‘Tis the season and ‘tis always the season.

Taking full opportunity of the seasons and events in your local community can build a better business, engage more customers and increase profits.

Many retailers struggle to create interesting and unique seasonal campaigns and here, we have the best ideas to kick start you to remarkable and memorable seasonal campaigns.

1. Creativity is key

Think outside of the box and challenge your competition.

Think of how Google utilizes its web design through Google Doodles to emphasise a momentous day or person throughout history. Why not add snowflakes to your logo during the winter or add leaves during Fall? Try changing your strap line to incorporate your seasons.

Over large seasonal campaigns like Christmas, Easter and Black Friday, customers will be swamped with emails, offers and promotions from other companies. The key is to stand out. Create a clever, funny marketing campaign or a compelling, emotive storyline that makes you stand out from the crowd. Even try changing your traditional mode of contact.

Why not pick an interesting, catchy or different theme for the season? Instead of a traditional family Christmas why not change your theme to ‘Advent Calendar’, ‘Countdown to Christmas’ or ‘Naughty or Nice’?

The key is to stand out from your competitors and create captivating campaigns.

2. Storytelling through a customer journey

Providing excellent customer service is vital to a successful business.

Customizing business to suit your consumer needs is a great way to build loyalty and trust with your clients.

A loyalty program can establish this and ensures customers keep coming back for more. A loyalty card for a coffee shop is an example where customers buy nine coffees and getting the tenth one free.

This type of loyalty card program may not work every business. So why not check out Thirdshelf, a loyalty marketing software that automates customer communications and helps independent retailers create their own customized loyalty programs that build strong and lasting relationships with your consumers.

Remember to choose the best seasonal campaigns that is tailored specifically to your target audience. For example, a flower shop would benefit from Mother’s Day and Summer Wedding seasonal campaigns.

3. Finding the best channels for your business

Using multiple marketing channels is essential during an age of digitalization and social media.

Social media is a fantastic way to engage younger audiences. From Twitter and Facebook to Instagram, Pinterest and Snapchat, social media is a great way to reach a wider audience.

It’s also an opportunity to leverage user generated content such as holding contests. Examples include photo competitions, questions to the experts of your company, or customers sharing their favorite products, with a branded #hashtag. This helps to create a personal and authentic business brand.

New features of Facebook and Instagram stories are great ways to showcase your business. You could even hold time-limited competitions lasting the full 24 hours of the story. It personalizes your business’ relationship to brand followers by allowing a personal insight into your company.

A top tip is to find the best channel that suits your consumer market.

At the same time, don’t forget the importance of emails when reaching your clients. In today’s age, email may seem outdated but it helps business with their seasonal planning and updates customers on the latest discounts. It can also build hype and awareness of seasonal campaigns. But most importantly, email is considerably more trustworthy than social media channels and engages more consumers and helps business profitability than social media.

Likewise, a weekly or monthly newsletter is a fantastic way to personalize your business strategy, hold promotions and keep customers informed of current events and unique selling points: a fantastic way to showcase what your business is all about.

4. Incentivizing, promotions and discounts

Can you name a customer that doesn’t love a discount or promotion? I can’t either.

Incentivizing, discounts and promotions builds a positive rapport with your consumers and can encourage loyalty and future investments.

Coupons are great ways to thank your customer for contributing to your business but at the same time ensure that they return and continue their investments. Try offering discounts online or in-store with their next purchase. Or likewise, you could offer discounts to nearby food outlets or local attractions to provide incentives for returning customers.

AllReceipts is a Digital Receipt app that allows customers to access their receipts via smartphone and offers a fantastic opportunity for retailers to add mobile coupons to their receipts that ensures loyal, returning and long term customer acquisition.

Free product giveaways or samples are ways that consumers can test and try your product which often generates sales.

Either way you choose to approach this tip, incentivization is a way to thank your consumer, build relationships and encourage further investment in the long term.

5. Harvesting local flavour

Locality can be your unique selling point.

Before you think big, it’s always good idea to think small and harvest your local community into your business. You never know how your local reputation can build a bigger, better and brighter reputation that reaches a wider audience.

If your business is family-owned, why not post videos on social media of your family working together? Benefits of SMBs is that emotional connections to customers are more direct.

Stores can even create in-store experiences that coordinate with local or micro-seasonal events. For example, you could create educational experiences related to a product you are selling. An example is demonstrations of bath bombs for Mother’s Day or chocolate samples at Easter. At the same time, you could host themed events relating to a particular season, such as a Beach Party if the focus of your seasonal campaign is summer vacation. This strategy can draw people into your store, increase awareness and boost sales.

You could even reach out to local media such as local newspapers to gain publicity before your in-store event. Equally, you could use local media after your event to show the benefit and positive outcomes of the customer experience you created. Even using local influences such as holding a meet and greet with your local politicians can increase engagement.

6. Prepare your top Seasonal Calendar dates

My last, but certainly not least, remember to start early and plan your seasonal campaign.

Planning your seasonal campaigns ensures that your business is ahead of the game, ensuring you make the most of promotional opportunities.

This advice may seem pretty obvious and straight forward, but there is nothing worse than having to tweak your marketing campaigns during the season when your focus shown be on operations, execution and keeping customers happy. Starting early can save you lots of stress and increase the popularity and profitability of your business during the seasonal campaign.

Planning can also help you to avoid mistakes, providing enough time to make necessary adjustments to improve your seasonal campaigns.

Try Dor which provides a gateway to practical planning techniques. The software analyses and gathers data from your business to measure the success of each individual campaign.

If a strategy works well, you can re-use it in the following year and if not so well, you know to avoid it. The point is, is that if you don’t plan ahead, then you won’t know the best and optimal strategies that suit your business.

Whether you know it or not, there’s always a seasonal holiday going on. There’s no need to restrict your seasonal campaigns to the big holidays like Christmas and Easter. Seasons are year-round endeavours, so get planning and picking your seasonal campaigns.

A good idea is to plan a marketing seasonal calendar. This advice is extremely useful for retail owners, as it is easy to miss or forget the different seasonal opportunities that exist in each month. Despite the Easter surge of chocolate, the spring and summer season is where business comes to a lull. So why not exploit this and think creatively?

Think about micro-seasonal events that can engage more customers and boost sales. Top events include Mother’s Day, Summer Vacation, Independence Day and Back to School.

Bringing it together

An effective business will ensure that all these tips interlink. You can provide discounts and promotions for local attractions, you can use creatively build your social media channel and you can leverage social media to emphasise a personal customer journey through competitions and branded #hashtags.

A successful business finds way to utilize these tips and intertwine them to create engaging and remembered seasonal campaigns that keep customers coming back for more.

Sarah Jane Callender is a Freelance writer and student at Lancaster University studying Politics and English Literature. Sarah enjoys championing small businesses and is interested in digitalization, the gig economy and its impact on politics and economics. With a passion for travelling, she rarely likes to stay in the same place for long but loves the comfort of home. LinkedIn | Twitter