Your digital marketing guide to capitalise on school holidays

For some, the Australian school holidays represent a scramble to figure out how to keep their kids entertained and out of trouble for a couple of weeks. For others, it means a glorious couple of weeks of less traffic on the roads every morning.

While many business owners fall into one of those categories, what you might not realise is that the school holidays open up a range of juicy marketing opportunities for your business.

Why? Because the school holidays affect all of us, whether you have kids or not, with an increasing number of people turning to Google for holiday-related searches.

When interest in a topic is high, you can use that as an opportunity to get some of that attention, and some of those eyeballs, on your business with ‘school holidays’ campaigns.

And, with a few weeks to go before the next holidays approach, this is the perfect time to start planning your holiday marketing, so that when the holidays themselves arrive, you can put your feet up and enjoy a well-deserved break.

Here are five steps to enable your business to capitalise on the school holiday buzz.

1. Know your target

The first step for any new marketing campaign is to ask yourself: what is my end goal? A marketing campaign without a defined goal is like an envelope with no postal address – it might go somewhere, but chances are it won’t end up where you want it to.

To get started, here are a few of the most common goals for seasonal campaigns:

  • Increased sales of a specific product
  • More traffic to your site
  • Sign-ups to a mailing list or other service
  • Improved social following
  • Conversion through a certain aspect of your site (such as clicking for more information, sending an inquiry, or downloading a certain piece of content)
  • Increased foot traffic in your store

Once you know your goal, take a look at the numbers for previous years and set benchmarks for this year – this will help you measure success once you’ve finished your next campaign.

2. Choose your method

Get out your whiteboard and coloured markers, your notepaper, your Word document (whatever it is that helps you brainstorm) and get to work. You’ll need to come up with ideas that can relate your products to the school holidays.

Some businesses will be able to target school kids, while others (liquor stores, for example) will need to focus on selling to the parents.

Once you’ve chosen a target audience, think about what they are most likely to be looking at, reading, watching and engaging with. If you’re targeting younger people, then paid social media campaigns may be most effective. If you’re looking to get the attention of parents, then publishing keyword-rich blog content, or using Google AdWords around key search terms, may be a better method.

It’s always best to reflect any digital marketing campaign on your own site. This may mean generating blog content or landing pages around the phrases and words you are targeting, or sending out a series of emails on the subject to your mailing list.

If you need a hand coming up with content ideas, use a these free online tools for coming up with content ideas

3. Dangle a carrot

Everyone loves a carrot. Especially when that carrot is a discount, freebie, special deal, free trial, or another value-driven offer.

No matter what type of campaign you are running, offering some sort of incentive to your audience on top of your additional spend on advertising can make a big difference. Get creative and consider what is most likely to draw in your intended audience. Remember that this school break happens just at the cusp of summer—so offering two-for-one deals on swimmers, for example, could be what you need to put extra oomph behind your campaign.

4. Automate so you can relax

Got everything ready to go? One of the benefits of planning ahead is that you can automate much of your campaigns, so that you yourself can enjoy the school holidays (even if you don’t have youngsters at home).  

Blog posts and social media content can easily be scheduled in advance – many website management tools have calendars and schedules for blog posts, while platforms like Hootsuite and Sprout Social allow you to schedule social media posts. You can also plan all of your AdWords campaigns in advance, so that they roll out naturally as the school holidays arrive.

5. Follow up

What good is a campaign if you don’t learn something from it? When all is said and done, look at your strategy and ask yourself:

  • How close did you come to your target?
  • Which areas of the campaign were successful? Which were not?
  • Did you end up engaging with the right audience?
  • What sort of feedback did you receive on this campaign?
  • What would you do differently if you could go back?

Keep this list handy—the school holidays may be over for now, but you can use this information for your next campaign. You’ll be thanking yourself the when school holidays shows up again!

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