Fall is a season of transition. Days grow shorter, leaves change color, and temperatures drop. Fall can also be an important time of transition for your business. The end of the year is in sight, and the fall months are a great time to boost your revenues and set yourself up for a strong close of the calendar year.
With all that in mind, fall is a perfect time to experiment with promotions for your business. As consumers’ needs shift with the season, they may be looking for new products or services to solve a novel problem. If you get out into your community with fun and creative fall promotions, you can be there to meet that demand–and harvest a new crop of customers in the process.
If you’re looking for ways to add some spice to your fall marketing and advertising tactics (and I don’t mean cinnamon and nutmeg!), check out these fall promotion ideas for your small business.
1. Build your fall promotions around holidays and observances
Establishing a thoughtful strategy around your promotions is a crucial first step at any time of year. When it comes to creating fall promotion ideas, start by looking at the calendar. We already know the big fall holidays, but what about other celebratory days that are relevant to your business?
For example, October 2 is National Name Your Car Day (yes, this is real). If you run a dealership, repair shop, carwash, or detailing business, don’t let this day pass you by! Offer a discount to anyone who comes in for service on October 2 and tells you the name of their vehicle.
At the start of the season, look through the fall months, and identify any dates that could be relevant to your business. If you use a project management tool, put those celebratory days into the calendar so your whole team knows what’s on the horizon. From there, you can coordinate messaging and other promotional activities around those key dates.
Psst! We’ve already outlined some of those holidays and observances for you in our marketing calendar template.
2. Start a seasonal contest
Everyone loves a contest. Whether in-person or virtual, the fall is a great time to host themed contests that speak to the season and drum up attention for your business.
A Halloween costume contest is an especially great option for any business that caters to children or pets. A pet grooming spa might invite pet parents to share their cutest puppy and cat costumes on social media, tagging the groomer in the post.
From there, the spa can share images with its followers, inviting them to vote for their favorite costumes. The winner gets the glory plus a free grooming session for Fido or nail-trim service for Tiger.
3. Host a fall-themed event
For those of us in the Northern Hemisphere, the fall months are still warm enough (mostly) to hold outdoor events. So why not gather safely outside and celebrate the season?
Hosting an event for your local community is a great way to establish your business as a welcoming space and contributing member of your town or city. The event doesn’t need to be anything fancy.
A coffee shop might hand out warmed apple cider drinks to passersby on a chilly weekend morning along with a coupon offering a discount on a coffee or food purchase if they return in the next two weeks.
No matter what the event is, if you can be a catalyst for connection in your community, you create positive associations with your business.
Be sure to publicize your event to boost your reach. Running a local print ad, sending out direct mailers, and posting about the event in your town’s Facebook group are all ways to get the word out.
4. Get involved in local events
If you’re not quite ready to take on the logistical challenges of hosting your own event, fall is often a busy time for goings-on about town. Why not help someone else who’s throwing an event within your community?
Maybe your elementary school has a Halloween party or the local food pantry runs a Thanksgiving Turkey Trot. Consider sponsoring the event in some way or donating your goods or services. In New York City, local donut maker The Doughnut Plant provides free treats for Turkey Trotters at the finish line.
Getting involved in a local event can introduce you to a new audience and help you get more customers. Folks who are attending the event for other reasons will have a positive first interaction with your brand.
5. Decorate your business for fall
For brick-and-mortar store owners, fall is the time to add some fun seasonal decor. Even a few nods to the season can go a long way in making your space feel festive and cozy–and bring people in as they’re walking or driving by.
You can even incorporate fall promotions directly into your decor. Consider hosting a pumpkin carving contest for local kids and featuring the ghoulish gourds in your front window.
Alternatively, you might ask a local business owner or artisan if you can display some of their goods in your store as part of your interior design. Coffee shops often feature works by local artists. It’s a way to spruce up the walls while giving the local creators a place to display their work for free.
6. Embrace fall flavors (and scents!)
Fall is now officially the season of the pumpkin spice latte. The good news is, you don’t have to be a multi-national beverage chain based out of Seattle to get in on the trend. Lots of other businesses have capitalized on pumpkin spice fever, and you can, too.
Of course, if you own a bakery or coffee shop, there’s an obvious opportunity to add apple pie, pumpkin, and other fall flavors into your recipe rotation for the autumn months. But other types of businesses can tap into the craze as well.
Bath and body stores might create pumpkin spice lotion or an eye shadow palette featuring jewel-toned colors. Home goods stores might sell warming spice-scented candles or incense. Bookstores can create displays of fall-themed recipe tomes.
The great thing about seasonal flavors and scents is that the limited-time-offer element drives attention and demand for these here today, gone tomorrow offerings.
7. Try out seasonal partnerships
Speaking of helping out fellow local entrepreneurs, fall is a great time to create seasonal promotional partnerships. Partnering with other local businesses is a fun and easy idea year-round; it allows you to tap into each other’s existing networks and broaden your own audience. But why not add an autumnal twist to your alliance?
Check out this collaboration between a local brewery and an ice cream shop. Their pumpkin beer ice cream—available for a limited time—sounds amazing, capitalizes on the fall season, and helps introduce New City Microcreamery fans to Medusa Brewing Company fans and vice versa.
8. Run time-restricted fall promotions
A season is inherently a fleeting moment in time, so creating a fall promotion that expires with the last of the falling leaves is a great way to create a frenzy among consumers.
Studies have shown that folks are more likely to buy when promotions have a time limit. So build your fall promotions around seasonal events and have them end before the winter months.
For example, a local nail salon might offer a Halloween deal. For every parent that comes in to get a manicure or pedicure, they’ll offer a “junior manicure” with holiday-themed nail decals for a little one. But the deal runs out when the sun sets on All Hallow’s Eve!
9. Give thanks by giving back
Depending on where you are in North America, Thanksgiving falls in October or November. As a month that’s all about showing gratitude, why not build a fall promotion that gives thanks to your customers?
Create a calendar offering them a new deal every day or week. Send your customers or all locals a direct mailer with your calendar of deals or take advantage of email marketing. When they come in and claim the daily deal, they get a stamp on that day of the calendar. You might even offer a grand prize for the customer that accrues the most stamps.
A Thanksgiving-themed promotion allows you to build goodwill through generosity, plus it taps into the benefits of a time-restricted promotion. That’s a win-win!
10. Share fall social tips
For those brands active on social media, the fall months are a fun time to create seasonal promotional content. Remember, social media is more about showing than telling. Skip the hard sell and instead tell a story about how consumers can incorporate your products or services into fall-specific scenarios.
If you own a food-focused local business, share tips on how to host your first Thanksgiving. Be sure to include some tips and tricks that incorporate your products!
A service-based business can get in on the social fun, too. CPAs can remind their small business owners about September estimated tax filing deadlines. A lawn care company might share tips about how to winterize your lawn and garden.
Harvest new customers with these fall promotion ideas
Fall is the perfect time to invest in new promotional techniques for your business–that don’t have to take a lot of time or budget. Now’s the moment to capture the attention of new consumers right before the winter holidays. Building momentum as you roll into Q4 helps you kick off the new year on the right foot. And with so many secular celebrations on the calendar in autumn, you can connect with everyone in your local community.
Here are those fall promotion ideas once more:
- Build your fall promotions around holidays and observances
- Start a seasonal contest
- Host a fall-themed event
- Get involved in local events
- Decorate your business for fall
- Embrace fall flavors (and scents!)
- Try out seasonal partnerships
- Run time-restricted fall promotions
- Give thanks by giving back
- Share fall social tips
Now go grab some warm apple cider and start sketching out your promotional plans for the season!