If you've ever wondered, “Why is my website traffic going down this summer?” you’re not alone.
The lazy days of summer are upon us, which means many businesses experience some dips in their website and blog traffic. It’s the middle of August— and yes, while we’re certainly in a pandemic which makes things particularly unique right now— it’s still summer. And that means most of our online marketing efforts are susceptible to seasonal consumer behavior changes.
Does Summer Impact All Industries?
The short answer is “no, of course not.” Many industries see a peak in their website traffic due to the nature of their business. The list is long, and it includes everything from HVAC companies and outdoor furniture to summer vacation rentals and boat dealers.
However, industries that are aren’t particularly summer-friendly — including both B2C and B2B — see a natural decline in website traffic and lead generation as the days grow longer and hotter. Before we get into what you can do about this, let’s talk about why.
Why Does Website Traffic Decrease in the Summer?
There are many reasons why website traffic tends to dip in the summer months, and while some are obvious, some aren’t. All of these variables don’t apply to every region or industry — but when you start to take this list into account, you'll see that a few are impacting your customer base.
- It’s hot. Research shows that when temps rise above 90 degrees, it negatively impacts our happiness and productivity.
- People spend more time outdoors and out of the office. More sunshine and longer days can lead to more time spent outside and away from our computers and desks.
- People travel and take vacation. Yes, even during a pandemic — the travel industry has seen an uptick in air travel, hotels, and more. Traveling and vacationing simply means less time to think about other things, and this can often be a time when business decision makers table bigger plans for when they return.
- Parents prepare for back to school. In 2020, many parents face a new back to school routine — different than they’ve ever seen before. This is stealing a lot of their focus and attention (and quite possibly will do so into the school year as many kids across the country will be learning from home).
- We’re burned out from COVID-19. This is a unique to the times’ reason, but we’re all experiencing different levels of social distancing, sheltering-in-place, and virtual meeting fatigue right now. Those who have continued working through this pandemic and are working from home for the first time are seeing what many of us remote workers already know — they're working longer hours than ever before with no commute and less structured days. With all of this combined – people are burnt out, and summer has come with a bang providing them with the chance to finally take a few of those vacation days they haven’t used this year.
These are just a few of the reason's we are all less likely to be online researching or purchasing in some cases. Therefore, website traffic has decreased for many businesses this summer (and really, every summer). As defeating as less traffic, fewer leads, and a slower sales process sounds, the good news is that this is completely normal.
I’ve personally worked with small to large businesses in some capacity around their online marketing efforts for the last 15+ years, and it’s incredibly rare for organizations not to be impacted by the dog days of summer. Most of us are not immune to it, and yet it also provides us with some great opportunities.
What Can You Do About the Decrease in Your Website Traffic?
First off, don’t freak out. Your marketing still matters! Continuing to publish regularly to your blog will always have a positive impact on your SEO. There are still decision makers who need to hear from your business. Salespeople should continue to fill their sales funnel and keep their sales activity up.
However, you can certainly make some tweaks to your strategy and how you spend your time so you can ensure you're making the most out of this period. Here are some tips:
1. Use this time to build out and prepare for your fall campaigns.
Most organizations we work with have buyers who make purchasing decisions in the fall, so it would be wise to have marketing campaigns ready to launch long before budget decisions happen.
For instance, if you know most of your prospects make a decision by the first week of November to include your services in their 2021 budget, then have your marketing start in September to feed those sales conversations.
2. Build a plan to repurpose the content you’re creating all summer.
If you don’t think your content and marketing messaging are getting the eyeballs needed, then re-promote everything you pushed out this summer in the later months. Don’t let all that work and strategic content go to waste. Instead, put a plan in place to repurpose blog posts and push out valuable content for months to come.
Pro tip: You should always be doing this with your content!
3. Make it fun.
Summer (yes, even in 2020) is about relaxing, taking a break, and having fun. Get creative in your marketing so that you aren’t wasting people’s precious time, but you're tapping into that energy we all feel this time of year. Contests and polls are a great way to do this!
It's also a great time to ensure your employees are also taking the break they need to continue to thrive in their role.
4. Use this time to strategize.
Similar to the first point above and preparing your fall campaigns now, this is also a smart time to really evaluate your analytics and tactical plans, including how you’re using email, keywords, social, and more. Ask yourself questions like:
What content has been performing? What hasn’t?
What are our most popular social media posts, and what can we learn from them?
Is our website up to date or in need of any revamping right now?
Are we still maintaining our conversion rates even though traffic is down?
- Do we have strong lead nurturing campaigns in place for our leads coming in?
5. Enable your salespeople.
Hopefully, your salespeople still are continuing to set quality appointments with prospects. If so, ensure they are truly armed with what they need to do their jobs quickly and strategically.
Whether it’s creating sales plays for seasonal industries, they’re focusing on or publishing new case studies for them to use. Summer is a great time to get ahead on the sales enablement game and ensure your sales team is set up for success.
6. Most importantly — keep going.
Don’t let a couple months of minor dips (if it’s more than that, then you’ll want to dig deeper) stray you away from your over-arching plan. Stay the course and have the right people and strategies in place to set you up for success through the end of the year and beyond.
To reiterate, it’s completely normal to see seasonal ebbs and flows in your website traffic (and ultimately leads). Typically, things start to return to normal numbers in September, but it would be presumptuous to assume anything is normal in 2020.
However, the key takeaways here are to stay the course, use this time to get ahead and to be more strategic, and continue to evaluate and be sure you have the best strategies in place for your business.