There’s a reason stores glitter with Christmas finery in September. For a retailer, Christmas is like… well, Christmas. Many stores take in the bulk of their annual income over the winter holiday season. In fact, for some retailers, strong holiday sales can mean the difference between success and failure.
Smart businesses take note of the calendar, and put it to work for them by holding seasonal promotions periodically at set intervals throughout the year.
What are Seasonal Promotions?
A seasonal promotion is when a seller ties discount pricing to a holiday or holiday season. The day can be a so-called “bank” holidays like Christmas and New Years’ Day, or to any date-specific event or recognition, such as National Secretary’s Day or County Fair Days. And don’t forget back to school and graduation – anything that represents a meaningful date or dates for a large group of people.
The principle behind seasonal promotions is to bring in income during slow times of year, in addition to building customer loyalty. Always strive for new clientele, and fight even harder to keep the old ones.
In addition to discounts on regularly offered products, a seasonal promotion might offer up a product or product line tied exclusively to that time of year, such as green beer on St. Patrick’s Day.
Seasonal Promotion 101: Pick Your Dates
As I mentioned earlier, there’s more than one type of season to consider. In the USA, we’ve got a dozen or so bank holidays per year, but there are several more that don’t affect postal service and banks. They can, however, be just as valid from a business standpoint. The trick is choosing which holidays or events you should cover. If you to cover them all, you lose both credibility and impact. There’s a real risk of creating promotion fatigue among your potential customers. When you offer the same or similar sales every week of the year, it implies that there’s no sale at all, that those are your regular prices. It also creates a sense of desperation.
Furthermore, not every holiday is a good match for every business. A floral business can and should take advantage of seasonal promotions to maximize Valentine’s Day, Secretary’s Day, Thanksgiving, and Christmas. The same floral shop won’t fare as well with back to school or with the county fair.
A western wear store can knock it out of the ball park, as it were, by coordinating with a big rodeo in town. A bike shop can make a killing if there’s a 10K ride coming up. If you’ll notice, televisions get cheaper around the time of the Super Bowl. A taxi service can double its service by marketing right over New Year’s Day and the County Fair, by promoting safety on the first event and freedom from a parking nightmare on the second.
Customize marketing strategy to the season. Figure out which holidays and events best match your business scope, then tailor a seasonal promotion to customers’ pain point for the event.
Seasonal Promotion 102: Promote Smart
A seasonal promotion is an awesome thing. A seasonal promotion turned into an event is the closest thing to a sales slam-dunk.
Using the 4th of July as an example, a furniture company could turn the parking lot into a picnic area, and requiring people to meander through a furniture sales area to get to food. More people at a store mean more potential sales.
For National Secretary’s Day, a floral shop could create a contest, one where bosses nominate their secretary as best in the city.
In coordination with other advertising, the right seasonal promotion can take on a life of its own, something people look forward to every year.
One small-town radio station coordinated with a grocery store to give away turkeys around Thanksgiving, using a call-in Turkey Trot game. After the first few years, people started asking both the grocer and the station about the event a month or more ahead, trying to find out when the contest started. In that part of the world, the Turkey Trot game became an entrenched holiday tradition. A seasonal promotion using a similar approach and tied to a less prominent date, such as National Coffee Week, could eclipse the original holiday altogether!
If you aren’t using seasonal or holiday promotions in your marketing, you’re missing out on a great to chance to boost conversion rates.