Want a Strong Holiday Search Strategy? Start Planning Now
Although we’re in the midst of summer, it’s time to start thinking about your company’s paid search strategy for the upcoming holiday season. Some of the most critical holiday search strategies require months of serious preparation. So take the time to start planning your fourth quarter holiday search now.
While there are many holiday search issues to address while the weather’s still warm, it’s best to focus on the following three:
1. quality score;
2. mining last winter’s data for this winter’s search campaign; and
3. e-mail loyalty programs (yes, that’s a search issue, too).
Search prices skyrocket during the holiday shopping season. To keep your holiday search ad ranking high, while still keeping your keyword prices low, focus on the other half of your search ad ranking — your quality score.
A good quality score stems from many factors, including the relevance of your ad and landing page, as well as your campaign’s overall clickthrough rate history. Don’t address any of these things at the last minute. That’s why the summer is the best time to start working on winter quality scores.
A few points to consider regarding quality scores:
* A/B creative testing shows you what messaging is the most enticing to your search customers.
* Mentioning price in search ads can be a particularly effective way of gaining more clicks, especially during tough economic times.
* Raising keyword bids now in the off-season — when holiday keyword prices are low and it takes less spend to raise your ads to more visible positions — can be a cost-effective way to improve clickthrough rates on holiday terms.
Examine Holidays Past
Whether you’re talking about more searches for winter clothes or more clicks on ads with the word “gift” in the copy, fourth quarter holiday search behavior differs from search behavior year-round. To understand how your search customers act differently during the holiday shopping season, spend the summer looking through last winter’s search data. Pouring through the data now will help prepare you implement your strategies come this fall.
Keep Loyal With E-Mail
One way to become truly efficient in paid search is to leverage the customers who don’t need to search to find you. They already know who you are and where you “live” on the Web. A gentle reminder and a direct link to your Web site in the form of a well-crafted e-mail may be all you need to drive existing customers to return to your site, thereby bypassing search and staying clear of both yours and your competitors’ paid search ads.
That’s why a strong loyalty e-mail program can save search costs that would otherwise be directed toward re-engaging existing customers. You then can redirect that saved search spend to acquiring new customers through paid search.
Of course, an e-mail program that’s effective enough to break through the holiday clutter won’t happen overnight. E-mail is yet another component of your holiday search strategy that you should start thinking about in the summer.
Have more ideas or questions about your 2008 holiday search campaign? Contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org or post a comment on this site by clicking on the “Post a comment” icon below.
Abe Mezrich is manager, communications at Didit, a New York-based search marketing and online media firm. He can be reached at email@example.com.