Wasn’t it Anne of Green Gables that wrote “I’m so glad I live in a world where there are Octobers”? I couldn’t agree more with you Anne.
Between the pumpkin pies, dancing leaves and afternoon pick up games of football, fall is one of my favorite times of the year.
I also love fall because my stationery shop goes back into gear. Customers return from summer vacations and kids head back to school. Moms start focusing on celebrating again and planning for the gift giving season ahead.
If you’ve gotten a little lax with your marketing efforts over the summer, fall is a wonderful time to kick your online shop’s marketing into full gear again.
There are lots of creative fall marketing ideas that you can use to grow your business this season. Here are some of my favorites that have been successful each fall season.
As much as I love fall, it’s sometimes hard to say goodbye to summer. One of my favorite fall marketing ideas is to create some events to celebrate the last days of summer.
One idea is to have a sale on summer stock ups. During the last days of summer offer your audience discounts on your summer products. They will be leaving your shop soon (at least until next summer), so why not try to move out the extra inventory and take advantage of your customers who are planners.
You can also host a summer farewell Twitter party. A Twitter party is a group chat where your audience can ask questions and participate together. Ask your audience to share their favorite summer memories and the things they will miss the most about this season.
Another way to get your audience involved is to create a Facebook post asking them to share their favorite summer memory in a photo or story. You could also ask for them to share their feelings on leaving summer in a GIF.
However you decide to celebrate it, the end of summer can be full of emotions and lots of customer participation. It’s a great way to get your audience excited about your shop.
Back to School Event
After you say goodbye to summer, it’s time to celebrate back to school. If you have a family based audience, this is a really important time of year.
Some ideas for promoting back to school include:
- Add a back to school sale to your shop
- Host a Twitter party where moms can share their favorite back to school tips and products
- Write a series of blog posts sharing your favorite back to school products
- Encourage customers to share their back to school photos on Facebook and Instagram
- Ask moms (and dads) how they feel about back to school time on social media
- Share your favorite back to school recipes, treats, lunch ideas and crafts (and ask your audience to do so too)
- Create a Pinterest board featuring back to school ideas including your products
Choose back to school promotions that integrate your products best and increase engagement on social media. These kinds of fall marketing ideas make sure that your marketing is always focused on your audience and their interests.
For example if you sell pet products, your audience might not be worried too much about your favorite back to school products. Instead, maybe ask how their pets react when the kids go back to school. This question will create lots of engagement on social media (and probably some interesting answers too).
Pumpkin Decorating Fun
Another favorite of my fall marketing ideas comes from one of our family’s fall traditions. Every year, we spend an afternoon in October decorating pumpkins. From painting on faces to gluing on hats, these little beauties have become a family tradition.
Encourage your customers to participate in this fun fall activity by having them share their pumpkin creations on social media.
Create a hashtag to use and gather photos of your customers best pumpkins. Be sure to include basic sharing rules so you can share their photos legally. You can even have the best photos voted on and a small prize given to the winners.
The costume contest isn’t that different than pumpkin decorating. I love to see everyone’s creative costumer ideas on Halloween. Encourage your customers to share their costume ideas on Instagram or Facebook. Create a unique hashtag associated with your shop and costumer contest so it’s easy to find entries.
To add more fun, set up a costume contest for your audience. Let them submit their best costume ideas and encourage public voting. You can find out more information to hosting an Instagram contest here.
Fall Photo Contest
If hosting a costume contest or pumpkin decorating activity are too specific for you, it doesn’t mean that you can’t host a fall photo contest on Instagram.
This fall marketing idea encourages your followers to share their favorite fall moments and engage with your shop.
To set up your contest, the first step is deciding on the prize. Choose your prize wisely and don’t think that it has to be directly attached to your online shop. Offering a relevant prize is the important part.
When I used to host seasonal contests, I always gave a prize from our shop. Although contestants enjoyed it, I got a lot more contest participation when I gave away a gift card to a major retailer such as Target.
If you don’t have a lot of funds to support a large prize, consider partnering up with other shops to create a prize package. This is also a great way to access other people’s audiences and spread your contest’s reach.
Be sure to make your contest easy to enter. Clearly state the rules for your contest and have an easy way to access them. Then choose one or two ways for participants to enter. Avoid making participation too confusing.
Decide on a unique hashtag to associate with your contest. This hashtag will be used to find the photo entries and needs to be memorable for your brand.
Promote your contest on your blog and social media. The first step for active contest participation is that your audience knows about the contest.
You can find more ideas for hosting a successful Instagram photo contest here.
Fall Festivals and Holiday Markets
Tis the season for community festivals. From art festivals to craft beer celebrations, fall is full of community gatherings.
See if you can rent a booth at an upcoming festival or craft market. If you don’t have enough products to sell, then set up information about your shop. This is a great way to build your local following.
If you aren’t sure which festivals and markets would be the best to sell at, spend the season attending them instead. Check out different festivals and markets in your area. Take notes on the audience that attends, other vendors in attendance and whether you like the feel of the festival.
I find the best way to figure out if a festival or market is right for you is to speak with a vendor. Ask them about their experience participating in the market, whether they made a profit (and can cover their costs) and if they would do it again.
