Seasonality is a major driver in how people make their purchasing decision and can direct the buying journey for your audience. Since weather, holidays, and dates impact how and what people buy, you should be using seasonality in your SEO marketing strategy.
Does your SEO strategy account for seasonality? If not, then your business could be at a disadvantage. No matter your industry, seasonality impacts SEO projections and other business factors. Creating a solid seasonal SEO strategy is key to leveraging the peak buying period to its full potential.
What is seasonal SEO strategy and why does it matter?
Seasonality refers to regular and predictable trends recurring every calendar year. Different industries may be impacted by different seasonal trends but it is hard to find a business that would not be affected by the biggest holiday season out there, i.e. Christmas and New Year.
Seasonal SEO takes all the basic considerations of a traditional SEO strategy but then looks at ways to drive conversions based on themes and a finite time period. Factoring seasonal influence into your overarching SEO strategy can help your business align your content and distribution strategy to meet the needs of your customers. In turn, this helps drive more qualified leads and increases conversions.
Here are a few of the necessary steps for preparing for a seasonal SEO strategy:
- Think about the dates, events, etc. that you want to build your campaign around.
- What promotions will you offer?
- What message will you use for the offer and how does it relate to the season?
- Perform keyword research around the chosen promotions.
- Plan, create, optimize, and publish content for select marketing platforms and channels.
- Create supporting content like landing pages that are optimized for your seasonal keywords.
How to prepare your site for the high season
So now that we know when the big season is actually coming, how to get prepared? Well, there is a lot to be done here.
Bring your seasonal products and offers forward
You know your target audience and your best-selling products best: look into your previous years’ data and identify what you are going to use to lure consumers with.
Here’s what you may want to feature on your site home page:
- Products that sell well during the season.
- Product bundles to help product discovery.
- Special offers that would be different for new and return customers.
Plan out your seasonal content strategy
Seasonal content is the most effective way to attract natural backlinks and organic social media shares (which both bring traffic and conversions instantly as well as higher authority in the long run).
Seasonal content also brings more sales, provided it meets the following criteria:
- It caters to the seasonal needs (e.g. gift ideas, holiday planning, festive dinner cooking, etc.) To identify those, you may want to look at your competitors, survey your customers and ask for ideas from your sales and customer support teams.
- It should complement the products you are selling. In other words, your content should bring up problems your product or service is solving. Again, both your customer support and sales teams are the best sources of ideas here. Creating customer-centric content is key to seasonal SEO and marketing.
- Ideally, it should rank. This is what brings real exposure and sales, year after year. This is where you resort to good old keyword research to identify ranking opportunities for a seasonal content piece.
Create your social media marketing strategy
“Bring and they will come” hardly ever works. Whenever you develop seasonal content, you need a strong social media campaign to bring it forward.
A solid seasonal social media strategy includes:
- Effective cross-team collaboration: Your social media team should work with sales and customer support teams, as well as with your content writers. This way, they will know what is being actively promoted, which questions customers ask, and which content assets are coming up for promotion.
- Keyword and hashtag research for those updates to be organically discoverable.
Make sure your site will perform consistently and reliably
It is also a smart idea to alert your reputation management team of the need to actively monitor your brand mentions and establish their efficient communication with the development team. If any customer is complaining of anything not working, your social media team should promptly address the issue and notify the development team.
Remember: An angry customer can become your brand advocate if your business representative quickly responds to the complaint.
Optimize on-page experience for conversions
Now that your business has a good idea about the timing, content, and keywords, you will need to optimize your website for conversions. You will want to create unique landing pages for each seasonal campaign that your business can reuse each year.
Navigation menu: Updating your main navigation menu to promote the key products and services your customers are looking for can improve UX and help drive your customers toward the solutions they’re looking for.
Landing pages: As you build out your content calendar for different channels, consider creating and optimizing specific landing pages for each offer. This will improve your conversion rate and keep your message together across your entire marketing strategy.
Customized call to actions: Avoid generic CTAs for special landing pages and other content for your seasonal SEO strategy. For example, Instead of a boring “Call Now” CTAs, our air conditioning repair business could use more creative CTAs like “Don’t Sweat It. Call Today!” or “Keep Your Family Comfortable Now!”
Seasonal SEO may be tough and overwhelming but the good news is, it gets easier year after year. You will be able to re-use many of your seasonal offers and campaigns, update much of your content to bring it up back into the readers’ feeds, and make use of previous years’ sales patterns and experience.
How MSMEs can get easy access to finance
MSMEs must take the following steps for loan readiness.
