August 10 is National Lazy Day. While that might not be something you celebrate, you can bet hashtags and memes about laziness will be shared across social media. “National days” — most of which give recognition to oft-ignored things, issues, or actions — have taken the internet by storm. There are more than 1,500 national days, weeks, and months, and savvy marketers know how to take advantage of them.
Online stores can harness the power of national days by educating customers and promoting purchases. Crayola’s online store, for example, offered a second coloring book at 40 percent off in recognition of National Coloring Book Day on August 2.
Many sites, such as NationalDayCalendar.com, list national observances to use in your marketing efforts. You’ll likely find several days that apply to your business. Be careful, though. It’s easy to jump on board with many that don’t align with your goals. Choose days that relate to your business and its personality without offending consumers. Also, avoid interrupting existing promotional events.
Here are six ways to take advantage of not-often-observed holidays.
Tailor national days. If you sell a variety of goods, you’ll likely find at least 20 days that apply. A gift shop could utilize World Photo Day (August 19) by running a sale on specialty photo frames, and also use National Solitaire Day (May 22) to offer unique and decorative playing cards as gifts.
Focus on the lesser-known days. Typically big retailers focus on the biggest holidays, such as Valentine’s Day, Easter, Thanksgiving, and Christmas. National Coffee Day (Sept. 29) has generated much hype over the past few years. For the most part, though, the larger companies leave little-known national days alone. This gives smaller companies some good marketing potential.
Write a blog post. National days are opportunities to publish content — in advance to give ideas or on an actual day to educate or celebrate. Include relevant links and invite readers to participate in the discussion.
In 2014, RetroPlanet.com, a gift and decor retailer, took this concept a step further by posting a photo of the staff ready to celebrate National Hot Dog Day.
Encourage participation. Invite visitors to submit photos and videos for a contest or just for fun. This works well for national days about pets and kids. If you sell cleaning or organizational products, try recruiting people to post proof that they succeeded on National Clean Up Your Room Day (May 10).
Run a sale or offer coupons. In most cases, discounts should be focused on specific products or categories to minimize confusion. A hardware store could take full advantage of National Tape Measure Day (July 14) by discounting all tape measures. However, a store that sells sewing supplies might want to offer a storewide discount on National Thread the Needle Day (July 25).
Give back. Whether it’s donating to a local shelter on National Rescue Dog Day (May 20) or giving your time during National Volunteer Week (each April), consumers support businesses that give to meaningful causes.
While most national days should be related to what you sell, there are a few that any store can use.
- National Give Something Away Day (July 15). Consider offering free shipping or a gift with purchase.
- National Savings Day (October 12). Started by Capital One, this is a day for taking steps to save money. Any store could celebrate by offering a special discount.
- World Password Day (first Thursday in May). Remind customers of the importance of using strong passwords to help prevent identity theft. Include a link on how they can change their account password.
- Bargain Hunting Week (second week in August). Promote clearance sections and include a stackable coupon.
- National Go Fishing Day (June 18). Splatter a “Gone Fishing” sign on the website and run a special one-day sale.
Once the day has passed, append related content to any designated store pages created for the event. This can jumpstart next year’s promotion and otherwise market to shoppers until then. For example, Ulta uses its National Lipstick Day page to promote other sales events.
The best thing about calling attention to national days is that anyone can do it. The days aren’t owned by any company or person. While finding the best days takes time, keep in mind that the marketing plan does not always require special discounts. Use some days to simply inform and engage shoppers. It gives them a reason to visit.