Although it is only the middle of September, it’s the perfect time to start planning your PPC strategy for the coming holiday season. There are a few steps you can take to make the most of the traffic you have now, and prepare for the high season coming. If you take these steps now, you can save yourself stress and worry going into the fourth quarter.
The first thing to do is think about the seasonal items from summer that you still have in stock. PPC is a great vehicle to get the word out that you’re having an end of the season sale. Create sale related ad groups and updated ads for your seasonal items, making sure to use your most persuasive ad copy and include value ads such as free shipping and specific percentage off prices. Additionally, you can include new keyword search terms such as “Beach Chair Clearance,” and “Beach Chair Sale.”
While you’re clearing out excess summer inventory, make sure that all your fall promotions are live as well. At this point in the year you should have any relevant fall campaigns up and running. Generally, you should plan to have any promotional campaigns for a seasonal event up two months prior to the actual peak time.
I like to have my campaigns up and running early, but I limit their budget early in the season. By doing this, I’m able to learn which products are getting the most clicks and impressions, without wasting a lot of money during a time period when buyers are mostly shopping around, getting ideas, and figuring out where they will ultimately purchase. During this time period it makes sense to frequently review your search query data to find the keywords that are generating the most interest. I also like to review the data from ads that have been A/B tested to determine which ads will be the most successful when it’s time to go aggressive. This is also a great time to employ remarketing, so that when people are ready to buy, they remember your business and come back to make their purchase.
Within six weeks to one month of a seasonal event, I begin to increase budget, especially on the campaigns that have generated significant interest.
Finally, believe it or not, now is the time to start focusing on the pertinent dates for Holiday Shopping:
- October 23rd, 2011 – anticipated first prominent spike in Holiday shopping related search queries
- November 14th & 15th, 2011 – Popular dates for food and dinnerware categories. Try limited time offers to drive sales
- November 25th, 2011- Black Friday
- November 28th, 2011 – Cyber Monday
- December 11th & 12th, 2011- Projected to be the biggest online shopping days of this year- make sure you have your best offers up and advertised!
- December 19th, 2011- Major last minute shopping day- make sure you advertise quick shipping offers
I like to build up my campaigns well in advance so that I can have them ready to go well before the dates arrive. Remember that buyers vary. Some will be ready to buy right away because they want to make sure that they get the hottest toy or newest gadget this year. Other buyers will hold out and wait for motivating offers including sales, free shipping, and free gifts. Finally, last minute shoppers want to make sure that what they buy will be delivered in time for the holiday. You should make sure that you craft ads to address all these buyer needs, and have them ready to roll out at the appropriate times of the season.
A little bit of planning and foresight goes a long way! By building up seasonal and holiday related campaigns now, you can ensure yourself a stress free and profitable holiday!