The importance of seasonal events in marketing (and how Christmas can shape your calendar)
There are a lot of events that unite us, here in the UK we have public holidays to celebrate New Year, Easter, Spring Bank Holiday, Christmas. These are events which are annual, that you can plan for with confidence. In fact, even last Christmas during the pandemic, online spending at Christmas was £18,626m which was an increase of 56.2% more than in the same period in 2019. It is a hell of a big pie to have a slice of. You can read my specific guide to Christmas here.
And especially with gifting events like Christmas, Mother’s Day, Father’s Day and Valentine’s Day, you can package up products or services for your customers at this time.
On top of annual BIG events, you might have annual events which do not need a day off BUT still affect your customers. Think Wimbledon, Ascot, Formula 1 at Silverstone, the Chelsea Flower Show, Glastonbury and so on.
There’s also TV, movies and award shows that bring us together and create talking points. Think Love Island, Strictly Come Dancing, and new movies from The Avengers series or a hot new director.
Don’t forget events that happen every few years. These tend to be sporting events with a lot of build up and a relatively short life: The Olympics, The World Cup, The Euros.
Know your awareness days
Days of the year. Ah yes, if you dig around enough there’s a dog day, a cat day, one for alcohol and a month for anything you can bring to mind. You could literally plan 25 posts per day for awareness days these days. The key is to work out which ones are worth joining in with, and which to leave out.
How to take advantage of seasonal events and awareness days:
1 – Plan them. Honestly just being aware of the calendar is a great start. You can download my 2022 calendar here. And follow me on Instagram for in the moment reminders.
2 – Focus on the ones that work for your customer. If you have a gift business for example – you might want to look at days with gifting opportunities. However if you sell cakes, you might want to make a bespoke one for the start of Strictly Come Dancing which may be topical. So start by streaming your calendar to the ones that matter. I would say two per month is plenty.
3 – Big and Small. Not every single event has to be an all singing all dancing event. Some will be marked by a single Instagram post. Some will be a full campaign. And that is ok…be honest and don’t overstretch yourself. It is better to deliver one thing well than a whole heap of nothing.
4 – Ideas for your seasonal event/ awareness day. Here’s the ideas:
- a product. A product for an event can be really really topical. Get it right and it will be a sell out. Get enough lead time on it and it can also gain PR coverage, deliver link backs as well as gaining awareness on social media. Think a new, topical Halloween costume. Read my guide to Halloween PR & Marketing tips here.
- a special service. If you can create a special version of an existing service, this is an easy win. For example, if you serve afternoon tea, why not make a bespoke one for Fashion Week? This can also deliver those column inches, social engagement and links to buy.
- a bundle. Say it is Black Friday, you can offer a collective of services or courses for a really special price. This scarcity of the one time only, exclusive deal can really excite your customers and create a real boost in your bank balance.
- content. Not every event has to be a campaign. If you’re a luxury sports brand and Wimbledon is coming up…why not visit the local tennis courts and get snaps to time with it? This can make super timely content.
- retail / restaurant spaces. Wow if you have a retail space, this really is your time to shine. Many places like Peggy Porschen and Elan Cafe have created entire experience around their shop front interior and exterior. If you create the right kind of Instagram friendly backdrop then you may find that footfall increases from the social media savvy seeking their next hit. It can be expensive so install themes early and keep them in for three months at a time for momentum to build.
- collaborations are such a key marketing tool. If you create a special product for Christmas and also collaborate with a person or brand that your customers LOVE, then this is like the holy grail. Everyone wins. You get the combined buying power so reach, engagement and sales. Winner winner, Turkey Christmas dinner.
5 – How to prepare. Big businesses like John Lewis will plan a year in advance for Christmas. We’re talking budgets, concepts, products, shop fit, windows, photo shoots, video, TV ad, web content and so on. If you’re on a smaller scale, you’ll still want a six month lead time on Christmas for example as you’ll need to start the PR on this in July (the famous Christmas in July) and your marketing activities will commence as soon as Bonfire Night (5 November) is over.
6 – For seasonal events you’ll need:
- Marketing calendar / critical path – start at your ideal launch and track back to make sure you’re on time
- Photos – you’ll live and die by these so get a professional photographer to shoot products and services so that you have shots for marketing, press and social media.
- Video – for social media – video is King. Get the professionals in if it is a big campaign. If you’re tight on budget, film it on your iPhone and edit yourself OR film yourself and get a pro to edit it.
- A press release – if it is an exciting offer or product, get a press release together and send it out as early as possible. Your press release is a cracking way to make sure you have everything in order – prices, details, url, colours and so on. You can download my free press release template here. And check our Courtney Rodgers on Christmas in July here.
- Blog – your press release can be quickly amended into a blog – so handy!
- Tease it – make sure your timeline allows room for teasing the launch to get customers excited. Make the launch a very specific time to build up to it and consider added extras for the first few customers who buy.
- Social media – this is such a key driver to your engaged fan base so put the time and effort in to engage over the weeks before / during / after launch. Use every tool you’ve got from LinkedIn to Instagram, from video to Lives to stories. Throw yourself into it, don’t be shy and see the results. See my tips on being confident on camera.
- Newsletter – don’t forget to tell your customers one to one via their inboxes. Or via text if you have the details. Don’t be shy to push your special gift or event a few times – most people don’t see ALL of our messages so it takes repetition.
- Advertising – as Seth Godin says. Grown ups spend money on advertising. Think of advertising as the opportunity to put your message directly in front of your ideal customer. Like DIRECTLY. Wow. Work with a freelance PPC and Social Ads specialist rather than just boosting posts as they will be more targeted and you can track the ROI.
Get your marketing plan ready!
Excited? You should be! you’ve just found out how to boost your business using a framework that is similar year on year. You can learn, adapt and grow each year. Remember, you won’t start perfect but progress is better that perfection.
My 2022 Calendar which is free to download is coming soon!
Share your stories with me at @nakedprgirl and using #nakedprgirl.