Whatever your list of priorities may be, marketing should be towards the top. And as with anything else in business, good marketing takes careful planning. But it can certainly be tricky knowing where to start. Let’s turn away from the particularities of your business for a second and think about the bigger picture.
Over the next year, the changing of the seasons will provide a moving feast of different opportunities to promote your business. Maybe you’re a seasonally dependent business like a garden centre, in which case you’ll naturally step up your activity as Spring comes into bloom. Or maybe you have a pretty steady stream of business across the year that you’d like to spike up at certain points.
Whatever your current selling patterns, you can profit from seasonal events by planning your marketing campaigns around them. Here are our top 4 tips on how seasonality can help you plan your marketing…
Your first step should be to create a marketing calendar, mapping out the year’s seasonal trends to see which promotions you might be able to tie in. List all the key events across the year such as Valentine’s Day, Easter and Christmas, and use these dates to build out your campaigns. You can then work backwards on your lead times to gauge exactly when you need to start promoting.
For example, a local bakery might choose to send out an email to subscribers at the end of January promoting their special Valentine’s Day offers. They might also choose to send something in the post to their previous customers promoting these offers as well.
It’s important to factor in enough time to get your campaigns up and running. Even though this bakery might be promoting the same offer at a particular time each year, their lead time for getting flyers printed and delivered will be much longer than simply pressing send on an email.
So remember to map out when you will need to prepare each campaign on your calendar so that you don’t waste any opportunity to tap into an upturn in demand.
Seeing what people talk about at certain times of the year will help your business capitalise on seasonal buzz with well-crafted, timely campaigns. Monitoring social media hashtags lets you see, at a glance, what people are talking about, and gives you an easy entry point to join the conversation.
Use them in your social posts to get your business seen in trending topics, but first take a look at such conversations from last year to help you start planning for the year ahead.
People may well search more frequently for businesses in your sector at particular points in the year, and you want to ensure you’re appearing in their search results. There are a fair few ways to do this, but none more immediately efficient than launching a Google Ads campaign.
For example, a plumber could run ads on Google at the start of winter using search terms such as ‘broken boiler repairs’ or ‘local plumber for boilers’. Obviously, the colder months see more people needing to quickly replace a broken boiler or invest in a more efficient one, so a prominent presence on these time-sensitive searches could very well lead to an influx of new enquiries.
Keep in mind here that search terms change with the seasons. A fashion retailer, for instance, might need to adapt their targeted keywords over the first half of the year from ‘ladies winter coats’ to ‘ladies swimsuits’ in order to keep up with customers’ needs.
Your marketing campaigns should reflect seasonality in form as well as content. Adding a few seasonal flourishes when designing marketing collateral will help catch people’s eyes.
You could quite easily add a snowy backdrop to your marketing emails over winter, changing it to a beach scene in summer. Whatever design you go for should be consistent across all your marketing channels. Anything featuring your branding, from online ads and emails to social media posts and your website, should be linked in a coherent aesthetic.
By keeping people’s encounters with your material consistent, you’ll make yourself far more recognisable and memorable.
There may be some key times of the year that you can capitalise on according to the type of business you run. A home and garden business may want to have some marketing campaigns at the ready, aimed at people whose fences get blown over in autumn and winter. Conversely, your local pub might prepare a campaign in advance of summer heatwaves to promote their idyllic beer garden.
Put aside the needed amount of time to prepare these tactical campaigns so that you can reap the rewards; a more reactive approach risks missing the boat completely!
There’s much to think about when it comes to seasonal marketing, but hopefully these tips will give you a roadmap for putting together an effective, year-round plan for your business.
For a more detailed look at how to plan your marketing, download our dedicated planning guide for local business success.