Creating a seasonal marketing campaign that works
In pretty much every industry, seasons and holidays play a role in shaping and implementing a marketing strategy. Whether you’re ramping up your marketing during Thanksgiving or Tax Day, or during more industry-specific periods like Medicare’s Annual Enrollment Period—our busy season, having a strong plan in place before your busy season starts will give you the stability and confidence you need to succeed.
Seasonal marketing campaigns are a great way to engage and thank loyal customers with coupons or first access to sales during the holiday season. People will be hyperaware, often researching and actively seeking information about the season, which gives your company the perfect platform to join an active conversation.
Here are four crucial steps in creating a seasonal marketing campaign that works.
Develop your message
Your seasonal marketing campaign should all align under one singular message centered around one holiday. Each seasonal campaign should be separate from the rest—Thanksgiving should not feel or look like Halloween, etc.
The season you choose should naturally align with your audience or your message won’t resonate. A good marketing message should evoke an emotion that your audience will relate to and leads seamlessly to a clear call to action. The message should center around keywords that your audience is searching (i.e. Christmas gifts, Independence Day snacks, etc.) and be unique to your company.
This is Chipotle Mexican Grill’s annual Boorito campaign, which comes out before Halloween. It offers customers a $3 meal if they show up at the restaurant in a Halloween costume. Some of the advertisements include the slogan “unnecessary additives in fast food are creepy,” which sticks to the theme and speaks to the company’s overall branding and voice.
Chipotle’s Boorito campaign is memorable, and successful year over year, for a few reasons:
- It’s recognizable and specific to the company
- It’s repeatable
- It gives customers a reason to participate
- It encourages social media interaction
- It doesn’t stray from the holiday
Align your options with your message
When it comes to in-store shopping, it’s estimated that 126 million households participated in the United States’ biggest shopping season in 2017. Add that to the estimated $110 billion in online sales and it’s clear that marketing during the holiday season is something your business can’t afford to miss.
Your storefront and online marketplace should reflect what customers are looking for during the season. If it is the holiday season, customers should walk right into a display for goods that can fit into this theme or be faced with a lightbox of holiday deals and promotions upon entering your site.
One of our subsidiary brands, United Medicare Advisors, recently launched a campaign during the 2018 Medicare Annual Enrollment Period. Our research told us that many seniors are confused about AEP, so we aligned our message with that. Our goal was to become a hub for education and information—rather than promotion and added confusion—in order to further foster a sense of trust and support between our clients and our company.
Whatever your niche, your company should research what is on trend during the holiday season and tailor the retail and online experience around that.
Create a content calendar
Before deploying the masses, your seasonal marketing campaign should be organized around a timeframe. Your audience is likely receiving dozens, if not hundreds, of emails, fliers, and advertisements centered around the holiday season; your message should not get lost in the crowd.
To create your schedule, research keywords to find when your audience starts searching for holiday deals. We found that many seniors start researching AEP about two weeks before it begins—so we tailored our promotional calendar to that. If your email with coupons or sneak peeks is in their inbox two weeks before the mass of the marketing comes through, they may be more likely to open more in the future. But too soon and you won’t engage them properly.
Your content calendar will also keep your team aligned and on track as well. Not only should it encompass what content you share, but it should also include what platforms and outreach will exist through this campaign as well. It should serve as the bigger picture—one that your team can look back on next year for guidance.
Report, report, report
After all of this is said and done, make sure you run reports on all of your assets to find what worked and what didn’t. The first few years of your seasonal marketing campaign can feel a bit like a shot in the dark; having thorough reports will give you the ability to adapt and change in coming years to better serve your customers and make your job easier.
Here are a few things your team should review and report on:
- What emails were opened?
- Where did our traffic come from?
- When was our audience most engaged?
- What was the bounce rate?
- What content worked best?
With the holiday season just around the corner, it’s important that your team starts strategizing on ways to capitalize on the marketing opportunities available. With these four steps, your department can be a part of an active conversation and use seasonality to its benefit this year and for years to come.