National holidays are a great tool for your small business marketing tool kit. They can be wonderful idea-generators for your social media and content marketing, of course, and you can also use them to create flash sales, contest and events, or educate your clients on issues critical to them.
The first thing you need to do as you are exploring which holidays to choose is to make sure whichever holiday you decide upon aligns with your personal and business brands, your values and the values of your audience. Once you have determined that, you can move on to using that holiday in your marketing campaign. Below are some ideas about how to do that.
Content and Social Media
This is a big category that can range from a simple FB post to an annually updated cornerstone blog on your website. The holiday you choose as your marketing theme can range from a little-known to an internationally-celebrated holiday, and from funny to serious.
Let’s consider National Love Your Pet Day, Feb 20, 2020 (#LoveYouPetDay). For veterinarians, pet stores, dog food companies, and pet-sitters, this can be an important part of your marketing campaign. Is your pet up to date on their vaccines? If you are a pet-sitter, you could give treats to all your pet clients for their “people” to treat them with on Feb 20th! On social media, pictures of most pets are seriously adorable and get lots of social media love. This holiday is tailor-made for Facebook and Instagram.
Ask yourself: Is this is a major holiday for my business? To use Valentine’s Day, Feb. 14th (#ValentinesDay) as an
example, you would answer “Yes!” to that question if you are a florist, candy shop or restaurant. If your answer is yes,
whatever the holiday, consider publishing a blog about that holiday ahead of time to potentially gain some search engine traffic as the holiday approaches. Then publish a blog on the day of the event and link it back to your first article. Then update that blog annually to keep your content fresh and relevant, and the search engines happy. See the link at the
end of this article for HubSpot’s social media holiday calendar, where the URL includes “2017” and the article is updated for 2020, as an example of updated content.
Include hashtags! Get in the habit of adding hashtags and following them. BTW, many hashtags are not capitalized. In this article I followed Hubspot’s example from their social media holiday calendar and capitalized key words, for your easier reading pleasure!
Sales, Contests, Events
If you are a coffee shop and you want to celebrate International Coffee Day (celebrated in the United States on September 29th, celebrated globally October 1, #InternationalCoffeeDay), consider creating a special coffee drink and market it EVERYWHERE ahead of time. Or create a contest or poll surrounding your customer’s favorite drink. Are you a nonprofit? Host an event on March 20th, World Storytelling Day (#WorldStorytellingDay), where your clients share their stories about how your organization has positively impacted their lives. Then release live videos, pictures and (more!) content on the day of and immediately after your event.
This is related to the content and social media section above, with an emphasis on raising public awareness of critical issues such as health, wellness, ecology and social justice, to name only a few. For example, National Walk to Work Day, April 3, 2020 (the 1st Friday in April, #WalktoWorkDay) is a natural opportunity for medical and mental health professionals to educate the public on the benefits of walking 30 minutes a day. Can’t walk to work? No problem. Walk on your lunch hour or before or after work. Looking for a little stress relief? Take your walk in the park. Walk with your pet. Educate. Educate. Educate.
Awareness Weeks and Months
If you would like to have a longer timeframe to leverage your marketing efforts and make a bigger impact, consider a national awareness week or month. From National Volunteer Week, April 19 to 25, 2020 (dates change by year; #NationalVolunteerWeek) to Mental Health Awareness Month in May (#MentalHealthAwareness), there are some great causes to get behind. These are also timely opportunities for nonprofit fundraising tied specifically to awareness events.
Get Your Google On
Are you ready to use this information to creatively market your business? Google national holidays along with key words for your business, and start spicing up your marketing campaigns. From Earth Day on April 22 (#EarthDay) to National Paperclip Day on May 29th (#PaperclipDay), there is something for every small business.
Following is a link to a social media holiday calendar by Hubspot, updated for 2020, that will give you a head start on identifying a couple of holidays for 2020: https://blog.hubspot.com/marketing/social-media-holiday-calendar-2017 (updated for 2020)
There are numerous other calendars out there, as well. One word of caution – they will not all match! Some holiday dates change annually (1st Monday, or whatever weekday, of May, or whatever month, for example), and sometimes the holiday name changes over the years. Go figure! Just find one or two sources you trust and have some fun!
About the Author
Robin Suomi, MBA, Founder of Startup to Growth, has worked with thousands of small business owners to start and grow their businesses through 1-1 coaching, mastermind groups, membership programs, and professional development training workshops and classes. Her passion is to help her clients become better…whatever that looks like in their lives. Check out Startup to Growth for information on Small Business Blueprint classes, Startup Masterminds and Growth Masterminds. Or email [email protected] with your questions.
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