The 2010 holiday season is here! Black Friday and Cyber Monday are already gone, and right now is the time to upload your new holiday PPC campaigns. As an advertiser, the optimal time to boost your overall campaign’s effectiveness is from now until the day after New Year’s. It’s a great chance to boost your numbers and make your last quarter a great one!
Step 1: Identifying Your OffersWhen I build PPC campaigns for the holidays, the first step I take is to analyze all the offers at hand to decide what promotions will be helpful in meeting the client’s goals. Common motivators found during the holiday season include deep discounts bundled with free shipping, free gift with every order, free sample kit, and more. These motivators can be used in ad copy and will help send qualified traffic to your web site.
Step 2: Competitive Analysis
The second step that I take is that I sniff around and spy on my competition to see what they are doing in the paid search world. My analysis of the competitive landscape consists of the following:
- Paying visits to competitors’ web sites
- Performing web site scrapes
- Searching on competitors’ brand terms online
- Analyzing competitors’ ad copy
- Evaluating their efforts.
Once I know what they’re doing as a whole, I can create an action plan to help drive cost-efficient conversions.
Step 3: Identify Promotions to Help you get Noticed During the Busy Holiday Season
- Give your shoppers some type of added value over what the competition is offering. If your competitor is giving 15% off, go for 20% off. You are probably better off aiming towards quantity during the season. True story: I was shopping online on Cyber Monday on GAP.com for some toddler clothes for my 2-year-old. They offered a discount of 15% off and free shipping over $50. Carter’s offered 20% off and free shipping over $50. Guess who got me? Carter’s of course! All shoppers, even online consumers, like big discounts!
- Donate some of your holiday season profit to charity. Perhaps, if you sell gift baskets online, offer to donate a gift basket to a needy family for every 100 baskets sold. People like to participate and give during this time of year, so why not capture people who have the holiday spirit to gain some great sales?
Step 4: Targeted Keyword Research
After you decide on what type of promotions to run, it is time to start gathering your target keywords.
And here is my best advice to you: wear your online shopper’s shoes when you do this!
Think like you are Mr. Johns looking to buy a holiday gift basket. What search word will you type in that search bar? Will it simply be “holiday gift baskets” or maybe “find holiday gift basket?” How about “gift baskets online,” “cool holiday gift baskets,” or “online holiday gift baskets store” … you get it. Now think about your target audience and aim toward that age group.
Don’t forget to include all types of holiday terms – not just “holiday” but “Christmas,” “seasonal,” “Hanukkah,” etc.
After you determine your keyword options, gather them in a list. Divide them into groups and write your ad copy. Remember to use some dynamic insertions in your headlines. Those ads have a higher CTR.
It’s also a good idea to mention the discount at the body of your ad. For example: “Take 20% off Now Plus Free Shipping.” Language like “now,” “hurry,” “Get it Today,” “Limited supply,” “only 99 at this price,” etc. create a sense of urgency and can help push the sale.
Step 5: Landing Page Design
The next step is your landing page. Let’s face it: holiday shoppers don’t have a lot of time or patience, so you need to make sure your visitor lands on a relevant page, or you may lose a potential sale!
Make your landing page appealing and easy to use. Another idea is to create centralized themes surrounding the offers or promotions that you want to advertise on. It’s a good idea to give your web site a holiday look. You may consider a theme change, adding a holiday flare, a few snowflakes here and there, some red and green, etc. These variations will put your visitor in a holiday mood. The goal is to keep a visitor on your web site as long as you can. Create a warm visual experience, and your visitor will stay on your web site for longer amounts of time and they may even ask for hot cocoa, too!
Remember that PPC alone will not drive all your sales. It will bring you visitors, but it won’t guarantee a conversion.
In order to convert a visitor to buyer, you will need to invest both time and money into various avenues in the online media world, including web design, content building for your promotions, and the overall message that you are trying to deliver this holiday season. As a whole, be true to your instincts, think like a shopper, give generous offers, and make the overall experience of shopping on your web site easy and fun to interact with.
Cheers to a successful holiday season!