The sun goes down on August 31st and when it comes up on September 1st, minds shift from summer to fall. With September brings the first thoughts about holidays, shopping and preparation for the busiest time of the year for retailers. Retailers who rely on online sales for a portion of their revenue prepare during the month of September for what’s to follow in the next three months.
Pay per click (PPC) search engines allow site owners to determine their sites ranking in that particular search engines results by bidding on keywords. The result for the site owner or webmaster is a highly targeted traffic and a significant increase in sales.
In order to prepare appropriately for the busiest shopping season of the year, here are some tips to get you in gear:
Plan Your Budgets Carefully
Be aware of your accounting and keep track of sales as they’re coming in. A great way to do this is by organizing a calendar and filling it out when sales start to pick up and continue this strategy throughout the rest of the season. Charts visually help to keep you organized and on task.
Begin by determining what keywords you want to focus on for the holiday season. Check out your analytics trends to see where you generated increased traffic and sales in past years. You can also look at historical trends for your keywords, determining whether your keywords have had traffic and sales during the holidays in previous years. Once you’ve come up with which keywords generate the most traffic potential and relevance to your products, focus your efforts on them.
It’s also important to look to your competitors to see what specials they’re offering. This competitive analysis will help you to create competitive pricing and offer similar specials. For example, if your competitor is offering free shipping during a certain period of time, matching that deal will give you an edge and set you apart from other competitors.
Keep up with Mobile
Mobile shopping is on the rise, with the 2011 season being the first to really take off. This year is projected to be even higher with the growth of mobile payments and the convenience of purchasing via your mobile device or tablet. If your brand is prepared with the appropriate mobile experience for your customers, you’ll have the ability to optimize specifically for mobile.
Following purchase paths for consumers is also something important to look into. You can keep track of whether consumers started and purchased from their smartphones, started with their smartphone and ended in store, etc. This is important because it allows a business to look back and see where their sales came from, beginning to end.
It’s absolutely necessary to be on top of your game come the 2012 holiday season. Preparation is key to success, and the quality to promote through your business needs to shine during this busy time. Get your website optimized for higher traffic numbers, make sure to take down information or sales as they become outdated. If you can’t keep up with these little maintenance tasks, it’s only going to cause your business to suffer.
In order to be fully prepared, it’s beneficial to schedule a team member to cover these issues at all times. Double and triple check everything, including keywords, ads and landing pages. Update copy in real-time, alter budget caps or create a way to shut off a campaign completely until the site goes back live.
The holiday season is the greatest time to be in the paid search business. While the stress and commitment can look a little scary right now, with good planning and preparation, you and your business should be able to take advantage of the surge of customers and activity this 2012 holiday shopping season.
Elisa Portack is a freelance writer focusing on search engine optimization and technology. She is a thought leader in the industry and keeps up to date by reading up on www.activeinternetmarketing.com.