Payout Magazine Digital Edition

Increasing Sales 101: Making Your Site Seasonal

Seasons and holidays get people excited. Just think how boring it would be to do the same thing day in and day out 365 days a year. The first day of summer, that first winter snow… birthdays, Christmas, Halloween – even patriotic national holidays – they all give us something to look forward to, and something to get us excited.

Part of making a sale is getting the customer excited about making a purchase. When the holiday decorations start coming out – or the weather simply changes from hot to cool or cool to hot – people get inspired to get out and get new things. It works the same way with any type of business whether you are working to get webmaster affiliates, trying to attract adult memberships, selling books for – or even just trying to make your site more “sticky” and “bookmark-able.” Whatever your goals, you can help to achieve them and possibly even generate new traffic by taking advantage of the seasons and holidays.

Decking the Halls…

When we think of “holiday decorations” we usually think about those stores that go crazy with decorations… Or that one house that’s on everyone’s block that is lit up like a giant holiday tree, or does the neighborhood haunted house every year… Or the guy that does the illegal fireworks right in the middle of the street. Over decorating and over-doing it can be fun, but sometimes – and especially in business - subtly works best.

When I started writing this article my editor reminded me of the one site that does “holiday” and the seasons better than any other – Google. Google remembers all the holidays – and a lot of folks go to the page each year just to see what they’ve done “this time.” Holidays, the seasonal equinox, Google’s own birthday, political holidays, the Olympics, even obscure landmark days celebrating advances in the Internet – you name it, chances are Google has decorated for it.

Google keeps it simple. If you’ve ever seen Google decked out for the holidays, it’s very subtle – just a few graphic enhancements on the Google logo itself. Nothing crazy, nothing flashy – just a little something to show you that Google’s got the “spirit” of the season too.

For most sites, this approach is what you should be after. Maybe just a simple background change will work or a couple of small graphics. You could even take a clue from Google and just decorate your company’s logo a little. And remember to take it down when the holiday or special event is over. I don’t think Google has kept up a single holiday decoration longer than a week – with the exception of the Olympics, and I believe even during that time the image changed regularly during that time to represent the various events.

However, other sites may choose to take on a whole theme. This of course will depend upon your target audience, what it is you are selling – and of course, how much time and effort you want to put into a design that will only be used for a short time. You can test holiday and seasonal themes out on your traffic to see how they will respond by using the minimal approach that we discussed earlier and then, if they respond well and your conversions increase, you can try something a little more “extreme.”

There are lots of different types of sites – and lots of different ways – that you can incorporate holiday and seasonal themes into your online business. Your only limits are your imagination, your time/money – and of course, the ultimate interest/response of your core traffic.

Free Sites

This is perhaps the easiest way to create a holiday or seasonal site to “test the waters” and see if your traffic will respond. A lot of content providers offer holiday and seasonal type content that you can buy on the cheap for use in your free sites, but you should also check your sponsors’ free content to see if they have anything available.

Try a Sexy Mrs. Claus or some naughty Santa’s Helpers… or some Goth chicks or otherwise costumed babes for Halloween… There’s usually a lot of season-based content – like snow bunnies for winter, beach/pool babes for summer and I’ve even seen a few naked models rolling around in fall leaves for an autumn theme.

Think outside the box. For example, the content doesn’t even have to REALLY be “beach babes” to be part of a summer theme. Just find some sets with girls in bikinis and MAKE it a summer/beach theme with your free site graphics, design and title. SELL IT – make it look like the theme you are trying to portray.

A lot of the link lists and TGP programs out there like the theme sites as well and will oftentimes make a “big deal” about them (especially around Christmas) and showcase them in their listings. For this purpose you should make sure that your holiday content is not “overdone” – as in over-used by other webmasters. This is usually the case with free sponsor content and cheap content sets that have been around for years. If I see the Aria Giovanni in a Santa Suit set one more time… well, you get the picture!

Affiliate Programs

A lot of affiliate programs are beginning to see the benefit of catering to their webmasters with special seasonal and holiday promotions. This, of course, is a great time to “deck the halls” and break out the decorations. So far this year I’ve seen Halloween specials announced, a special holiday promotion already in motion – and hordes of “back to school” specials taking advantage of the huge influx of post-Labor Day traffic.

Some affiliate programs even utilize holiday and seasonal décor in their banners that they place in sponsorship positions on webmaster resource sites. One excellent example has always been Pride Bucks – I look forward to seeing what they have to offer each month. Sometimes they have special promotions, giveaways or contests – but usually the banners are just something cool and fresh to look at… and we all know fresh banners can bring in an influx of new sign-ups.

It sure beats seeing the same old banner with the same old color scheme and the same old slogan that we see each month from some companies. Mix things up a bit – webmasters need to be inspired too!

Membership Sites

In recent years webmasters have moved from the old notion of just focusing on initial sign-ups, to the idea of retaining members and keeping them happy. Adding fresh content in your site’s main niche that focuses on the various holidays and seasons will definitely do the trick. It doesn’t matter what niche your site focuses on – there are a ton of ways that you can incorporate seasonal and holiday themes into your content offerings.

