The holiday season has arrived and shoppers are out in full force searching for the best gifts and promotions they can get their hands on. Depending where you live, this can often result in crowded stores that look like something out of a doomsday film:
Due to the frantic nature of holiday shopping in physical stores, many people now opt to do their shopping online instead. In the digital marketing world, this means ramping up your online campaigns to attract as many seasonal shoppers as possible.
With a limited amount of time to maximize your website’s visibility before Christmas, and since this is the season of giving, we decided to lend a helping hand and share our essential digital marketing tips for the holiday season. Discover the best SEO and SEM practices you can put in place before it’s too late.
Give your website a holiday season makeover
Aesthetic matters when it comes to converting your website visitors. Knowing this, why not decorate your website with some holiday cheer to boost your conversions?
There are a ton of simple and effective ways to do this, so take your pick.
Implement a holiday-themed slider
Your homepage slider is a sure-fire attention-grabber. Implementing a festive holiday slider with a seasonal call-to-action is a great way to showcase your products and get users to click-through and convert.
Take this simple but eye-catching design from Winners for example:
A holiday-themed slider from Winners.
Add an announcement bar
If you don’t already have one, consider adding an announcement bar to the top of your homepage. This lets you prominently feature special sales and promotions that will immediately be noticed by your visitors.
Announcement bar on the Hudson’s Bay website.
Dress up your logo, buttons or forms
Another subtle way to makeover your website for the festive season is to decorate your logo, buttons, forms and other elements with holiday graphics.
Just be careful that the changes fit with your brand color scheme and avoid overdoing it. You don’t want your website to look like an ugly Christmas sweater!
Check if your mobile site has been naughty or nice
If you don’t want to end up on Google’s naughty list this holiday season, you will need to check if your mobile optimization is up to par. Neglect this at your own peril, since you might miss out on 22.5 million digital shoppers in Canada if you do (about two-thirds of the total population).
With the recent release of v5 of the PageSpeed Insights API, you might find that pages with a previously high score are suddenly marked slower than molasses. Make sure your most important pages are mobile-friendly and newly Lighthouse-optimized to gain an edge over your competitors.
Use paid search to reach the North Pole
A well-planned SEM strategy using paid search is one of the most effective ways to increase your Q4 sales this holiday season. PPC advertising can launch you to the top of search results immediately and give you the extra visibility you may be lacking on the SEO side of things.
Here are a few quick tips for a successful end-of-year digital marketing campaign using SEM:
- Take advantage of increased searches for “last minute gifts”
- Highlight special promotions like free shipping, coupons or sales
- Use Product Listing Ads (PLAs) to connect users directly to the products they want
- Make sure your budget is large enough to account for increased bids
- As seen below, combine your SEM efforts with search retargeting
Retarget your website visitors
Retargeting (often also called remarketing) lets you re-engage users who have previously visited your website as they browse other areas of the web. This can be a powerful conversion-booster when combined with paid search.
Send out a holiday newsletter
Email campaigns can be a powerful digital marketing tool during the holiday season. Prepare a themed newsletter with gift ideas, special promotions and end-of-year announcements. Use inspiring images, gifs and videos to grab attention and increase conversions.
When it comes to SEO for the holiday season, it is best to get started as early as possible. However, if you have left the organic part of your digital marketing strategy to the last minute, there are still a number of things you can do to reach more holiday shoppers.
Review your keywords, titles and descriptions
With a little over two weeks until Christmas, you still have time to capitalize on holiday-centric search terms like “holiday sale”, “free shipping”, “Christmas promotion”, etc.
Rework the keywords, titles and descriptions on your key landing pages to reflect the time of year and highlight special discounts and offers. While this might not increase your search rankings in such a short period, it can certainly incentivize users to click-through to your site more often.
Publish holiday-themed content
Similar to this article, you can create holiday-themed SEO content that appeals to your regular visitors and attracts new traffic as well. Focus on long-tail keywords that will bring in qualified traffic that is eager to make a specific purchase.
Local SEO is incredibly important around the holiday shopping season since many shoppers will be searching for gifts close to home. If you don’t have a Google My Business listing, set up one up immediately.
A GMB listing is particularly useful if you have a physical location and want to attract as much foot traffic as possible during the holiday season. Be sure to adjust your opening hours to reflect extended hours if you plan on keeping your store open later than usual.
You should also consider adding the LocalBusiness Schema markup to your webpages if you have a physical store. This will further help search engines determine where your business is located, along with other important information.
‘Tis the season to be social
Perhaps the most important aspect of a digital marketing campaign during the holidays is the social aspect. If you don’t want to be mistaken for the Grinch, you need to be engaging your followers across different social media platforms.
A great way to reach users on social media during the holiday season is through influencer marketing. Reach out to an influencer in your industry or local area and partner with them for a sponsorship or special giveaway.
The more creative your social media campaign, the better. For example, you can use the concept of an advent calendar to unveil new discounts, flash sales, blog articles and more every day.
You can also create social media-only offers like holiday bundles or promotions that are restricted to users who follow your accounts or sign up for your newsletter.
Holding a contest can be another great idea. Have people submit designs or caption an image to be judged by your team and win a one-time promo code.
The season of goodwill
The holiday season is the perfect time to promote a social cause that your business is passionate about. This season, stand out from the humbugs and misers by supporting a local cause and offering your followers special discounts for donations. This is a great way to appeal to people’s sense of generosity while also gaining visibility for your products or services.
If you prefer quick, hassle-free results, you can always go the route of Facebook advertising. This will let you micro-target consumer profiles that will be interested in what your business has to offer and can be an easy way to boost your sales over the holiday season.
Finally, here’s a short list of extra tidbits you can include in your digital marketing strategy for the holidays:
- Track your campaign results so they can be analyzed for the following year
- Instill a sense of urgency with limited-time offers and last-minute deals
- Offer personalized gifts or free gift-wrapping to build customer loyalty
- Determine your Christmas shipping deadlines and feature them on your homepage to avoid upsetting buyers that receive their gifts after the 25th
- Design separate landing pages for exclusive products and promotions
- Be responsive to customer queries and complaints
- Set up reminder emails for abandoned shopping carts
Give your digital marketing a boost with My Little Big Web
Need help running a successful digital marketing campaign for the holiday season or any other time of the year? Don’t hesitate to contact the My Little Big Web team to discuss how we can help you increase your online visibility today.