MSMEs are considered the backbone of the Nigerian economy. In 2019, they made up 90% of all registered businesses, contributed more than 50% of the country’s nominal GDP, and employ 84% of its labour force. Despite this, MSMEs were the recipients of less than 5% of all credit granted by the banking industry.
One reason for this is self-selection by MSME owners. Many MSMEs refuse to apply for loans from banks due to a fear of rejection and a belief that banks charge exorbitant fees and request hefty collateral before giving loans to MSMEs. Now more than ever, in this era of cashflow-based lending and low-interest rates, this harmful myth is costing businesses access to finance that they need to scale.
Another reason is the MSMEs’ lack of loan readiness. Unlike large companies, small business owners do not prepare themselves before applying for loans. This causes them to make many mistakes that discourage banks from lending to them due to a fear of non-repayment.
In order to overcome this hurdle and join large businesses in taking advantage of the low-interest climate, MSMEs must take the following steps for loan readiness:
1. Maintain financial records – Research shows that 69% of MSMEs in Nigeria do not keep detailed financial records. As a business owner, you must ensure that funds pass through your business account. Your business’s financial records as reflected in your bank statement will help your bank determine your repayment capacity. This is important, whether you want a collateral-free or collateral-based loan.
2. Use narrations for transfer into personal accounts – Again, always use your business account for business funds. However, if funds must be paid into your personal account for any reason, then ensure that those payments have a narration that reflects the purpose of the payment. For example, Two shirts purchased. This helps isolate business funds from personal when computing your turnover in order to determine your loan amount and repayment capacity.
3. Know what you want – Always know exactly how much you want and what you want it for. If your account officer asks you how much you want and you say “any amount you can give me”, they automatically assume you have no plan for the money or a plan for repayment. Before approaching your bank, determine how much you need and how much you can repay per month, using your monthly income.
4. Have a repayment plan – Always have a plan for repayment. Know how much you can afford to part with per month. Note however that your repayment plan might not align with that of the bank. Banks prefer not to take more than 33% of your monthly income in loan repayments, so your loan repayment period will probably be dependent on how much you can pay per month. Regardless, a well-thought-out repayment plan will build confidence in your repayment ability.
5. Engage your account officer– It is important to have an engagement with your account officer before applying for the loan. Instead of just writing a loan application letter to the bank and waiting for a response. Armed with your financial statement and your knowledge of how much you need and for how long, visit your account officer and have them work with you in getting your loan.
Ese Atakpu is a writer and banker.
AFEX raises $50 million to Finance Agri-SMEs in Nigeria
The $50 million Agri-SMEs fund is expected to bridge the funding gap between lenders and borrowers in the agric sector.
AFEX Commodities Exchange Limited (AFEX), a private commodities exchange company, has announced the first Warehouse Receipt Backed Commercial Paper in Africa. The paper has tech-enabled operations and a 24-hour fast cash turnaround for borrowers.
This was disclosed by AFEX in a statement issued and seen by Nairametrics on Thursday.
The $50 million Agri-SMEs fund is expected to bridge the funding gap between lenders and borrowers in the Nigerian agricultural sector with a commodity-backed instrument – for the first time.
Ayodeji Balogun, CEO, AFEX, stated, “The AFEX financing deal will help eradicate the high cost of procurement incurred by processors by deploying a discounted value of a warehouse receipt distributed among five leading players in the Food and Beverage, Trading Poultry and Animal Feed segments in Nigeria.
“The receiving companies are top 10 players in their respective segments. They have now been enabled access to a tool for managing price volatility, enabling up to 30% direct savings on prices.
“With our vision to reach a cumulative total of over $5 Billion in investment to the agriculture sector over the next five years, this financing deal is right on track to achieve this goal.’’
He added that as AFEX move towards building a derivatives market in Africa, “we want to be able to reduce exposure to price risk for stakeholders, by enabling them to hedge their positions and trade in commodity derivatives.”
Why it matters
- The warehouse receipts, which can then be transferred from commodities to a financial asset and listed under the borrower’s portfolio on the AFEX trading platform, will create a sustainable funding structure and address underfunding in the Nigerian agricultural sector.
- With the warehouse receipt system linked to financiers, the system allows financiers value and marks the commodities’ price to market on a real-time basis.
What you should know
- AFEX’s mission is to provide low-risk working capital facility for stakeholders in the Agro sector, in a way that is transparent and has a very high viable investment return.
- As a licensed commodities exchange and warehouse receipt system operator, it deploys a warehouse receipt system and collateral management infrastructure to increase market confidence for both lenders and borrower.
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