How to Profit From Seasonal and Holiday Promotions All Year Long
by Rieva Lesonsky, Guest Blogger
- Created: March 15, 2012, 4:06 am
You know Daylight Savings Time just started and that St. Patrick’s Day is this weekend. You might even know that it’s Women’s History Month. But did you know it’s also National Crafts Month? Or that the 21st is Kick Butt Day and the 23rd is National Puppy Day? If not, you’re probably not taking full advantage of the power of seasonal and holiday promotions.
Holiday promotions don’t have to be limited to the October-December shopping season, or even to major holidays like the Fourth of July, Halloween and Valentine’s Day. Instead, creative and savvy entrepreneurs profit from the power of holiday promotions all year long. How can you do the same?
First, get a grip on the sheer number of holidays out there. Paul Krupin of Direct Contact PR offers a free publicity calendar you can download as a PDF file. (Get the Publicity Planner 2012.) The annual calendar features lots of unusual events so you can plan ahead for marketing and promotional tie-ins. It also alerts you to upcoming holidays—for instance, this month’s calendar page warns that Mother’s Day is two months away, tax day is one month away, and so on, so you can plan your bigger promos in advance.
For an even more exhaustive list, check out Holiday Insights’ list of “bizarre, wacky and unique” holidays. This month, for example, you’ll find National Quilting Day, Peanut Butter Lovers’ Day, Plant a Flower Day, Something on a Stick Day, Waffle Day and many others that lend themselves to business promotions.
As you look through the lists of holidays, consider which ones have a tie-in to your business. For instance, a crafts store could take advantage of National Crafts Month and National Quilting Day. It would be natural for a nursery to tie a promotion to Plant a Flower Day. And a restaurant has an embarrassment of riches with Peanut Butter Lovers’ Day, Waffle Day and Something on a Stick Day (just to name a few of the many food-related days in March alone).
Next, consider some ways to take advantage of these holidays:
· Host an event at your location. Using the same examples, the crafts store could host a special quilting class. The nursery could offer a quick hands-on instruction in choosing the best flowers for the area’s gardens. The restaurant could host a special breakfast with 5 flavors of waffles or a “waffle bar” dessert night where customers can choose from different toppings to customize their waffles.
· Hold a contest. Ask your customers how they’re going to celebrate the special day. Hold a contest for the best quilt, most creative use of flowers or best family waffle recipe. Ask customers to post pictures on your Website or Facebook page.
· Offer special discounts and deals. Give everyone who attends your quilting class a 50 percent discount on purchases made that day, offer a two-for-one flower special, or throw in a free mini-waffle appetizer with every lunch or dinner order.
· Give something away. Give away quilt squares, free flower seeds, or a free waffle to the first 10 customers of the day, to the customers who mention the holiday to your cashier or to the customers who share the code you tweeted out that morning.
· Work it into your emails. Send an email newsletter themed to the holiday, with advice, tips and news related to the topic. For example, the crafts store could send an email with tips on how to simplify quilt-making, a photo spotlighting a customer’s quilt project, a coupon or code for a discount on quilt supplies, and a poll or survey about favorite quilt designs.
· Get social. Of course, you’ll want to promote your promotions on all your social media outlets. Holidays are fun, and fun gets shared on social—so let your customers spread the word.
· Promote it to the media. Depending on how big your promotion is, you can let the media know about what you’re doing—or simply about the holiday and why it’s important to your business. Zany holidays often attract media attention if your promotion has a fun human-interest angle. For example, your restaurant’s plan to serve six different flavors of waffles on Waffle Day probably isn’t that newsworthy. But your plan to make the world’s biggest waffle, hold a waffle-eating contest, or raise money for a local child with cancer by selling waffles could be newsworthy, so let local reporters, radio personalities and bloggers know about it.
Keep lead times in mind when planning your PR push. Krupin says the best days to send out releases are Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday. He also notes that daily newspapers, radio and TV have lead times of seven to 10 days; weekly publications, four to six weeks; and monthly magazines, four to six months. (Even bloggers and Web journalists appreciate some lead time, so don’t assume you can send a release Tuesday afternoon about your Wednesday event and expect it to hit the Web.)
Start your first holiday promotion, and you’ll soon be hooked—and so will your customers.
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