Taking these steps upfront will give your advertising efforts the best chance of succeeding (and save some of your sanity in the process):
If you have errors that prevent visitors from finding what they’re looking for or completing checkout, it won’t matter how much you’ve spent on PPC because you’re not going to get the results you want. Before the big holiday rush, place some test orders to ensure that everything is working smoothly.
Even if your site is clear of flagrant errors like that, it may not be laid out in a way that will encourage shoppers to make a purchase. To analyze if you have any navigational issues and determine if you need to make any structural changes to your site, consult these sources:
• Google Analytics – The site flow data in Google Analytics can tell you where you are losing people on your site to help identify where there may be issues or the call-to-action could be stronger.
• Conversion experts – Having a professional provide conversion consulting is a surefire way to get actionable feedback on the types of changes that can help improve your bottom line.
• New visitors – If there’s a way for you to poll or interview new visitors, this is a great way to get feedback about how your site is laid out for their needs. Some business owners will conduct mini focus groups or just get colleagues to take a look at their sites.
2. Determine Holiday Promotion Specifics
From a marketing perspective, the worst thing that you can do is head into the holidays without a promotional calendar. If you aren’t familiar with the term, a promotional calendar lays out all of the details of each promotion you plan on running, including:
• Name and associated coupon code
• Type and amount of discount
• Eligible products/services
• Channel(s) where promotion will run
So for example, your promotional calendar may include a promotion called “Black Friday Sale” with a coupon code of BFSALE that gives shoppers 30% off of all footwear on 11/28/14 only and will be announced on Facebook and promoted through PPC.
Obviously, bigger companies have many more promotions that they run throughout the holidays, which creates a lot of moving parts. For this reason, promotional calendars benefit big companies the most because it allows for multiple teams to be on the same page. However, a promotional calendar is an important tool for small businesses too (especially if you have an online marketing company doing your advertising for you instead of doing it in-house).
3. Build PPC Campaigns Ahead of Time for Quick Launch
The more you can build out ahead of time, the less stressful the holidays will be. Getting holiday PPC campaigns ready to launch and then scheduling them ensures that they will launch then they should and will be of the highest quality (because you won’t be trying to put them together when you’re stressed and sleep deprived). Your digital marketing company will probably want your promotional calendar as early as you can give it to them so that they can get your holiday campaigns built out before the wave of new holiday accounts come in.
4. Set Goals
As is always the case with marketing, you should have clear goals in mind before you begin. Whether those goals are conversion-based or more geared towards branding, know what you want to get out of your efforts and how much that’s worth to your company. This will allow you to make smarter budget allocation decisions.
Happy holidays and best wishes! If you need help planning or executing your PPC strategy this holiday season, get in touch with us. We’d be happy to manage your PPC for you or give you some pointers!
Kate Pierce is the owner of LionShark Digital Marketing LLC, a West Michigan internet marketing company. Her areas of expertise include Paid Search, Search Engine Optimization, Social Media, Web Consulting for small businesses, Copywriting and Local Online Marketing. She lives in the Grand Rapids area with her husband and enjoys cooking, watching sports and spending time outdoors. Like a true digital marketing expert (i.e. geek), she loves talking about marketing theory and SEM trends… so don’t say you weren’t warned!