A guide to seasonal opportunities

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Planning your marketing activities is key for every marketer. Here’s how to make the most out of them.

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With January almost over, it’s important to start planning for key sales period throughout the year that prove instrumental in hitting overall marketing, sales and revenue targets for your business.

Awin has just launched its 2019 seasonal calendar, which gives an overview of key seasonal dates, bank holidays and notable days, as well as industry events including Awin’s own networking days. This is a great place to start when planning your key promotional periods for the year and identifying what dates in the calendar affiliates will also be looking to push.

Know your proposition

To plan your seasonal opportunities well, it’s important you are fully aware of your business’s proposition and what USPs can be leveraged at key times to coincide with different messaging angles. If you offer a personalized or custom services, ensure this is clear and understandable. If you offer good last-minute delivery options, ensure these are promoted in the last few days of a campaign to take advantage of those panic shoppers.

How to identify your trends

Affiliate programs can often open up previously untapped demographic opportunities. That’s why it’s important to look at product and sales trends for your affiliate program specifically, as well as for your brand as a whole, to identify key niche trends that are not as pronounced across the rest of the business.

Create new sales opportunities

Within the traditional online sectors, highs and lows are usually well known and prepared for. Affiliate marketing offers a wide variety of publishers and publisher types, and therefore creates many more opportunities to push new sales peaks through creative campaigns, targeted content and custom promotional collaborations personalized to each publisher’s core demographics.

The Golden Quarter

Having just finished Q4, we have seen the ‘Golden Quarter’ increases in reach, spend and time span every year. Initially starting as a one-day discounting shopping event in store following Thanksgiving, on Black Friday we now see huge retail events span many different days across November, turning the last two months of each year into a key trading period for the majority of online and offline businesses. From global events like Black Friday and Cyber Monday, to more localized events growing in traction with international retailers across the globe, like China's Singles Day and Australia's Click Frenzy, there are more and more opportunities each year to maximize a brand’s selling potential during Q4.

These seasonal events  have seen exponential growth in recent years, with uptake from many international retailers and publishers looking to also take advantage of shoppers looking for an ideal purchase. As a starting point, it’s important to decide if any of these events should feature in your promotional calendar, and if so, what proportion of your yearly forecast you can attribute to these key selling dates. These are huge events in the retail calendar and you will find many affiliates start to prepare and market their promotional opportunities during Q3. Be aware of timelines and ensure you are starting conversations about these promotions early enough to secure the right spots for you to achieve your sales targets. While preparing for these key dates, don’t neglect January sales

Public notable events

Outside of Q4, there are a number of days observed in the calendar that are significant, and as such can provide another key opportunity for online retailers, like Valentine’s Day, Mother's/Father’s Day and Easter. Gifting can make up a sizeable share of sales revenue and these public events encourage a generous shopping behavior. Gift guides can often be popular, and if your brand offers any products that could be relevant  for the occasion, explore with publishers what opportunities are available. 

Industry events and sporting fixtures

Another key area that can be great for driving sales boosts is industry events, like Fashion Week. Obviously focused on fashion retailers, this is a key event in the industry, and as such, becomes a popular subject matter throughout news, social media platforms and is a front-of-mind message for consumers - providing an opportunity to encourage further shopping behaviors.

Big sporting fixtures can be leveraged in the same way, like the Super Bowl, World Series, World Cups, Wimbledon and World Championships. The key with these types of very niche selling opportunities is to ensure your product is relevant, well-timed and your marketing message is well thought out. If you’re an tech retailer wanting to push high-definition televisions to watch the football on, factor in order and delivery time for this to be possible. Our publisher and advertiser newsletters should highlight any upcoming themes or occasions each month.

Key trading periods

Outside of one-day or week-long events, another great campaign focus and marketing opportunity is to tap into key trading periods that can peak during certain times of the year, like travel bookings during January, and back-to-school purchases during August and September. If these are relevant to your sector, you can identify key products or campaigns to focus on during these times.

It’s crucial in digital marketing to find the right combination of promotional pieces that work for your brand and to not try to participate in everything regardless of theme or relevance, as this will result in a low interaction rate and low return on investment as shoppers will not be in the right mind frame to interact with your products. It will also protect your budgets to ensure you can spend at the right times and bring in the best results possible for your brand. Test new opportunities to find what works for you and take advantage of key calendar events that can elevate your products in front of the right consumers.

Strategy and best practices

Social media and Influencer Marketing might commonly be associated with eCommerce and retail brands, but these powerful tactics readily apply across all industries, from lifestyle to professional services. Maximizing the value of self-published content can be a challenge, particularly with limited resources, but the added value of influencers can help brands across all industries effectively reach consumers in a way that inspires genuine enthusiasm.