Seasonality is a huge area of focus for many business’s marketing campaigns, and not just in the travel and tourism industry. From Halloween and Christmas to Easter and the school summer holidays, there are plenty of ways that playing on seasonal events can benefit your business.
In this one-stop seasonal marketing guide, we’ll explore the best ways to market your brand in spring, summer, autumn and winter, how to make a seasonal marketing campaign plan and our top survival tips for making it through the year in one (super successful) piece.
What is Seasonal Marketing?
Seasonal marketing is when a business adjusts its marketing campaigns depending on what relevant events are happening during the season. Although this has always been common around Christmas (e.g. John Lewis Christmas TV adverts) and January (sales), this is now a technique that targets different national and international events throughout the year (like International Cat Day, for example).
Some businesses naturally see peaks and experience struggles during certain seasons. This is usually dependant on industry – for example, a fireworks retailer will naturally see a rise in sales around bonfire night and New Year’s Eve.
Marketing Ideas for Every Season
Spring Marketing Ideas
Around this time of year, you’ll be looking to make a fresh start on your marketing; it’s a new financial year, so it’s the perfect time to start making new plans. To help you ‘spring’ into action (get it?), we’ve gathered our favourite spring marketing ideas make your promotions shine!
Events & Holiday Focus
As well as local events, you can start planning your marketing strategy around events you know happen every single year. Dates for your spring calendar include Easter, Shrove Tuesday, Valentine’s Day and Mother’s Day.
You could host a pancake making competition on social media, offer a discount for Mother’s Day or even send an Easter egg email with a hidden discount or other treat inside!
Adding a pop of colour is positively enlivening! Great spring colours include pretty pastels, bright blues and greens, as well as flowery colours like pink and yellow. This doesn’t need to be ‘in your face’, a colourful bit of text on an advert is enough to evoke energetic vibes.
With Earth Day falling at the end of April, this is the perfect opportunity to show customers your eco-friendly side. Planning a flyer campaign? Print them on recycled stock (and let customers know this!) for an added green touch.
All this extra sun can only mean one thing – it’s time to take your marketing campaign outside! Increased footfall outside means even more people will see your adverts – PVC banners are a spring essential for getting your business noticed.
Summer Marketing Ideas
The weather’s hotting up, and depending on what kind of business you run, you might be feeling the heat sales wise. This is the best season for travel and tourism industries as well as restaurants and bars. Depending on the weather, retail sales may have cooled off a little, but there are plenty of ways to get things up to temperature…
Festivals, Fairs and Fun
Summer is festival season, and whether you’re running a stall at the local village gala, organising a fresh produce market day or selling merchandise at a leading music festival, outdoor event marketing tools like flags and signs are just a couple of the attention-grabbing tools you’ll need.
If you’ve got kids, you’ll know it’s a struggle keeping them occupied over the summer holidays. If families are part of your demographic, make sure your summer marketing campaign relieves this pain point by offering events and offers like free entry for children or kids eat free.
Another great way to get your brand into the public eye over the summer is to get involved in some fundraising events for charities. Not only are you supporting a charity, it also means people will see your brand and associate it with this positive message – just remember to print branded t-shirts!
Autumn Marketing Ideas
As well as being the start of indoor trade events season, Autumn also sees darker, chillier nights and some of the biggest seasonal events of the year, like bonfire night and Halloween, that your business can take advantage of in your marketing.
Make it Pumpkin Spiced
The craze that always sweeps the world by storm as soon as the 1st September hits, pumpkin spice is the latest flavoursome borrowing from the states. An example of this kind of marketing done right is Starbucks, where people eagerly await the launch of their pumpkin spice latte year-round. If you run a café or sell any kind of drink or baked goods, now is the perfect time to make a spicy autumnal special edition.
Most businesses start planning their Christmas campaigns in Autumn, so even though it feels like it’s too early to even think about the man in the red hat, we’re here to tell you it’s never too early! Plan out your promotions, come up with a festive campaign theme and order your Christmas marketing materials to get ahead of the competition.
Spooktacular Halloween Promotions
Whether you run a social media competition asking customers to dress up their pets, send a post flyers for your ghoulish event or spook-ify your website, Halloween is the perfect excuse to entice customers in with scarily good deals and boost brand awareness with your campaign.
Black Friday Weekend
We couldn’t talk about autumn marketing without mentioning the Black Friday. With the huge sales weekend expanding across the full four days with Sofa Sunday and Cyber Monday, this period kicks off Christmas shopping for many consumers. Make sure you have eye-catching sales posters in your shop window to feature your best deals!
Winter Marketing Ideas
Christmas is undoubtedly the biggest sales period for many businesses, especially in retail, because it’s all about finding the perfect present for your loved ones. Creating a Christmas catalogue that shows off all your products and services is a great way to get your seasonal marketing into the right hands.
As well as sales, winter is a great time to include experiential marketing as part of your strategy. From festive baking classes to Christmas card crafting, hosting events is a great way to get customers into your store and building a relationship with your brand.
New Year’s Resolution
A lot of your customers will probably have made a new year’s resolution – why not help them stick to it? Maybe your product or service is all about time-keeping and organisation, or maybe you’re an estate agent looking to match a house buyer with their perfect home; play on the idea of it being a new year and a new start!
Buy one get one free, couple’s deals and Valentine’s gifting are all great ways to incorporate this seasonal event into your marketing plan. Or, if you’re feeling the love, why not send customers a Valentine’s day card with a voucher in?
How to Prepare a Seasonal Marketing Plan
Now you’ve got a few ideas, it’s time to start planning a successful seasonal marketing plan. This should encompass both direct and digital marketing for a fully rounded approach to promoting seasonal campaigns. Here’s everything you need to know.
1. Make a Draft for the Year
The thing to keep in mind with your seasonal marketing plan is that it doesn’t need to be set in stone. Things change, and you should be tailoring your campaigns accordingly.
At the same time, however, it’s important to make a rough plan so you can prepare the materials you need as early as reasonable possible.
2. Account for Sales
How much can you realistically afford to spend on sales for the year? Create a budget for you proposed seasonal marketing plan to keep up to date on the costs.
3. Don’t Forget About Small Events
Not every campaign needs to be huge. An email or blog that links to a national awareness day or jumping on a trending hashtag are just as important! Our advice? Plan in a few big campaigns for the year and fill the gaps with smaller, reactive ones.
Top Tips for Surviving Seasonality
Maybe your business is a Christmas decoration shop. You might sell ski gear. Or you could even run a surfing club – if you have one big season a year, trying to find ways to combat the slower months is crucial for your success. Here are some ways to see your business through until peak times.
Adapt Your Product/Service Offering
Giving your content marketing a seasonal twist is a great way of doing this. If you’re a florist, you may find that your peak is in spring/summer during wedding season. However, offering a Christmas wreath class as part of your seasonal strategy during the winter might be just the thing to keep sales up over the slow period.
Plan in Some Research Time
So, business is a little quiet. Why not use this time to do the things you always put off? Like maintenance and research. By spending the time preparing and making your business look amazing for your peak time, you’re still utilising the quieter times and being super productive.
Reduce Opening Hours
For some businesses, the best option to preserve money and keep your business going is to fully close your doors or reduce your opening hours off-peak. Make sure you carefully decide which days/hours you will open and stick to it – this will be less confusing for customers and knowing when you’re open will make them more likely to turn up.
Ready to start planning your next seasonal marketing campaign? Here are 8 fun examples of direct mail to help inspire your creations. Or, check out our full range of print marketing materials here and start building your seasonal campaign toolkit.