I’ve learned so much about what it’s like to be a vendor at different festivals just by talking to people. It has really helped me decide whether it’s the right place for my shop in the future.
When customers make a purchase this fall, why not give back a little to your local food banks. Although food banks need food most of the year (so you may want to try this two times a year), many think about giving food to their communities around the holidays.
During a specific month or timeframe, donate a percentage of your customers’ purchases to purchase food for your local food bank.
After the collection period is over, go shopping. Purchase food and delivery to your local food bank.
Another idea for your shop to give back this time of year is to adopt a family around the holidays. You can use a percentage of each purchase to help provide a bountiful Christmas to a family in need.
If your business decides to give back this holiday season as one of its fall marketing ideas, be sure to promote your generosity on social media. I know it’s sometimes hard to toot our own horns – especially when it comes to charitable giving – but it’s important for your customers to know that your a community steward.
Many customers are more likely to make a purchase from your shop when they know that a small percentage is going to a charity in need.
Also, promote your charitable efforts as you go along. Take photos of the food that you purchase or gifts for a family in need. These types of photos go a long way in building your brand as one that supports its local communities.
Sponsor a Team
Have you ever noticed how many kids’ sports teams there are in the fall? And each of these teams needs to fundraise funds in order to run. If you want to support children’s sport ambitions, consider sponsoring a local team in the fall.
This marketing will help increase your business recognition locally and improve your community relations.
If you don’t want to support a local sports team, you could always support a kids’ sports organization and purchase uniforms for a random sports team in the United States. Host a contest on Facebook asking for teams in need of equipment or uniforms. Then have a drawing or essay contest to choose the best fit.
You can also find sports teams that are in need on Go Fund Me or other fundraising websites. Search “sport teams” and you’ll find lots of kids in need of new uniforms, travel expenses or even money to get them organized into a team.
Fall is a great time to add products that have a seasonal feel. Whether you create something with the pumpkin spice trend or add an Octoberfest item, use fall’s cooler weather and creative vibes to create something your customers will love.
Before deciding on your new product, research the popular themes and trends of this fall season. Browse magazines. Stroll the windows of a local town or mall. See if you notice words and colors that are similar throughout.
I love going to our local boutiques and children’s book store in late summer to get an idea of the latest products that kids are into. The motifs and themes help my creative juices start moving to create something unique for the fall season.
After you’ve added your new products to the shop, don’t forget to do a product launch. Let your fans know about your amazing new offerings via social media, Pinterest, Etsy shop updates and your newsletter. You can even write a blog post featuring your new products in a unique way.
Add a Fall Feel
If you’ve ever walked by brick and mortar stores this time of year, they are gearing up for fall. Many have pumpkins and scarecrows out front. There might be fake cobwebs in the windows and even a basket of candy when you check out.
One of the difficulties of being an online shop is figuring out how to give your shop a fall feel without customers actually physically feeling those touches.
There are lots of ways that you can change the look and feel of your shop to embrace the fall season.
Some ideas include:
- Update your header banner to include at least one slide featuring your fall products. If you have an Etsy shop, you could also choose a different layout for your fall version.
- Add a fall category and include products from your fall collection
- Include fall products in the featured items section or New Arrivals so they are the first products browsing customers see
- If you have a welcome announcement on your shop’s page, you can include a Happy Fall message.
By adding a fall feel to your online shop, you will get customers into the fall spirit.
Fall Pinterest Board
Everyone loves a good fall Pinterest board, so why not curate one for your shop featuring your own favorite fall ideas.
To create your Pinterest board, add a new board to your Pinterest board collection. Include keywords in the title and description so viewers know what is on the board and can use Pinterest SEO to find your board.
After you’ve established your board, start pinning. Add your favorite fall blog posts and ideas. Also mix in pins from your shop’s fall products. This way it becomes a marketing tool for your blog.
Promote your Pinterest board on your other social media channels and in your newsletter. This will let your fans on different platforms know about your Pinterest account and potentially become followers.
Write Fall Themed Blog Posts
Get your content shared more this fall with some fall themed blog posts. In order to be successful at seasonally themed blog posts, write and post them early. It takes time for your blog post to be promoted and shared. If you post the blog post too late, you’ll miss your opportunity.
For your blog post topics, write posts that feature items from your shop, discuss special fall events and find other ways that your products can be used in the fall.
For example if you sell candles, you could write about different fall scents featured in your shop or how to use candles in the fall to help you home feel cozy.
There are lots of ways to incorporate fall into your blog post ideas. By writing more seasonal posts, your blog posts are more likely to be shared by your audience during the next few months. This should increase traffic to your website and shop.
Need some more blog post ideas? Check out our seasonal blog post package in our shop now.
If you’ve found sales to be a little lackluster over the summer, don’t worry. This is completely normal. Summer isn’t usually the time of year for a robust retail market.
But fall does offer an opportunity to get your marketing back on track. Whether you’re debuting new seasonal products or want to engage your audience in a new way, fall is the perfect time to do so.
Choose one of these creative fall marketing ideas or create an even bigger marketing campaign using our effective marketing strategy.
No matter how you choose to use marketing to grow your business, just make sure you’re consistent. It’s hard to grow an online shop when you constantly start and stop your marketing efforts.
Here’s to a fall full of cool weather and business growth!