How would you like to see the strategy that I have personally been using to help clients achieve record sales over the Christmas season?
Well consider this my early Christmas gift to you…
Today I am going to spread the wealth and share the strategy so everyone can benefit from increased sales this year.
Oh and if you’re reading this in June or July, then you’re timing is superb to carry out my 6 month actionable plan.
When followed exactly as shown, this strategy has been proven to help businesses improve their search ranking, social media presence, and sales numbers year after year.
Warning: you will not find a bunch of theory and untested advice in this post. Only actionable tips that have been used, tested, and refined by real businesses.
I’m going to help you make it rain.
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July is all about planning ahead. The main steps you’ll be taking during this month are planning future actions and gathering data.
Identify the keywords you want to target during your holiday sales campaign. What products will you really be pushing during the holiday season? What products do you expect to make the most money with? These will be your focus keywords.
Track your keywords with my favourite tool Serp Book.
Target Your Competitors
Search for the keywords you just narrowed down and see who already ranks for them. These are your competitors and you need to keep a close eye on them from this point forward, if you’re not already.
Target your competitors NOW with SEM Rush.
Look for trends in your market and try to anticipate what your customers will be searching for around Christmas time. Some tools you can use to help with this are Google Trends and Google Hot Searches.
Keep your audience engaged on social media throughout the year, don’t forget to live in the now while also planning for the future. While you’re at it, also look at your competitor’s social media pages and see what they’re doing. Look for areas where you can improve on what they’re doing and perhaps even capture some of their audience.
This is also a great time to tidy up your social media pages. Make sure all information is up to date and that your branding and messaging is consistent across all the platforms you’re using.
Neil Patel covers some cracking Social Media Tips for your Blog here.
If you haven’t got a blog, I would follow Neil closely to send your SEO & Marketing into 2014.
Define Your Christmas Landing Pages
Based on the keywords you’re targeting, figuring out what pages on your website you want to drive most of your traffic to. These landing pages could be the same as last year unless you’re targeting new keywords this year.
More holiday shopping is done on mobile every year, so think about getting your site mobile-ready if it isn’t right now. If your budget allows it, it may also be a good idea to create an app to enhance the shopping experience.
The month of August requires a bit more planning, you’ll also be taking the first steps in this months towards putting your plan into action.
Start budgeting now for the search campaigns you’ll be implementing for Christmas. You want to have plenty of cash on hand to funnel into these campaigns as bids can fluctuate dramatically over the holiday season.
Continue Monitoring Competitors
Continue monitoring your competitors on search as well as social media. You should get in the habit of monitoring their activity at least once a month from this point forward.
Update Last Year’s Content
You didn’t delete last year’s Christmas pages right? Great! Go through them and add to those pages with fresh, relevant content. Get them ready for this year’s Christmas season.
Prepare This Year’s Content
Prepare the new content you’ll be creating for this year’s Christmas campaign. Ideally you should have all the new content ready to go well ahead of time so you can schedule it for publishing while focusing on your search campaigns.
If targeting local traffic is part of your strategy, make sure your business listing is submitted to Google and listed on Google Maps. No matter what kind of traffic you’re targeting, I also recommend submitting your business information to Google Merchant Centre.
Analyze last month’s social media performance and make adjustments as needed. Social media can drive a ton of traffic to your website over the holidays, so you need to be constantly monitoring and refining your social media strategy as you go.
During this month you’re going to keep doing a lot of what you have been doing up until this point. Continue optimizing your Christmas target pages and updating them with fresh content. Continue adding to your search marketing budget. Continue analyzing competitors.
These steps are all crucial and must be repeated month to month.
In addition to those steps, here are some new steps you’ll be adding this month.
You’ll want to start getting the word out at this point by reaching out to other blogs and websites in your niche and seeing if you can get some coverage.
Consider adding remarketing campaigns to your holiday marketing strategy. Remarketing specifically targets people who have already made a purchase from you and turns them into repeat customers. Look into the services offered by Adroll, who specializes in retargeting.
During October you’re going to keep repeating the same crucial steps and adding the following new ones:
Check Your Bounce Rate
View your Google Analytics reports and specifically check for bounce rate. This will tell you how long your visitors are staying on your site before leaving. Start thinking about ways you can improve this number and keep your visitors on your site longer.
Check Stock Levels
Keep a close eye on how much stock you have in your inventory. If you have an abundance of stock, or some older items you’d like to cycle out of your inventory, think about how you can use that as an opportunity to run some limited time sales.
Update Your Site Architecture
This is about the time you should be updating your site architecture so your Christmas pages are easier to find. Put them front and center on the homepage, as well as prime placement in the navigation.
Consider Facebook Ads
Studies show Facebook ad clicks peak between Christmas and New Years. If your budget allows it, put some money into Facebook advertising to drive traffic to your Christmas pages.
During November you will be repeating all the same crucial steps you have been doing month to month, while adding a few important new steps to the mix.
Keep in mind that organic search rankings aren’t likely to change much between now and Christmas. So where you and your competitors are is where you’re likely to stay.
If you’re not satisfied with your ranking then that may mean increasing your budget for paid search. If you are satisfied then you can focus on maintaining your visibility in other areas.
Send Press Releases
Add some traditional public relations to your outreach campaign and send some press releases to key media outlets in your niche, including local media if you’re a local business. Don’t focus on you and your business so much in these press releases, but rather what you intend to do to benefit customers over the holiday season.
Give your customers a sneak peek at the sales you’re going to be offering in the month of December by running some teaser campaigns. This will help build buzz and anticipation, as well as give customers the opportunity to plan their spending in advance.
This is it, the final stretch! Your chance to make one last push to capitalise on Christmas sales, so dump every last bit of your budget into your search marketing campaign and Facebook ads. Your competitors will be doing this as well, so bid high to maintain visibility.
Here are a few more things you need to do this month:
Continue Checking Stock Levels
Continue checking your inventory to make sure you have enough product on hand to accommodate the ads you’re running. You don’t want someone to click an ad and not be able to buy the product because it’s out of stock. If you’re running out of stock, pause the ads!
Refresh Ad and Website Copy
Refresh the copy on your ads and website to let customers know when the final date is to place an order to ensure they receive the items before Christmas. In addition to providing good customer service, this also creates a sense of urgency for people to buy from you while they still have a chance to receive the purchase before the holidays.
One Last Press Release and Email Blast
Send out one last blast of press releases to your email list and media outlets informing them that your Christmas campaign is ending soon and they have to order by a certain date to get the items in time. This is your last chance to create some last minute buzz and create a sense of urgency for customers to buy.
Just because the holiday season is over doesn’t mean you’re done yet! There’s still plenty to do after Christmas. Here’s what’s on your to-do list:
Review Christmas Campaigns
Review your Christmas campaigns as well as your competitors’. Compare them to previous years to measure performance and assess what worked and what didn’t. Record your findings and use them to guide your Christmas campaign next year.
Throughout your Christmas campaign you’re sure to have gained a lot of new visitors to your website and followers on social media. Keep the buzz around your business going by keeping your new audience engaged with fresh, post-holiday content. Don’t get lazy after the holidays and let your new audience disappear.
Refresh Your Website
Refresh your website by first demoting your Christmas pages so they’re not prominently displayed anymore. But don’t delete them! You’ll need them for next year. Then update your site for January sales and keep the momentum going.