Dread Your Seasonal Promotions? You’re Probably Doing Them Wrong

Seasonal promotions are great and all, but at the same time, gearing up for one can feel like opening your box of Christmas lights and finding miles and miles of knotted wires.

You sigh. You shake your head. You say, “I barely survived this last time. Please, don’t make me do it again.

Ugh.

Ugh.

Here’s the thing, though – seasonal promotions don’t HAVE to be tedious. In fact, when you do ‘em right, they can be one of the easiest ways to market your business.

We’ve done enough of them to know.

Long before Edgar ever existed – back in the ancient year of 2009 – our founder Laura launched an annual business course called Creating Fame. Enrollment opened up once a year, and since then, thousands of people have completed it. And while it was pretty awesome, we won’t talk it up too too much…

…because you can’t take it anymore.

2015 was the last year the course was offered – it had an amazing run, but Edgar had become the bigger priority. On October 19, we closed enrollment for good.

Au revoir, Creating Fame.

But despite all the work that went into actually RUNNING the program, marketing it actually had a tendency to be super easy.

Like, suspiciously easy, in that “I’ve GOT to be forgetting something, because I’m not frantically yanking out clumps of my own hair” way.

(You know the feeling.)

So, how do you do it?

How do you organize a seasonal promotion so that it gets easier and easier every time you offer it?

It’s actually pretty simple.

Here are some of the things you should focus on:

Social media

Saving and reusing your social media status updates gives you a huge advantage when it comes to managing a seasonal promotion.

When you’re promoting a recurring event, you can fill some serious hours by forcing yourself to start from scratch with brand new updates every single time it rolls around. But why would you?

For one thing, your followers can change a lot over the course of a year. A lot of the ones you have now? You didn’t have ‘em last time you ran this promotion!

And for another, even if some of your followers saw some of your promotional updates last time around – and sorry, but they probably didn’t – that was a long time ago. How well do you really remember the status updates you read a year ago?

Here’s how we do it.

Because we schedule our social updates with Edgar, they get saved in categories that we can add to and remove from our posting schedule. In 2014, our social strategy looked like this:

  1. Write and save all of our updates in a category called “Creating Fame Blosts” (short for “blog posts”)
  2. Add those categories to our social schedule during the promo period (see picture below)
  3. Remove those categories from the social schedule at the end of the promo period
Creating Fame 2014

We told Edgar to post our Creating Fame updates during the promo period, then took them off the schedule after.

This not only made it simple to make sure our promo updates were spread out enough during that period – it also set us up for success a year later.

Edgar saves updates even after they’ve been posted, so when our Creating Fame enrollment period started again in 2015, all of those updates we’d written and used a year earlier were ready and waiting for us. Instead of starting from scratch and writing an entire new batch of promo updates, we had a strong foundation of existing ones to build on.

But we didn’t just add those updates to our schedule again and call it a day. You absolutely could, and that would be fine – but you can do even better.

Because your promo updates can lead somewhere just as valuable as your sales page – and in some cases, even MORE valuable. Where is that, exactly?

Your blog

It might sound kind of ridiculous to say that your blog posts can be more valuable than your sales page. Nobody buys anything on your blog!

But that doesn’t matter. It’s still massively important to your promotions – maybe more important than you realize – and we’ll explain why in a second.

In 2014, Laura wrote an epic series of blog posts about her entrepreneurial journey. At eight parts long, it was a total doozy, but it was also massively successful as a place to drive traffic from social media.

A sample from the Creating Fame blog

A sample from the Creating Fame blog

(Because no matter how amazing your sales page is, it probably isn’t as fun to read as a well-written blog post. After all, people can tell that you’re trying to sell them something.)

These blog posts gave us something to point our social media followers toward – so we decided to do it again.

Between the 2014 and 2015 promo periods, we took those eight posts down from the blog. Then, for our 2015 enrollment, we published them again, one by one, just the way we did before.

And it worked. Like crazy.

Just like before, those blog posts were the perfect place for us to send social traffic – and not just because they’re more fun to read than a sales page.

It’s because of this:

You can create one of these with a simple WordPress plugin.

