Whilst it may be the festive period, and perhaps the busiest time for all industries, seasonal marketing efforts are not limited to this period alone.
Depending on the niche of your business, there is a peak season for you to try and drive sales (or other goals!) with a concerted marketing effort. Christmas represents just one opportunity for businesses to showcase their goods and services, but if you focus all your energy on this timeframe alone, you could be missing out on potentially lucrative high seasons for your product.
For almost all businesses, there are high and low seasons. Most firework sales, for example, are made around Bonfire Night and New Year. Revenue from cricket bats is likely to peak around May/June in tandem with the beginning of the new season. Sales will gradually decline as the season progresses.
Ultimately, your aim is to communicate the value of your brand in relation to the season your aiming at. The target audience has to engage with the season to engage with your business – if you plan on having a Diwali offer, make sure you communicate this to a Hindu and Sikh demographic. (Disclaimer: If using this specific example, it is imperative to understand the nuances between each religion’s conception of Diwali).
I will attempt to explain the different approaches that you can take to your seasonal marketing efforts and hope that you might find some useful tips along the way.
There are two examples which highlight the options available for seasonal marketing: immediate (transactional) marketing and customer retention.
Think of transactional marketing in terms of firework sales. Rather than establishing brand loyalty, you’re looking to sell as much as possible in a specific timeframe. Events like Black Friday and Cyber Monday are the pinnacle of transactional marketing, with an approximate £3.3 billion spent by shoppers in 2015 in the UK.
Whether conducting an email campaign, or paid advertising on Google, the aim is to sell your product and shift stock. Consumers are open to blunt selling tactics because of the time limitations on the deals. There’s no warm-up necessary in transactional marketing as the potential buyer is looking to spend money already.
A good way of understanding consumer engagement with transactional marketing is to determine where your profit is coming from. It is the irregular customer you want to appeal to.
“Your customers are customers of other brands who occasionally buy you” – Prof. Andrew Ehrenberg
Occasional customers aren’t ‘fans’ of your brand, as much as we would like to think they are. These people are the ones who are looking to spend money in different places. If they have an awareness of your brand amongst all the others, they are more likely to spend with you. It’s, therefore, important to build awareness of your business and make sure it’s visible to the appropriate audience.
Maintaining Custom and Revenue
The next phase of your seasonal marketing efforts has to be focused on maintaining the attention of those one-off customers. We want to turn them into regulars. This could be as simple as sending out an X% off voucher via email a few weeks after their initial order. There has to be an incentive for them to buy from your store again.
If a customer purchased a cricket bat from you two weeks ago, why not offer them some money off a helmet a few weeks later. The customer sees you as relevant to their interest, but also understands that you’re offering them an ‘exclusive’ deal because they purchased from you previously. Even subliminally, a relationship is being formed.
Building a Campaign
As techniques differ depending on your industry, this serves as a rough guide. However, there should be a few tips for anyone to take away from this information.
First of all, it’s imperative to have a cohesive, overarching goal. It’s important to establish this early on. You might be looking to raise awareness of your brand over the three months prior to November, so as to maximise revenue for the mass migration of money during the period of November 25th through to Christmas.
Next, you need a strategy to achieve this goal. It could be a sustained social media effort or display advertising with Google. You might want a cross-platform strategy – as long as the relevant people begin to recognise your products and business. You can then mercilessly siege their virtual presence with adverts and emails selling your products at discounted prices in time for Black Friday.
For repeat custom, it’s important to facilitate the journey that the customer has to go on when purchasing from your website. Is the buying process fluid? How many forms need to be filled out? What is your cart abandonment rate?
Customer ‘experience’ is as important online as it is in the bricks and mortar stores, if not more so.
A Few Festive Ideas
December represents a fantastic opportunity to create fun and rewarding marketing strategies. Starting with the simple template of an advent calendar, there are a whole plethora of options to engage your customers.
One idea is to offer a different deal every day. Make it significant enough so that people want to engage and you could find yourself making multiple sales to the same customer in a very short time frame.
Do you have seasonal marketing techniques you prefer? Are you maximising your potential revenue for your particular peak season? We’d love to hear from you.
Get in touch via our contact form and find out if we can help you build a cohesive seasonal marketing strategy.