While summer can be a slower season for some retailers, the large success with massive summer shopping events like Amazon’s Prime Day for brands not named Amazon show there is opportunity in every season. Most importantly, it doesn’t have to be a grand gesture or event. Small changes and tweaks can make a world of difference to ensure you gain a competitive edge. As we approach the end summer, it’s never been a better time to refresh your marketing strategy through testing as you gear up for the holiday season.

Here are a few ways to refresh your tactics to gain valuable customer data and drive sales to closeout summer.

1. Change up the little things 

If you’re a savvy marketer, you’re likely used to constant testing of your tactics as A/B testing in email marketing is a given. It’s easy to focus on the main creative pieces – headline copy, imagery, featured products – as they can increase ROI on your email marketing program. At the same time, you only have a few months left so be sure to experiment with the minute details you might otherwise overlook.

For example, play around with global elements like the color and size of the text on your Call-to-Action elements. Or switch up your layouts on a consistent basis to keep the subscriber engaged. Maybe test removing your header or footer for certain emails to focus in on your message. Constantly fine-tune small factors to see what works for your customers. You could be surprised – factors you’d never consider to drive revenue could impact the conversion rates to take your emails to a whole new level.

2. Incentivize customers to share data

At this point, personalized targeting marketing is table stakes. In fact, more than six out of ten customers expect personalization as a standard of service, and they’ll spend more money with brands that can target them with the content most relevant to them. However, collecting the right data points from customers to effectively inform marketing content isn’t easy.

Incentivize customers to share data – like content email frequency preferences, interests, clothing style and sizing information – with sweepstakes offers, loyalty points, exclusive access, cold cash discounts and more. If you can reward customers from the get-go for sharing their information, you’ll have more powerful data to work with direct from the source.

3. Emphasize the cool factor 

Loyalty programs are another effective way to gain customer data since your most loyal customers are more likely to engage more frequently and freely share preferences and feedback with brands. One way to make customers loyal: Make them feel special.

Yes Marketing’s latest retail report (my employer) highlighted a key insight: exclusivity leads to loyalty. When asked what factors made customers feel most rewarded for their loyalty to a retailer, 23% said “early access to new products” and 18% said “exclusive promotions and discounts.”

Offer exclusive access, discounts or special offers to loyal shoppers, and be sure to remind them throughout the process they’re getting the VIP treatment. Foot Locker, for example, gives loyalty members first dibs on new shoe releases, and Best Buy highlights exclusive member pricing on certain products across its website (if you’re not a member, you don’t see the price at all).

4. Encourage customers to spread the word 

Regardless of the effort you put into your marketing program, you’re less likely to win over customers if you can’t win over their family and friends.

The report’s data also revealed that 45% of consumers said they first heard about the most recent new retailer they’ve purchased from through a recommendation from friends or family. That significantly outranks options like product review sites (8%), influencer recommendations (4%) and news sites like Business Insider or Buzzfeed (2%). Additionally, 69% of customers will not try a new retailer if their friends and family gave it a bad review.

Use this network to your advantage. Nudge current customers to share the message about your brand by offering discounts for friends and family that purchase from your brand (using a customer’s exclusive code). That way, you make current customers happy by rewarding them for a low-effort share and you pull in new customers by word of mouth.

Don’t let the slow seasons be an excuse to check out for a few months. Your strategy can always be improved, whether it’s a major rehaul or some minor tweaks. Close out your summer with fresh eyes on your tried-and-true marketing tactics and see what you can refresh before the holiday season sneaks up on us all. 

Opinions expressed in this article are those of the guest author and not necessarily Marketing Land. Staff authors are listed here.

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