Seasonal shopping accounts for a huge percentage of sales for businesses, with consumers spending billions every year on gifts, decorations and food for holidays such as Christmas, Easter and Valentine’s Day.
But in order to capitalise on those seasonal events, and the high level of expenditure that can be expected, you need to have a well-planned marketing campaign in place. This means tailoring your social feeds, advertising channels and events to meet the demand of the shopper.
What To Expect From This Holiday Marketing Checklist
In this guide, we’ll go through a step-by-step checklist to help you plan your marketing for the upcoming holidays. We’ll cover:
- What seasonal marketing encompasses
- The key holidays you should be planning for
- When to start planning for marketing
- And what to do once the holiday ends
What Is Seasonal Marketing?
Seasonal, or holiday, marketing is using a range of tactics and marketing channels to promote your brand, products or services in relation to a specific season or holiday. Christmas is a great example of this, but there are various holidays throughout the year where the same techniques and approaches can be applied.
Seasonal marketing focuses on incentivising customers to buy your products or invest in your services before, during or even after the holiday in question, and branding is essential to create that interest and build on the natural buzz that occurs around events such as Christmas, Easter and similar holidays.
Why Utilise Seasonal Marketing?
During the holiday season, consumers are primed to spend money. They have a reason to purchase gifts, décor or food, and they’re shopping with intent. This means that, as a business, you already know what your customers intentions are, so you can tailor your marketing to fit the demand with much greater efficiency.
Similarly, they’re primed to discover new brands and products in a bid to purchase something different. Marketers can leverage this interest by making sure they’re on their target audience’s radar and standing out among the competitors.
Seasonal marketing tends to be carried out in advance, because you want to capitalise on consumer traffic – leaving it too late could mean you run the risk of missing out on the bulk of activity. The earlier you can get started on marketing, the more people you have the chance to reach. And while some holidays are global, others may be date-specific based on the location where you’re operating – Mother’s and Father’s Day, for example, fall on different dates depending on the country. Such being prepared with a marketing strategy will ensure you’re not missing out.
What Types Of Businesses Benefit From Seasonal Marketing?
Many businesses overlook seasonal marketing, but to their detriment. In fact, seasonal marketing is something that virtually all businesses can benefit from, especially eCommerce and direct-to-consumer businesses who will be selling products that can often be promoted more at certain times of year.
Important Holidays For Your Marketing Calendar
While there are numerous holidays throughout the year that may apply to your business and industry, these are the most important for your marketing campaigns.
Approximately one billion Valentine’s Day cards are sent every year, not to mention an increase in food and gift buying from people spoiling their partners on this love-filled day. It’s a great opportunity for businesses in hospitality, retail and eCommerce businesses, in particular.
Thanksgiving is a US holiday, celebrated on the fourth Thursday in November. Research shows that 186.4 million consumers shopping online and in-store for this holiday weekend, resulting in a total spend of $5.1 billion.
A holiday that has become a massive trend in recent years for retailers is Black Friday. It occurs the Friday after Thanksgiving and many people spend on this weekend to make the most of deals and offers, resulting in billions spent online and in-person.
Occurring on the Monday following Black Friday, Cyber Monday is one of the biggest eCommerce shopping days of the whole year and is where consumers spend the most.
A huge holiday the world over, not just on gifts but also food, decorations and events, Christmas is one of the primary events that businesses should be marketing around. While Christmas itself is on 25th December, shopping starts far earlier as people buy presents and items well in advance and often shop on Boxing Day too to pick up items on sale.
New Year’s Eve
Another of the popular holidays, New Year, is a time when people are shopping for clothes for events and parties, food for gatherings and alcohol, as well as fireworks and decorations.
Don’t Forget Social Media Holidays!
Running a business means you’re being pulled in countless different directions, and it’s difficult sometimes to maintain a consistent online presence. But doing so offers so many benefits for your business, and if you can stay on top of the key holidays, you’ll be rewarded in terms of engagement and traffic.
Social media holidays help you raise awareness, build a relationship with your followers and spark a conversation. There’s always a chance to relate a holiday back to your brand, from writing informative posts and emails to build value and loyalty, offering discounts to encourage people to visit your site and make a purchase, or posting relatable content to drive engagement.
Many users depend on social media to find new products when shopping seasonally, so it’s a fantastic opportunity to share ideas, promotions and drive traffic as a business.
When To Start Planning For Each Holiday
For the best results, don’t leave it until the last minute to launch a seasonal marketing campaign. Once you’ve identified the main events you want to target, it’s best to get a head start. Anywhere from three months to six months is best to give you ample time to build up a buzz and build visibility around your campaign.
Your Seasonal Marketing Checklist
1. Plan Well In Advance
Time is essential to implement a marketing campaign properly, so map out your content calendar well in advance for the year so you have time to decide how you want to approach each holiday. That includes when you want to send out emails, whether you’re writing seasonally themed blog posts and when they’ll be published, and how often you’ll upload to social media. But also leave some wiggle room for spontaneity so you can hop on trends as they arise.
2. Set Marketing Budgets
Determine what you want to spend on your marketing campaign – some businesses may increase their marketing budget for the holidays, while others might not feel that’s right for them. Whichever category you fall into, set your goals and work out what your budget is so you know what you’re working with.
3. Decide Your Goals Of The Campaign
Knowing what you want to get out of the campaign will help you when it comes to knowing which channels to target, the type of audience you’re hoping to reach and the style of marketing you’re going for.
4. Update Your Website
Get in the festive spirit by ‘decorating’ your website. Your visitors will stay longer and explore with more enthusiasm if your site is decked out with the upcoming theme in mind, from Halloween to Valentine’s or Christmas.
5. Stay Engaged On Social Media
Social channels are where your potential buyers will go to communicate, unwind and have fun, so make the most of this space by creating a friendly holiday atmosphere and entertainment. Post bright, engaging pictures, inspiring phrases, helpful tips for getting through the busy seasons or gift ideas, and create unique hashtags to start a conversation.
6. Keep Existing Customers Informed Via Email
A seasonal email should be a non-negotiable in your marketing campaign, and many customers will be waiting to receive emails from brands for offers, promotions and discounts to help them save money on their holiday spending. Keep your designs appealing, prominently display discounts and include images, but above all, keep it to the point – the holidays are busy and your customers won’t have time to read long sections of text.
7. Utilise Paid Ads
Paid ads are a great strategy for reaching audiences on specific platforms, so when you’re planning out holiday content, pay attention to how it can be repurposed into ads so that the right people see it.
8. Observe Results
Data is your friend when it comes to iterating on your success and improving for the next time, so track your results with analytics, both on your site, email and socials. You need to know what’s performed well and what didn’t go as expected so you can make tweaks and do better next time.
What To Do Once The Holiday Is Over
Post-event is the perfect time to analyse your marketing campaign and work out what went well, what didn’t, and how you can create a better campaign next year. You’ll also want to get customer feedback and analyse their actions, comments and engagement.
Getting ahead with your seasonal marketing makes all the difference to the results you’ll see in your business, so take advantage of the atmosphere that surrounds each holiday and get involved to attract new customers, increase sales and promote your brand.