Oh, November is here. Which can only mean one thing. Winter is just around the corner. And with the winter season comes getting creative with marketing your online business.
And I am talking about winter here. I know the holidays come first. Holiday marketing is very different than winter marketing.
During the holidays, customers come to your shop ready to spend money and purchase gifts. The strategies that you use will be very different.
But after the holidays are over, there is a lull in business during January, February and March. Or so I’ve been led to believe. With the right winter marketing strategies, I’ve managed to make these months successful and my business has grown.
So, how do you market your creative business during the winter? Here are some winter marketing ideas to try in your online shop.
Focus on the Special Occasions
I know that I said that the winter wasn’t the same as marketing for the holidays. But that doesn’t mean there aren’t special occasions your customers celebrate.
I find the winter is a big time for customers to purchase items for spring weddings, anniversaries and other religious events.
Focus your new products to help your customers celebrate these special events. Use keywords in your product listings that target these events. Provide ideas on your blog and social media to give ideas to your customers.
Promote the Cozy
One of my favorite parts of winter is the coziness it brings. Help your customers experience the coziness of winter by adding it to your marketing plan.
Include photos in social media, discuss ways that you add coziness to your home in the winter and ask your audience for ideas to help get cozy.
I enjoy posting photos of steaming cups of hot cocoa from different coffee shops around town. Or my favorite blankets and books that I’m currently reading.
Whatever ways that you like to feel cozier in the winter, involve your audience. Everyone needs a bit of warmth in their world during winter.
Hold a Contest
If you want a way to get your audience interacting with your business this winter, try this classic marketing idea. But add a little twist.
Hold a contest on social media. Be sure to do your research about how to host your contest legally. You can find more information about hosting contests here.
To make your contest season focused, add a wintry twist. Your contest could be for the best snowman building, winter sweater or most creative hot cocoa recipe.
The winter months are when customers have extra time to interact with your business. Encourage this interaction by getting them involved and excited about your online shop. Building connections and brand recognition now will help your business be recognized in the months to come.
Feel the Love
One of my favorite parts of the winter season is Valentine’s Day. When planned correctly, this holiday can keep your sales humming long after the holiday season is over.
If you haven’t focused on Valentine’s Day before, this is your year. Think about ways your current products can be promoted for the holiday of love. Which products would your customers purchase for a Valentine’s Day present?
Valentine’s Day is also a great time to add new products to your shop. I add Valentine’s Day cards, stickers and other stationery products. Customers enjoy spreading the love during this holiday.
So if you don’t already have Valentine’s Day products in your shop, now is a great time to add them.
Help Those in Need
Just because the holidays are over, doesn’t mean that there aren’t people in our communities in need. Giving to charities usually goes down after the holiday season.
Help alleviate this lull in giving by hosting a drive to help those in need. Donate a portion of your sales to a specific organization, purchase coats and winter clothing for kids in need or serve at your local soup kitchen.
You could also use the winter months to start a community service movement by encouraging your audience to give.
For example, you could host a virtual food drive. On social media, announce that you are donating a certain number of pounds of food to your local food kitchen. Then, encourage your audience members to donate some food to their local food banks too. When they’ve donated, have them announce how many pounds they gave. Keep a running total of the number of pounds of food your customers gave.
You could do a project like this with any kind of donation item. And it’s a great way to build community around your brand and give back.
Winter-fy your Social Media
Although many people aren’t crazy about the winter months, it can be a beautiful time of year. Especially if it snows. Showcase winter’s glory by adding a winter touch to your social media accounts.
Take photos of your products being used during the winter months. You could put your latest sweater in front of a cozy fire or outside in the snow. When planning your social media post, think about using winter colors and patterns, such as plaid.
Also, share winter photos throughout the season. Take snapshots of the latest snowstorm, icy vista or sitting by a roaring fire. If you live in a warmer climate, you can show how you spend the winter months enjoying the sunshine (and possibly the sandy beach).
Having trouble coming up with winter photos? No worries. You can find lots of free stock photos or low priced ones here. Choose photos that fit your shop’s branding and you can easily dress your social media for the winter months ahead.
Write Winter Blog Posts
You know I love to blog. And it’s one of my favorite marketing tools.
The best part about the winter months is that customers have time to read your blog again. Life slows down and they are relaxing indoors. Your blog posts are a perfect way to pass the time.
Plan winter blog posts that highlight the joys of the season. Make suggestions for winter activities, ways to get cozy or getaway weekend ideas. Don’t forget to showcase how your products help your customers enjoy the season in your content.
Also, winter is a great time to share past blog posts. Use social media and your email list to encourage customers to check out other posts that you’ve written.
And create a pinning schedule focused on your winter themed blog posts. Potential customers will be searching for these keywords. This is a great way to encourage clicks and grow your audience.
Pinterest Clean Up
One of my favorite shop marketing tools – other than blogging – is using Pinterest to drive traffic.
But I find after a year of pinning consistently, my Pinterest boards can become kind of messy. My boards end up with duplicate pins or pins not related to the board theme.
Since the winter months can be slower, I find winter is a great time to clean up my Pinterest boards. I do a quick sweep of the pins on each board, deleting the ones that aren’t relevant or getting many clicks. I also delete some entire boards and add new boards to cover products that I’m adding to my shop.
This process does take some time. But it’s nice to cultivate a Pinterest account for my shop that is clean and efficient.
Give Last Year’s Pricing
One of the many things that I do at the beginning of the year is raise my pricing. Although these increases might be small, I need to account for my rising costs through increasing my product pricing.
A fun deal that you can offer customers at the start of the year is last year’s pricing. Delay raising your prices by two or three weeks in January and give them a chance to take advantage of last year’s pricing.
Announce this special sale on social media, Etsy Announcements and in your shop’s email. Set a date for when prices will rise. And stick to that date. Customers that do decide to take advantage of the promotional pricing won’t be too happy if they discover that you didn’t raise your prices when you said.
Tidy Up your Shop
After the holiday season, business can be slower. Take advantage of these colder months and have an end of the year shop clean up.
Have you ever noticed that brick and mortar stores close their businesses at the end of the year for a day or two to take inventory? Although you might not need to close the shop, it’s a great idea to tidy up a bit.
Take inventory on supplies – craft, shipping and design tools. See what might need to be reordered before the spring time rush.
Check your sales stats on your current products.
Are there products that are just not selling any more? You could offer them on sale for a discount or just remove the listing when it expires.
Are there any new products that you would like to add or ones that you’d like to promote? Take the time to add new product listings to your shop. And create a promotion strategy for the ones that you really want to sell.
This is also a great chance to organize your office space. Especially before tax season. Collect receipts, file important documents and clean your desk area. You will feel so refreshed once business picks up again.
Traditionally, the winter months are thought of as a quiet time for businesses. Although this might be true for some businesses, there are ways to capitalize on sales with winter marketing.
Add some fun winter touches to your social media. Showcase how your products help customers embrace winter. And create items that fit the special occasions that your customers will be shopping for.
The colder weather is also a great time to tidy up your shop. Take inventory of supplies and reorder if necessary. Add new product listings and remove ones that haven’t sold in awhile. You can even take the time to organize your office.
Winter is also a great time for learning. Read some of those business books that have been sitting in your stack. Finish that online class that you started months ago. Most importantly, plant the seeds for new ideas to percolate.
The coziness of the winter months makes it a great time to regroup your business. This quieter time gives me more time to think about the direction my business is growing in. And it’s those slower moments that help me grow in the year ahead.