To many, summer means a time for relaxing in the sun, hanging out with the kids and taking a vacation. But summer can also be a great time to market your small business. We’ve all seen corporations use the warmest months to their benefit, particularly on and around Canada Day. Whether it’s sponsoring a booth at a summer festival, giveaways for the kids or handing out coupon books for tourists, there’s no reason you can’t promote your small business in many of the same ways.
This Canada Day, Netflix is celebrating some of the greatest movies featuring Canadian actors or created by Candian directors and producers. The popular movie club is streaming shows and films such “Trailer Park Boys,” “Ghostbusters”—directed by the legendary Ivan Reitman of Canada and starring Dan Akroyd of Ottawa—“Anvil,” featuring three Canadian rockers who’ve inspired groups such as Metallica and Slayer, and “One Week,” in which Joshua Jackson takes a road trip from Toronto to Vancouver Island. Your business may not have capital to produce a movie, but you can certainly draw customers by inviting any of a number of Canadian film stars to appear at your venue. Imagine the crowds you could draw on Canada Day if the likes of Akroyd or Ryan Gosling were signing autographs at your venue.
In a truly Canadian celebration, the CFL generally starts its regular season on or around Canada Day each year. Offering a football-themed promotion is a great way to get fans excited about your business. Although attendance for popular teams such as the British Columbia Lions, Edmonton Eskimos and Hamilton Tiger-Cats has been down this year, fans still number in the tens of thousands each weekend. Any promotion related to the home team in your area is bound to bring people through the doors. Perhaps you might giveaway gifts, such as T-shirts or pennants, featuring the local CFL team—and, of course, your business name—or even offer a pair of game tickets on Canada Day as a door prize.
Canada Day is a perfect time to start a postcard campaign for your business. At the start and finish of each year, consumers are bombarded with marketing messages, so promoting your business in the middle of the year is a great way to stand out from the crowd. Likewise, patriotic Canadians are generally excited to celebrate the birth of their nation on July 1, so marketing messages related to Canadian culture, history and heritage are bound to be read by millions of potential customers. You might even offer a Canada-related product, such as winter sports equipment or maple syrup, to entice Canadians through your doors.
Toronto Blue Jays
Baseball season is in full swing, and Canadians are rooting for their “home team,” the Toronto Blue Jays. Promotions at the Roers Centre are a great way to put your brand into the hands of thousands of Canadian fans. Perhaps your marketing budget is sufficient to offer game giveaways, such as free replica Blue Jays caps, complete with your business logo on the back. Smaller businesses might give freebies or discounts to fans who show their Blue Jays ticket stub on Canada Day.
Even though your small business may not be able to sponsor large events in the way Bacardi and Heineken are sponsoring Toronto’s Digital Dreams Festival this year, you can still take advantage of large summer festivals as a way to draw customers through your doors. Perhaps you offer promotional items or freebies to customers who show their ticket stubs from major events. Or you might offer some sort of benefit to Canadians attending the festivals. Small businesses can even—solely or through collaboration—hold smaller events such as fireworks displays, picnics and barbecues in honour of Canada Day.
Get Creative and Go Viral
Canadians are ready to celebrate their home on July 1. As the day grows near, Canadian-themed videos are being viewed on YouTube at an increasing rate. Take, for example, Molson Canadian’s rendition of “O Canada.” The “Canadian National Canthem,” features a group of musicians playing the anthem with nothing more than cans and bottles of—what else—Canadian. The performance is not only available on YouTube, but it appeared during the Canadian Olympic Block Party at Toronto’s famous Maple Leaf Square last year. You may not have the musical talents to promote your business in the same way, but shooting any sort of creative Canada-themed video is a great way to get your name out to patriotic consumers.
Why celebrate Canada on just one day? Ottawa’s tourism industry is expected to hold a weeklong celebration by 2017, in time to commemorate Canada’s 150th anniversary. But who says you have to wait for those pieces to fall into place? Just think how many more customers you could draw by holding a Canada Week promotion instead of just Canada Day.