Holiday PPC & a Partridge in a Pear Tree

I made my list, I checked it twice, and now I’m sharing with you my top 12 tips for you to prepare your online marketing for the 2011 holiday season:

Engage in multi-channel marketing: Interact with your customers, and entice them to interact with your business. Use email marketing and social media such as Facebook, Twitter, and your blog to keep your store front and center for your customers. Use PPC to promote your blog, to encourage people to “like” your Facebook page, and to ask people to follow you on Twitter, and drive that traffic accordingly.

Use holiday-themed ads instead of holiday-themed keywords: Take it from our team of first-hand experience. Holiday-themed keywords will cost you a fortune without a strong return. Get creative with holiday-themed ads instead!

Enhance your value propositions: Offer a free gift with purchase (you don’t even need to name the item, which allows you flexibility—people just love to receive free stuff!) If it is feasible, offer free gift wrap for orders over a certain dollar value.

Shape up and ship out! Make your shipping policies crystal clear and attractive. Provide a transit map such as does:

Provide estimated delivery dates such as does:

By clicking “View Shipping Policy”, the following handy table is displayed:

Also, as it gets closer to Christmas, offer free expedited shipping for orders over a particular cost threshold, and use those ads in your PPC campaigns.

Use unforgettable, concise, coupon codes: Memories are short, and so are PPC ad limitations! Create coupon codes that are convenient for the user, not what is helpful to you.

Are you the lowest priced? If you got it, flaunt it! Use price in PPC ads, but be sure to update your ads promptly if/when prices change.

Remarket, but don’t be a stalker! And make your remarketing ads even more persuasive than your regular ads; consider a special coupon code for these ads for easy tracking and to sweeten the deal for your already-qualified user.

A picture is worth a thousand words: If you aren’t using image ads, try some!

Be fashionably early with your PPC ads: Set up and submit ads early to ensure your ads will be reviewed and approved in time for the big holiday push.

Feed the CSE’s: Google Shopping is free, and you can link your Google Merchant Center account with your Google AdWords account, allowing images to be pulled from Google Shopping to your PPC ads through Product Extensions—for free!

Dress up your site: Set up holiday-themed landing pages such as a “Holiday Shop” or “Gifts Under $50” page and test, test, test your ads with various landing pages, where applicable.

Create a marketing calendar: If you don’t already have one, it’s time to establish one. Know the holiday buying cycle for your product and all of the key dates! And, don’t forget to stock your inventory and your staff to accommodate the holiday rush.

THANKSGIVING – Thursday, November 24, 2011
BLACK FRIDAY – Friday, November 25, 2011
CYBER MONDAY – Monday, November 28, 2011
FREE SHIPPING DAY - Sign up for free! Friday, December 16, 2011
WEEKEND BEFORE CHRISTMAS – Saturday, December 17th-Sunday, December 18th
HANUKKAH – Sundown, Tuesday, December 20th-Wednesday, December 28th
CHRISTMAS EVE – Saturday, December 24, 2011
CHRISTMAS DAY – Sunday, December 25, 2011

And don’t forget, your marketing calendar needs to be year round. If you sell Breast Cancer Awareness items, October should be on your marketing calendar. If you sell gear for cyclists, the Tour de France should be on your marketing calendar.

Happy All-idays!

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