A little SEM strategy now can pay dividends later
If you haven’t already begun planning for the holiday buying rush, then it’s time to get moving. In this Part Three of Prepping for Holidays, I’ll show some of the things you can do to ensure online buyers find your products and services. (In Part One I talked about aligning your online and offline strategies, and in Part Two I covered how to spruce up your virtual store-front.)
In our free e-book, The Link Economy, I talk about how successful search marketing companies develop all of the components of a search marketing campaign at one time.
What we mean by this is a savvy marketer will sit down and plan out the campaign strategy, keywords, and content (i.e. blog posts, landing pages, offers) before implanting the campaign – often months in advance.
Pre-campaign planning gives you the 30,000 foot perspective – and it allows you to see and fix any bottlenecks or problems before the campaign launches. When planning for the 2009 holiday shopping season, you’ll want to keep in mind the following search marketing best practices.
First, Find the right keywords.
Suffice to say, the foundation of your successful online holiday season starts with the right keywords. How do you know which keywords to use for the holiday season? You can use the tips in the two articles cited above plus these special (and guaranteed enjoyable) “holiday” keyword tips:
Read dead-tree media – If you sell consumer products to women, for example, read the gossip rags. One, you’ll learn how women talk to each other – “baby bump,” “gladiators,” and “hobo bag” are all terms women know and use in their online searches – and two, you’ll learn what the celebrities are wearing. This is important information as women often search by celebrity name plus the product – for example, “angelina jolie makeup.”
Watch TV – Watch popular shows, such as American Idol or Sunday football games. Again, pay attention to what people are wearing or talking about in the off-the-cuff commentary. Also analyze the commercials – what are the big retailers advertising and how are they doing it? Do they use URLs that take people to a specific landing page (i.e. www.domain-name.com/TV offer)? If so, test the URL and offer to see how things work – and note any roadblocks you encounter.
Do a mall stakeout – Park yourself on a bench at the mall and let the crowd flow by you. Listen to people talk on their phones and face-to-face. Look at their clothes and other items. What’s hot? What’s not? Teenage boys, for example have made Vans, a popular skateboarding shoe, a hot selling item – and in fact, “Vans skulls” (a shoe with a skull pattern) is a moderately searched keyword!
Second, develop your search campaigns around your holiday keywords.
Now sit down and plan out your PPC and SEO campaigns around these keywords. Again, we’ve written many blog posts on these topics:
The goal here is to develop well-thought out campaigns (re: strategic) that are targeted and optimized for what people are looking for. In your plan, note how many new pages you’ll need in terms of SEO – or if you can tweak existing pages by changing Title / meta tags, headlines or page copy. Also note any new PPC ads you’ll need plus the landing pages that go with them.
Third, plan out your blog posts in advance.
Blogs should be an important tool in your marketing strategy. One, it’s easy to create keyword-rich content “on the fly” and two, blog posts are often included in the search engine results pages within hours of being published – versus the days or even weeks it can take the Google, Yahoo or Bing crawlers to find your new “static” HTML content.
If you have a blog, develop a holiday editorial calendar and note when you’ll write posts that announce in-store events or online sales and when new products become available. Also be sure to include time for ongoing research and writing posts in response to “news.”
For example, if you’re reading a gossip rag and you see a celebrity teen boy wearing Vans with skulls – and you sell this very shoe – then you’ll want to include a picture of the celebrity in a blog post plus the fact that people can find these shoes at your store (when other retailers are sold out). You’ll want to optimize the title of your blog post with the keyword phrase plus link the keyword phrase “Vans with skulls” to your landing page where you sell this shoe.
We'd love to see you have a hugely successful holiday season. If you have tips or suggestions for how to improve online sales, please send them to me via Vator.TV and I’ll feature them in future posts.
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