If you are unable to find content to fit a particular theme, you can also just add some special limited-time design elements to the inside of your members’ site to get them “in the mood” for the holiday. Special extra content is great too. If you offer games, puzzles, contests or other giveaways to keep your members coming back to your site – try to choose one for the week or month that focuses on the season/holiday theme of the moment.

Be creative! Members appreciate that “extra touch,” giving them something unexpected in with their usual content fare. You never know – some might renew and stick around a couple of months longer during the holidays just to see what you’ll post next, or what specials you’ll be offering down the line. If you have some cool goodies to giveaway or some content lined-up to post during that time, you may want to even post a “what’s coming next month” section to your members’ area letting them know you have something cool on the way.

Solo Girl Sites

Solo girls most likely will have already incorporated holiday and seasonal themes into their site. Many of these sites take member requests and a lot of people request those sexy holiday photo sets and videos from their favorite solo girl sites. Gather up a bunch of fall leaves and take a photo shoot in your backyard… or build some raunchy snowmen in the winter when you get a good snowfall… You can even color up some eggs and do a naughty egg hunt in the spring – or shoot some sexy red-white-and-blue fun in July for a patriotic touch.

Props are good – costumes, outfits and even special sex toys that could be construed to go with a particular holiday or season. Think “rabbit vibes” for Easter, kinky Goth or BDSM type stuff for Halloween, mistletoe – and one site I saw a few years ago featured a solo girl using New Years’ horns and noise-makers as “sex toys”. Fortunately, you can buy naughty costumes and props just about anywhere these days – you don’t even have to order online. Many local stores carry a large variety of “adult” costumes – you might be surprised at what you can gather around Halloween and put away for the rest of the year.

Many solo girls have an online members-only blog or “diary” that they use… this is a great place to add some seasonal or holiday touches. Talk about sexy things you like to do around the holidays or talk at-length about why fall, spring, summer or winter is your favorite holiday – share photos, give examples and share naughty memories. If you write erotic stories as part of your content offering – even better! Remember – you are really only limited by your own imagination.

Toy/Product Sites

A lot of toy sites are realizing the potential for holiday and seasonal promotions. Perhaps one of the best that I’ve seen is Adam & Eve. Around Easter they had a special bunny basket promotion – shoppers could “fill a basket” of sex toys, lubes and adult videos – customizing their own holiday surprise. They’ve also run “back to school essentials” specials aimed at college-aged buyers, wet & wild summer time fun promos with waterproof toys – and even a 4th of July “celebrate your freedom” type sale.

Mixing and matching theme-based items, or items that would sell well in a “kit” or “package” is a great idea for every day of the year. Birthdays, anniversaries and of course gift-giving holidays like Valentine’s Day, etc. are great places to start. You can combine your top-selling items in together at a “great package rate”, or choose items that aren’t selling well and combine them with a great popular item as a “kit”. For example, a top-selling vibe would work great with a not-so-great selling lube or sex gel set – maybe even throw in a not-so-great selling DVD as a bonus.

This would be a great use for an opt-in mailing system – a way to send little “gift” reminders or special holiday/seasonal sale offerings direct to your pre-qualified customers. Adding a spot in your registration form for birthdays and/or anniversaries and special dates can help as well – especially for those couples-only type promotions.

Webmaster Resources

Webmaster resource sites are NOT exempt from utilizing holidays and/or seasonal promotions to inspire their readers, encourage sign-ups to their sponsoring sites or even just to add some “fun” to the daily grind. While informing your readers, keeping them up-to-date on industry events, trends and new programs, you also need to keep their attention. Adding special time-of-year promotions, contests and/or décor can hold their attention and attract new readers to your site.

It doesn’t have to inspire a sale – sometimes just attracting the attention of some new eyeballs is all you really need. Remember – all work and no play makes Jack/Jane a dull boy/girl. Even hard-working webmasters like to add a little fun to the mix. Who knows? You just might inspire them to utilize holidays and seasons as promotional platforms on their sites! And isn’t that what it’s all about?

Happy Holidays!

Hopefully we’ve shown you some examples that will help you get started. They always say you should “write what you know,” so when it comes to holidays and seasons you should also stick to “what you know.” In other words, if you do not celebrate certain ethnic, cultural or religious holidays, it’s best not to try and attempt to “sell them” through your site. While it’s nice to try and acknowledge every group and culture, sometimes you can do more harm than good.

In America we’ve always been able to get away with a little tongue-in-cheek holiday humor and sometimes even naughty/sexy stuff… but that’s primarily because the country has a large population of Christians. Even if you don’t celebrate, holiday stuff is pretty much everywhere from October to January – you can’t help but know what things you can get away with and what things would offend.

Your job here is to inspire, attract and SELL to your site’s visitors. Start with a heavy dose of good, clean fun and go from there. As with any design change or promotion, take it slow and easy, making sure you are ready to pull the promotion if necessary based upon the response by your traffic and site’s visitors. Most of all – have fun with it yourself – it will definitely pass through your design/promo to your visitors and will encourage them to have fun right along with you!

by Kath Blackwell

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