We’re rapidly approaching the end of the most critical 6 to 8 week selling time of the entire year. Online advertising has become obviously effective, while search engine marketing (SEM) campaigns have become increasing competitive over the past five years of growth.
Smart marketers start thinking about and planning their holiday marketing strategies in early August. While this early start often seems too advanced in the heat of summer, you’ll end up spending too much for traffic that doesn’t convert to sales effectively if you don’t. A tested campaign will generate the greatest profits during this time of year when it matters most.
August is the right time to define your goals and metrics for success.
In September, beging implementing more testing campaigns and researcdh with the focus on your brand’s goals for the season. Alternate keywords, bidding strategies and revised ad campaigns with appropriate landing pages can make or break year end success.
October is a good time to give multiple paid search options a try. Explore context oriented advertising through Google AdSense and Yahoo Publisher Network to expand your market. Be sure to monitor and test your bidding strategies with close observation and frequent trials.
By November, campaigns should be paying off well before your competition begins bidding wars without prior testing and strategy. Whatever you do, keep a close eye on your metrics as you may want to delete keywords and creative positions that aren’t working now.
Then in December, keyword pricing should reach their maximums in two weeks or less. Your SEM campaign is at full speed, and it’s time to offer additional incentives such as free shipping, overnight delivery, or volume discounts.
December is also the best time to implement your post holiday campaigns to move items still in inventory.
Finally, the new year in January brings post-holiday sales that can lengthen your holiday season gains. Shoppers have holiday money to spend and are looking for after-Christmas sales and specials. Be sure to make your message match these incentives.
Start your campaigns early. Test them…implement them in early fall, then keep a close eye on them through January. Once you’ve accomplished this early calendar campaign, next year’s efforts will be much, much easier to implement and track.