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Don’t Get Left in the Holiday Dust

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I bought my mom’s Christmas gift a week ago, a couple days into October. Why, you might ask? To get it over with. I’d rather get Christmas shopping out of the way so I can enjoy the holidays rather than stress over them. Turns out, I’m not the only one who feels this way. Actually, I’m late to the party – several people start shopping for gifts for Christmas as early as September. I was still in shock pumpkin spice themed products made their debut in August!

Furthermore, I bought my mom’s Christmas gift online, much like most other things I buy. I think you might start to see where I’m headed with this: it’s that time of year to prepare for Christmas campaigns. Gone are the days of sprinting to the mall only to find that iPhone 6 is out of stock and you’re, well, screwed. Welcome to the age of savvy online shoppers who know better than to wait until Christmas Eve. And, just like me, they’re doing it earlier and earlier each year.

According to Craig Gaylon, a senior PCC and media specialist for SwellPath, people typically launch into heavy duty holiday shopping the day after Halloween, with traffic levels increasing the first week of November. This means you should start revving up your marketing strategies to reflect consumers’ needs in this time period. How do you go about doing this? Simple: alter your keywords and ad copies to reflect the holidays.

Let’s say you’re an eCommerce shop that sell bikes. A good way to incorporate the holiday message into your campaign is by inserting the words “gift”, “present”, or “Christmas” before campaign mainstays such as “bike”, “mountain bike”, “hybrid bike”, etc., giving you new, holiday-themed keywords. Don’t forget to incorporate other holidays such as Hanukkah, Thanksgiving, Black Friday, and Cyber Monday as well. All holidays are opportunities to get in front of people searching for just the right gifts at the right prices.

Take a look at last year’s data around the holiday season. Checking out traffic patterns from previous years is a great way to predict how the holidays will pan out this year for your business. At what point does traffic increase? When do you experience the most sales? What promotions/offers worked? What should you do again, what should you NEVER do again? PPC is trial and error, and it’s so important to learn from your mistakes and continually test fresh ad copies.

Try something new this year. I’ve talked to a good deal of advertisers who have seen great success with Remarketing and Shopping campaigns. Remarketing is a great way to get in front of customers who might not have made the purchase, but if nudged in the right direction, could easily be persuaded to complete the transaction. Shopping campaigns are a no-brainer for businesses selling lower price point items online, such as affordable t-shirts or purses. Most people are visual, so having that super cute Vols t-shirt in front of their faces is an easy sale.

Moral of the story? Don’t wait to plan your holiday strategy. Get in front of consumers when they need you. Create a plan and stick with it. If you don’t, your competitors will – and you don’t want to be the office Grinch, do you?