Summer is officially over; autumn has arrived, and winter is well on its way. The seasons and their associated events, holidays and trends all impact our behaviour online and building this into your marketing strategy is a must.
Consumer needs change and adapt throughout the year and tapping into these trends is a necessity, no matter your sector. ‘But I am not a retailer or eCommerce store, so does this apply to me?’ That’s a big resounding yes! From financial services to travel and tourism brands, seasonality still matters.
While certain mainstream dates like Christmas or Black Friday are harder to tap into, with competition for keywords and higher costs for paid media, there are numerous ways to make the most of holidays. But why should you bother? Trending events provide you with an ‘easy in’, to reach relevant and engaged users.
In this article, we discuss how to curate your seasonal calendar, what tactics to use, and when, to support your digital marketing strategy.
Identifying key dates and trends
You only need to Google ‘events calendar’ or ‘digital marketing calendar’ to be greeted with a plethora of options detailing anything from Easter to the more unusual such as ‘tell a lie day’. Curating a calendar with a mix of widespread events to more niche, sector-relevant days is a no-brainer when creating your digital strategy. By tapping into existing trends or holidays, you can target a highly relevant, and likely engaged, audience pool.
With important, well-known dates defined you next need to consider your strategy. While dates such as Christmas are obviously important to include in your calendar, effectively incorporating them isn’t necessarily smooth sailing. The more renowned a day, the more competitive the digital landscape is, whether it’s increased bidding costs in your paid media or battling it out in the organic space. Nevertheless, it’s still important to include them within your strategy while also peppering in a mix of more relevant dates, too.
Find your niche
With mainstream dates pinned down, you now need to home in on sector-specific days or trends. Every industry will have certain dates that resonate more with their audience, or times of year where you see interest in your products or services flourish or drop. Going through your existing data from previous years should help you identify any patterns. Be sure to run thorough competitor analysis and in-depth keyword research, pinpointing particular times of year when search queries relating to your business might have boomed.
Use digital marketing tactics to support your seasonal calendar
Your content calendar has been created and seasonal dates and trends are sprinkled throughout your content plan. Next up? It’s time to implement digital marketing tactics to ensure your campaigns are delivering maximum impact. But with a plethora of tools available, which digital services will best support your goals? In this blog, we’ll be discussing how to harness the power of two key areas in digital marketing:
Paid media helps cast the net far and wide
One of the most widely used tactics for seasonal marketing, paid media should be at the forefront of your digital strategy. Defined by Gartner as ‘external marketing efforts that involve a paid placement, such as pay-per-click advertising, branded content and display ads’, paid media allows you to target highly relevant audiences and direct them to where you want them to be. This tactic works particularly well for seasonal content as you are firmly in the driving seat, only limited by your own budget and resources.
Within paid media there are a huge range of tactics to use, so how do you know where to focus your efforts? While all have their own merits, pay-per-click (PPC), retargeting and social media are strong contenders for the top tactics to utilise.
- Paid social: The average person in the UK spends just shy of two hours on social media apps, daily. With so much time and energy spent on these platforms, it’s no wonder that so many brands are expelling resource on their in-app advertising. As more brands tap into the benefits of paid social advertising, the platforms are continuously upping their targeting capabilities. Next-level targeting options and emotive visual content make social media advertising one of the most powerful digital marketing tactics. During peak holiday seasons, be sure to consider how you can make your brand stand out from the crowd and not get lost in cliched or tired messaging. Working with a digital agency who specialise in paid social will help you ensure your ads really pack a punch and help deliver the ROI you need.
- PPC: Pay-per-click is one of the most widely used paid media tactics, and for good reason. Allowing you to set specific targeting options, PPC enables you to bid for keywords relating to your product/service and display your pages in response to search queries, for a price. During popular holidays or peak seasons, the cost of keywords can skyrocket depending on popularity. It pays to think ahead, plan accordingly and try to think outside of the box for your keywords.
- Retargeting: People who have already displayed an interest in your brand are more likely to convert than new audiences. Through retargeting you can reconnect with those who have shown an interest in your products previously. Targeting capabilities allow you to create ads specifically for your audience who have made a purchase from you in the past.
Paid media in action: How Lights4fun used paid media to support their peak campaigns
Longstanding client, Lights4fun sell decorative lighting online. With peak approaching, they wanted to ensure their seasonal products were reaching the right audience, at the right time, to increase sales. Using a combination of paid media tools, from PPC, shopping feed management and retargeting, we worked together and recorded some impressive results:
- 189 percent increase in shopping transactions
- 69 percent revenue increase
- 185 percent increase in clicks
SEO: The bread and butter of digital marketing
Search engine optimisation should be at the very heart of your strategy. While not something that produces quick wins, when done right, SEO has unparalleled benefits for your business. From brand awareness to creating trust and improving your online presence, the importance of SEO for your seasonal marketing can’t be understated. The catch? You need to start planning and implementing your SEO campaigns as early as possible to see maximum return. If you’re wondering if you should have started a certain campaign yet, you’re likely already behind.
SEO involves several disciplines working together to help boost your online presence but particular areas to focus on for your seasonal marketing include:
- Keyword research: If you’re limited on time, resource or budget and can only focus on one area of SEO, keyword research should be your number one priority. Without understanding what your audience are searching for, you’re stumbling around in the dark. Alongside your general, year-round keywords, research what phrases and keywords are relevant for specific events that link to your products and services. For competitive keywords that you’ll struggle to rank for, think outside of the box and investigate how you can use longtail keywords to target more niche user queries.
- Landing pages: You’ve spent a long time researching the perfect combination of keywords but what next? You need to drive the user to specific landing pages on-site that are relevant to their queries. Create landing pages for your event, such as ‘Gifts for her’ around Valentine’s Day or ‘Best BBQ Beers’ for the summer season.
- Seasonal content: The phrase ‘content is king’ doesn’t exist without good cause. Create content that is geared towards the time of year or upcoming events and put your keywords to good use. Provide your audience with helpful articles, how-to guides or gift-giving resources. Other useful content to support your campaigns includes frequently asked questions and reviews, all helping to build trust in your brand and put you a cut above the competition.
Thorntons used SEO to get ahead of the curve
Household name Thorntons started their journey as a high-street staple before setting their sights on the digital landscape. They wanted to improve their online presence, with a particular focus on events such as Christmas and Easter – two holidays synonymous with chocolate. We worked with the team at Thorntons to ensure that both evergreen products and seasonal pages were optimised. Using keyword research and creating long-form content on key product pages, we set to work well before the Easter season to ensure success.
- Position 1 ranking for Easter Eggs
- 171 percent increase in organic revenue YoY
How a specialist digital marketing agency can support your seasonal messaging
Incorporating seasonal trends, events or holidays into your digital marketing isn’t a new concept in the online world. But knowing the importance of seasonality and implementing an effective campaign to support your brand is a whole other ball game.
Understanding which marketing discipline is most appropriate for your business or which tactic will likely bring you the best return isn’t always easy. As the digital landscape becomes over-saturated and consumers have more choice than ever, how can you ensure your campaigns will be success?
Working with a specialist agency, you can rest assured that your campaigns are in the best hands. At Ingenuity Digital we know what it takes to ensure your campaigns deliver you next-level results.
With experience in a wealth of digital marketing tactics, from digital PR to SEO, and from paid media to expert consultancy, our team of experts can help you excel in an increasingly competitive landscape.