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Ecom Holidays Aren’t Just About the Fourth Quarter

Ecommerce_Apparel_Store
5 minute read

When you think about holiday promotions for your ecommerce business, it’s natural to focus on the fourth quarter of the year. While Black Friday/Cyber Monday and the days leading up to Christmas do account for a large percentage of all online purchases, they aren’t the be-all and end-all when it comes to planning holiday promotions.

Many ecom store owners make the mistake of planning throughout the year for the Q4 surge. While this strategy can be very successful in terms of increased sales for that period, it creates a massive imbalance in revenue, expenses, and inventory at other times of the year. These imbalances can cripple a business if you aren’t careful.

We’re going to look at strategies that can create a steady balance of promotions throughout the year. They can help you achieve consistent and steady growth and thus have a much larger pool of happy customers when it does come time to implement your big Q4 promotions.

Marketing Holidays Throughout the Year

We can all list some of the bigger holidays throughout the year that is appropriate for our niche. In this section, we’re going to expand on that list quite a bit, making suggestions that you may not have considered or even known about.

If you search online for “National Day of” and “International Day of” calendars, you’ll find multiple websites that provide comprehensive lists of these holidays for you to choose from. Many of the big holidays, as well as these “days/weeks/months of” holidays, can work for multiple niches, especially if you can get creative and have some fun with your customers.

Common first-quarter holidays

Many business owners choose to skip some of the big holidays at the beginning of the year because they’re in recovery mode from the Christmas rush. If this has happened to you, consider some additional pre-planning so that you have inventory (and, potentially, new products) ready to go for the beginning of the new year.

Here are some of the more common holidays, events, and celebrations during the first quarter:

  • New Year’s Day (January 1)
  • Back to school (variable dates)
  • Super Bowl Sunday (the second Sunday in February, starting in 2022)
  • Valentine’s Day (February 14)
  • Presidents’ Day (the third Monday in February)
  • Pi Day (March 14)
  • St. Patrick’s Day (March 17)
  • Spring break (variable dates)

Now, let’s look at some of the not-so-common holidays that you can promote, depending on your niche:

  • National Hobby Month (January)
  • Diet Resolution Week (the first week of January) 
  • Black History Month (February)
  • National Marriage Week (February 7 to 14, leading up to Valentine’s Day) 
  • National Women’s History Month (March)
  • National Consumer Protection Week (the first full week of March) 

See if you can come up with a promotion for a day on this list that’s appropriate to your niche:

  • National Personal Trainer Awareness Day (January 2)
  • National Dress Up Your Pet Day (January 14)
  • National Compliment Day (January 24)
  • National Wear Red Day (the first Friday in February)
  • Singles Awareness Day (February 15)
  • National Floral Design Day (February 28)
  • National Dress in Blue Day (the first Friday in March)
  • National Proposal Day (March 20)
  • National Puppy Day (March 23)

Common second-quarter holidays

Business owners typically do a lot of long-term strategic planning during the second quarter. Many businesses have to do things like projecting their inventory needs, work on product redesigns, and develop marketing strategies, all for Q4.

While this is happening, it’s important not to lose sight of some second-quarter marketing holidays and events:

  • Easter (variable date)
  • Passover (variable dates)
  • Earth Day (April 22)
  • Mother’s Day (the second Sunday in May)
  • Graduations (variable date)
  • Father’s Day (the third Sunday in June)
  • End of school (variable date)

Here are some not-so-common holidays to consider:

  • National Decorating Month (April)
  • National Administrative Professionals Week (the last full week of April)
  • National Date Your Mate Month (May)
  • Teacher Appreciation Week (the first full work week of May) 
  • LGBT Pride Month (June)
  • Animal Rights Awareness Week (the third week of June) 

As in Q1, there are many additional days that can be promoted in Q2:

  • April Fools’ Day (April 1)
  • National No Housework Day (April 7)
  • National Kids and Pets Day (April 26)
  • National Star Wars Day (May 4)
  • National Receptionists’ Day (the second Wednesday in May)
  • International Being You Day (May 22)
  • National Say Something Nice Day (June 1)
  • National Mascot Day (June 17)
  • Social Media Day (June 30)

