already included for free. Set them in a basket outside your business if you’re in a pedestrian-heavy area, or bring them with you to any event.
Don’t want to hand out physical items? Then consider a coupon for a free service, gift, class, or consultation. Through MyCreativeShop’s online editor, you can easily design flyers with dotted lines for recipients to cut out coupons.
6. Join up with another business.
To save money without limiting the reach of your marketing campaign, think about partnering up with a complementary business.
For example, if you do lawn care, you might be able to advertise with a local remodeling contractor or real estate agent. If you’re a pet groomer, you could reach out to local vets and boarding facilities to discuss mutual advertising opportunities.
Through partnerships like these, you can both amplify your outdoor marketing efforts this summer. You might:
- Leave flyers at each other’s business locations
- Hang banners at each other’s business locations
- Put up yard signs outside each other’s businesses or job sites
- Design a brochure or door hanger together, splitting the cost and distribution areas
- Share a booth sponsorship at a local event
Partnerships are just one way to increase your marketing reach. Read more tips on leveraging print marketing, even on a tight budget.
With a little imagination, summer outdoor marketing can mean a whole lot more than yard signs and banners (although we think those are great, too!).
All of the print marketing strategies we discussed above can be easily designed online through MyCreativeShop. Jump over to our templates to create banners, flyers, door hangers, and more—finishing in just a few minutes and getting back to that gorgeous summer sunshine.