Actionable tips, community conversations, and marketing inspiration.

What is Seasonal Marketing?

Angie Tran

Content Marketing Manager @ AdRoll

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Note this blog post’s banner with all of the hearts. 💖 It’s not just a design choice — it was chosen because it’s February, the month of love, which brings us to why seasonal marketing is so important. Whether it’s the season for Halloween costumes, sparkly gift wrap paper, or pastel eggs, here's how to get seasonal marketing right for your business.

What’s Seasonal Marketing?

It’s no surprise that at certain times of the year, your website traffic and sales fluctuate. For instance, a flower shop would probably see a surge in sales during Valentine’s week, and a bathing suit retailer would find great success during the summer. This is called seasonal marketing. 

Seasonal marketing is the process of marketing products or services during special points of the year. This could mean everything from Christmas and Valentine’s Day to simply the “winter season.” Seasonal marketing doesn’t have to relate to an “official” holiday — it’s about adjusting your marketing campaigns to the significant events that relate to your industry. It’s pinpointing relevant dates throughout the year and finding ways to capitalize on them. 

Is Seasonal Marketing Important?

A lot of businesses make the mistake of overlooking seasonal marketing, but it’s a particularly big oversight for direct-to-consumer (D2C) and e-commerce brands. Why? Because seasonal marketing gives consumers an excuse to spend money. And whether they consciously know it or not, seasonal marketing is always at the forefront of their minds. For example, during the holidays, people look forward to sales and the gifts they'll purchase. Or when it’s the fall, people are excited to purchase trick-or-treat candy and Halloween costumes. 

What Seasonal Trends Apply to Your Business?

So, how do you know which seasons are most profitable for your business? First, examine a year’s worth of your website’s traffic and sales performance in reverse. Ask yourself: “What seasons do my customers engage most with?” See where the sales spikes are coming from, and then link them back to specific keywords. Then, research those keywords with Google Trends and study last year’s holiday patterns to better inform your marketing strategy.

Steps to Creating a Seasonal Marketing Campaign

While creating a seasonal marketing campaign, keep these steps in mind:

  1. Determine your goals. What do you want out of this campaign? 
  2. Research your competitors. Take a look at competitors’ past winning seasonal campaigns and dissect them, piece by piece. What’s the messaging like? What kind of content types did they use? Did they emotionally appeal to users, or did they purely offer discounts? What did they do that you should be doing? Asking yourself these questions could help inspire your own successful seasonal campaigns. 
  3. Plan early to get ahead. For optimal results, don’t wait until the very last minute to launch a seasonal campaign. Once you’ve pinned down what holidays and important events you want to work with, start planning — anywhere from three to six months is the standard — to determine the following:
  • Your offer: What are you hoping to sell? What special deals are you offering?
  • The channels you’ll be using: Keep in mind that different channels require different lead times. Figure out what channels you’ll be using and plan scheduling times accordingly. Be sure to allow some time for A/B testing and data collection. Note that you should run your social media and email campaigns the earliest to create buzz. 
  • Whether your assets are organized: Your campaigns will require specific on-brand visual and written content. Make sure you’re making requests early so that you’ll have everything you need come time for the campaign. 
  • Whether your technicals are all in place: What good is running a seasonal ecommerce marketing campaign if your site’s check-out flow breaks on the customer? Be sure that your website can handle heavy surges of traffic.

Keep up to date with your overall seasonal campaigworking off a breathing document that keeps track of essentials such as timing and frequency of content publish dates.

4. Offer something different: The word “seasonal” implies that people can’t get a particular product, deal, or discount at any other time during the year. Be sure to offer something that your competitors aren’t, such as a limited-edition product that’s only valid during a specific timeframe. 

Don’t Offend, Only Delight

Although seasonal marketing campaigns can be delightful to plan, they can also be tricky to get right. If executed the wrong way, you can risk your brand’s reputation and turn off customers. A few tips to consider:

  • Don’t reinforce stereotypes. 
  • Don’t try to be funny unless you’re 100% sure you can pull it off.
  • If you’re using slang in your copy, do a quick Google search to make sure it’s appropriate. 
  • Ask people within your team for feedback. 

Are you ready to kickstart your seasonal marketing campaign? Check out this complimentary holiday marketing calendar template to help you get started.

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