Holidays and seasonal events are great time to offer special deals as customers are already often in spend mode. So, to make the most of seasonal promotions try to employ some of these tactics.
1. Get in early or late
The market often becomes saturated with advertising immediately prior and during a big event which means you can be drowned out by the noise of the crowd.
So to make the most of holiday promotions try to get in before or after the rest of the competition. Either promote majorly in advance or wait until the very last moment to cash in.
This enables you to get in customers’ heads when they’re not bombarded with messages from everywhere.
2. Understand changes in customers’ motivations/behaviours
At different times of the year, consumers tend to buy different products. However it is important to be responsive to changes in the market and buying behaviour rather than rely solely on conventional patterns.
Events such as changes in interest rates, currency conversion and the share market influence decisions to buy big ticket items such as cars and houses, as well as where people decide to take overseas holidays too, and whether to buy new clothes from top-level boutiques or bargain price retailers.
However it is not just financial markers that can change at a moments’ notice. Weather events also influence buying decisions.
A cold grey summer is going to see less demand for hiking equipment and outdoor furniture and more demand for vitamins, cold and flu remedies, video rentals and board games sales.
If you sell any of the latter products this is the prime time to push a promotion around these products and make sure customers buy from you.
3. Cash in on holidays other than Christmas and Easter
If you save all your holiday promotions for Christmas or Easter you are missing out on a big chunk of action.
Valentine’s Day for example is an opportunity to sell more than just chocolates and roses. This is a good week for pushing couples memberships (e.g. for gyms) and 2-for-1 deals.
Melbourne Cup Day or Bathurst Weekend are also good Australia-specific holidays that can be leveraged to good effect. Sporting events in general are always good targets whether it be the Olympics, Rugby World Cup etc.
There are also all sorts of quirky holiday traditions that happen around the world such as ‘Odd Sock Day’ and ‘Pancake Day’. Underwear and shoe retailers could take advantage of the former, whereas cafes could cash in on the latter. Be creative!
4. Consider charity promotion
There are all sorts of weeks and days throughout the year blocked out in support of charities whether it be Daffodil Day or Movember.
This is a good time of year to consider promotions which sponsor charities. So perhaps for Movember you will donate 10 per cent of all sales to a Prostate Cancer charity.
Customers will be more inclined to support you during this time knowing that their money is helping a good cause. This kind of promotion has a definite ‘feel-good’ factor and can also contribute to a more likable brand identity and more loyal following.
5. Put together free gift buying guides
One thing many consumers say is that they find the holiday season, particularly Christmas, stressful as they don’t know what to buy people.
By creating and distributing a free resource with different gift suggestions you can help alleviate some of this pressure for people, whilst encouraging them to buy from your store.
6. Plan product launches to coincide with seasonal events
Say you’re launching a new gender-specific product such as a perfume or fishing rod. A good time to release products like this would be Mother’s Day or Father’s Day.
The public is already conditioned into buying presents for their man or woman on these days, and if you can create a buzz for your new product months out from these events, and hold a countdown to the big day on social media and other advertising you could manufacture a very successful launch.
7. Test your systems/technology before the big day
The final step now that you have done the good work of creating hype around a particular event is to double and triple check every part of the sales process and associated technologies, especially your website.
Nothing than sabotage your good work quicker than broken links, out of date stock information, products that are overcharged at point of sale, or the absence of banner ads, calls-to-action or email reminders.
If you’ve missed some of the major holidays for this year already, don’t worry as this just gives you more time to plan a well-executed launch for next year. And as with anything you do remember to track your progress.
Compare holiday sales with previous years. If sales numbers are down, consider what you might have done in the past in terms of advertising and promotions that you could bring back.
If sales figures are up, reflect on what you did better this time and remember to use some of the same principles and techniques in marketing campaigns next year.