You can create one of these with a simple WordPress plugin.

Your blog gives you a place to turn a casual, curious fan into a subscriber – and if you consider just how valuable email marketing really is, then that’s huge.

When you don’t collect an email address, your marketing flow probably looks like this:

Flowchart one

It’s like you’re giving yourself just one shot to make your sale! Heck, even bowlers get two chances to knock down all the pins. Are you really so confident that you’ll only need ONE visit to convert people into customers?

When you DO collect an email address, your marketing flow can look more like THIS:

Flowchart two stars

See that step with the stars? Those stars are there because that step and the ones after it can happen again and again.

You don’t just point someone toward your website once and hope for the best – you get to reach out to them directly, with multiple opportunities to catch them at the right moment, send them to your site, and close your sale. Whether you’re sending someone to the latest post on your blog or directly to your sales page, email is consistently one of the most reliable ways to drive traffic.

In fact, let’s talk more about that.

Marketing emails

There are two types of emails you can send: those promoting your blog posts, and those promoting your sales page.

A sales email from the 2015 Creating Fame promotion period

A sales email from the 2015 Creating Fame promotion period

That image is an example of the latter – it was sent to people who had signed up on our website to learn more about Creating Fame.

Because this was the final time we’d be offering the program, we DID write some new emails for the occasion – but just like with the social updates, we weren’t starting entirely from scratch.

We had not only the emails we’d sent in previous years to work with, but also the statistics for those emails. This gave us a good idea of which subject lines and messages would be most successful before we ever sent them.

And who actually GETS these emails?

When you run an annual promotion like this, it’s easy to fall into the trap of only thinking about it once a year. If you think about your recurring promotions all year round, though, you can set yourself up for bigger wins.

Outside of our enrollment periods, we still used the Creating Fame website to collect email addresses for people who were interested in learning more, or in being notified when it became available. Just leaving that signup form on the site allowed us to grow our email list over the 11 and a half months between enrollment periods.

Between that and new subscribers to our company newsletter, we grew our list by tens of thousands of people between enrollment periods – people who hadn’t read our marketing emails in previous years. (Again, you can feel less guilty about using the same messaging more than once.)

If passively building an email list sounds easy…well, that’s because it is. But that’s why content marketing – especially newsletters – matters so much! It creates pathways that can be very, VERY valuable later on, and even if you only use it for actual sales a few times a year, it’s more than worth the time it takes.

But let’s be real – it never hurts to put a little muscle behind your content.

(Wait, did we say “muscle?” We meant “money.”)

Paid ads

Just like with your marketing emails, you can both learn from and reuse your paid advertisements.

Keeping in mind that your Facebook audience changes over time – and the different audiences to which your ads may be targeted – you can still take a look at how past ads have performed. (You may be surprised to see that headlines, photos, and captions you thought were sure things turned out to be duds – and vice versa!)

Creating Fame FB Ad

There’s also the matter of knowing the difference between boosting posts and using the Ads Manager, too – but that’s its own story.

While the learning curve can be intimidating, there’s a reason that 92% of social marketers use Facebook for advertising – it works! So while social media marketing itself is technically free – you don’t have to pay just to use Facebook – a little investment can take you a LOT further.

Once you launch a paid campaign, your turnaround times for learning from and changing your strategy can be pretty short. (As in, days.) And your spending doesn’t have to be as crazy as you might imagine – it might be as simple as spending $10 on an ad, seeing how it goes, and deciding whether to increase your investment or try another approach. The longer you’re at it, the easier it is to learn from your successes (and your not-quite-successes), so commit to a little experimenting, and you’ll find that using ads in your promotion strategy isn’t nearly as scary or as costly as it might sound!

How you spend your time

There’s no way around it – no matter how often you have to manage a “big push” type of promotion, it’s gonna take some work. And no matter how much you can learn from or reuse older content, you can’t get out of creating new stuff altogether.

The more you take advantage of the work you’ve done in the past, though, the more time you can spend on the new stuff – and the better you can make it! So learn from the past, and save your work as you go. It’ll make your life that much easier the next time that big promotion period rolls around!

 

    Send this to a friend