Year in, year out digital marketers look forward to the holiday season as an important time. It’s a chance for big wins, sales spikes and a great end to the year.
Planning and executing an effective strategy for the holiday season takes a lot of time and effort. I wanted to look at a few different ways you can put a bit of holiday spirit into your usual digital marketing and SEO tactics to help you ensure that your campaigns are a success.
1. Plan Far In Advance
If you’re like me and leave your Christmas shopping until the very last minute, you’ll understand the stress and underprepared feeling. So many consecutive years desperately driving from shop to shop trying to find that one perfume my wife likes. Why don’t I ever learn?
Those who are more organised than myself will get on with their holiday preparations early. The same thinking can be applied to your digital marketing efforts. You need to start now in order to beat the competition. If you don’t, you’ll be missing out on valuable sales and revenue. With SEO, this is even more important as it obviously takes time to fully implement and take effect.
We are all guilty of rolling our eyes at Christmas decorations being put up by shops in September, I will admit to committing that sin. But preparation that thorough can create great success during what is a very crucial time of year for those businesses.
Digital Current created a report on the best timing for publishing content for the holiday season. Their conclusion was that the best time to start publishing content for any seasonal event is 45 days before.
It should be stated here that you need to be doing more than simply posting on social media without any care or thought. There’s all the work to do before this 45-day mark, including researching, planning and creating your content.
This means you should actually begin your planning for the holiday season at least one or two months before you publish anything. However, I should also point out that some businesses will start to plan for Christmas as much as six months before!
2. Analyse Your Results from Last Year
When it comes time to start your research, the best and most logical starting point is last year. You should ask yourself the following questions:
• What holiday-related campaigns did you run?
• What were the keywords you targeted?
• What were the positive results of these campaigns?
• What were the negative results of these campaigns?
Answering these questions, and many more, will help you to understand what works and what doesn’t work for your business. You can avoid previous mistakes and improve upon past success.
After completing your holiday-season efforts this year, be sure to look at the results and analyse what happened. This will give you important metrics to compare your strategies against next year and allows you to understand how successful your efforts have been. Only through comparing data can you see if you’ve improved or worsened your campaign strategies.
3. Maximise Your Efforts
Many businesses rely upon the holiday season to be their biggest sales period each year. Your entire digital marketing efforts are at the highest level of priority right now.
Everything you’ve done during the year should be doubled, or even tripled. All of the efforts you’ve made during the year have helped to get you here, but now it’s almost like wiping the slate clean. If you aren’t ready for the holiday season, you could potentially ruin your business.
All of your daily digital marketing tasks need to be taken to the next level. Strike early to get ahead of your competition, and strike hard in order to beat them out.
4. Check The Data Constantly
Once you’ve started to carry out your holiday season marketing plans, the work really begins. You may have spent months planning your campaigns, but you must always keep an eye on the results in order to make the necessary adjustments to maximise your return.
As a business owner, you may routinely monitor your digital marketing strategies periodically, but the holiday season is over in the blink of an eye. It is vital to keep on top of Google Analytics and any other data collection tools you’re using in order to understand how effective your campaigns are proving.
The difficult part after looking at the data is making quick decisions. In some cases, marketing professionals will spend months planning and testing tactics before making decisions, but Christmas doesn’t allow this. It’s all over in a flash, so you need to study your results as often as possible and be confident in making snap decisions.
5. Create Anticipation and Tease Details
Rather than just releasing a bunch of new offers or products for the holiday season, it is wise to give yourself time to build up a sense of excitement within your audience.
Creating a buzz by teasing a few details about what you have in store for Christmas is fantastic for many reasons. One of the biggest is a sense of exclusivity, as people will understand that once Christmas is over, the offer will be gone forever. That creates a feeling of urgency, which encourages people to buy sooner rather than later.
Not only does this help from a direct sales perspective, it also has benefits from an SEO perspective as well. As you prepare your website and social media channels with holiday-related content, you can start to target holiday-related keywords early on.
If your content isn’t fully completed, don’t worry. Having a small amount of information on the page with relevant links and targeted keywords will alert Google’s crawlers that you are targeting the upcoming holiday season. Having a ‘Coming Soon’ tease on the page will also inform the crawlers that you will be updating the page soon. In fact, this is great because Google likes pages that are regularly updated.
6. Use Google Trends to Find the Best Keywords to Target
I never understand why people don’t use Google Trends. It’s an amazing tool to use throughout the year, not just for public holidays. It is particularly useful for finding seasonal search terms when planning for Christmas.
It should be noted that the Christmas period is an especially important time for using Google Trends, as that is when the biggest shopping events happen: Black Friday, Cyber Monday and, of course, the build up to Christmas itself. Use it and get prepared!
You may notice that one thing I didn’t mention above was to create high-quality content. I thought this was a little too obvious for you. There are plenty of well-written articles on how to create great content for Christmas, so I wanted to give you something more original.
The number one thing I hope you will take away from this is to start your preparation early. The more time you spend planning for your holiday season marketing efforts, the better your results will be. This is a crucial time right now for businesses to get started.
What are you waiting for?