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Summer is here — time to kick back, move at a slower pace and just relax. Kids and teachers rejoice!

Unfortunately, summertime is also the slow season for many businesses. And while that may be great for timing family vacations, it’s bad news for sales.

But it doesn’t have to be:

There’s a simple tool for fighting the summer sales slump. And it’s already a part of your arsenal.

It’s your customer database!

Let me explain…

Summer is the perfect time to host a customer-appreciation promotion, which can benefit your business in both the short and long term.

In the short term, it boosts sales during an otherwise slow time. In the long term, it promotes customer loyalty ¾ which pays dividends well into the future.

(If summer is a busy time for you, tuck this idea away for your slow season!)

In a survey conducted by TD Bank, 77% of consumers said they like it when brands show appreciation for their customers. I know I do!

When you show your customers you value their business, it increases the likelihood that they’ll come back again and again.

And as an added bonus:

It also increases the likelihood that they will leave you a favorable online review ¾ which 92% of your potential future customers read!

And the easiest way to show customers your appreciation?

Give them a great deal. Everybody loves a discount!

Hosting a customer-appreciation sale doesn’t take a ton of planning, either. Just three simple steps:

Step 1: Decide on your promotion.

You need to strike the right balance between how much “appreciation” you want to show your customers (meaning how much of a deal you’re going to give them) and how much money you want to bring into your business.

Obviously, a bigger discount for them means less for you! So make sure your offer is of high perceived value for your customers, but gentle on your bottom line.

Step 2: Promote your sale ¾ but ONLY to your current customers.

Nobody likes hearing about a sale they can’t take advantage of themselves, so your Facebook page is not the right place to do this.

The best ways to reach your current customers are through direct mail and email. I recommend doing both:

While 70% of consumers say they like receiving emails from their favorite companies (according to ExactTarget), direct mail generates 9 TIMES more responses than email when targeting current customers (DMA Response Rate Report 2016).

Step 3: Prepare your staff for the promotion.

Let them know your plan so they can go the extra mile to make sure customers feel valued. (Of course, they should already be doing this!)

That’s it! 1-2-3.

So get to it: Host a customer-only promotion and keep those sales from slipping this summer!

If you need help coming up with the perfect offer to get customers to take action, I have a free report the features 128 marketing offers that have already been proven to work. Those 128 offers span 17 industries, so it’s likely you’ll find yours! (But if you don’t, there are a lot of good ideas to steal from adjacent industries.)