• Begin by creating a marketing calendar for the next 12 months. Write down major holidays like Valentine’s Day, Easter, Eid-el Kabir, Christmas and seasonal lifestyle events like back-to-school and football season. Use this template to gather ideas that best fit your industry and business. Be like Coca-Cola, fit your business into every season. Coca-Cola runs promotions in all of the aforementioned seasons and even create more seasons for themselves! Guinness Nigeria runs its biggest promos during football seasons, and Bournvita for Back-to School and Sallah promos.
• Once you’ve keyed in on the seasonal promotions that make sense for your business and fit your budget, the real planning begins. Who do you want to reach? Current customers? New customers? Both? Determine the best way to reach the intended audience, including email blasts, business cards, publicity, advertising and in-store signage. The marketing mix is important, especially for small businesses, so do your research on how long design and printing will take, how you’ll acquire mailing lists, and all the costs involved therein.
• Although the big holidays like Christmas and New Year will be part of your seasonal marketing strategy, try to find at least one less-hyped holiday around which to create a campaign. Doing this effectively will make your business stand out and give you more patronage for your marketing expenses. For example, a company like May & Baker can host a May & Baker raffle day, in which the winner gets a row or carton of Mimee Noodles and other free Prizes for a period of time. These types of promotions are also a great way to increase your direct and email lists, as long as entrants know how their information will be used.
• Give discounted promotions, Buy-One-Get-One-Free offers or let the old stock go in the seasons you choose for your clearance sales, just so your customers can feel special and appreciated, but please be sure to run these promos when you can afford to, so that you don’t run yourself into debt.
• Your messaging can not stay the same for every season. Change your messaging to reflect not only the seasonality but urgency as well. For example use buzz words like “Christmas Savings”, “Summer Specials”, “Valentine Promos”, “Easter Bonuses” etc.
• If your business has various prospective sales seasons throughout the year, try to separate and establish an effective promotional and marketing campaign that you can run with it throughout the year with variations to fit the different busy seasons. But bear in mind that during your nonpeak season, unless you are closed, you should endeavour to keep your brand in front of your target audience. Save money by having fewer advertisements and less promotional activity, but continue to promote brand recognition so that you will draw instant attention to the seasonal marketing plan once you launch it.
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