Most ecommerce companies bank on the holiday shopping season for an influx of sales that keeps them afloat in the months to come. After all, they don’t call it Black Friday for nothing.
But did you know that you can (and should) use a year-round marketing strategy to average out those sales, especially if you sell highly-seasonal products?
As an ecommerce digital marketing agency, we’ve worked with a lot of brands over the past 15 years. In our experience, the ones that see the most success are those that take a long-term approach to their seasonal product marketing strategy — setting the stage for year-over-year growth.
Here are three tips to incorporate the same thinking into your brand’s strategy.
Let’s say you sell fireworks. Rather than wait every year for Fourth of July, you can expand your reach by partnering with other brands and/or organizations that frequently use your products throughout the year (think wedding planners, sporting events, etc.). In turn, you’ll get exposed to a larger audience and improve your brand awareness. The more creative you can get with your partnerships, the more stable your product sales will become throughout the year — and the less reliant you’ll be on your peak selling times.
2. Test less popular products.
From a revenue standpoint, you can’t just rely on your most popular products to carry you through the entirety of 12 months. In other words, putting all of your eggs in one basket is almost a guarantee that they’ll break in some unforeseen disaster.
That’s why we recommend testing (and investing in) less popular products, both during your high season and your off season.
Paid search advertising is a great place to start. Use your historical data to identify potential winners and allocate some of your ad budget to testing those new product campaigns.
While there will be some losers along the way, any data you gain in these tests will be useful for better understanding your target audience and their shopping behavior.
And, in the best-case scenario, you’ll find your next top performer — one that will fill the gaps during your slower selling seasons.
3. Ramp up marketing efforts during your downturns.
It can often feel counterintuitive to increase your marketing investment at a time when revenue and sales are trickling in — but doing so will put you in a much better position when high time comes around again.
Take, for example, a cruise tour provider (one of Inflow’s clients). When cruises were canceled throughout most of 2020 and 2021, the company pulled back on their paid ads investment. However, by continuing with SEO to populate their site with high-quality, optimized content, they were able to maintain their top SERP rankings — and increase their top 10 keyword footprint by 72% year over year.
When cruises and tours resumed, the provider was in the perfect position to take advantage of the increased demand.
Remember that some marketing efforts such as SEO take many months to come to fruition. By incorporating them into your ongoing work, you’ll make sure your brand is prepared for when peak season hits again.
When it comes to ecommerce selling, we recommend always looking at least one quarter ahead. Review historical data to see which products did (or didn’t) perform well during that time of year, and make plans to appropriately invest your time and money for the best results.
The more you can do so, the better your chances of building an ecommerce business that can withstand the ups and downs of a seasonal marketplace.
Entrepreneur and digital marketer Mike Belasco has been the founder and CEO of ecommerce digital marketing agency Inflow since 2007. His background as a web developer and SEO expert built an agency that has worked with major brands like Amazon, Overstock.com, Dish Network, and many more. Today, Belasco leads a team of more than 25 PPC, SEO and conversion optimization specialists as a boutique, fully remote ecommerce marketing agency.