Every Season Is Selling Season: Your Comprehensive 2017 Monthly Selling Guide
With a new year comes new opportunities for sales! Over the past 30 years, our BDSers have gained numerous insights into how consumer preferences change with the seasons and holidays throughout the year. So, to get the most impact out of each season, we’ve created a month-by-month guide to selling throughout the year, plus a handy infographic to go along with it. Use this for inspiration for your next sales campaign, as a marketing content calendar, or however you’d like!
Q1 January – March: New Year, New Home, New You
January: This first month of the year is all about a new start. If possible, your marketing campaigns should be tailored around this theme. People are also eager to use gift cards they received over the holidays so be sure to include enticing promotions and merchandised products to create loyal customers out of gift card users. January is also about returns. So many returns happen that UPS has even created its own holiday: National Returns Day. Make sure your staff is ready to meet the needs of customers who want to return products.
February: Two major events you can use in your marketing campaigns in February are the Super Bowl and Valentine’s Day. Make sure you have a detailed understanding of your target demographic though; people who don’t watch football and singles may get annoyed by over-hyping these events. February is also a great time to implement a customized training blitz with targeted messaging that will influence your associates to sell better throughout the year.
March: Spring is right around the corner, so if your sales tend to bloom along with the flowers – now is the time to push out those marketing campaigns. Yes, we’re talking to you landscaping companies, home improvement stores, and spring cleaning services. While you’re thinking ahead, don’t forget to close out Q1 strong. The opportunity is ripe with Uncle Sam putting money back into the pockets of consumers. Create a March Madness promo that will entice your customers to spend that extra tax-return money with your brand.
Notable Q1 Holidays/Events:
- New Year’s Day – Jan 1
- Martin Luther King Day – Jan 16
- Groundhog Day – Feb 2
- Super Bowl LI – Feb 5
- Valentine’s Day – Feb 14
- President’s Day – Feb 20
- Daylight Savings – March 12
- March Madness Begins – March 14
- St. Patrick’s Day – March 17
Q2 April – June: Springtime Selling
April: Sometimes it’s the lesser-known holidays that provide the biggest marketing opportunities. That’s exactly what April Fool’s Day has turned into, with brands now attempting to hoax the public on this date. Many have succeeded and gained attention for it. Like the start of a new year, the start of Spring represents hope and new beginnings for many people. Create buzz around new products through an Assisted Sales program and introduce your brand to new customers with an impactful omni-channel campaign.
May: Bring that hope into May with a contest or sweepstakes for your loyal followers. With summer right around the corner, kids are getting out of school, festivals and events are abundant, and amusement parks and shows are packed. It’s a great time to partner with one of these entertainment outlets for free tickets you can giveaway to your Facebook followers. Don’t forget about the Mothers! Regardless of your specific target audience, we’re confident that most people can relate to having a mom.
June: With the year almost halfway over and Q2 coming to an end, you may be thinking about ways to gain market share for your brand. Consider launching a dedicated Market Development team that will be your brand’s biggest ambassadors. Father’s Day and graduation season also come about in June, not to mention the weather is generally favorable across the country. Those three things combined mean grilling, celebrations and the great outdoors. Finish the quarter strong with a gift guide for dads and grads that also ties in celebrating the longest day of the year, Summer Solstice.
Notable Q2 Holidays/Events:
- April Fool’s Day – April 1
- Easter – April 16
- Earth Day – April 22
- Cinco De Mayo – May 5
- Mother’s Day – May 14
- Memorial Day – May 29
- Father’s Day – June 18
- Summer Solstice – June 21
Q3 July – September: Fun in the Sun, Until it’s Back to School
July: If there’s one quarter lacking notable holidays, it’s Q3. Aside from Independence Day and Labor Day, there aren’t other major U.S. holidays. That doesn’t mean there isn’t anything to celebrate (we’ve listed a few of the fun, lighthearted holidays during these months below). And there’s still plenty your brand should be focused on. For one – get outside along with the rest of the country with a fun summer product tour.
August: Although it’s way too early to start releasing holiday-related content, you should start planning it internally in August. Brand Shops help deliver customized shopping experiences to your customers that are invaluable over the holidays. Start exploring this method of showcasing your products now. Back-to-school means new opportunities to spread brand and product awareness. With college students flooding campuses across the country, brand ambassador programs and other types of targeted marketing will get them talking about your latest product.
September: If you haven’t internally planned a holiday marketing strategy, make sure to do so by the end of September so that you’re ready for a Q4 rollout. As the summer comes to an end, turn your audience’s attention towards fall fashion, football, and autumn leaves (of course – only if this is relatable to your customers). Additionally, parents and caretakers across the country are rejoicing as children head back to school. Could this extra free time translate to time in your store? If you know your customers, you should know the answer to that question.
Notable Q3 Holidays/Events:
- Independence Day – July 4
- National Bikini Day – July 5
- Hammock Day – July 22
- National Watermelon Day – August 3
- International Cat Day – August 8
- Labor Day – September 4
- Grandparents Day – September 10
Q4 October – December: The Big Holiday Push
October: The holidays are finally here! Well, at least for brands and marketers. For everyone else, it’s just October – which means Halloween, more football, and more autumn. You should be focused on gearing up your store associates for a big Q4 with tips and tricks on selling your products. If you’re looking to make seasonal hires, now is the time to start putting out those ads.
November: November should be a strong month for you. The days are getting shorter and colder (in many parts of the country) and consumers are starting to shop for the holidays. Your channel marketing promotions, email campaigns, and data collection automation should all be optimized and ready to roll. In your brick-and-mortar stores, ensure your brand and products have a presence on the sales floor with a Market Development or Assisted Sales team. Black Friday and Cyber Monday could be your biggest sales days of the year! As far as Thanksgiving, many stores are choosing to stay closed and they’re getting positive feedback for that decision.
December: While Black Friday and Cyber Monday have passed, there are still a few more crucial weeks of sales before the holidays end. Keep employees motivated and encouraged with parties, end-of-year bonuses, and positive feedback. It’s time to end the year in a great way! Take advantage of days like Free Shipping Day and remember that the season is about giving. Brands that show a sense of social consciousness are much more desirable to Millennials and Generation Z shoppers. After the holidays, people are traveling, still eating out at restaurants, and gearing up for New Year’s Eve. It’s about time to do it all over again!
Notable Q4 Holidays/Events:
- Sweetest Day – October 21
- Halloween – October 31
- Daylight Savings – November 5
- Veteran’s Day – November 11
- Thanksgiving – November 23
- Black Friday – November 24
- Cyber Monday – November 27
- Free Shipping Day – Mid-December
- Christmas – December 25
- New Year’s Eve – December 31