It’s not uncommon for businesses to experience a ‘feast and famine’ cycle throughout the year. However, if you take into consideration the predictability of seasonal retail trends, you can adapt your marketing strategy to creatively overcome slow periods.
In this article, we’ll take a look at what a typical seasonal advertising calendar looks like and how it can impact your online sales. We’ll also give you some tips on how to avoid the trap of gimmicky holiday marketing and keep your promotions productive all year long. Let’s get festive!
Understanding the Seasonal Advertising Cycle and How it Impacts Online Sales
It’s important to understand that not all industries experience the same exact cycle of sales. For example, if your business is related to agriculture, you likely have a very distinct ‘downtime.’
That being said, certain seasons do seem to impact business across industries. For example, Cyber Monday continues to be the busiest online shopping day in the U.S.
To that end, some of the most significant seasonal marketing ‘highs’ include:
- New Year’s
- Memorial Day
- Fourth of July (Independence Day)
- Labor Day
- Back to School season
Chances are you’ve seen ads for special sales in honor of some—if not all—of these holidays.
However, seasonal marketing can also encompass weather-appropriate clothing or product lines, and lesser-known ‘holidays’ that pertain to your target audience, such as National Women’s Day. Although they may not produce the same level of excitement among customers, these are still key opportunities.
While it’s easy to let yourself fall into a lull between periods when buyers are most active, you might be missing out on chances to build interest in your products or services. Additionally, if you’re focusing only on major holidays, you may become trapped in an uninspiring cycle of cookie-cutter promotions.
How to Avoid Seasonal Advertising Disappointment (4 Key Tips)
With the increasing popularity of Black Friday and Cyber Monday shopping, it sometimes takes a bit of creativity to make that excitement last throughout the year. Here are four tactics you can apply to your marketing calendar to generate interest even during tax season.
1. Use Video to Avoid Stale Holiday Marketing
Video marketing is on the rise and provides one of the highest Returns On Investment (ROI) among promotional content. It also has a positive impact on email click-through rates.
Plus, videos have been shown to increase conversion rates tremendously, and customers tend to look up product videos online before they shop in a store. In fact, they’ve overtaken infographics and blog posts as the number one format for content marketing.
In some cases, video increased the likelihood a customer would make a purchase by as much as 144 percent. It’s clear that it’s exceptionally effective for presenting a fun, memorable, and clear message.
That makes it a prime vehicle for delivering your promotions even in the midst of seasonal marketing overkill. Instead of trying to compete with every other brand posting holiday-themed content on social media, you can stand out with a brand new video.
2. Leverage Analytics Tools for Data-Driven Strategies
Google, of course, is king when it comes to valuable search data. This holds true when you’re looking for seasonal trends, too. You can either invest in the whole Google Marketing platform or make use of some of their free tools to get started.
For example, Trends and Think With Google are two valuable options. These platforms provide an in-depth view of what people are searching for online. The results can help you generate ideas that will appeal to your customers, even during the ‘off-season.’
It’s easy to plan for a busy shopping season at the end of the year because you know it’s coming. However, if you’re struggling to maintain leads and generate online engagement after the mistletoe comes down, spending time with data you can pull from Google tools might inspire you to try some alternative advertising.
Additionally, Google Ads offers specific seasonality adjustment tools to help you plan and strategize for high- and low-activity periods. It enables you to change your settings based on your expected conversion rates for different periods throughout the year. You won’t have to go back and adjust them again after your seasonal event or sale.
3. Think Globally to Maintain Momentum Throughout the Year
The seasons are not the same around the world. This is something you can capitalize on as an e-commerce business. If you already have an international audience in your customer base, studying up on global trends in other regions can be a way to balance out sales during your slower local seasons.
The first step to accomplishing this is to make sure your e-commerce store is optimized for worldwide traffic and sales. You’ll want to consider factors such as translation, currency exchange, international shipping and taxes, and multilingual Search Engine Optimization (SEO).
Then you can turn your attention to building a strategy that retains momentum throughout the year. For example, winter in Australia typically spans June through August. With a little creativity, you can market your northern hemisphere winter overstock to customers down under.
4. Don’t Be Afraid to Advertise Outside of Typical Seasonal Bounds
Remember, seasonal marketing means you have to be ready to celebrate Valentine’s Day in January, and Christmas at Halloween. Regardless of your personal feelings about when it’s appropriate to start hanging stockings over the fireplace, some marketers believe you can never be too early when it comes to holiday advertising.
On top of that, if you specialize in a seasonal product, you’ll need to be especially creative when planning out your marketing schedule. For example, if you sell ugly Christmas sweaters, you may want to start your pre-holiday deals early so your content isn’t lost in the sea of winter promotions.
You could also stretch out the post-holiday period with after-season incentives. To help your brand stand out online, you might look at leveraging alternative advertising methods such as memes:
Additionally, rather than coming up with an entirely new product to sell during the warm months, you can take advantage of ‘Christmas in July’ events.
You can apply this same concept to a variety of other niches as well. By promoting unique offers no other brand has at a particular time of the year, you can stand out from the crowd and land more sales.
Finally, don’t forget about the National Days we mentioned at the beginning of this post. If you run special events for ones that your target audience is likely to be interested in, you may be able to generate holiday-esque excitement during normally slow seasons.
Seasonal marketing can require some extra endurance. Fortunately, you know what to expect from year-over-year data and can start planning now for the inevitable by putting some of the ideas we covered in this post into action to keep your holiday promotions fresh and interesting.
Do you have any questions about seasonal marketing or ideas for keeping your advertising momentum going? Let us know in the comments section below!
Photo by Mona Eendra