Throughout the year we mark a wide range of special dates such as Valentines, Easter or Christmas. Aside from that, we might have dates relevant to our industry or milestones that are worthy of a celebration in our own business. Regardless of the industry, you’re operating in it is important that at least some of these are acknowledged through your marketing, despite all the technology available to us humans do matter too.
So, in this post, we’re going to share some tips for marketing on special dates whatever they might be for your business.
Use your website – add a festive greeting at Christmas, bring in a little (or a lot!) more green for St Patrick’s Day or add in some hearts and flowers for Valentine’s if you’re a retailer or restaurant who will be in demand at this time of year. I always tell people that your website should never be ‘finished’ as realistically if you’re going to make the best use of it over its lifetime you will add new products or services, you’ll make the most of your blog and you’ll refresh the images even occasionally. Even if the website sits at the end of a to-do list (it shouldn’t find out here why!) making a few seasonal adjustments tells your customers that you’re tuned in to what they’re thinking about, you’d be surprised to find winter coats as the main image on a high profile retailer in the summer wouldn’t you? In your small business regardless of the platform you’re using you should have a means of making even minor updates, if not make a note in the diary now to find out how you can keep your site fresh and relevant.
Run promotions – with the enormous increase of online retail in the past year there have been more promotions than ever before. For St Patrick’s Day, I’ve seen discounts available where you quote CLOVER, for Christmas a typical discount code might be HOLLY. When you’re running a promotion you have an objective, increasing sales or clearing out last season’s stock would be two of the more popular. If you know you have an abundance of your product sitting in a warehouse and it’s appropriate, think about how you might tie it into the next seasonal date. Something typically Irish such as Irish-produced products is ideal for St Patrick’s Day whereas if you had a whole lot of irons to shift it might not go down well as a Mother’s Day promotion?! Discounting for the sake of it though shouldn’t be part of your strategy, this is where planning your year can make a huge difference in how your business performs.
Get a newsletter out – newsletters are more popular than ever, according to Hubspot in October 2021 email marketing was up at that point up a whopping 52% on pre-covid levels! Not everybody is comfortable with sending out a newsletter, sometimes it’s creating the content or wondering what to include, in other cases it’s a lack of understanding in relation to software. There are many strands to getting email marketing right, not least when it comes to the legal side of it and list-building. However, for those of you who have a list, special occasions and an appropriately-themed newsletter can deliver a significant return on your investment.
Join in community events or activities – we’ve been through extraordinary times in recent years, this year events are back to real life mostly but there will still be a lot of online activity as generally we’re a lot more used to this option now. Look around your community, online and offline and consider whether there’s an opportunity to sponsor or participate in community-based events that are a fit for your brand. Think how you might reach out to a local sports club to or dance school offer sponsorship? Consider taking part in a fundraiser for a charitable cause? One I always participate in is Darkness Into Light and was delighted to see it’s back this year, look maybe at doing this as a group from your business. Remember though that when you’re involved in a community initiative this isn’t about sales, you’re giving something back and over the longer-term aside from the feel-good factor it will benefit your brand too.
Get out the decorations – whether it’s a giant Santa or a display of pumpkins, where it’s appropriate bring a little of the special occasion into your business. If you’re not trading from a public location this is the ideal time to share a photo or video from behind the scenes, International Women’s Day is always a time when businesses opt for this it’s always a super insight into what those dealing with these companies every day won’t ordinarily see.
Use your social media – whatever your choice of platform and regardless of your industry it’s perfectly acceptable to post a greeting for dates such as Father’s Day or Halloween. However, you might be a little selective at that as your post might perfectly suit Instagram yet look oddly out of place on Linkedin which ultimately is the business-related social channel. Opt for something that works for your audience, – if you’re selling exercise equipment does it really sit well with a greeting for Easter when we’re all overindulging in chocolate? Trying to exploit a trending hashtag in the hope you’ll find yourself a new audience can backfire so on special occasions think about the ‘social’ side of social media and ease up on the selling, these dates are about people, not sales opportunities.
Get the team together – yes it’s not strictly marketing and we do know it’s not always practical particularly where many people aren’t back to the office full time. However, team-building will be popular this year when businesses try to re-connect their teams and in many cases, new recruits get to meet their colleagues for the first time. If you’re not yet ready to meet up in person or you’re in different locations you can always go with an online option but plan for the in-person event at some point this year, it’s the perfect morale booster and it’s very shareable in your marketing too.
Take a day off – yes social media is 24/7 but your customers are aware that you’re all entitled to have time off too. By all means, have notifications switched on in the event of something important kicking off, who after all wants to see a complaint fester for a long weekend with thousands more seeing it or worse joining in? However, if you’ve told people what your arrangements are over a period such as Christmas people will respect that you might not be in a position to resolve their problem when there’s nobody in the office. And, if you choose to respond sooner if anything you could well pleasantly surprise them instead. We’re all mindful of the importance of a work/life balance and should you choose to work over a bank holiday weekend that’s great, it can be the ideal time to catch up on paperwork or tackle that project that needs your full concentration. However, remember your customers are entitled to their time off too and while they’re quite likely to shop online late at night or over the weekend if your business is more of a Monday to Friday, 9 – 5 style then you can ease up the sales pitch when they won’t expect to see you anyway. We should also remind you that your activities should centre around your audience on this one, if you’re selling outside of Ireland people might not be aware of it being a bank holiday here on the 17th March. Similarly if you’re trading with the US you might just find the Christmas holidays are a little shorter than they are elsewhere.
You should also of course look back on what’s worked for you in the past. If you always run with an ‘egg-ceptional’ easter promotion that works you need to think about a ‘cracking’ idea to replace it!
If you’d like help with Marketing, Social Media, Content Creation or Web Design to ensure that you’re well prepared for special events and every other day in your business please feel free to take us up on a complimentary consultation which you can schedule at this link.
And to sign off, here at The Marketing Shop we will be closed for business on Friday 15th, Monday 18th, Tuesday 19th & Wednesday 20th April, back to business on Thursday 21st April. Wishing each and every one of our readers and customers a Happy Easter!
Debbie Ringwood is a Marketing Specialist with over 20 years of experience in B2B and B2C Marketing. She is a Graduate of the Marketing Institute of Ireland and the Digital Marketing Institute. She is a Linkedin Certified Marketing Insider, META Certified Community Manager, and Canva Champion.
Debbie supports, coaches, and trains businesses in Marketing, Social Media, Canva & WordPress along with her team, working with businesses at different stages of their journey.