Media Planning & Buying Opinions Search

Visions of Holiday Conversions Dancing in Your Head?

Posted by Brian Easter on November 24th, 2010 at 4:17 pm

Are you in the holiday spirit? Well, your customers sure are. An estimated $27 billion was spent on holiday online shopping in 2009, a 5% increase from a disappointing 2008 holiday season, and the 2010 season predictions are looking oh so jolly. The only problem lies in directing those click happy buyers to your website. Have visions of conversions dancing in your head? Find out how you can make the most of your PPC campaigns this holiday season.

Start Early
Have you ever found yourself frantically trying to elbow your way through a department store shopping frenzy, just to get that last minute gift for Dad? Likewise, waiting until the last minute to start your holiday PPC campaigns can prove to be exhausting and often, futile. An estimated 73% of adults started their holiday shopping before Halloween, and by this time 51% have already made their first purchases. If you haven’t started running holiday campaigns yet, you may have already missed out on 50% of your potential customers.

Don’t give up hope yet: according to a Google survey, 76% of holiday shoppers have yet to complete their holiday shopping. Determining when consumers will start holiday shopping and making sure you are there to fulfill their needs before a competitor is essential to obtaining the most conversions possible this season. Your PPC campaigns can still potentially capture a lot of shoppers, especially if ad copy targets last minute shoppers. While speed is vital, it’s not all about churning out a holiday campaign as quickly as possible; taking time to correctly forecast for your target market can generate more conversions than arbitrary decisions.

Keyword Strategy
Whether you’re a small e-commerce site or an online shopping powerhouse, PPC campaigns aim for high keyword conversion rates accompanied by low cost per conversion. Ultimately, a diversified keyword strategy for your product or service will help you attract the most valuable conversions this holiday season.

Holiday themed search terms like “gift sets”, “holiday”, and “christmas” spike starting in October and continue to increase through December, so integrating these keywords early into your core PPC keywords will you help contact eager credit card-wielding holiday shoppers.

Frugal shoppers make a return this season, so be sure to include any keywords that reflect special deals or pricing offers such as “holiday coffee deals” and “make up gift coupons”. Similarly, experimenting with different holiday-centric keyword combinations will ensure you are covering all the bases. Don’t forget long tail keywords like “holiday makeup gift sets” or “coffee gifts for christmas” that allow you to precisely target customers without spending a fortune. For a bigger budget, competitive short tail keywords like “holiday coffee” and “Christmas candles” can help you reach a broader audience.

Ad Copy
Ad copy is a key differentiator when trying to attract a shopper – it’s critical to have that special umph that separates your ad from the crowd, while still considering the various holiday purchasing triggers. Ad copy needs to appeal to a range of consumer preferences in order to gain the attention of all your Yule-tide customers.

As mentioned, penny-pinching holiday shoppers are on the prowl, waiting to pounce on the finest pricing promotions and 2-for-1 deals available. Lure these coupon kings and queens by mentioning discounts, sales, price cuts, coupons, and bundling promotions. For instance, your ad might say something like, “Holiday Coffee Blends Now 50% Off. Find the Perfect Blend For Mom!”.

Of course, many shoppers like to live on the edge and wait until the very last day before holiday shipping deadlines to purchase gifts. These shopping daredevils are not going to spend a lot of time searching and are relying on the safety net of reliable shipping. Projecting a sense of urgency and offering a solution will help draw these frantic shoppers to click on your ad. An ad catering to this might read, “Holiday Blends In-Stock Now. 2-Day Shipping Available. Buy Today!”.

In contrast, other target customers might be more likely to respond to emotional messaging. Keep in mind that some people cringe when they think of the holidays, while others listen to Christmas music in October – you know who you are. As always, consider your target market and decide what their emotive state might be. Tap into warm and fuzzy emotions by using holiday buzz words like “warm”, “soul”, “family”, “cheer”, “give”. Likewise, words like “fuss”, “crowds”, “hassle”, “in-laws”, “broke” might strike a chord with your shoppers channeling Ebenezer Scrooge.

Mobile Marketing
Mobile marketing is predicted to be huge this holiday season. More and more shoppers are comparison shopping online stores using their internet capable smart phones, but they’ve also figured out a new way to sniff out the best prices. Mobile shoppers are getting sneaky by visiting brick-and-mortar locations to check out their potential purchases then whipping out their phones and searching online for the best deals.

Given this emerging pattern, mobile phone shoppers are probably already in the buying stage of the purchasing decision cycle. Mobile PPC ads should utilize call-to-actions like “Buy Now!” and take advantage of click-to-call functions to provide the shopper with an easier purchase path.

Landing Page
Leading your visitor to the appropriate landing page is crucial to securing a conversion. The holiday sales and promotions messaging you touted in your ad copy should translate into landing page content. An estimated 40% of online shoppers this year are motivated by sales and price discounts, and are looking to have a debt-free holiday. Discount prices, coupon codes, shipping deals, and other offers should be clearly displayed, with easy navigation to check-out. Shoppers love gadgets that make their purchasing experience easier, so including tax and shipping calculators, “Wish List” gadgets, and gift suggestions for family members and friends can all influence the customer to follow through with their purchase.

A/B Testing
Testing is never a bad idea. Just as you test multiple ads, you should test landing pages that have different messages. For instance, one of your landing pages might include content that appeals to the emotions of your customer, while another might cater to your price sensitive customer. A/B testing allows you to efficiently test your target customer preferences while giving you the opportunity to measure results and make relevant edits to landing pages in a timely manner. In the long run, achieving your target conversion goal can be more efficiently achieved through testing and conversion rate optimization than by increasing your spend to achieve a targeted number of conversions.

Miles to Go Before We Sleep
The holiday online shopping season is far from over. Grab your piece of the profit pie this shopping season by tailoring your efforts to different holiday shoppers while maintaining PPC best practices. Optimize your holiday campaigns, test your landing pages and ad copy, and perhaps venture into the mobile world, so that your PPC conversions can make you feel like a kid opening presents on Christmas morning.

Jennifer Vickery is the Blog Co-author
Jennifer Vickery is a search engine marketing specialist at NeboWeb.  When she isn’t cheering on her favorite football team, the Falcons, she’s exploring the latest and greatest innovations in search marketing.  Jenn believes an integrated approach to search marketing with an emphasis on creativity is necessary for crafting successful digital marketing campaigns. She lives in Atlanta where she is an active member of the interactive marketing community.

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