5 SEM Tips for the Holiday Season

Posted on December 6, 2012 in Marketing, Social Media

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Thanksgiving ends and then there are four weeks of shopping frenzy leading up to Christmas, which is the golden time for online retailers. Every part of a search engine marketing (SEM) campaign (search, display, social media marketing, and mobile) grow exponentially year after year during the holiday season. During this holiday season make sure you have a solid plan for your business that also offers flexibility in case of changes in the market. Here are some strategies to help your SEM campaign during this holiday season.

1. Plan Campaigns Ahead of Time: The season is in full swing, and you, the marketer, are too busy with analyzing data, reports, and continuous SEO based on all the data. During this busy time you have little time to launch new campaigns with new keywords that are also created with new promotions in mind.

To fix this problem takes a fair bit of planning on your part. Create marketing calendars that coincide with promotional calendars to get the maximum effect from them. Generate more action keywords and mix those with creative text to build an effective campaign. Avoid manually launching any new campaigns during the holiday and instead, have it scheduled ahead of time to launch, automatically saving you time.

2. Develop a Boost Schedule: This allows you to prepare for a difference in consumer behavior throughout the holiday season. A boost schedule lets you increase bids based off when you think you should. This enables your search marketers to make use of high conversion rates and revenue-per-click (RPC) during the busiest shopping season.

Developing a schedule first starts with setting a baseline RPC earlier in the season, then you’ll have to do some guess work. Examine how RPC changed during the last holiday season and then make an estimate on how much your bids should change by during the current holiday season based off that data.

Make sure to monitor the RPC changes every day to make changes as you need to.

3. Promote Promotions: It goes without saying that you’ll be pushing special offers during the holiday season. Some of these could include free shipping, discounts and coupons. These influence shoppers the most.

Value-shoppers are a great source to target during the holiday season. Special offers like a certain percentage off, money off coupons and free shipping should be highlighted and placed in an ad with creative text. Time sensitive offers create a sense of urgency for shoppers and they’ll convert at a higher rate to get those deals.

4. Embrace Social Networks: It is crucial that your business embraces the fact that social networks are the most powerful word of mouth channel on the globe. A social media marketing program that targets them could be the difference between a successful holiday season and one where your business falls behind. Consumers are more likely to turn to social connections to get the latest product info, news, special offers and specific brand suggestions.

Your social media marketing campaign should focus on using things like Facebook fan-only specials and coupons. Stay connected with your customers by responding to posts and tweets and creating a conversation. You can also use Facebook Offers and Facebook Sponsored Stories to target friends of fans to get more fans. This will appeal to deal-seeking social shoppers and will expand your holiday campaign to a larger customer base.

5. Create Product Listing Ads (PLA) PLA’s can be a marketer’s best friend. The ads are highly visible and full of content that is easy for the consumer to make a decision on right away. Google shoppers can look at and compare products easily as a PLA contains an image of the product, the price and the name of the business.

This translates into higher click-through-rates for retailers than standard text ads. All it takes is a product feed through a Google Merchant Center account and a quick link into AdWords.

Through these marketing practices, you can have a very successful holiday season. Another tip is for you to record and capture the data for this holiday season as quickly as possible in order to better prepare yourself for the coming year. Accurate reports will become valuable assets when planning for the next holiday season.