Many online businesses have not developed their use of seasonal marketing strategies as effectively as brick-and-mortars stores have. This article provides some quick tips and strategies to help both online and brick-and-mortar retailers get up to speed on how to capitalise on seasonal activities, festivities and holiday shopping patterns.
#1. Start early
This is one of the things that many businesses get wrong. The fact is you need to get a jump on your seasonal marketing earlier than you think you do. Just as the big chain stores start displaying their Christmas stock in store as early as September or October, you also need to start your seasonal promotions months before the actual event or season occurs. By starting a bit earlier than your competition, you can avoid fighting the noise or getting lost in the crowd.
Let’s consider some examples of what this means for various types of different retail and service-based businesses: Say you own a business that sells stationery. Stationery sales typically spike during February when children go back to school (as do children shoes’ sales). Trend research of keyword searches indicate that the phrases “buy shoes” or “buy stationery” peak around mid to late January. The trouble is if you only start your Google banner ads and blog posts then you don’t allow sufficient time for your content to get indexed and show up high in the search rankings. Online campaigns designed to capture searchers’ attention for these products needs to start as early as November or December.
Pest control businesses and swimming pool maintenance companies are typically busy during the summer period of December, January and February. However, to really benefit from seasonal promotions, these businesses should increase their budgets for paid search during November and run a PPC campaign as early as September or October.
#2. Update your web design and logo to include season-appropriate images
Google Doodles is the perfect example of how to update your web design or logo to include season-appropriate images. Google frequently changes its logo to draw attention to sporting events, such as the Rio Olympics, or historical events that occurred on a particular date. The good news is you can do the same. Changing your web design, logo and Facebook banner for seasonal events that are specific to your industry, helps to subconsciously get your audience to think about seasonal purchases, as well as communicate the message that your business is relevant and up-to-date.
#3. Customise your service offerings
You may also be able to capitalise on seasonal changes by offering a new, once-a-year service offering that is consistent with your overall business activities. For example, a lawn-mowing business or landscape gardening business might be able to offer additional services such as raking up autumn leaves, planting potatoes or removing green waste or rubbish for customers at the relevant times of the year. Put your thinking cap on and see if there is an untapped market your service-based business could exploit at a particular time of the year.
#4. Distinguish yourself from the competition
One of the most important ways to make the most of seasonal promotions is to find a way to distinguish your business from the competition. Holiday periods are intensely competitive times of the year, where all businesses are promoting their products with vigour. You only have to look at the number of circulars you receive in your mailbox in the lead up to Christmas to realise the truth of that statement. Most businesses have very similar messaging during these promotional periods so if you can find a unique way to advertise your products or a way to differentiate your business, use it.
#5. Analyse the success of last year’s holiday campaigns
The most successful businesses are those that invest heavily in terms of research, data and analytics. This applies to seasonal marketing as much as any other aspect of your business. Therefore, one of the first things to do, before you start your planning for the next seasonal promotion, is to take note of last year’s trends and performance during the same period. Although trends can and do change, and it’s important to adapt your messaging in response to these trends, by analysing what worked last year and what didn’t, you can gain a great deal of insight which will be useful in knowing what avenue to take with your seasonal marketing this year.