By Barney Garcia, Published November 8, 2014
October marks the beginning of holiday season for many businesses. Halloween, Thanksgiving (in the U.S.), Christmas, Hanukkah, Black Friday, and Cyber Monday mark some of the biggest and busiest times for all types of businesses. If you haven’t already started planning for the holidays, it’s time to kick your search engine marketing campaigns into gear so your business can reap the benefits all holiday season long. Here are 4 steps to get your SEM ready now:
1. Do Your Research
The first thing you should do when creating a new, holiday-based SEM campaign is to start with research. Here’s what you should look up:
- Boost Media advises looking at your internal data first. Look at what happened last year during the holiday period. What were the top driving factors?
- Examine keywords to see which drove the most visits, and which keywords are worth the most to you.
- Determine which products were most popular.
- Use search trend data to figure out how early you should be get started, what kind of traffic volume you should expect, how much budget you should allocate and how aggressive your bids should be.
- Look at free third party data to see what industry experts are saying.
- Additionally, check out your competitors’ marketing efforts to see what they’ve done in the past, as well as what they may have already started doing. See what incentives or changes they’ve made to their holiday strategy to form your own.
2. Form Your Strategy
Once you’ve completed your research, you should have a good idea as to who your best customers are, what they’ll most likely be looking for, and where to find them. Choosing an appropriate strategy can make a big difference on the efficiency and the overall profitability of your holiday campaigns. Make sure to include mobile into your targeting, as more and more people are using their mobile devices for research on products, services, and pricing. PracticalEcommerce says about one-third of all U.S. sales in October, November, and December of this year will come from mobile devices. Whether you’re an online shop or a brick and mortar store, it’s always important to be visible on mobile.
3. Take Action
You’ll want to consider setting aggressive bids because competition will be fierce during the holidays. Additionally, make sure to use everything that Adwords and Bing Ad center have to offer. Take advantage of ad extensions like sitelinks, call out, and click to call extensions to drive traffic and business to your most profitable items. Lastly, use remarketing to stay in front of customers who showed interest but didn’t make a purchase, as well as repeat customers who may be even more valuable during this busy and extra competitive time.
4. Make Buying Easy
Make your buying process as easy as possible – This is one of the most important, yet often overlooked strategies to keep in mind. Reducing the number of steps to purchase is always a good idea, regardless of the season. Streamline your check out process and offer incentives like discounts, or free shipping to help customers purchase.
With these 4 steps, your search engine marketing campaigns will be more prepared for the holidays than ever.