Whether it’s the upcoming holiday season, the summer vacation season, or any season in between, lots of 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, gets most of their 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. Let me walk you through some of the finer points of seasonal marketing strategies so that you can be sure your business is getting the greatest benefit from your marketing tactics.
Use Past Trends to Inform Future Decisions
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.
For example, if you do own that hotel in a summer beach town, you may see the influx of visitors starting Memorial Day weekend. But when did people start searching for your hotel? They may have begun 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 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!
Get Creative With Your 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 catch eyes 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.
Plan 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 were sitting around, wishing you had something to keep you occupied.
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.
Don’t Start & Stop All Your Marketing
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 makes 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 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.
Make sure to build a foundational marketing strategy that you can add on to as your approach the busiest part of your year.
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. If you’re looking for help getting a successful seasonal marketing campaign off the ground, let’s talk.