8 Ways to Increase Sales with Seasonal Promotions
With this post, you will learn:
- The definition of seasonal promotions and seasonal marketing.
- What kind of occasions and events can be used for seasonal marketing.
- What are the most popular benefits of seasonal promotions.
- Best practices for running seasonal promotions.
- Ideas for seasonal promotions with real-life examples and tactics.
What are seasonal promotions?
A seasonal promotion is any type of promotional activity (e.g., special offers, discounts, limited edition items) inspired by holidays, celebrations, and seasons. I am sure you are familiar with Christmas, Black Friday, or back-to-school seasons.
Seasonal campaigns are a fantastic tool to plan your promotional calendar. Pre-planned marketing efforts let you delight your customers with refined and original promotions throughout your sales funnel. But, that’s not all – with a detailed promotional schedule at hand, you can always get a leg-up on the competition and be the first to reach potential customers.
Don't get me wrong. The constant battle for leads, clicks, and conversions is more than necessary. But, amid this struggle, your marketing squad can sometimes forget about the essential ingredient of any promotional campaign – trends and data. By following trends, your brand gets a chance to innovate its messaging. Trends let you add a bit of variety and ingrain your business into the stream of events, staying on top of customers’ minds all year round. This is what seasonal marketing is all about.
I kept the best for last, do you know what the best thing about seasonal marketing is? Customers want it. Yes, you’ve heard me right. Customers have come to expect and enjoy seasonal marketing and promotions. They want to wear cheesy Christmas sweaters, drink pumpkin latte, and get two backpacks at the price of one during back-to-school season.
Special occasions – a fabric of seasonal marketing campaigns
Seasonal marketing falls into two categories – time-based and event-based. Time-based promotional campaigns are, to no surprise, related to the particular time of year. For instance, you may think here about Christmas or barbecue season. Whereas, event-based seasonal marketing is inspired by singular events (both recognized holidays and non-traditional holidays). You can see events such as Mother’s Day, Independence Day, or Elections in this category.
You can use any event as fabric for tailoring original seasonal promotional campaigns. The crucial thing is to always highlight your products/services and not the event itself. Your campaign and your offer should be the centerpiece of the messaging, not the season. Seasonal promotions offer a huge advantage over regular marketing. Seasons or events are already on your customers’ minds so your offer seems less infringing and annoying.
Grow with seasonal promotions
- Seasonal promotions give consumers an extra boost to buy or, at the very least, browse your offer. Even cliché slogans such as "prepare your wardrobe for spring" still work and encourage spontaneous shopping.
- Discount and promotions work best when associated with a seasonal campaign. Why? Special 25% discount for all fantastic moms for Mother’s Day is sure to sell better than the usual 25% discount on product X.
- From evoking nostalgia for Christmas, through an urgency (“Order by December so it arrives on time”), to an extraordinary event that no one has seen coming. Great seasonal campaign ideas will generate not only sales but also get more clicks, conversions, and traffic.
Best practices of seasonal promotions
Always come prepared
Forecasting helps with seasonal trends, spikes in demand, and competitors' pricing maneuvers. Predicting the outcomes of your promotional campaigns and the economic climate surrounding the given event or season is not a question of “if” but “how.” Remember to keep a close eye on search (e.g., with the help of Google Trends) and seasonal trends that influence your audience and their perception of your brand. Give yourself time to prepare for the seasonal campaign in a slower period. This way, you will have plans from A-Z, all laid-out and ready-to-go if things go south.
You should also make sure you have enough staff to handle a sudden increase in interest and demand for your products. The support and sales teams drowning in unsettled claims is no comforting sight. Failing to deliver on the promise can haunt your business for years to come, so you’d better get ready.
Establish a clear goal
There is no point in launching any marketing campaign without a clear goal in your mind. Without a precise aim, you won’t be able to reach your target audience effectively, analyze the campaign performance, draw conclusions, and learn to do better next time. Do you want to get rid of leftover stock? Sell tickets to a Halloween party? Or increase your brand visibility on Instagram and Facebook? Whatever the goal is, you won’t learn if you stay in the dark.
Timing is critical
You need to get at least two things right to succeed with seasonal promotions. When will the campaign start, and what kind of content and offer are you going to promote? It is best to launch the campaign before the actual event or peak season to position yourself at the trailblazer and not the follower. Remember not to pull out the big guns straight away – your campaign should aim to evoke anticipation and build tension for the real deal.
Use time bombs in your seasonal content strategy
Time bombs are an example of real-time marketing. They denote current events and trends incorporated into your messaging. Sometimes, an innocent slip of the tongue can trigger a series of unpredictable media events. Especially, when you are the foreign minister of quite a large country in Europe. This happened to Witold Waszczykowski who ignited the imagination of internet users and Polish marketing teams with the non-existent country, San Escobar. This pure viral gold was used by Pizza Hut, which released a new San Escobar-inspired pizza the next day with a heavy discount for anyone willing to try it. Time bombs, in short, make your offers and promotions more relevant and sharable.
