Actionable tips, community conversations, and marketing inspiration.

What is Seasonal Marketing?

Angie Tran

Content Marketing Manager @ AdRoll

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. 

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? If your goal is to sell a certain amount of a product, how will your campaign support that goal? Determine all the goals you’re hoping to achieve with your seasonal efforts and that will help you design your campaign timeline, KPIs, and reporting metrics. 

2. Research your competition. 

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. Start early. 

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. 

  • Your creative approach. 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. 

  • Everything is working. 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.

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. 

Launch Your Next Seasonal Marketing Campaign With AdRoll

After you’ve taken all the steps to determine which seasonal opportunities to build a campaign around, it’s time to get started. Preparing months before your campaign starts is key to launching without a hitch. Learn more about how our marketing platform can help you identify customer activities across multiple channels, analyze performance, run reports, gather insights, and optimize cross-channel to create the ultimate seasonal marketing campaign. 

Still looking for seasonal marketing resources to help you plan your next holiday or niche interest campaign? Check out our resources below! 

Explore Next