In our previous blog post, we discussed ways that your small business can take advantage of the fall season, including opportunities to generate sales and to “test the waters” before the holiday season begins in earnest. However, shifting the seasonal tone of your advertising and marketing requires more than just one or two ideas or strategies – it requires a complete understanding of how our lifestyles change season by season.

Consider The Shifts

Consider the shifts that we experience in our behavior when we transition from summer to fall to winter. We begin to spend more time indoors in classrooms and offices and are often following a more rigorous schedule. Also, consider that some of your customers may begin to adjust their budgets and spending habits in order to save for the holidays, while business customers may begin to increase their spending. All of these changes and shifts should be reflected in corresponding changes and shifts in your advertising and marketing, depending on your industry and market.

The Season of Schedules: Getting Back To School, Work

When we think of fall, we often think of specific holidays and changes in the weather, of fallen leaves and hot cider. Yet a larger theme of fall could be “the season of schedules.” Children and college students return to school and begin to maintain a more busy and rigid schedule, both in the classroom and as part of sports and extracurricular programs. While the majority of workers don’t have the luxury of taking an entire summer off, work schedules can be more relaxed in the summer (depending on the industry), and can subsequently become busier, making workers feel more pressured in the fall. Finally, families come together to celebrate holidays such as Thanksgiving and New Year’s. As anyone who travels for family engagements can attest, travelling during the holidays can present a completely different set of hassles and scheduling challenges.

Promote Your Specials And Deals

Regardless of whether or not your small business appeals to consumers or other businesses, you should shift the tone of your marketing to match this seasonal shift in your customers’ schedules, lifestyles and spending habits. If your small business provides essential and/or practical products and services, consider producing a marketing and advertising campaign that appeals to busy customers. You can promote a comprehensive product selection for one-stop shopping and more prominently feature your hours of operation. You can also consider expanding your hours to appeal to busy shoppers. Finally, you should promote your website and e-commerce store to customers who may not have the time to visit your brick and mortar store.

Offer Discounts On Essential Products

When it comes to pricing, sales and promotions, consider that many consumers begin to shop more frugally in the fall season in anticipation of holiday gift buying. If your business provides essential fall products, such as back to school supplies, warmer clothing, or home improvement supplies, consider heavily discounting an essential product. You can even create a loss leader in order to draw in busy and discriminating shoppers. This strategy is widely used during back to school shopping, when smaller, less expensive essential items are heavily discounted to attract discerning shoppers. However, if your small business targets businesses, an opposite buying dynamic may be in effect. Larger businesses often have to spend funds budgeted or allocated annually to specific departments before the end of the year, and the fall may be a perfect time to ramp up your marketing efforts and outreach programs to new and existing business customers.