The build up to the Christmas holidays heralds the start of the busiest part of the year for most US businesses shipping to North America and Europe. With just four weeks left to purchase gifts, stock up on food and drink and make plans for New Year, there’s no better time to make the most of your paid search campaign by injecting a little seasonal flair.
Whatever you sell on your site, the holiday period is a huge opportunity to capitalize on seasonal consumption and seriously ramp up sales figures. But in the rush to attract as much web traffic as possible and clear out your festive inventory, be wary of over-spending on paid search. Even if you’re been stockpiling extra cash to assign to your Google AdWords or Yahoo! Panama campaign at this time of year, don’t spend on clicks just for the sake of it. Make sure your campaign can deliver a return on investment by following this checklist…
1. Relive The Glory Of Christmas Past
In much the same way as we embrace brandy butter and mince pies during the twelve days of Christmas, there are search phrases that live out their whole year’s popularity in the single month leading up to the big day. In order to find out which keywords you should be including in your seasonal campaign, ask your webmaster to turn over web logs from Christmas 07 and dig out your paid search reports from the same period. These two sets of data will give a seasonal insight into search traffic by indicating which terms search engine users inputted and clicked on to find your site. Taking care to leave out phrases for items which are out of stock or no longer on sale, you’ll be able to work in your most lucrative phrases and relive some of the glory of seasons past.
2. Fine Tune Your Festive Advert Text
It’s all very well to offer seasonal savings but you need to shout it from the metaphorical rooftops if you’re to successfully convince the savvy online shopper to buy from your site. Getting advert text correct at this time of year is very much a balancing act. While you don’t want to go overboard, underselling your seasonal savers by shying away from holiday terms in your pay-per-click advert text is also a big no-no.
Try to strike a balance between the festive and the plain frivolous by checking out how your competitors are positioning their special offers and seasonal references. If you find that your rivals have fully embraced their one shot at Christmas kitsch don’t feel that your adverts should be carbon copies if this doesn’t sit well with your regular corporate image. It’s better to stand out by being different than it is to try and buy those eyeballs with higher than necessary bids to set your advert atop the search pile.
Being creative with limited advert space is a great rule of thumb at any time of the year but absolutely crucial when there’s so many more online shoppers to sell to at Christmas. Rather than simply adding words like ‘Christmas’ and ‘Santa’ to your standard advert text, be creative and set time aside to think of season specific messages. Making ads time-relevant by referencing deals such as free shipping until Christmas eve or free gift wrapping on all presents purchased before the twelfth night of Christmas will alert shoppers to the fact that you’re ready, willing and able to work to a tight schedule. It’ll also help reinforce your seasonal identity and underline the suitability of your offerings as holiday gifts.
3. Get In To The Spirit Of Christmas
Consider implementing PPC only deals such as a free box of holiday cookies or personalized tree decorations to send tired spirits soaring and shore up click through and conversion rates. Calls to action on free gifts and added extras can be strategically placed within your seasonal ad groups to make the most of your year-end inventory. Rather than simply adding the same strap line to each advert, make time to sift though your festive campaigns and decide which ad groups lend themselves to which special offer. If you’re offering complimentary gift wrapping for example, it may not be appropriate for some products, while free delivery may be economically unsound if you’re shipping lots of heavy items overseas. However, free cookies with all presents purchased for dad or personalized tree decorations with any purchase of gifts for grandparents show you’re willing to get into the spirit of giving. These goodwill gestures can even tip hesitant surfers over the edge into a sale and if included in your advert text will help ensure your paid search ad gets the consideration it deserves in a crowded Christmas marketplace. Even if you’re working to tight margins and can’t afford simple to give away small treats, you can still use simple back to basics customer care to capitalize on the seasonal sales push. Even promoting your guaranteed delivery service or extended returns policy can work exceptionally well as a tool for reassuring uncertain shoppers and encouraging their custom.
4. Optimize Your Landing Page Text
Hopefully by this point you’ve spent a good couple of hours fine tuning your paid search presence and may even have started to reap the rewards. However, don’t rush to start another job before you’ve optimized the landing page text. There’s often a disconnect between the messages we see advertised at the side of search results and the text on the landing page when festive ads are clicked on. While it’s tempting to justify a lack of work by saying that it’s just too much trouble to modify and then change back website text in the New Year, a few simple tweaks will reinforce core marketing messages and help to push conversion rate increases. Even something as simple as changing the title on the page or adding a seasonal disclaimer such as ‘offer ends Christmas Eve’ reinforces the limited time offer you’ve advertised and stimulates a desire to purchase.
If you can justify extra time spent writing new landing page copy or even creating new website pages specifically for your seasonal campaigns, embrace the opportunity to be creative. Google in particular reward advertisers for good landing pages with a lower cost per click so this time will never be wasted. Armed with your ad group keyword list, set forth by including primary search terms in the page title and as early on as possible in the text. Your landing page could include images of the product in a festive setting and should reference secondary keywords throughout. Calls to action are essential so tie these in with any limited period specials such as the free shipping if purchased before a certain date or complimentary gift wrap.