We know that the new year and winter have just started, but summer will be here before you know it. With that in mind, you need to start getting an idea of when you should begin marketing for the summer season!
Why would you think about marketing for summer when it's still months away?
Well, think of it this way: if you start your summer marketing too late, your customers will be seeing marketing materials from your competitors (who were starting their summer marketing when you thought it was still too early) long before you begin your summer marketing.
Consider the holiday season every year; the moment Halloween is over, it seems that most businesses already have holiday decorations for sale.
In other words, even if summer's months away, starting now and having an idea of what you want to promote as well as when you want to promote for summer can put you ahead of the competition.
So, when is the best time to start your business's summer marketing? Here are three tips that we believe can help:
1. Know Your Customers' Summer Purchase Behavior
One of the most important things to know when marketing for any season is knowing your customers' purchase habits during last year's season.
Korey McMahon from Forbes writes:
Without buyer personas, you’re doing business blindly. It’s like planning what you’re going to do when you reach your dream vacation destination, but not taking any time to book the flight or get an address. Source.
How often did your customer search for your business in June? How many sales did you make during July? How many customers visited your store in August?
Using Google Analytics and your sales figures, you can track these numbers from the summer season of 2017 to determine how early you should start promoting your business in 2018.
2. Plan for Summer Holidays
Ultimately, the summer holidays will be the foundation of your summer marketing, so you must have a solid plan to promote your business with each holiday.
I recommend that you start thinking of marketing for each holiday two weeks to one month in advance.
For example, some businesses have a week-long Labor Day sale. Identify who your competitors are, start your holiday promotion a week earlier and make it last as long as their sale.
When you start marketing for the summer holidays, author, Vyoma Kapur suggests offering discounts for summer holidays:
If you’re marketing to consumers in the U.S., offer discounts and specials around Memorial Day, Independence Day, and Labor Day. Keep in mind that if you’re marketing to consumers around the world, you’ll need to be conscious of what holidays they’re celebrating in their regions, as not all holidays are globally recognized. Source.
3. Be Cautious With Back-to-School Marketing
Marketing for back-to-school sales is a little tricky.
Most grade-schools close for the summer around late May or early June and re-open in late August or early September; college ends in early May and starts again in mid-August.
At the very latest, you should start your back-to-school marketing as soon as Independence Day is over.
If you start promoting your back-to-school marketing campaign before Independence Day, there is the potential to be the first company that customers think about when they decide to shop those sales.
In fact, during 2017's back-to-school season, Office Max took the risk of starting their campaign early on June 25th, a significant difference from starting July 16th in 2016. It worked in their favor and when asked, Senior VP-Marketing, Diane Nicks explained:
We're building awareness early so that when we hit prime back-to-school season in late July, early August, we've got that nice ramp of awareness. Source.
However, by starting too early you may also risk annoying your customers who may think it's too soon to talk about school starting back up.
So, before you start your back-to-school marketing campaign this summer, think about how your customers will respond and plan accordingly.
Fortunately, it's still the beginning of the year, so you have plenty of time to prepare for summer.
But, don't forget to start planning ahead and have an idea of when and how you'll want to promote your business as the months pass. When you're planning, remember these tips:
- Plan your summer marketing initiatives around your prior consumer shopping trends
- Start your summer holiday marketing two weeks to one month before the holiday that takes place
- As a safe bet, you may want to start your back-to-school marketing right after Independence Day
Wondering what trends can help your summer marketing in 2018? Check out these resources: