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Seasonal marketing ideas: 4 ways to boost holiday sales


Key takeaways

  • Create a seasonal marketing calendar early to plan your promotional strategy before a particular holiday season arrives
  • Optimize your online presence with SEO tactics that include updating your business profile on business directories 
  • Build excitement early on with your website, social media platforms, and seasonal events so people get excited to buy from you 

‘Tis the season to go shopping—and that includes more than just around the winter holidays, like Thanksgiving and Christmas. While the average U.S. consumer in 2022 plans to spend around $1,430 during the peak holiday season, there are many other times of the year when people are looking to spend. As a small business owner, you can maximize these year-round opportunities with seasonal marketing. Not only will this marketing strategy boost brand awareness and sales for your business, but it’ll also keep things fresh and exciting for your customers. 

Learn more about seasonal marketing and its benefits, plus discover different campaign tips to increase your customer base and drive sales.

What is seasonal marketing?

Seasonal marketing refers to sales promotions during certain times of the year when customers are naturally primed to spend more money. This is often related to specific holidays, including Valentine’s Day, Easter, Mother’s Day, Father’s Day, Fourth of July, Labor Day, Halloween, Thanksgiving, Black Friday, Cyber Monday, Christmas, and the New Year.

Seasonal marketing can also refer to literal seasons, like summer or winter, or relate to specific events, like going back to school. At these times, people need to buy specific products or services, such as summer or winter clothes, stationery or software subscriptions for school, or lawn care services.

For example, if you sell artisanal chocolate, seasonal marketing campaigns around Valentine’s Day, Easter, and Mother’s Day can work well for you. (In 2022, U.S. consumers planned to spend around $175 each on Valentine’s Day and about $246 each on Mother’s Day.) If you own a house cleaning business, you could capitalize on “spring cleaning” seasonal promotions. Or if you’re marketing a roofing business, you could offer a free roof inspection and discounted repairs before the rainy season arrives.

How a seasonal marketing campaign can benefit your business

It’s no secret that the holidays are a time for spending, but directing customers to spend with your business is key. Whether you’re a brick-and-mortar retailer or run an e-commerce site (or both), seasonal marketing can help you:

  • Increase brand awareness through promotions so more people know who you are and what you offer
  • Remind existing customers of your stand-out offerings so they buy from you again
  • Attract new customers who may come for a discount but then stay because they have a great customer experience
  • Boost your social media following with new subscribers attracted by your campaign
  • Drive traffic to your site and boost your sales

How to set up a seasonal marketing campaign

Seasonal marketing ideas: Couple holding bunch of flowers

To optimize your marketing efforts, plan your seasonal marketing strategy carefully and adjust it as necessary so it appeals to your target market.

1. Start with the end in mind: Draw up a seasonal marketing calendar

Before you start bouncing around marketing ideas, draw up a seasonal marketing calendar for the year:

  • Identify your historic high seasons. Look back on the last year of your sales figures and take note of when your company did especially well. Maybe it was Easter, Christmas, or the summer season. Add those milestones to your calendar so you can build marketing initiatives ahead of those times of the year.
  • Look for new seasonal opportunities. Consider other ways you can generate interest for certain holidays or seasons. For example, a yoga studio owner could offer a complimentary two-day pass as part of a “New Year, New You” or Thanksgiving “Attitude of Gratitude” promotion.
  • Get started early. Plan to launch your marketing campaign before the actual holiday or season to start generating buzz. For instance, a recent survey found that 56% of consumers start holiday shopping in October instead of waiting until later in the season. That means starting your Christmas holiday marketing campaigns in October could attract much more attention than marketing later. Add your campaign launch dates to your marketing calendar to stay on track year after year.
  • Plan your timeline. Estimate how much time you’ll need to prepare for each seasonal promotion. For example, how long will you need to write seasonal copy for your website or email marketing efforts? Do you need to order extra stock or packaging materials? Factor in those lead times and add them to your calendar.

Once you know when you need to start each task to get your seasonal marketing campaign up and running, you’ll also have a template you can reuse for years to come.

