KEY DATES FOR YOUR BUSINESS IN 2018
Customer engagement is the secret weapon for small businesses. How do you maximise this? Well, there is much opportunity throughout the year and here are just a few key dates that you can centre promotional activity around in order to give your business regular sales boosts throughout 2018.
To make sure you don't miss out on any of the year's crazy celebration days, charitable awareness days, national holidays or milestone moments, my PR & Social Media Calendar is available here *Read more info below* BUT allow me to introduce you to a brief round up of some of the upcoming highlights of 2018...
- Blue Monday - 15th January - This is the day of the year that we all need cheering up. The post-Christmas blues set in, we're cold, we're feeling the anticlimax of the end of the party season and there isn't a Bank Holiday to look forward to until Easter! Cheer your customers up with a freebie, act of kindness or a special offer that will make them smile.
- National Popcorn Day - 19th January - Do you run a bakery, coffee shop, eatery or bar? Why not create a special recipe to celebrate the day of the kernel? For those running a retail business, you could give out free popcorn in store or as a little bonus for online orders that day. Get creative!
- National Pizza Day - 9th February - I think that's enough said! Pizza is KING!
- BAFTAs & BRITs - 18th and 21st February - Have you had any celebrity clients who have made a splash this year? Maybe you can reference them in a promotion to celebrate these events. Perhaps you could offer special discounts depending on the winners of the awards or run competitions for customers to guess the outcome of key awards and win prizes. If you run a fashion retail business, make the most of any relevant 'Get the look for less' opportunities that you can create as a result of the red carpet fashion on the night.
- Fairtrade Fortnight - from 27th February - Are you a fairtrade brand? Use this focal point of the year to shout about it. Through your PR, your website and social media share the word and share your message. Create special offers to re-engage previous customers and attract new ones.
- St David's Day - 1st March - Embrace all things Welsh to celebrate this day.
- Mother's Day - 11th March - Mother's Day is always a great sales hook in the calendar, so make the most of the potential for gift selling with great social media and email marketing. You can also continue the sentiment beyond the day as well - ask customers to send in pictures of their Mother with their gift from your brand and select the best as a winner to receive a prize or for anyone who shares a photo on social media, they recieve a discount code for their next purchase.
- Commonwealth Games - from 4th April - let's all get patriotic and support our athletes!
- St George's Day - 23rd April - another opportunity for some patriotism via special offers, specially created drinks/recipes and merchandising displays online and in store.
- National Doughnut Week - 6th May - I think we can all get on board with this one. Am I right? Even just using these days as reference points on social media can create the starting poing for customer engagement - a like of a post can lead to a lifelong fan of your brand, so don't underestimate the value in remaining relevant and social.
- International Sunglasses Day - 27th June - While there is a very important message behind this, it is also a retail opporunity. Encourage safe practice by supporting the safety in the sun and offering your customers and potential customers the right information and access to the best products.
- Independence Day - 4th July - I'm sure you're all familiar with Independence Day, not least thanks to Will Smith and Jeff Goldblum, so why not bring a taste of that All American, star spangled glory across the pond with a celebration of all things USA.
- National Tequila Day - 24th July - A great celebration day for bars and restaurants that are able to offer concepts like 'Tequila tasting', special offers on tequila based drinks or to take the opportunity to extoll the health benefits of the beverage!
- International Friendship Day - 6th August - This is a celebration day that could be tailor made for social media - there are so many ways to embrace this day and maximise the good will through your social media. You could celebrate the friendships that you have developed with other business owners and collaborators, you could give an insight as to the friendship bonds of your own team or perhaps you are friendly with a lot of your clients or customers. There are so many deals that you could create, regardless of sector - one for you one for a friend deals or buy x and get 20% off for you and a friend on your next purchases.
- Organic September - All month - This awareness month created by the Soil Association offers a great opportunity for any business that prides themselves on their organic credentials, whatever their sector. Whether you take the opportunty to educate your customers on the true principels of 'organic', offer taste/product testing to potential customers or offer discounts and incentives for purchase through September.
- National Cupcake Week - 18th September - National Cupcake Week is always a bit of fun to celebrate! Maybe you encourage a 'bake off' style competition or a bake sale at your workplace or maybe you simply treat your employees or customers to some yummy treats. Any activity you operate can be used for content on social media to give an insight into your business culture. Of course, it's a great platform for bakeries and cafes to show off and promote their wares as well.
- International Coffee Day - 1st October - A day to celebrate one of the world's most instagrammable commodities - who doesn't love a cup of this caffeinated glory to get us through the day. Coffee shops - maybe you want to stage a special customer event to celebrate your passion for all things coffee. A taste testing or coffee themed takeover - coffee cakes, coffee flavoured bakes and of course a selection of coffee beverages.
- Halloween - 31st October - Ever more prevalent in our UK calendar is Halloween - With American customs well and truly planting themselves in our culture, the song and dance surrounding Halloween is difficult to escape, so why not embrace it! Window displays, fancy dress parties, spooky decor, 'trick or treat' offers for customers, creepy food and drink and of course, having some fun on social media is in order.
- Guy Fawkes Night - 5th November - Traditionally more celebrated than Halloween was Bonfire/Fireworks Night - there are still displays up and down the country and there are many ways that you as a business can celebrate. Theme your offering or decor around the weekend. Sparkle, winter warmers, firework themed decor are all ideas to consider - celebrate the start of the season for cosy nights in by the fire and the slow, steady build up to Christmas.
- Black Friday - 23rd November - Another American import is Black Friday - an end of the month, pay day bonanza that sees shoppers taking advantage of incredible discount offers across the consumer sectors. As a retailer or business, planning your promotion for this day should be a focus if you want to make the most of pre-Christmas shoppers - use your mailing list, social media and perhaps more traditional marketing methods to hype up your Black Friday offers to customers.
- Cyber Monday - 26th November - Much the same as Black Friday, but Cyber Monday focusses on the online presence of retail - this can really be capitalised on with some clever social media and emails to your mailing list.
- Christmas Jumper Day - 15th December - This day is great fun for any business and is a nice one to encourage participation in especially as you can fundraise through this activity for Save the Children by encouraging your staff to contribute in order to wear their Christmas jumper. It's a great way to encourage a smile and festive cheer from customers and clients as well.
- Christmas Day - 25th December - This one needs little explanation! However, make sure you're making the most of Christmas in the months leading up to it through your social media, email marketing, customer promotions etc. Don't forget also, to schedule some social media content over these key dates to allow you to take a beak and put your feet up!
31st December - New Years - Show your custmers what an opportunity New Years can be - new year, new start! Continue the joy of the festive season by offering promotions or treats for your loyal customers to thank them for sticking with you through 2017 and to look forward to the year ahead.