seasonal marketing
Online marketing in summertime
By Denise Keller, COO of Benchmark Email

As the merciless record-shredding heat waves continue to blast most of North America and proceed to melt away the last few global warming contrarians, summer is definitely on the minds of your sweating customers. As we look forward to a winter that many meteorological experts claim may be as extreme as our summer, keying your email marketing strategy to the season becomes more important than ever. Here are the top ten tips to get your online social media and email marketing harmonized with the climatic seasons.

1. Avoid the cliches – Your customers have been barraged with the time worn cliches of Red Hot Summer Deals and Sizzling Summer Sales, so get creative and come up with original subject lines and preheaders.

2. Seasonalize your call to action – Creativity is especially called for in the case of the critical call to action which can be optimized by referring to the weather outside. Steer away from any mentions of violent weather phenomena such as tornados and hurricanes.

3. Geography = Climate – While your customers in Minneapolis are shoveling their cars out from two feet of the white stuff, Miamians are bronzing at the beach. Geographical segmentation is imperative to ensure that you don’t promote suntan lotion to Minnesotans or toboggans to Floridians in January. Keep an eye on the current national weather to spot regionally anomalous trends as there have been many days this summer when Seattle was colder than Baffin Island (!!!)

4. Stick to your schedule – Especially this summer when it seems that at least half the people sunning on the beach are staring at a smartphone or tablet, the excuse that “everyone is away for the season” is no excuse to crank back on your email subscription frequency.

5. Modify send times – Although you can fully expect that most of your customers are at their workplaces at 9 am on a February weekday, they might be driving to the campground or even sleeping in at that time in August. You may find that avoiding early morning emailing & social networking messaging could be a successful summertime strategy.

6. Humorous From lines – Instead of the same old boring Customer Service as your From line, why not let your “names” change with the season, such as Sunburnt Sally, or Frostbitten Fred? The same can apply to your reply-to addresses!

7. Outdoor videos – When producing videos to promote your latest product which are intended for social network or email marketing utilization, shooting outdoors will provide a greater relevance in engaging your audience. Try having your spokesperson pop out of a sand dune in summer, a leaf pile in autumn, a snow bank in winter”¦

8. Climatize your dynamic content – You apply dynamic content to automatically rewrite your emails tailored to your specific customer, and incorporating a seasonal theme into the basic structure will help to personalize your message to an even greater degree.

9. Engage in seasonal banter – Your social networking presence should be as lighthearted and relevant as you can possibly make it, so configuring your promotional appeals to the season can help spark discussion which results in Likes and retweets. Even silliness such as “we’re packing all the motherboards we’re shipping in ice” or “what would you think of a hat with thermo-electric cooling?” can get your followers commenting and engaging with your brand.

10. Test your seasonal content – A/B split testing is more adept to longer term elements as it is a chronologically linear form, but multivariate testing can produce faster results which can help you make determinations as to what is working in your seasonal campaign and what is not.

As the climate of our world gets more extreme, weather is on the minds of most of your customers. Centering your promotional approach around the concept of current weather and climate can help demonstrate to your audiences that you’re not just another “stick in the mud” straightlaced brand, but you’re a company made up of real people with the same interests and reactions as everyone else!