As the holiday season quickly approaches, we are reminded as marketers of the importance of incorporating seasonality to your website and internet marketing campaign. This goes beyond just a Thanksgiving email, a Season’s Greetings card, or New Year’s newsletter.
Seasonality needs to be planned and incorporated into your annual campaign and budgeted accordingly.
We are all familiar with the big holidays, and yes, it is important to use these opportunities to stay in front of your audiences. But keep in mind, so is everyone else, including your competitors! The clutter during these major holiday events dilutes your exposure and even the perceived “value” of your message.
The real opportunity with seasonality is in your consistency and creativity with opportunities throughout the year.
The following are some resources and tips to help you.
We all know that holiday sneak up on us, and before you know it, their past us. And so are the free opportunities associated with them. The key is to plan for them.
The first step is to identify all the events happening throughout the year and pick the ones that:
1) You and/or your practice can identify with and support
2) Have a connection to your local market
3) Are relevant to your practice, industry, or services
Tap into resources that help you identify these events and occasions. Your local Chamber of Commerce typically has an event calendar that goes well into the next year. Also, local broadcast news media and trendy local publications also list local happenings and events. As for holidays or recognition of causes, there are a number of websites that actually list even the most obscure occasions and events. Here are just a couple of samples.
Again, the key here is to be creative with the selection of events and how your practice can participate and support in them.
The key with planning is to make sure you give yourself and your practice more than enough time to develop the resources and effectively execute. The timing of your events, promotions, and messaging is critical to the results you will generate.
In most cases, you will want to have all things in place and launch your messages prior to the target “peak” of a seasonal spike. Typically, the most effective time to start publishing about two weeks ahead to maximize your exposure and provide enough lead time for your audience to engage and participate. If there is an actual event that requires more advanced notice, plan accordingly.
One element that will make seasonal messaging and engagement more effective is to avoid one-and-done efforts. Just like other marketing efforts, a one-time seasonal blast to your audience will have minimal, if any visible impact.
A commitment on your part to consistently support specific events, causes, or occasions ensures your audience recognizes the credibility of your message and doesn’t perceive it simply as more marketing noise.
Prior to launching any messages, the planning of your seasonal marketing efforts should include some element that motivates your audience to participate and engage. Think in terms of what your audience would find relevant, interesting and of value to the seasonal occasion. Identifying low-commitment activities for your audience to act on is an essential part of building rapport and engagement with your messaging.
Not only does seasonal marketing create a natural opportunity for you to engage with your audience, it incorporates a built-in sense of urgency with your message. Be sure to take advantage of the closing window of opportunity with each seasonal event or occasion.
Promotions can be in the form of coupons, offers, specials, or other time-sensitive elements, but not limited to them. Here again, creativity can be the catalyst to generating a higher return from your efforts and investments.
One important element with a seasonal marketing occasion or event, particularly one that is less obvious than a major holiday, is the novelty and news interest value associated with it. Take advantage of the opportunity to send out timely and effective press releases, not for the goal of just getting inbound links, but to get credible exposure and drive relevant traffic. All the additional benefits of effective PR promotion will come naturally.
Seasonal marketing is also a natural for all of your social media platforms. It provides your practice with an ongoing opportunity to communicate with your online community and build credibility and rapport with them. The key is to have fun with it.
Don’t assume that the only exposure for your seasonal marketing should be limited to internal marketing and organic exposure. In many cases, it may make sense to leverage the controlled exposure of pay-per-click or display advertising for certain promotions. Prepare for this type of exposure with budget planning and developing effective landing pages.
I wish you all the best during the upcoming holiday season, and feel free to contact us with assistance with your 2015 marketing campaign.
~ Bill Fukui, Director of Business Development