The the days are getting shorter, and the first Christmas decorations have found their way into the shops. I'm no Scrooge but personally, I would by law ban Christmas Carols from stores before the 1st of December. However, the reality is that seasonal advertising is becoming more widespread and is happening seemingly earlier and bigger each year. You may have considered it before, or perhaps it is not something you think is suitable for your business.
The question you should be asking yourself is not so much "Is this Christmas hype my kind of bandwagon?" than "How can I tap into the natural seasonality of my business to increase visibility and boost my sales?".
In retail, some of the big and obvious seasonal campaigns are run around Easter, the Summer Holidays, Halloween and Christmas. These campaigns are big, bold and widely popular, and it seems to pay off. In 2013, nearly 20% of the US retail industries' total sales for that year were made in the holiday season.
While the services industry might not be affected by Christmas so much, different sectors have their own respective seasonality. Take gyms for example. Advertising for luxury and self indulgence would never work for gyms directly. They nonetheless profit from the Christmas and New Year season with an annual hike of membership subscriptions during that time. Why? Because our conscience tells us that we've probably eaten too much over the holidays and should be making new resolutions. Alternatively, you could be selling health products and tap into the annual kids-return-to-school flu period or hay fever season. Tourism-related businesses are at their busiest when others have their summer low. You see what I'm getting at here. Each sector has seasonal hikes and lulls, and you will know best for your own business what those are.
Can this work for my business?
If you're reading this, I assume you're not already going whole hog on seasonal advertising. It may not be suitable for your business to have promotions, or your budget doesn't allow several campaigns a year. Every business can benefit from updating their material regularly, whether in tune with meteorological seasons or their business seasonality.
Visibility is key in any business. Nothing is worse than a static corporate presence that never changes and never evolves. Yes, customers like continuity. But they also like to see that you're on the ball, that your content is fresh and relevant. In short, that your are putting in the effort to update your business communication regularly. This is particularly important for your online presence, be that your website or (even more importantly!) your social media. By updating your imagery, text and promotions, you show your clients that you are current and constantly working to improve your business.
Regular updates on your website or blog also help with your SEO (search engine optimisation). Search engines LOVE original content, they love traffic, and they love updates. After all, they want to give their users relevant results for their searches, so they're not happy to throw up a website that hasn't changed since 2009. Chances are, that business might not even be operating any more. Being current with your material will help improve your SEO ranking and increase traffic on your sites.
You can also us the opportunity to think about special seasonal promotions you might like to run. Do you have a new services you would like to introduce or promote? Or is there a product (range) relevant to the season with you would like to boost the sales of? Be creative and the world is your oyster! Don't forget, limited availability generally boosts sales as people are loath to miss out on a special deal!
A little goes a long way
Whether you have a sizeable marketing budget or operating out of your basement, seasonal marketing can be scaled to suit any business. Starting from the bottom up, here are a few simple steps you can take to improve your seasonal online presence:
- Update your banners and images in accordance with your chosen season or promotion
- Post emotive photographs which relate to the product or service you would like to promote
- Blog about current events in your business and share your success stories
- Use seasonal imagery and messages in your newsletters
- Design a post card to send to your (select) customers
A tip on the side: If you sell internationally, or your client base includes a large demographic of a different religion or cultural background, you may want to consider advertising not just for your own holidays, but for other people's as well.
However much or little you choose to implement in the end, showing presence will help your brand be more up to date, and more connected!
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