Seasonal Marketing for eCommerce: How to Plan, Implement & Growth Hack Your Campaigns

Note: This is a guest post from Gareth Simpson. He is a freelance SEO expert who has worked in SEO for over a decade. He specializes in content and blogger outreach.

Brands are always struggling to remain relevant in today’s fast-paced marketplace.

Being seasonal with your marketing is an awesome way to connect and engage with people, but it does have its own challenges and pitfalls.

By tapping into what’s already happening around you, you can leverage customer conversations and seasonal hype to growth hack your brand’s own marketing efforts and campaigns.

Here are some ways that you can get the most out of marketing with the seasons.

Why do seasonal marketing in the first place?

1. You’ll tell better stories.

Seasonal content is an awesome way to connect with your audience and become part of their daily lives. By embracing the culture around a certain event or milestone, you can contribute to real customer stories; and tell better ones of your own.

Some successful brands have built their entire marketing strategy around the way that their products fit in with the seasons.

2. You’ll be more strategic.

Seasonality is a brilliant way to manage your internal content resources. By planning out an editorial calendar that maps out which posts are going live and when, you can accurately plan and budget your content production for the entire year in one go.

Brands that nail seasonal marketing do so because they have the ability to plan six months ahead. Only with careful planning will you be able to create compelling branded content well in time for seasonal peaks.

Don’t be stuck in a reactive rut like “maybe we should post about Easter because it’s March”be strategic and think long-term with your seasonal content.

3. You’ll see more results.

Take advantage of seasonal web traffic spikes for certain key phrases and terms to help drive traffic to your brand. Be in tune with the world and your audience in order to drive sales (and profits).

Now here are 6 tips to boost seasonal marketing for your ecommerce business:

Hack your social media advertising

Maximize seasonal sales by offering relevant seasonal promotions across your (and your customers’) social media channels. You can either invest in social media ad campaigns that serve ads to a small target audience you can set yourself; or you can promote offers across all your social channels.

Make sure that you invest in high-quality visuals and copy – social media advertising is all about capturing people’s attention as they scroll through their feeds. In order to capture their hearts and minds, you will need to make sure you tell a good story with your ad. Explore how video animations and GIFs can help you create more fun, textured ads. (Here’s how to create the perfect sponsored pin for your product on Pinterest).

The great thing about seasonal advertising on social?

  • The urgency and relevancy factor will make people want to buy your product – people shop with the seasons. Use seasonal hashtags to help make your campaign seem more ‘organic’ and immediate.
  • Maximize ROI from your ad campaigns by tapping into the natural surge in interest – survey Google Trends to know when interest usually peaks.
  • It’s not all manual – use a tool like Around.io to help you automate your social media advertising and growth hack your brand to social success.

Social media is also a great place to get involved in seasonal conversations – there are loads of seasonal hashtags to jump on to learn more about what’s getting people talking this year. Find out what content style works best for each channel, and always feature relevant content. For example – did you know that Instagram Stories is perfect for imperfect content?

Targeting customers on social?

Don’t forget to target customers who are likely to want to buy your product as a gift.

Example: a beard oil company might be bidding on beard oil and gift related keywords throughout the year, but during annual events like Valentine’s Day and Movember they could also run targeted Facebook campaigns for women who are looking for Valentine’s gifts and ways to deal with a scratchy Movember beard.

Pro tip: Use your customer buyer personas to help you anticipate when (and why) people might be buying your product. Don’t just sell to one demographic – sell to everyone who may have a vested interest in your product.

Help people celebrate with great content

Great content doesn’t always have to super fancy and expensive; sometimes it’s just about being at the right place at the right time.

Provide value with great seasonal content and help people have a good time while you’re at it. Learn how to listen to your audience and give them content that resonates with their seasonal plans.

Get people inspired

People are always looking for ways to enjoy themselves – they often turn to social media and the internet when they want some quick holiday inspiration. Create guides and seasonal trend roundups that help people get the most out of the current season; promote your guides on social media to help drive traffic and brand awareness.