Your brand should define the season
Changing your messaging and promotional offers with every event and season is a bad idea. It creates confusion among customers who will see your trying-to-hard approach as funny (at best). The critical thing to remember is that seasons and events should act as vehicles for your message to resonate in a more original and unique way. Seasonality is a fantastic opportunity to present how your business helps people. You should interweave this message in a way that fits the general sentiment of the given season or event to make sure that the customer experience stays consistent. Stay selective and focus on events that resonate best with your audience and your unique offering.
Keep an eye on past seasonal trends and competition
You don’t have to reinvent the wheel every year with more original and risky promotional campaigns. Keep in mind that going over the top with a marketing strategy can (and usually does) backfires. If your past campaign was a success, launch a similar one with several tweaks and adjustments.
On the same note, being a copycat is not a badge of honor. But, if your competition is doing something right, you can consider adjusting your seasonal campaigns to keep up with your competitor.
8 ideas for seasonal promotions
Run Black Friday-inspired flash sales
One idea for a great seasonal campaign is to launch a flash-sale a day before the event or start of the season. Use flash sales to promote a new product or build anticipation for a new drop in your shop. By cultivating a sense of urgency, scarcity, and exclusivity, you encourage customers to buy your products now, which improves your sales revenue. With a dedicated promotion management software, such as Voucherify, you will not even have to build a promotion infrastructure to pull that off.
Create product bundles that make sense
Seasons, holidays, and special celebrations are a fantastic time of year to get rid of products piled up in your warehouse and increase sales on items that have not been selling well. Running bundling campaigns or BOGO promotions is the most effective when done with things that complement each other. Are you offering summer footwear? Great, add a free pair of sunglasses to the order of summer sandals.
Combine promotions with awareness days
Seasonal campaigns infused with a bit of CSR and cause-related marketing is a great combo. This way, you may support social causes dear to your heart, build positive brand associations, and raise awareness around specific events or disadvantaged communities. For instance, you can run a Christmas gift card campaign where for each 10$ spent, customers can choose to donate 1$ to a selected charity organization.
Share love with referrals
Special days such as Mother’s Day, Father’s Day, or Friendship Days are great opportunities to promote your referral program. Positive referrals mean a world to every business. Certain times of the year are fantastic for reminding your customer why they are with you. If they enjoy your products, why won't they tell their family and friends about your brand? Handling a referral program on your own can be tough. Luckily, you can use Voucherify to design, run, and manage single- and double-sided referral programs with unique rewards.
Spoil the most profitable customers
Some occasions are better than others to give back to the most loyal members of your brand community. You can use the Christmas spirit, your company anniversary, or customers’ birthdays to do that. To celebrate the brand advocates that always have your back, you can release a VIP loyalty program and market it during a festive season. This way you can show customers how much you appreciate them being with you. You can also launch a thank you gift card campaign or special discounts available only for the top tier of your customers.
Get over the seasonal drop with pre-sales
Naturally, you can’t have peak sales all year round. That’s why all sales revenue graphs have both ups and downs. But, it doesn’t mean that you should give up on promotions in the slower seasons. You can launch pre-sale and pre-order campaigns to selected customers to build anticipation for your new product line.
Subscription boxes for New Year
New Year is an exceptional time. Brand-new resolutions, fresh beginnings, and new year – new me attitudes offer a once in a lifetime (or more likely once a year) opportunity for brands to push products to customers hellbent on improving their lives. We have all been there – wanting to get fit, find a new hobby, or read more. At this time, brands should align their messaging to these sentiments and adjust their offering accordingly.
Many brands have started to offer subscription boxes where customers can regularly get the product or services without a hassle of actually getting it. It is all delivered straight to their door. If your business offers products or services that can be bundled into a subscription box, the New Year is the best time to push it out to customers.
Seasonal and event-based games
As we wrote in our post about promotion gamification, creating games and fun contests is a superb way of boosting customer engagement and interaction. Repackaging seasons or events into the game format is one of the most engaging things you can do with seasonal marketing. Another way of incorporating games into your seasonal promotions is using user-generated content on your social media channels. Surprisingly, it does not have to be all fun and games – you can also launch socially responsible gamified campaigns. Take a look at Zenly, a Snapchat app used for sharing location and what you’re up to with friends and family. Amid COVID-19 pandemic, the app introduced leaderboards that showed which of your friends and family members spent most of their time at home. This way, Zenly provides a way to feel less alone and offers an excellent outlet for the global anxiety.
Why are seasonal campaigns worth doing? The answer to this question can be summarized in two points. First of all, such promotions can demonstrate and stimulate the creativity of your marketing team. Secondly, seasonal campaigns tend to fall on fertile ground. A deal is a deal – customers will always be willing to take advantage of that.
Seasonal marketing is about something more than decorating shop windows and creating special discounts – it is about perfect timing, unique content, and campaign execution that ensures customer engagement and, ultimately, sales.
Voucherify can help you with your seasonal marketing campaign