Looking for a way to increase sales in your small or medium-sized business (SMB)? A great place to start is by creating a seasonal marketing promotion to harness the higher customer traffic of specific holiday periods.
The National Retail Federation notes that three times of year—winter holidays, back-to-school (coming up soon!), and Mother’s Day—are especially lucrative for businesses. Consumers spend $602.1 billion, $72.5 billion, and $19.9 billion, respectively, during these special seasons.
For small businesses, these numbers indicate that there’s extra opportunity for income generation tri-annually, which can help offset sales slumps at other times of the year. The trick, though, is knowing how to capture and capitalize on consumers’ added interest in seasonal shopping.
This is where the seasonal promotion comes in. Try these six tips to increase your sales success at different seasons.
Check out the competition
If you’re a new business owner, your first year of holiday activity might be best spent studying what other companies are doing right with their seasonal promotions. Examine what types of messaging and marketing tactics work well for your competitors. You might also poll your customers and others in your industry about their preferred types of promotions at different times of the year. Consider using a tool like Womply Customer Feedback to receive and respond to anonymous customer perspectives in real time.
Know what seasons your customers care about
Your customers will respond to seasonal promotions differently based on who you serve. Clearly, only your customers who are parents of school-aged children will be interested in back-to-school promotions, for example.
That’s why it’s important to find ways to understand your audience before targeting promotional materials to them. Analytics tools like Womply Customer Pulse and Womply Customer Directory can give you a 360-degree view of your customers, including information about whether your revenue changes seasonally and where customers spend money when they aren’t at your store.
Armed with data about when your customers are most likely to shop and spend, you’ll know where to focus your efforts when designing your seasonal promotion.
Tie a theme to your promotional message
You don’t have to be a retailer of school supplies or sell greeting cards to take advantage of seasonal buying patterns. Brainstorm ways that your business can introduce a seasonal theme to your regular offerings. Here are some ideas to get your juices flowing as you think about your own business:
- Offer a Thanksgiving variation on your standard merchandise, perhaps incorporating different colors or styles.
- Customize your services to match seasonal patterns and trends. This could be as simple as a florist offering a specially designed and priced Mother’s Day floral arrangement.
- Give away a free session of your services or a free trial product as a customer appreciation gift for Christmas or to kick off the New Year.
- Plan a winter or back-to-school clearance sale event to generate excitement around a one-time offer.
Magnify sharing power
Holidays bring about extra urges to share, since that’s really what these celebrations are all about. This is the perfect time to leverage social-share icons, which have been shown to improve click-through rates on email up to 115%, according to GetResponse.
Create a “friends and family” event as your seasonal promotion to generate added buzz over key holidays, and let social-share icons do the work. You might also try offering a holiday-themed Twitter contest as a seasonal promotion, with a giveaway item for participants. Be sure your freebie has some tie-back to your company, however—such as a holiday gift card downloaded from your company website—to be sure you have a way to earn new customers.
Make your promotional materials reusable
When you take the time to design and develop seasonal campaigns, you want to get as much mileage as possible from your efforts. Whether your promotion involves holiday-specific web content, social media pages, or other types of assets, don’t see these as one-offs. Invest in the future by creating materials you can repurpose and reuse every holiday season.
Don’t wait too long
If you’re just starting to think about a seasonal promotion for the winter holidays at Halloween, you’re already too late. Remember the high level of competition and noise during peak selling times of year. Your goal as a small business owner should be to find ways to have your seasonal marketing efforts stand out with your customers in a crowded field.
Getting an early start can help you accomplish this, since your customers will receive your promotions before the onslaught. For example, you might target sending out promotions in late summer or early fall for products and services that will be appropriate in the winter months.