A quick guide to planning promotions beyond the winter holidays
Online business owners know that plenty of sales opportunities exist outside of Thanksgiving and Christmas. In fact, experienced business owners strategically plan seasonal promotions throughout the year in order to amplify brand awareness and maximize sales.
What are seasonal promotions?
Seasonal promotions are select items or special offers marketed to consumers based on an event or time of year. While they technically involve the big winter holidays, seasonal promotions are especially beneficial for slower sales months when they present prime opportunity for retailers to earn critical revenue by catering to unique shopping needs
Ready to learn how to sell more t-shirts during the off-season? Let’s start!
1. CREATE A CUSTOM CALENDAR
Create a calendar specific to your business by choosing holidays or events that your target demographic observes. You’ll find that there’s an abundance of celebrations, but failing to focus your promotions will only cut into your profit margins and diminish your brand value. For example, back-to-school season invites many parents to buy new clothing for their children. If this is your target audience and you have the appropriate apparel to offer, then it’s a great time to offer incentives or discounts. However, if you happen to specialize in t-shirts with swear words, back-to school season may not be your prime time.
Another reason to create a custom calendar has a lot to do with the example above. Some observances such as the back-to-school season occur around culture or in anticipation of an event – these will not be marked on a typical calendar you purchase or download. These are the 5 groups of holidays or events you'll run into:
Federal Holidays: Most holidays listed on a store-bought calendar in the United States are federal holidays, or holidays officially recognized by the the government. On these dates, non-essential federal government offices are closed, and every federal employee is paid for the holiday.
Commonly Celebrated Holidays: Some observances are celebrated annually across America, but remain unrecognized by the government. These holidays include Valentine’s Day, Earth Day, Mother’s Day, Father’s Day, Flag Day, and Halloween.
Ethnic and Religious Holidays: Various ethnic and religious groups in the United States have introduced observances that carry special significance to them and their culture. These holidays include Easter for Christians, the High Holy Days for Jews, Ramadan for Muslims, Day of Vesak for Buddhists, and Diwali for Hindus.
“Fun Holidays”: These are not actual holidays and are typically introduced by business or interest groups for a specific purpose. For example, consider National Donut Day or Scrabble Day.
Annual Events: The US has a series of non-holiday events that enjoy wide participation or observance. Some of these include the Super Bowl, Fashion Week, Comic-Con, and the Academy Awards.
2. ALIGN YOUR PROMOTIONS
Knowing holidays and events that are relevant to your business is important but it’s only half of the formula to successfully running seasonal promotions. The other half depends on your ability to align your promotion with consumer shopping habits. Let’s use a federal holiday and a commonly celebrated holiday as examples.
With some help from Google Trends, we can see that searches for “Memorial Day Sale” start to pick up the week before Memorial Day, peaks on the actual holiday, and then plummets the day after.
You can take advantage of the small window when search is highest to offer a “Memorial Day Weekend Only” sale.
Searches for “Mother’s Day Gifts” sees a gradual ramp up with the highest number of searches the day before Mother’s Day.
There’s a healthy trickle of people searching for gifts leading up to the holiday. Take advantage of this by creating gift guides for every type of mom. And seeing as how searches peak the day before, run “last-minute” offers for the procrastinators.
You won’t need to design an entirely new product line – simply add appropriate customizations to your core products for relevant celebrations.
Use your existing distribution channels to publicize your promotion e.g. email, blog, social media, etc.
Always take note of tactics that worked well and others that need improvement.