Time to get strategic with your Christmas marketing and stock up before those clicks get too expensive.
Doctor Digital Says
We all know those people who buy Christmas presents early and by December the 24th are smugly sitting around enjoying eggnog rather than fighting for the last box of bon bons and a frozen turkey. Sure, we secretly admire them, because we know they have saved time, money and stress by being strategic. Now is the time to be THAT person in your business, by getting your seasonal marketing campaign underway now, and in doing so, cut the cost of competing for your keywords in a CPC seasonal bidding war.
SEM & CPC
If you have a digital presence and any kind of online transactions, you want to drive people towards your website through targeted keyword searches. An effective and economical way of reaching customers is through search engine marketing (SEM). Unfortunately, everyone else online feels the same way and wants to compete for your keywords. This means lots of choices for customers (yay!) and lots of competition for you (uh-oh!).To put it simply, your advertising costs will increase the later you leave it to lock in your campaign as competition for keywords increases.
The amount you pay per click (CPC) and consequently, per conversion action (CPA) depends on several factors, one of which is the amount of competition in the marketplace. This means that if another business decides to bid for a keyword that you’re targeting, then you may be required to bid a higher amount to show your ad instead. While there is always competition for your keywords, ad positions and customers, this activity becomes more intensified during the festive season as it is a key time that buyers open their purse strings and retaillers know this is a peak season to be seen online.
Platforms such as Google Ads consider factors other than your bid. These include ad relevance, expected click-through rate (CTR) and landing page experience. This gives smaller advertisers the opportunity to compete against bigger players. And you can give yourself an advantage too - here are a few tactics to help you make the best of it.
Begin NOW (and by now we mean in September or earlier)
The difference between success and failure can often come down to planning. If you've been in business for a few years, you already know if the Christmas season is important for you, and you know it will be competitive for getting the jump on keywords. Plan for it 3, 6 or even 12 months in advance. If it is a peak season for you, once you have a couple of seasonal ad campaigns under your belt it will be simple to tweak and deploy. This could be as simple as preparing effective holiday-themed copy for your ads or ensuring that you are allocating more budget for this time of year.
Research by Australia Post consistently shows that Christmas shopping begins at 5 - 6 weeks before the big day, with the volume picking up as early as October. Another interesting observation, this time from Google research was that 48% of shoppers were open to buying from new retailers in the holiday season and 30% actually did. This suggests that building brand awareness earlier in the year may result payoff later and that consumers are open to spontaneous purchasing. The bigger takeaway is that a consumer's seasonal shopping journey can technically start at any point in the year.
Don't Have a Big Budget? Cool. Be Strategic!
If you are working with a limited budget be selective in your choice of marketing channels. Identify where your audience is most likely to engage with you, the tip will be its where you get the most engagement already. Ask yourself where your customers get their information, who they ask for advice from and how long it takes them to make a choice. Rather than allocating tiny amounts of budget to a barrage of channels, prioritise the channels based on their importance, relevance, effectiveness and feasibility. Your data intelligence will come in handy here, so use your insights and track the pathways your customers take to find you.
Eggs in a few baskets
Now you’ve planned ahead and set aside a budget for the Christmas rush, then you can edge out the competition by diversifying the channels and tactics you are using, starting early. Use the big hitters like Google ads, grab the keywords you can afford and lock in your campaign at the pre-Christmas rush price. Partner these with your key social media channels and some decent direct marketing and your bases and baskets are covered.
Data is year on year - just like Christmas
Having a strategic, planned approach means that you have time and space to be responsive rather than reactive. It also means you can check your progress, and be prepared to pivot and be agile if you aren't seeing the results you want. Better still, you have all the data to be able to retro your festive marketing strategies once they are over, and see if you achieved what you wanted to, if the hypothesis about how to engage your people was right, and what you might do differently when in the next year. Learning from your failures as well as your successes will help you refine your marketing, ensuring that your efforts are profitable and achieve better results in the future. Let's get festive!