Whether it’s the upcoming holiday season, the summer vacation season, or any season in between, many businesses are affected by seasonality. Retailers, for instance, often see a boost in sales between Thanksgiving and New Year’s. The ice cream shop or hotel operating in a seaside town, on the other hand, typically gets most of its business during the summer.
No matter which season affects your business, creating a marketing strategy specific to that time is an important part of capitalizing on those busiest periods.
In this post, let’s talk about:
- What seasonal marketing is.
- Why you might invest in a seasonal marketing strategy.
- How to make the most out of seasonal marketing.
What Is Seasonal Marketing?
We’re not trying to trick you here – seasonal marketing is when your business focuses your marketing around specific times of the year.
For some, this might mean marketing around holiday-specific promotions or sales – like the winter holidays or back-to-school season. For others, it might be related to the seasonality of your business.
Why Create a Seasonal Marketing Strategy?
If you’ve noticed that your website traffic or sales ebb and flow throughout the year, you might be inclined to develop a seasonal marketing strategy to capitalize on the busiest times of the year for your business.
While there are marketing campaigns that benefit your business to run year-round (don’t worry, we’ll talk about them in detail later), there may be times when you’re ready to pull out all the stops to give your business a boost when customers are looking for your goods and services.
5 Ways to Capitalize on Your Seasonal Marketing Strategy
If you’ve decided that a seasonal marketing strategy is right for your business, here are five tips to keep in mind.
1. Use Data to Inform Your Seasonal Marketing Strategy
The first step to creating a successful seasonal marketing strategy is understanding when your busiest season occurs. Most businesses have a general sense of when their season starts, but taking a look at your marketing data can help you see the ebb and flow.
You can see from Google Trends that “lawn care” experiences some seasonality in regards to search term popularity.
For example, if you do own that hotel in a summer beach town, you may see an influx of visitors starting Memorial Day weekend. But when did people start searching for your hotel? They may have started planning their trips even earlier than you realized.
The best way to know for sure is to take a look at the analytics on your website. When do you see boosts in traffic? Are there certain pages that get more attention at certain times of the year? How far in advance are people booking through your online reservation portal?
Analyzing this information can help you decide when to begin your seasonal advertising campaigns. If most people begin booking rooms for the summer in March, you want to run your ad campaigns in January and February, so you’re getting to them early in their research!
2. Get Creative with Your Seasonal Marketing Campaigns
If you run a seasonal business, you know that the competition is stiff. Every retailer is trying to catch shoppers’ eyes before Black Friday. Every gym is hoping to capitalize on New Year’s resolutions to generate lots of sign-ups come January 1.
That means you need to create interesting, eye-catching campaigns to stand out from the sea of cookie-cutter seasonal offers. The first step to standing out is leaning into your brand voice and personality. Sharing your seasonal messaging in your unique voice gives you a leg up on the competition.
After that, it’s time to have some fun with your customers! Contests are a great way to generate leads and boost engagement with your audience. Fun photo competitions are an opportunity to get your community of followers and fans posting.
Plus, the competitive aspect encourages your existing fans to share your business with their network, which helps spread your name at a crucial time for winning over new business.
3. Research Your Top Competitors
Speaking of standing out from the competition, it’s easier to know how to stand out when you know what you’re up against. Take a look at what your top competitors have done for their seasonal marketing and try to determine if there are some gaps you can fill in. (And if you don’t know who your competitors are, you can use this post to find out.)
Are they taking advantage of branded content? Does it seem like they’re active on social media year-round?
You also want to make sure that you don’t repeat campaigns that they executed last year.
You don’t want to get stuck in a “who wore it best” situation with your marketing campaigns – à la Bravo Housewives.
Did they run a contest that’s similar to what you were hoping to run this year? If so, make some tweaks to your plan so you can make sure your business is standing out.
4. Plan Your Seasonal Marketing in the Off-Season
Once you’re in the midst of your busy season, who has time to think about marketing? You’re dealing with the realities of a booming business, trying to keep up with orders, inventory, customer service requests, and the like. Yet just a month before, you might have had a little more free time that could have been spent on planning your marketing.
Fortunately, there is plenty to work on even when you’re not inundated with customers. The off-season is the perfect time to put together your seasonal marketing campaign.
This is when you should be doing the analysis to understand your seasonal ebbs and flows. Put together a calendar that integrates your content distribution, social posts, and paid advertising efforts so that you can see your whole marketing picture.
This is also the perfect time to write and design meaningful content, too. But don’t share it all in the off-season! Instead, schedule it to be shared during your busy months, so you’re not scrambling to create blog posts, videos, and podcasts after long, hectic days.
5. Don’t Start & Stop All Your Marketing – No Matter the Season
When it comes to marketing, there are certainly some tactics you can use to build on to your existing strategy to capture more prospective customers during your busy season. But, it’s important to run at least some of your marketing year-round. This ensures you’re getting found no matter when (or where) consumers are searching for you and make it a little easier to get started once your busy season nears.
For example, SEO is one tactic that really can’t be stopped and started because it’s always evolving and working to help build visibility for your business – you need a consistent strategy.
Running brand-building activities like display advertising and PPC throughout the year, although on a smaller scale, can help you improve brand awareness for your business, so when it comes time for your busy season, your prospects are primed and ready to go.
Social media is also another place where you should have at least an organic presence year-round. It’s going to be much harder to get consistent engagement on your social media sites during your busy season if your pages have been bare for the last six months.
Make sure to build a foundational marketing strategy that you can add on to as you approach the busiest part of your year.
Getting Started with Your Seasonal Marketing Strategy
Seasonal marketing strategies allow businesses to make the most of their busiest season. But a smart strategy isn’t done on the fly. It’s planned months in advance and is designed to catch the right eyes at the right time.
Here are those seasonal marketing tips again:
- Use data to help you plan your seasonal marketing strategy.
- Get creative with your seasonal advertising campaigns.
- Research what your competitors are doing for their busy season.
- Plan your seasonal marketing strategy in the off-season.
- Don’t start and stop all your marketing.
If you’re looking for help getting a successful seasonal marketing campaign off the ground, let’s talk.