The end-of-year holiday season is the best … and the worst. On the best side of things, there’s delicious food, good feelings and fun decorations. On the other side of things, there’s awkward family engagements you’re expected to attend and a jam-packed work schedule.
At times, you might feel you’re living a double life—between being a reality-TV-show-ready party host and a hard-working professional. Somewhere between this double life, you’re also expected to manage your company’s marketing with a creepily large grin on your face.
How are you going to do all of this? Well, truthfully, I can’t help you with the whole picture, but I can tell you how to knock your holiday PPC campaigns out of the park.
1) Get Started
The end-of-year holiday season starts in October. Ideally, you’ve been running holiday-themed campaigns since this time. If not, though, it’s not too late.
Some customers have done their Black Friday and Cyber Monday shopping already and are pretty prepared for the holidays. You’ll want to focus on shoppers who missed these promotions or offerings and gain their business before year’s end.
Sales can continue to build steeply up until days before the end of the year. Make sure your PPC content and images inform customers that you’re still offering great products that’ll ship in time for the holidays.
Also, here’s a pro tip: set yourself a reminder now to disable your ads by your shipping cutoff date. The last thing you want to do is attract frantic shoppers who will end up angrily calling your company on Christmas because their package didn’t arrive.
One of the most common mistakes people make around the holiday season is trying to reinvent the wheel. You might feel like you need totally new and innovative marketing for the holidays, but this isn’t always the case.
Start by looking back at your campaigns from last year. If you’re a newer company, just look back as far as you can. Identify the keywords and bids that drove traffic to your site and increased your conversion rates.
Now, replicate these successes in your new ad campaign. Although they won’t work the same as how they have in the past, they’ll give you a good jumping off point.
3) Plan It Out
When you’re creating your final PPC campaign of the year, there’s a group you’ll want to keep in mind—men. Unfortunately, guys, the stereotype is true; we really are procrastinators when it comes to shopping.
Although you’ll want to focus on male shoppers this holiday season, don’t discount the value of female shoppers. A National Retail Federation survey reports that 48 percent of women have completed more than half of their holiday shopping by early December. So, there’s still an opportunity to sell to women in December.
In addition to understanding your last-minute shopper demographics, you should also familiarize yourself with December’s biggest shopping days. A quick Google search for “Biggest December shopping days for [enter your industry here]” should provide you with information that can help inform your strategy and your bids throughout the end of the year.
4) Addressing Holiday PC
The holiday atmosphere can be pretty politicized. As a company, your marketing should affirm the holiday spirit in whatever way you see fit.
Interestingly enough, one of the best ways to do this is to use the word “Christmas” in your marketing. Last year, companies like Home Depot and Target subbed “Christmas” out for more generic terms, like “Happy Holidays,” and consumers weren’t pleased. These companies received consumer pushback and negative media coverage for their choice.
If you feel deeply about sticking to “holidays,” go for it. After all, 47 percent of the country prefers “Happy Holidays” to “Merry Christmas.” The word “Christmas” may do you more good this season, but not by an overwhelming amount.
5) Think About Mobile
“The big driver of America’s five-day shopping spree that starts on Thanksgiving was the mobile phone, not the mall,” New York Times. This year, the majority of shoppers aren’t hitting the mall or using their desktops, they’re using their phones. As such, it’s essential that all PPC campaigns have mobile strategies in place.
First, consider device-specific messaging. Many people use their smartphones with the help of voice search, which makes their queries longer and often more complicated. Your company will need to discover keywords that work well with these mobile trends.
Another great feature to add is a call extension. Mobile users should be able to navigate your site quickly and efficiently on their phone, but if they have any questions, they should be able to give you a call.
6) Use Extensions
I couldn’t simply leave you hanging with only a call extension suggestion. So, here’s the other ones you’ll need: sitelink extensions, location extensions and review extensions.
A sitelink extension can take a searcher to a specific page on your site—like a product landing page. It can also take them to information, like your holiday shipping cutoff date or your customer service hours.
A location extension will help people find your store quickly and effectively. If your products are carried in retailers, your location extension can help a viewer find the closest one to their location. This extension is another good place to include your phone number so customers can call you.
Review extensions are a holiday goldmine. 88 percent of online shoppers use reviews to inform their buying decisions. Help them convert by showing them positive write-ups and company accolades.
7) Expand Your Budget
You can get more traffic and convert more people in December. To accommodate this influx, you’ll probably need to increase your budget. Again, look at last year’s data. It won’t be the same this year, but understanding how much you spent in the past can give you an idea of your budget through the holidays.
If you are a new company—or are running significantly different PPC campaigns—use Google’s Bid Simulator Tool. Google’s tool will provide a cost estimate based on your established ad groups so you can have an overall number in mind.
Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays
As December moves along, your stress will probably increase. It’s hard to make the perfect holiday meal, manage your family and still perform like a rockstar at work.
Fortunately, the tips and tricks above can help you finish on a strong PPC marketing note. The rest of your holiday progress and happiness is up to you, I’m afraid … good luck!