Common third-quarter holidays

The third quarter is where most ecom owners get into the nitty-gritty of their Q4 planning: ordering inventory, scheduling marketing, and planning their customer communications. That’s all very important, but don’t miss out on some great marketing opportunities in Q3:

  • Independence Day (July 4)
  • Christmas in July (typically in or during July)
  • Back to school (variable dates)
  • Labor Day (the first Monday in September)

Here are some not-so-common holidays to consider:

  • National Anti-Boredom Month (July)
  • Everybody Deserves a Massage Week (typically, the second week after Independence Day)
  • National Back to School Month (August)
  • National Twins Days (the first full weekend in August)
  • Self-Improvement Month (September)
  • National Singles Week (the third full week of September)

And here are some days that could be promoted:

  • National Workaholics Day (July 5)
  • National Give Something Away Day (July 15)
  • Gorgeous Grandma Day (July 23)
  • National Sisters Day (the first Sunday in August)
  • National Sons’ and Daughters’ Day (August 11)
  • National Just Because Day (August 27)
  • World Beard Day (the first Saturday in September)
  • National Grandparent’s Day (the Sunday after Labor Day)
  • Wife Appreciation Day (the third Sunday in September)

Common fourth-quarter holidays

Obviously, we’ve been building up to the fourth quarter, so now it’s time to get down to the big ones:

  • Halloween (October 31)
  • Thanksgiving Day (the fourth Thursday in November)
  • Hanukkah (variable dates, often starts in December)
  • Christmas (December 25)
  • Kwanzaa (December 25 to January 1)
  • New Year’s Eve (December 31)

Along the way, you can also promote some of these not-so-common holidays:

  • Self-Promotion Month (October)
  • Customer Service Week (the first full work week of October)
  • National Gratitude Month (November)
  • World Kindness Week (the week that includes November 13)
  • Safe Toys and Gifts Month (December)
  • The 12 Days of Christmas (typically, December 25 or 26 to January 5 or 6).
  • Countdown to Christmas (varies in length and is a viable marketing strategy for promotions up to Christmas Eve)

Even in Q4, there are additional days you can be promoting:

  • National Boyfriend Day (October 3)
  • Be Bald and Be Free Day (October 14)
  • National Mother-in-Law Day (the fourth Sunday in October)
  • National Cash Back Day (the first Thursday in November)
  • National Child’s Day (November 20)
  • National Day of Giving (the Tuesday after Thanksgiving)
  • Pretend to Be a Time Traveler Day (December 8)
  • National Ugly Christmas Sweater Day (the third Friday in December)
  • National Thank-You Note Day (December 26)

Don’t worry if some of these seem a little outrageous for your business! There are literally thousands of other national days you can celebrate for your business. (We didn’t even touch the ones that are specific to professions, medical conditions, or foods that you can use.)

Creating Your Own Annual Marketing Calendar

To capitalize on this marketing opportunity for your business, we recommend doing some research and planning ahead. Create a printed calendar for one quarter at a time, add all the major holidays that are appropriate for your business, and then fill in some of the blanks with other holidays that are a good fit for your customer base or niche. Once you have those elements together, it’s time to start scheduling your promotions and offers to match.

Conclusion

We know that discounts and sales aren’t appropriate for every business, just like they aren’t appropriate for every holiday, event, or celebration. But this gives you the opportunity to speak to your customers, keep your business in their thoughts, and teach them that your communications contain value way beyond that of only promotion or coupon.

When you educate your customers to be receptive to your messaging throughout the year, it can make a huge difference when you’re competing for their attention around the holidays.

Mark Shilensky

Mark has been involved in online marketing and ecommerce for over two decades, building and growing multiple successful brands and online stores. He specializes in Brand Development, Revenue Optimization, and Out-of-the-Box Marketing Strategies to help online businesses become successful and grow. Mark currently lives with his wife and daughter in Florida where he enjoys traveling and many outdoor activities.

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