2. Customize your digital marketing campaign to suit the season

Decide on your theme for each campaign and make sure it runs through all your digital marketing efforts:

  • Know your target audience. Consider what your target audience will respond to. For example, will they want to save money this season or spoil their family after a tough year? Perhaps they would buy more from you if you donated a percentage of your profits to an environmental or children’s charity.
  • Create the right feel. Think about your brand personality to evoke the right emotions and tone that will encourage customers to buy. If you have a luxury gift shop, you might take product photos that showcase close-up details of your Christmas decorations for sale. Or if you’re supporting a charity for Giving Tuesday, you could include a message about why it’s important to your brand and what you’re planning to donate.
  • Think up a hashtag. Get creative with a hashtag that supports your theme. For example, #ValentineIndulgence, #EcoEaster, or #BlackFridayGivesBack.
  • Create a timely call to action. Focus on the time-sensitive nature of your seasonal promotions across your website, content marketing, email marketing, and social media posts with your calls to action. For example, make sure any call to action reminds shoppers that they must “Order early to get free shipping,” “Buy by [set date] to get 30% off,” or “Feed hungry children with your purchase today.” 

Once you’ve finalized your campaign strategy, you can decide on the details of your promotions. Determine exactly what seasonal products or services you’re going to promote and at what price. You might offer discounts or special seasonal deals, like two-for-one offers, free delivery, or an extended return policy to tempt both new and existing customers to buy. 

3. Optimize your online presence so customers can find you

entrepreneur researching seasonal marketing ideas on computer

Your online presence is a powerful marketing tool that you can use to promote your business year-round. Here’s how to make the most of it for your seasonal promotions.

  • Set up landing pages for better SEO: Search engine optimization (SEO) can help your small business website get increased traffic. Create special landing pages on your site (check with your website provider on how to do this) featuring your seasonal promotions. Consider what people might type into search engines for that season and adapt your keywords depending on what you’re selling. For example, “Mother’s Day spice sets,” “romantic Valentine’s Day spa treatments,” “wooden Christmas presents for kids,” “DIY tools for Father’s Day,” “summer garden ideas,” or “Halloween cat costumes.”
  • Add your business listing to online directories: Help customers find you by adding your business details to online directories. For example, when you add or claim your Yelp Business Page, you can add your business information, like contact details and business hours, upload high-quality photos, and respond to customer reviews to show your level of customer service. The majority of people read reviews before purchasing so having an online presence helps to build trust in your business. 

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4. Start building excitement well in advance

The more you can build anticipation with your seasonal marketing initiatives, the more you’re likely to sell.

  • Generate a sense of urgency. Create a countdown on your website or social media platforms to let people know how long they have before the big day(s).
  • Incentivize early purchases. Encourage shoppers to buy in advance by offering incentives like free gift wrapping or a discount on orders placed before a certain date (which also reduces the last-minute rush for you).
  • Create seasonal events. Plan seasonal events that create excitement and draw in new potential customers. For example, hide an Easter egg or Christmas present on your website and get people to look for it—coming across some great products in the process. Host a Mother’s Day giveaway that asks people to send in photos of themselves with their mother—with both their email addresses—and offer a basket of your products as a prize. Or ask your audience to tag friends on your social media page to unlock special discounts or gain entry into a lucky drawing.

Boost your profits with strategic seasonal marketing

Mother and child looking at backpacks in store

Seasonal marketing is your chance to reach customers looking for deals at specific times of the year. When you understand your target market, you can attract new customers and improve your bottom line.

Start with a seasonal marketing calendar that helps you plan around each seasonal event. Then decide on a theme that will run through your marketing efforts. Make it easy for customers to find your business and your promotional products with seasonal landing pages and SEO optimization. Then start building excitement with incentives and seasonal events to draw in more shoppers.

To keep your marketing efforts strong year-round, use these low-cost ideas to promote your business.

Small Business Guide

The information above is provided for educational and informational purposes only. It is not intended to be a substitute for professional advice and may not be suitable for your circumstances. Unless stated otherwise, references to third-party links, services, or products do not constitute endorsement by Yelp.