St. Patrick’s Day is rapidly approaching, and marketing tie-ins associated with the holiday are obvious for businesses like Irish pubs and restaurants. It’s easy, mandatory even, to create a St. Patrick’s Day theme when the name of your business is O’Malley’s Pub.
As it turns out, marketing opportunities in a case like this may be even better for the non-Irish business because they are different and unexpected. For example, what if, on the week of St. Patty’s Day, you took your restaurant sign that said Benson’s Café and added an ‘O’ to create O’Benson’s Café? That week you could run St. Patty’s Day specials, have your servers dress in green, and proclaim that ‘This week, we’re all Irish!’ You will definitely stand out.
The point is that there are opportunities for almost every business to incorporate seasonal promotions, even if your business seemingly has nothing to do with a certain event— you just need to get a little creative. For instance, during the Easter season, Benson’s Café could hold an Easter Egg Hunt or have someone dressed in a bunny outfit entertain children dining with their families. Even during graduation season in June, the restaurant could offer 50% off any meal for graduates or create a ‘college meal deal’ of pizza and soda.
If you want to take advantage of the many marketing opportunities that come with various seasons and holidays, it’s best to approach your strategy in an organized way. Here are some steps to get you started:
Step One: Create a seasonal marketing calendar
Major yearly events that should be included are:
- New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day
- Valentine’s Day
- St. Patrick’s Day
- Mother’s Day and Father’s Day
- Memorial Day and Labor Day
- July 4th
- Christmas, Chanukah and Kwanzaa
One thing you will notice about this list is that most of these events incorporate— what else?— shopping! And that’s a very important reason why seasonal marketing is a powerful and smart idea for so many businesses. You want to be where the consumers are, and if they are thinking about back-to-school shopping, it would behoove you to position your business to take advantage of that mindset.
But what if you think that your business has nothing to do with, again, as an example, Back-to-School? Then you may want to think again. According to the National Retail Federation, about $70 billion was spent on back-to-school shopping last year, and it’s not just mom and dad buying notebooks for junior. Its college kids purchasing furniture for their first apartment or dorm. It’s shopping for clothes for the kindergartener. It’s catering to parents whose kids are going to preschool, or high school, or college for the first time. Almost any business can tie into these sorts of things.
Step Two: Decide what types of promotions you want to associate with each seasonal event
Whether you decide to have a sale, host an event, or have someone dress up in character, the decision-making process goes something like this:
- Think about what the customer’s problem is during the particular seasonal event you are interested in;
- Brainstorm ideas for how your business can help solve that problem;
- Figure out how to best promote your business at that time of year, and;
- Decide how best to get the word out.
The good news is that once you crack this code, you will have created another reliable way to make money, every year at the same time. How cool is that?
Have you tied seasonal opportunities into your business in the past? Share your story below.
About Steve Strauss
Steven D. Strauss is one of the world's leading experts on small business and is a lawyer, writer, and speaker. The senior small business columnist for USA Today, his Ask an Expert column is one of the most highly-syndicated business columns in the country. He is the best-selling author of 17 books, including his latest,The Small Business Bible, now out in a completely updated third edition. You can listen to his weekly podcast, Small Business Success, visit his new website TheSelfEmployed, and follow him on Twitter. © Steven D. Strauss
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