SEO (Search Engine Optimisation)

Is Your Website Ready for Christmas?

Its never too early to start planning your Christmas digital marketing campaigns. In fact, the earlier you can start, the better. You may think I’m getting a bit over enthusiastic, and if I wasn’t writing this, I’d be inclined to agree with you.

The August bank holiday isn’t even a distant memory yet, however your summer campaigns are. There are only 3 pay days left before the big day for the savvier of us Christmas shoppers. Websites such as the Debenhams site, have already started focussing on Christmas, with their online Christmas shop. If you have an eCommerce website, its time for you to start capitalising on what is often termed the ‘golden quarter’ for most eCommerce websites.

Timing is Key

How can you capitalise on seasonal search traffic? Use Google Analytics to help you answer some of the following questions and more:

  • When is my site getting the most traffic?
  • When is my website seeing the most eCommerce conversions?
  • Which pages get the most traffic?
  • Which pages result in the most eCommerce conversions (i.e. sales)
  • Were there any pages that underperformed in previous years?

Sign in to Google Analytics and go to Acquisitions > All Traffic > Channels. Look at your website traffic trends from October 1st 2014 until January 21st 2015. Compare this data to the previous year and select “ecommerce conversion rate” as your secondary metric:

peak-in-website-traffic

As you can see in the graph above, the traffic to this website steadily increases until it almost doubles just before Christmas. Ecommerce conversion rates on the site also see an increase.

Similarly, you can identify the top landing pages on your website during this period and see which ones provided the most conversions in previous years.

This data can help you learn which products or services to promote on the homepage of your website. You’ll also gauge an understanding of when the best time to target promotional campaigns and offers that will result in the most conversions is.

Seasonal SEO

Searches carried out in the winter months will vary greatly to searches conducted in the spring and summer.

For example, if I was looking for a dress in June, I would be more likely to enter the term “summer holiday dresses” or “beach dresses”. In contrast, when it comes to October, my search will switch to something along the lines of “christmas party dresses” or “dress for new years eve”. You can see that a number of clothing retailers are already using such strategies:

seasonal-search-results

Depending on the nature of your business, seasonal SEO plays an important role in helping you rank for search variations. It is vital to ensure you are targeting the right keywords that will drive the most relevant traffic to your website. There are a number of keyword research tools you can use to help you identify the best terms to optimise your page for.

Once you’ve chosen your target keywords, you need to implement these across the relevant pages on your site. Read our SEO checklist for hints and tips for optimising your pages ready for the festive season.

You can also use the data identified in Google Analytics earlier to help decide which pages to focus your optimisation efforts on.

Seasonal PPC

Google AdWords is another great way to ensure your products (or services) are seen by a large number of relevant people. You will need to make sure you follow these 4 steps:

  • Conduct seasonal keyword research
  • Create seasonal campaigns
  • Write seasonal Ads
  • Monitor campaign performance

As with SEO, you will want to look at trying to get your Ads displaying for seasonal search terms. Carry out seasonal keyword research and create seasonal campaigns accordingly.

The usual rules apply for seasonal PPC campaigns and you need to ensure that your Ads are relevant as possible. Write copy that engages human users, and direct users to the most relevant landing page for their search term on your website. Your seasonal landing pages should already have been optimised for the relevant search terms for SEO.

The example below shows how notonthehighstreet.com are already taking advantage of using seasonal PPC Ads. I have highlighted how the Ad has been written so that it is relevant to the search term used by potential site visitors:

christmas-gidt-ideas-kids-ad

When you click on the Advert, it correctly takes you to a relevant landing page that provides a list of Christmas ideas for kids:

christmas-gidt-ideas-kids-landing-page

The title on the page clearly highlights what the content on the page is about. There are also sub-headings that break gift categories down by age, new products, personalised gifts, and many more.

Seasonal Email Marketing

Email marketing remains one of the best channels for return on investment. You can use email marketing to target your festive promotions accordingly and to drive further traffic to your website. I have highlighted my 5 key tips for using email marketing this festive season below:

Cleanse your list – Start by cleaning your email marketing list. Utilise this quieter time in September to tidy up your database and ensure all your data is correct. This will help you target your campaigns better.

Personalisation – Speak to your customer directly. Personalisation is not just limited to names and locations, you could even personalise emails by purchasing history. If somebody bought a Christmas jumper last year, they may be interested in seeing this year’s range.

Segmentation – Put relevant messages in front of the recipients who are most likely to convert. If you have a location based offer for a specific store location, target customers by geography.

Analyse Basket Abandonment – Send follow up emails to people that have left items in their basket without completing their purchase. This is a great way to generate more sales from your website. You can also use Google Analytics to identify which stage of the check out process most basket abandonments occur and use this data to improve your website checkout process.

Real-time – promote daily deals in real-time using email marketing. If you are offering free delivery for one day only, email is a great way channel for communicating this message to your existing customer base. You can use the ecommerce conversion rate data identified in Analytics earlier to find out when the best time to send these emails is.

Conclusion

Get one step ahead of your competitors and follow this 4 step plan for seasonal digital marketing success:

  1. Planning – use Analytics to identify when your site is likely to be busiest and which pages are traditionally the most popular.
  2. SEO – optimise your more popular pages and the products/services you would like to promote for relevant seasonal search terms.
  3. PPC – drive more relevant traffic to the key pages on your website.
  4. Email – build on your relationship with existing customers to drive more conversions.

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