As a small business owner, it’s especially important to harness those special times of year when your company can focus on promotional opportunities in order to increase seasonal or holiday sales. Jessica Infante Marketing Specialist, Boston Brewery & Tap Rooms gives us some ideas for well-timed promotions to increase sales, whether it’s during the holidays or other relevant time periods you deem beneficial to focus on boosting business. Infante says you don’t only need to focus on holiday sales; you can also create seasonal touchstones for your customers throughout the calendar year.
Why Are Seasonal Promotions Important?
Many feel stressed around the holidays and like time is slipping by too quickly when they are trying to shop for gifts and handle parties and other holiday preparations. You have the power to help them! Meet customers’ needs at a time of year that matters to them and provide customers with a memorable experience that stays with them after they leave. You can create promotions to keep your products top of mind in a cluttered time period.
When everyone is running around spending, make sure you get out there with a solid promotion to help your business get its share of holiday sales. When you maximize sales during a busy time like the holidays, it helps to sustain your business in quieter periods. By bringing in new customers with a seasonal promotion, you can also build momentum to drive traffic during slower times with repeat customers.
How to Brainstorm a Seasonal Promotion
Be relevant! Choose events and holidays that make sense for your business. Not every season or holiday is going to apply when it comes to promoting your products or services, so be selective when deciding what and when to promote. Get into your target customer’s mindset and focus on your audience’s interests.
Stand out from the competition. There are some things that everyone is going to offer. For example, during the autumn season, everyone seems to be offering pumpkin-related flavors and products. What can you offer that would help your business stand out from the pack? But that said, you want to capitalize on existing consumer behavior. Trends exist for a reason, and sometimes you just need to roll with them in order to cash in.
Think beyond the fourth quarter to those quieter times when the market isn’t necessarily swamped with businesses competing for the spotlight. In March, customers often focus on basketball and St. Patrick’s Day. What promotional tie-ins can your business create?
Setting Marketing and Production Timelines
Infante says there’s NO SUCH THING as too early to start running your promotion. You must repeat yourself to break through in a crowded marketplace. Consumers are distracted and they need to hear your promotion more than once in order to remember it and take action.
When setting your marketing timelines, consider your production timelines and work backward from your desired in-market date. When do you want to have your goods in hand and how long do they take to produce? Add in more time than normal so you make sure you’re ready for the sales rush.
Strategy # 1: Products
Holiday-inspired flavors are a popular seasonal product strategy. If you have an Instagram feed, it’s a great place to promote beautiful or cool images of your holiday-inspired products. Get creative when thinking about products you can promote and what “holidays” your business could help customers celebrate. Ask yourself what your customers are talking about.
Infante says to hold the term “holiday” loosely as you consider holiday sales. She points out the example of a bakery in a beach town that celebrates Shark Week annually with theme-decorated cupcakes. The bakery posts photos of the cupcakes on Instagram.
Strategy #2: Bundles and Packages
One way to make your customers’ lives easier is by bundling products to make yours a one-stop shop. When brainstorming how you could do this effectively, remember that bundling products or services together gives your customers a convenient solution during a busy time period. You can offer gifts that are already wrapped, create gift baskets, or offer a reusable container, which allows you to offer premium pricing.
Subscriptions—even for food products, such as the “cookie of the month club”—ensures future sales and sustains the customer lifecycle.
Strategy #3: Onsite Décor and Displays
Seventy percent of purchasing decisions are made in-store. Successful displays can stop shoppers in their tracks. Really successful ones lead to impulse buys and contribute incremental sales. Target is great at this. Infante said she walked into Target with a small list recently and walked out with a bunch of Halloween decorations because of a strategically placed in-store display.
Determine the best spot in your store and make a visual difference. Don’t have your own store? Consider the needs of your retail partners. They want to decorate, so help them do it with your product.
Strategy #4: Events
Host festive events that connect your business to the season. You can drive traffic to slower nights depending on when you schedule events. Consider teaming up with a partner who strengthens your offering and who could bring in cross-traffic from their business so you can both build your customer bases.
In order to get more mileage out of hosting an event, encourage attendees to share pictures online with a hashtag. Infante says millennials especially love events and are more likely to share photos and hashtags online. That said, consider the age and interests of your customers when creating an event. Incentivize return visits by offering a discount if attendees fill out a survey, share the event on social media using your hashtag, or other action you’d like them to take. You can also hand out cards or tickets at the event that offer a discount to inspire repeat visits.
Strategy #5: Giveaways
Infante says Instagram is a great social media outlet to use for giveaways. By promoting a giveaway, you can increase followers, showcase seasonal offerings, and stay top of mind with seasonally-relevant giveaways.
Holiday sales can make or break a company by making the difference between financial success and failure. With these five strategies, you can increase sales all year round, not just during the fall and winter holiday season. If you get creative with your products and marketing promotions, you can connect effectively with your customers, give them what they want and need, and stay relevant all year round.