One of the most powerful online marketing techniques any business can use to boost their sales… is to celebrate special occasions.

And I’m not just talking about birthdays, Christmas, Valentines Day, Easter, Halloween and Bank Holiday weekends…

As you’re about to see, some of the most successful marketing campaigns of recent years have centred on completely fabricated ‘special occasions’.

Either way, if you can target promotions to these special days, you could see a huge uplift in your sales. It’s a bit strange really, because it wasn’t supposed to be this way…

One of the main benefits of the internet is that you can buy almost anything 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, all year round.

The worldwide web was supposed to be a brave new world, where time and location was of no consequence. And yet people’s online spending behaviour is still heavily influenced by the old fashioned calendar.

People will respond positively if you can give them a good enough reason to act

The truth is, special occasions encourage people to buy online – sometimes in astonishing amounts. And this is being very quickly realised by the world’s eCommerce giants. Consider Black Friday…

Formerly a US-only holiday after Thanksgiving when companies slash prices, it’s become a huge online sales day in the UK. On Black Friday 2014, pulled in 5.5m orders – averaging 64 sales PER SECOND during peak times.

In China, the world’s largest eTailer, Alibaba, exploits something called ‘Singles Day’. Singles Day was created by Chinese students in the early ‘90s for people not in relationships.

Now Alibaba have appropriated it as a special annual sales day. Last year they shipped an incredible £5.9bn worth of goods in just 24 hours on that ‘special occasion’.

You can expect more of this, too…

Companies like Amazon now use algorithms to predict the behaviour of their customers, so they can predict buying peaks, and make targeted offers based around this. Which means, in the future, you may well get a birthday message and a special offer from your favourite online business.

This is something you can use too. Whatever online business you’re in, there’s usually an opportunity to hook an offer to a time of year. Here are some pointers…

How to use the calendar to boost your online sales

  • If you currently have an email list of prospects, a special calendar event is a great opportunity to send out a sales message with a one-off discount, special offer, clearance sale, or limited time-frame opportunity.
  • Think about the sorts of occasions that might inspire people to buy one of your products or services. As well as the usual holidays there are special events like Royal weddings, World Cup, Olympics, Commonwealth Games, saints days,
  • Consider giving something away for free, or at a very low price, on special occasions, in order to build a qualified list of prospects.
  • What matters most to your target customer? Think about the times of year in which they’re most likely to be in the mood for buying. For instance, diet products sell well in January’s ‘detox’ season… big sporting occasions are ideal for betting products…
  • Try and link the offer to the mood of the occasion. “In celebration of the longest day of the year, we are offering you this discount on our holidays.” Or “To help you get through Blue Monday – officially the most depressing day of the year – you can get our eBooks at half price”.
  • Like Amazon, use your data wisely – if you know information about your customers and can target them with special offers according to when they buy, or special days that matter to them, then do so! Try and link everything up, so that your offer is carried through in your email, website and social media activities.

And the biggest tip of all…

Get to know your customer

One of the best ways to match your online promotions to special occasions is to stand in the shoes of your prospects – get to know what makes them tick and how they are likely to behave at different times of year.

To help do this, I’ve prepared a special report in the next issue of Digital Upstart. It shows you how to mind-read your ideal customer whenever you need to predict how they’ll behave. It’s dynamite stuff and I can’t wait for you to read it.

Oh and if you aren’t a regular subscriber, you can try it out here.