Figuring out and implementing a strong, effective marketing strategy is rarely ever easy. It requires studying your customer base, working out a budget that works for your business, choosing which marketing channels to run your advertisements on, and then following through. Iteration is always a vital part of this process. Implement, test, study the results, repeat.
An important factor in any effective marketing campaign is timing. When should you run what ads? This doesn’t necessarily mean “what time of day,” more so “what time of year.”
Sure, there are some advertising channels where you can specifically pick time-of-day slots. For example, if you’re running television ads, you can choose what time of day you want people to see your ads. However, for most other advertising efforts, you do want to be specific about what you’re advertising at what time of the year.
Advertising Around Seasons
For most businesses — small, medium, and large — running advertisements around holidays is the easiest way to bring smart timing into your marketing strategy. This is because there’s a window around any given holiday where consumers are primed to want certain things. So let’s look at some examples!
Let’s say you run an auto repair shop. There are a few other comparable shops in your area, and you want to stand out and grab a bigger share of the local market. In addition, summer’s coming up — it’s May, and soon school-age kids will be on summer vacation, and families might start taking road trips. Weekend trips to the beach, cross-country sight-seeing trips, whatever. The point is that it’s safe to assume people take more road trips in the summer than in other months.
Here’s how you take advantage of those summer road trips: advertise some auto repair deals, speaking specifically to people who might be planning to hit the road. For example, try some billboard advertising that says, “Thinking of a road trip? Get your tires ready! 10% off when you change two or more tires at Joe’s Auto-Body!”
Your ad probably won’t look exactly like that, but you get the idea. Customers will be thinking about going on a road trip because it’s summertime; they’ll want to be fully prepared for those road trips; they’ll want to get some work done on their cars before committing to the open road.
This strategy works for any business selling goods or services that experience a busy season or other season-based heightened demand. For example, think about how office supply stores and children’s clothing stores always advertise back-to-school sales. Consider your business, study past sales, and figure out when it makes sense for you to push specific deals.
Advertising Around Holidays
Running certain advertisements around certain holidays is, in principle, no different than running advertisements around changing seasons — but it’s worth noting specific examples. There are 12 permanent federal holidays in the United States, from Thanksgiving Day to Labor Day and everything in between. Depending on what sort of business you run, there are multiple holidays you can strategically time your marketing efforts around.
As an example, let’s say you run a restaurant, and Christmas is coming up. This is a time of year when people travel all across the country to get together with family. Some lucky people even get a week or two off of work. Most schools certainly give students a winter break between semesters. So, again, it’s a time for family and get-togethers.
Christmastime is perfect for grocery store advertising. Families are gathering, and they may be cooking big celebratory meals together, but not every night. They’re certainly buying more at the store than usual and likely using carts. Shopping cart advertising rates are very affordable — run some ads that go something like “Family special! 10% off your final check for groups of 6 or more at The Woodfire Grill.”
Again, your advertisement probably won’t read exactly like that, but you get the idea. People who are grocery shopping for their family gatherings will see these ads on their carts if you’re using Cartvertising ads. It’s safe to say that the people doing the shopping will also be involved in the cooking; they’ll want a break from cooking during the festivities, and they’re likely to take you up on that deal.
This same principle works for other kinds of businesses and other holidays. You have to be a little smart, get a little creative, and figure out how your business fits into holiday-based advertising. If your business has been open for at least a couple of years, you should have sales records that will tell you exactly when business is good and when it isn’t. Study those numbers to figure out when you can boost already booming business and use marketing to inject business into slower periods.
Figuring out how to time your advertisements is just one factor in a great marketing strategy. Always remember that while you certainly want your marketing to be successful from the very beginning — from the first ad you run — it likely won’t be. Marketing is an iterative process! Learn from your failures and learn from your successes. Be smart. Plan and re-plan. If you stay innovative, agile, and determined, your business is almost sure to grow.