Preparing Your CSE Campaigns for the Holidays

Have You Prepared Your CSE Campaigns for the Holidays?

CSE Campaigns Ready For HolidaysIf you haven’t given too much thought to your holiday CSE campaigns yet, we hate to tell you this – but you’re behind the curve. Your competitors have already put into place their envisioned plans, and it’s about time you did as well.

There’s a lot of planning and development that goes into your holiday campaigns, which is why as summer nears an end and fall looms, you should start developing your plan of attack. Have no fear, though. We’ll guide you through a checklist of musts that, once you complete, will line you up nicely for this upcoming season.

Defining The Holiday Season

First and foremost, let’s define what the “holiday season” really is. Christmas certainly gets the lion’s share of attention, however, as an e-merchant, you need to look at the bigger picture. The holiday season offers you many chances for unique marketing strategies. The season includes:

  1. Chanukah
  2. Thanksgiving
  3. Black Friday
  4. Cyber Monday
  5. Free Shipping Day
  6. Christmas
  7. New Year’s

Each of those pieces of the holiday season can earn you serious coin, if you plan accordingly. For example, Cyber Monday sales reached a new record last year with numbers somewhere around $1.5 billion (2011 saw $1.25 billion), with no signs of slowing down. Unless you prepare for Cyber Monday now, you won’t enjoy the riches. And, as a sign of how you need to adapt to the times, 18% of folks shopped through mobile devices last year, meaning if you’re sites aren’t mobile friendly, a good number of folks will bounce out as quickly as they bounced in. That might hurt your overall reputation.

Use The Past

If this isn’t your first foray into the online holiday season, then you likely have some useful data compiled somewhere from previous seasons. Use this data to your advantage as you decide how best to move forward this year.

The overall trend of online shopping is good to know, but what’s even better to know is the trend of your specific niche. Depending on your products, your sales may lag for a few weeks, based on the consumers’ need to research deals and such. Understanding the mindset of the market will help you create marketing (and remarketing) strategies.

Also, what sales and promos did you offer last year? Which ones worked? Which ones didn’t? Don’t repeat the same mistakes twice. Make this year’s sales offerings more successful than ever before by using your data.

Make A Calendar

Using the above list of micro-events, create a marketing calendar that goes into detail about your marketing strategies and promotions for each milestone. It’s best to write out as much ad copy for these promos as well. Be sure to detail when you plan to send out email blasts, launch landing pages and more.

Revisit Your Keywords

Throughout the whole year, you have a certain set of keywords you use for your campaigns. However, come the holidays, new added words should be considered including “gift,” “present,” “gift idea for …” “gift for …” you get the idea. Expand your keyword list to reflect the behaviors of your online consumers.

Clean Up Your CSEs

Whether it’s Google, Bing, or wherever, you have data that you regularly send to CSEs. Now is not the time for you to have outdated or straight-out-wrong information on these feeds. Here are some ways to make sure your feeds are in tip-top shape:

  • Check out the warnings sent to you (if applicable) by your CSEs, and address them. Your account could be suspended if you don’t abide by the rules of each CSE.
  • Make sure your feed is set to update regularly (weekly or even more frequently).
  • Check out your attributes. This will take a lot of your time and attention. These attributes can help you attract consumers so you really want to expand them to improve your targeting.
  • Optimize your images and titles. Use keywords in your titles, and, if a brand name you offer garners high search volume, append that brand name to the title. Don’t forget to add promotional text as well, if possible.

Get A Facelift

You might also want to take a look at your storefronts, and adapt them to a more holiday-like theme. This is a tricky approach, however, because you don’t want to:

  • Compromise your branding
  • Alienate certain people

Holiday themes can help your store stand out, but be careful with how you approach this marketing tactic.

Prepare For Armageddon

No matter how much we say we’re prepared, many online retailers buckle under the traffic and pressure of the holidays. Don’t fall victim to this. Get all of your ducks lined up now, including talking to your customer service reps about expectations (and determining if you need to hire on a few more for the season); contact your product suppliers to make sure that all your hot-ticket items are in stock, and pre-order items you know you’ll need; talk to your webmaster or developer (or hosting provider) to make sure there won’t be any nasty surprises when the volume of surfers balloons to astronomical numbers.

Don’t Go It Alone

We’ve offered a good starting point for you to prepare for this upcoming holiday season, but we have to admit we’ve barely begun to scratch the surface. Expanding your reach to CSEs is key. Adapting your behavior based on the types of traffic that go to specific CSEs is also important. Figuring out what types of ads to develop, for which sites, and at what time, can be a full-time for anyone.

And then there’s the remarketing, including Google’s Dynamic Remarketing, which will target specific ads based on a consumer’s past behavior on your site. You can learn more about remarketing here; but in terms of your holiday campaigns, it may pay to work with ecommerce marketers who can help you design the most effective holiday plan for your specific niche. Call OperationROI at 1-888-277-5329 or fill out our contact form to find out how we can help you make the most of this holiday season.

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