Soon school will be out and people will be spending less time online in favor of sun worship. Now is a good time to regroup and focus on the kinds of things people will be doing online and how to tactically reach them there. What follows is my list ways to reach people.
Dayparting. Days are longer, but people aren't necessarily online longer. If anything, expect typical nighttime usage hours to be diminished as a result. As a result, concentrate your ad dollars by dayparting even more tightly to hours during the workday and after the sun sets.
E-mail ads. Although we might do so less often during the summer, we still check our e-mail. Besides, I'm seeing more and more BlackBerrys and iPhones poolside these days.
Weather. Will it or won't it rain? We all regularly rely on weather sites to tell us how high the mercury will rise. Weather-triggered ads might be the perfect solution for those retailers trying to drag people indoors.
Parenting sites. With all those kiddies out of school, parents need ideas on how to keep them occupied.
Dieting and fitness sites. Kids aren't the only ones who need to be kept active. There's nothing like bathing suit season to motivate people to seek fitness help.
Health sites. From summer allergies to poison ivy outbreaks to the cuts, bruises, sprains, and breaks wrought by all the summer activities, health sites are sure to attract plenty of users.
Local search. People will be looking up all kinds of local activities, parks, venues, and dining options for things to do. This is a great opportunity for local businesses to try out online advertising.
Travel. Even with more staycations happening this year, people will still be looking to get away and will turn to travel sites to help research, plan, and buy vacation packages.
Mobile. People on the go means more opportunity than ever to reach them on mobile devices. First-time advertisers can use the summer to develop and test mobile marketing campaigns.
Cooking sites. People change how and what they cook in the summer (think grilling, fresh fruit crisps, and anything chilled), so recipe sites are sure to be popular.
Green sites. Fresh summer produce gets people in mind of organic foods, which can lead to an interest in going more green. Many more green sites have come online since I wrote "Buying Greenvertising" in 2007, but it's a good start to position for an online green media buy.
DIY home repairs. Spring cleaning morphs into summer fixing. Check out sites like DoItYourself.com and DIY Network for advertising opportunities.
Book-related sites. The words "beach" and "book" are almost synonymous in the summer. Notable book reviews and best-seller listings like the one produced by "The New York Times" still attract readers. If your target audience falls into this category, consider an ad buy here.
Bargain-shopping sites. Summer '09 is all about economizing. Advertise on sites like Overstock.com and The Frugal Shopper for better visibility.
Contests, sweepstakes, and games. Harness the new season and all the activity-stimulated energy by creating and launching a fun Web-integrated contest or game the whole family can enjoy. Plan ahead and use this contest to help build an e-mail database for fall and holiday season remarketing.
Did I forget anything? It might be because I'm trying to rush off to a few days' vacation (seriously!), so post your feedback below.
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A ClickZ expert columnist since 2005, Hollis Thomases (@hollisthomases) is president and founder of Maryland-based WebAdvantage.net, an online marketing company that provides results-centric, strategic Internet marketing services, including online media planning, SEO, PPC campaign management, social media marketing, and Internet consulting. Author of Twitter Marketing: An Hour a Day and an award-winning entrepreneur, Hollis is the Maryland 2007 SBA Small Business Person of the Year. Hollis speaks extensively on online marketing, having presented for ClickZ, the American Marketing Association, SES, The Newsletter and Electronic Publishers Association, The Kelsey Group, and the Vocus Worldwide User Forum. WebAdvantage.net's client list has included Nokia USA, Nature Made Vitamins, Johns Hopkins University, ENDO Pharmaceuticals, K'NEX Construction Toys, and Visit Baltimore. The agency was recognized as a "Small Giant" by the Greater Baltimore Tech Council and was chosen as a "Best Place for Business Women to Work" by "Smart Woman Magazine."