For marketers, the sun starting to peak out means one thing: summer campaigns. E-retailers are uniquely placed to make the most of the seasons changing – the overheads involved with changing up a physical store are minimised, and it only takes a bit of code as a opposed to a team of employees, to get your site and online brand beach-body ready.
Here are a few hot ideas to help you maximise your summer campaigns, and to make sure the sun is shining on your sales figures for these next few months.
Set realistic goals
Seasonality affects different businesses in different ways. For some, like theme parks, outdoor businesses and last-minute travel companies, summer is when the money starts rolling in.
For others, summer can be a slog to get through. How positively or negatively summer affects your business is a spectrum.
It’s important to know where you fall on this spectrum, and align your goals accordingly. If for the last 3 years you’ve seen a month-on-month drop in traffic in June of 20%, don’t set a target to beat your May traffic in June this year. Be realistic – there’s no reason you can’t mitigate some of that June drop, but to reverse the trend completely in one year is just not going to happen.
Summer needn’t be any different to any other season so long as you have reasonable expectations, and contingency plans in place for the rest of the year.
Stay on trend
Physical stores have always known how important it is that the look and feel of a shopfront ties into the campaign being pushed. If you went to H&M in June and saw dark colours and heavy coats everywhere, you’d be a bit confused.
Your online shopfront is no different – the style and the trimmings need to match the theme you’re focusing on.
There’s no point pushing a #shareyoursummersnaps campaign with the goal of driving visitors to your plain old site – there needs to be a summer skin on your site, or at least a landing page that looks summery, so when your visitors arrive, they know they’ve arrived in the right place.
A few summer design tips – Bright colours, sunglasses, sun, swimming pools, beaches, sandcastles ice creams (summer staples, basically) – all go a long way to indicating that this is a site that’s been transformed for summer.
If in July you’re thinking about getting your site into its summer suit, it’s already too late.
Though minimal compared to a physical store, it will still cost money, or time, to get your site how you want it, and the later into a season you do this, the less value it has.
Hopefully, if you have plans for summer, they’re well underway now – or already in action.
Planning and goal-setting is just as important as creating and implementing a campaign, and all of this needs to be factored into time considerations.
So when we say timely, we mean be ready to go ahead of time. Remember to check Analytics data for the previous year so that you can remind yourself of any tactics that previously worked. You’ll also be able to identify historic trends in your summer traffic.
Think mobile and social
We all know by now how essential and ubiquitous mobile has become to marketing, and that social is playing a fundamental role in this rise.
In summer, this pair becomes even more important. It’s become a cultural meme that millennials love sharing their travel pics and ‘hotdog legs’ snaps on Instagram, and clever marketers have been tapping into this trend for a while now.
When designing your summer campaigns, you really ought to be taking a mobile and social-first approach – the ideas you have here can feed into how your website is designed, what landing pages you need, the content you create and even how and where your products are placed.
You’ll also want to consider your PPC campaigns. As the days get longer and more and more people spend their evenings outside enjoying the weather, you might want to think about extending those PPC campaigns and test increases of spend at later times on the day.
This also ties into your social channels. Are you posting at peak times? Is your audience more active later on the day? You’ll want to check this using tools like Facebook Insights, Twitter Analytics and Followerwonk to make sure you capitalise on these change in trends over summer.
A few ideas – social media giveaways for summer-themed sharing. Short, shareable video clips that link your brand with summer – (this from M&S is a great example of using summer themes without going off-brand).
At the more costly end of the scale, summer events like product launches and parties can produce great marketing collateral.
Think big, bright and happy, tie it all together with mobile and social, and you could be on to a summer scorcher.
While summer social campaigns often target the younger market as described above, there’s also plenty of room for family-focused campaigns that make the most of school holiday spending.
If your business has something to offer families in the summer, most pertinently a way to keep the kids entertained(!) then you really ought to be making this a clear part of your marketing message.
School holiday surges can provide a well-needed boost in sales if campaigns are set up well – think back to when you were a kid, what did you pester your parents for during school holidays? Make your product or service something that kids want and that parents can provide, and you’ll be set.
As well as campaigns targeting the summer holiday’s you’ll need to think about the run up to term time starting again. It’s an obvious one but can you run a “back to school” campaign towards the end of the summer?
Target those summer terms
From an SEO and search perspective, seasonal terms can sometimes get forgotten, but there can be a real benefit to having a seasonal keyword strategy.
Consider how your audiences interests change during the summer months. Appending summer and ‘summery’ words to existing terms can yield some interesting results. Use tools like Keywordtool.io, Answer the Public and Moz’s new Keyword Explorer Tool to help find peripheral topics and keywords to target.
Let’s say you sell Dresses, for example. ‘Summer-ising’ your standard terms could result in you capturing a whole new market – ‘Beach Dresses’ for example, or ‘Wedding dress for hot weather’ etc.
It could even feed into product development – if there’s search traffic around a product you offer but with summer keywords attached, maybe you could create a whole new range.
Taking this approach to seasonal keywords makes them part of your process, rather than an afterthought.
So there you have it! Summer e-commerce marketing needn’t get you all hot and bothered. With some simple planning and adjustments, you’ll be bathing in the glow of a summer sales streak.
If you have any other summer marketing tips, why not share them in the comments?