  • Pancake Day? People are looking for cool new recipes to try out and share with friends and family.
  • Christmas? Everyone wants to know how they can create the beautiful decorations and feed their family for less. Facebook albums are a great way to promote your brand visually – you could use this strategy to create relevant seasonal albums and moodboards.

Use content research tools to see what’s trending around the holidays to give you more content ideas. A funny parody angle may work just as well as a helpful guide.

Pro tip: Don’t forget to celebrate people’s birthdays and personal milestones as well. Give back to your customers on the days that mean the most to them with personalized emails, messages, and promo codes (but be careful not to overdo it).

Connect with more people and showcase diversity

Use the seasons wisely and embrace diversity in your marketing. By showing support to a certain demographic or group of people by remembering to celebrate an event that means a lot to them, you can help create a new army of loyal brand advocates. In today’s globalized world, marketers must embrace their diverse customer bases with inclusive and strategic marketing.

This seasonal image from Estee Lauder is a beautiful reminder of the brand’s inclusiveness as it welcomes everyone to come and celebrate Chinese New Year with them.

The call to action “bloom with good fortune” is a reference to a traditional Chinese greeting, as well as the abundant, natural beauty of their customers.

Know your calendar

In order to hack seasonality, you have to follow many calendars (not just one). You’ll have to stay on top of consumer calendars, industry calendars, local events, and the big wide world of awareness days.

  • Give back as brand. Awareness days are a great way to show support for causes that are close to your heart. Find out any relevant awareness days (and the organizations behind them) and make sure these are factored into your content calendar. Use the right hashtags and help spread the message.
  • Being in tune is super important. Remember that events can be big or small, local or national. Use the local community around you – instead of covering the Cannes film festival on the other side of the world, why not partner up with a local film festival for some co-marketing?

Australian store owners We Wood (which runs on Shopify) have capitalized on local relationships for their Instagram marketing – plugging Australian design markets, and teaming up with local sustainable brands for New Year giveaways. It’s a great example of how you don’t always have to go far in order to do some great seasonal marketing.

Humanize your brand over the holidays

The holidays are a great time to share what’s going on with you ‘behind the scenes’. Relax that corporate facade a little and let loose.

  • Relaxed holiday shots, pics of the office pets, a thank you to all your suppliers – social media posts that share the story behind the team are perfect for when people are relaxing into the holiday spirit themselves.
  • Use this as a time for brand reflection and gratitude – show a different, more humble side to help humanize your brand.

Measure, rinse, repeat: Content ROI

How to make sure you’re maximizing your content marketing ROI?

  • The best seasonal campaigns span all your brand’s different content channels – website, blog, email, advertising, social media, video, etc.. Integrate your seasonal campaign ideas into your wider content network and make sure that customers are getting a consistent experience across the board.
  • Split test seasonal campaigns by varying ad copy and imagery. Keep refining and tweaking your audience settings to maximize returns. Don’t forget to measure campaign effectiveness and feed that back into next year’s planning.
  • Recycle content as much as you can. This is great for both SEO and users – it’s super smart to update an old post, not lazy. Don’t reinvent the wheel every year.

Beware of tokenism and reactive social media

Though seasonality and newsjacking are a lot of fun, you have to be cautious and make sure that your contribution doesn’t become ‘token’. Jumping on a bandwagon can be dangerous for a brand – just remember what happened to Cinnabon when they tried to plug their cinnamon buns when Carrie Fisher passed away.

 

How not to jump on events a la Cinnabon.

The problem with reactive seasonal social media is that there are less rounds of approval and mistakes like these are more likely to happen.

It’s not that brands shouldn’t be embracing reactive social media (they most definitely should), but brand content guidelines should be in place to help people approach sensitive subjects. Being reactive can be risky, but it does pays off – it makes your brand look more genuine and keeps you fresh.

Succeeding at seasonal campaigns is all about having fun, whilst simultaneously not losing sight of your customers’ daily lives and their challenges.

You need to keep your eyes and ears open and interact with your customers in a real way, not just insert a #MerryXmas hashtag to your latest product plug.

What seasonal content have you created for your brand this year?

Your Opinion