Getting Your SEM Program Ready For The Holidays

Nov. 15

Can you believe it? The holidays are upon us. When you’re managing a large scale SEM program, the holiday season is always important. It’s typically the time of the year that can either make or break your entire year. Today, I’m thrilled to share some awesome tips that are sure to help your SEM campaigns thrive during the upcoming holiday season.

Tip 1: Develop Your Bidding Strategy Now

Winter Landscape

During the holidays, it’s all about seasonality. You will see your conversion rate change over time. Certain days will have high conversion rates. Others will have low conversion rates. Also, volume will change over time. Certain days will not matter too much. Others (such as Black Friday or Cyber Monday) will comprise a tremendous amount of conversions. Here’s the great thing about seasonality: It’s like clockwork. If you’ve been in business for a while, take a look at trends from past years. Leverage past data to forecast the future. And, bid accordingly!

If you have an automated bidding platform in place, such as InsideVault, you are in luck. If you don’t, you may want to move quickly and get one in place immediately. During the holidays, it’s all about precision in bidding. It’s all about dialing in your campaigns and making quick changes. Take advantage of advanced bid management technologies to get the most out of your SEM campaigns during the holidays.

During the holidays, you will in the weeds, you will not have a ton of time for strategy. My closing tip on bidding is to get your playbook ready now so you can focus on execution during the holiday season.

Tip 2: Coordinate An SEM Team Holiday Schedule

Online marketing is like trading stocks except the market never closes. It’s a 7-day, 24-hour marketplace. During the holidays, people take time off. It’s the holidays, after all! You want to take time off and you want your team to take time off. We all work hard these days and it’s important to make a conscious effort to keep the balance. That said, it’s critical to have one person on call at all times. You never know what will happen. It’s not worth the risk. Make sure to coordinate a holiday calendar so there’s always someone covering the campaigns!

Bonus tip: Coordinate the holiday schedule of your search engine reps too! Make sure to understand the best way to contact everyone (I suggest mobile phone) so it’s easy to get in touch.

Tip 3: Plan Out Innovative Holiday Marketing Strategies

The best part part of the holidays is they offer a plethora of opportunities for fancy marketing campaigns. I’m talking about special seasonal offers, custom landing pages, holiday ad copy, and more. The holidays are an amazing time to innovate and take your SEM campaigns to the next level. Get your team together and brainstorm strategies. Get all of the hard work done before the holidays. Then, when the holidays arrive, execute upon your seasonal marketing strategies.

Tip 4: Manage Your SEM Budgets Closely

This tip ties into the first one. The holidays offer so many opportunities. The last thing you want to do is cap out of budget towards the end of December. Make sure to manage your budget closely. Consider turning off (or throttling back) your campaigns on low performing days. Save your budget for the most important days.

Bonus tip: Double check all of your IOs before the holidays. Make sure they do not expire in Q4. If they do, be proactive and renew your contracts before it’s too late. The last thing you want is an IO expiring during the holiday season.

Tip 5: QA Everything Consistently

QA your ads, your landing pages, your campaign settings, and even your site. You never know what might go wrong. What you do know is that you cannot afford any downtime during your most important days of the year. If you do all of your strategy and planning before the holidays, you’re only left with execution and QA. Make sure to QA everything so you can sleep at night.

I hope this tips help out and I’m wishing you (and your SEM campaigns) and amazing holiday season!

Image of Winter Landscape © iStockPhoto – borchee