Yearly events have come to dominate the online space for predictable stretches of time. The yearly pattern of these trends is called seasonality. A great example would be Christmas. Different industries may have differing seasonal trends, but there are a few large seasonal trends that impact nearly all industries. If you have an e-commerce business, you’ll want to capitalize on the Black Friday shopper craze, for example, and all businesses in South Africa bring out the Christmas decorations when December gets closer.
Effective online marketing cannot ignore the power of seasonality. Taking advantage of this consumer consumption spike could bring your brand, company, or product more traffic and sales. In the context of South Africa, the December holidays, including Christmas and New Year, are one of the biggest seasonal trends that can impact your online marketing.
Preparing Your Marketing for Seasonal Trends
Seasonal Audience Behaviour
To best interpret how your brand, product, or company can prepare for this season, take some time to inspect your target audience and their likely behaviours at this time. You can begin by identifying where interest starts to pick up for the season for your audience or industry. Do this easily by making use of a free tool called Google Trends.
Select your demographic, date range, and industry for specific keywords to see where searches and Google’s interest index for a specific topic start to pick up. Searches for Christmas on Google in South Africa for the shopping industry tend to pick up at the end of September, according to Google Trends.
The usefulness of the results on Google Trends will depend on how you plan to market for the season. The tool can also help you identify seasonal trends you may want to include in your future SEO and marketing efforts. When looking at the interest in the keyword “gifts” for South Africa, we see the largest spike around December, but there are three other sudden increases worth paying attention to. One during the week of 11-18 February, probably for Valentine’s Day, and another two around Mother’s and Father’s Day. Google Trends further allows you to inspect results by sub-region and to compare top searchable phrases for your hot keyword.
These insights into your audience’s behaviour can guide your AdWords campaigns, the content you create, and all your online marketing efforts including social media. For example, focus on the keyword “Christmas” can begin around the end of September for the shopping category, but focus on “gifts” should begin later, around the first week in November to make the most of consumer interest.
You can find similar insights for your Facebook and Instagram accounts. In fact, most social media platforms should give you access to trends and insights that can help you understand your audience’s behaviours and tendencies relevant to the season.
Seasonal Product Focus
Once you’ve interpreted your audience’s interest for the season, look at your history and identify the products you want to focus on. You best understand your products and your brand, and you will know what your best-sellers are. Remember to include an analytics search to compare trends in previous years.
Customers may be attracted by special seasonal discounts and deals, product bundles, or specials for returning customers.
Seasonality in Your Marketing Strategy
Once you’ve figured out your audience behaviour and products, deals, or specials, the next step is the strategy. Your strategy should cater to the seasonal needs, like Christmas gifts, holidays and vacations, decorations, and festive dinners. You can identify these needs by assessing competitors and your current customer base.
Focus on keywords and key focus areas where your product will be relevant. Your marketing efforts should highlight problems that your product can solve. Customer-centred SEO and marketing will benefit your seasonal strategy most. Involve your sales and customer support teams in strategizing for further consumer insights. Your strategy should result in content that ranks, of course, so don’t neglect your trusty keyword research.
Your strategy should lay out the details of how your seasonal marketing will roll out. Remember to include the following details in your strategy:
Although you may have a great plan in place, leave some wiggle room for hot topics and spikes of interest you can capitalise on as they arise. Working on the timing in your strategy is of utmost importance when it comes to making the most of seasonal online trends.
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