In 2016, holiday sales increased over 4 percent, surpassing projections of $655.8 billion to reach an incredible $658.3 billion. That holiday season also saw a 12.6 percent increase in non-store sales, which reached $122.9 billion.
During the incredibly popular shopping time between Thanksgiving and Christmas, brands have the opportunity to drive high amounts of revenue and end the year in a great place. To see the success possible during this time of the year, however, organizations need to make sure they are prepared for the holidays by working to launch digital marketing strategies now. Given that e-commerce accounted for 11.7 percent of the total sales in 2016, this preparation must also include looking at your website and preparing your online campaigns.
It might feel early, but here is what you need to do to start getting ready now for a fantastic 2017 holiday season.
Determine keywords beforehand
At the core of your digital presence lies keyword research. This insight lets you know what your prospects search for online as well as how steep the competition will be for those particular terms. Begin now to track trends and identify keywords that will be the most important during the holiday shopping frenzy. For example, gauge conversation surrounding particular gifts or trips that always seem to rise around the holiday season. Use keyword research to look at what has been popular throughout the year as well as what seems to be rising in popularity as we prepare for the holidays. Also look at your site statistics from the last holiday season to see if there are particular terms that will likely be important this year as well.
By the end of the third quarter, at the latest, you should be developing content campaigns for these keywords. Work on establishing yourself on the SERPs for these particular terms. Start promoting content around the popular holiday-related ideas through social media, email, and related platforms.
As you create your holiday-themed content, be sure to track your progress. Look at your positioning on the SERP, the traffic you draw, and the behavior of those on your site once they arrive. Make sure this aligns with your expected buyer behavior before and during the holiday rush.
Incorporate keywords also into PPC strategy
In addition to generating strong content to rank well and draw organic traffic, you also cannot forget about your paid ads online. The keyword list you developed for your organic traffic will also be helpful here.
Use your holiday PPC campaigns to compliment your organic ones. For example, keywords that you have a hard time ranking well for organically can be used in PPC campaigns to help capture some of that traffic. Make sure that your PPC ads point back to landing pages that have been well optimized specifically for holiday traffic.
Determine sales promotions for the holiday period
Finally, you should determine ahead of time what sales and promotions you will be running during the holiday season. Coordinate these campaigns with the content development and the PPC teams so that your brand can present a uniform voice across all the channels to promote these sales and drive people towards well-designed landing pages.
Developing your 2017 holiday season digital marketing plan
- Identify significant keywords for the holiday season through keyword research
- Create content around these keywords in advance to start building your online presence
- Use the keywords to also develop PPC campaigns to complement the organic ones
- Determine the sales and promotions that will fit your business best and work with the content development team and the PPC team to successfully advertise them.
The crazy holiday season is almost upon us once again, so now is the time to start making the necessary preparations. Businesses should develop their plan of action now so that they can have their most successful season possible. If you want to give your campaign a little extra push, contact us now. We will help you boost sales and reach your holiday goals.
I'm the Director of Digital Services and Partner at Ballantine, a family-owned and operated direct mail & digital marketing company based in New Jersey. and started in 1966 by my great uncle!