THE BLOG

How to Ramp up Your Online Marketing for the Holidays

11/19/2013 05:13 EST | Updated 01/25/2014 04:01 EST

The holiday season is a great time to expand, test and increase the reach of your online marketing strategy. Consumers are in a purchasing mindset. They've committed to spending a certain amount of money during the holidays.

Online shopping activity rises as shoppers search out great deals or look for ways to alleviate some of the holiday stress that comes with location-based shopping. People who are actively shopping for gifts, decorations and other seasonal products are generally at fairly advanced stages in the buying process. Really, you'd be hard-pressed to find a better time of the year to expand your marketing efforts and have it result with the kind of ROI you'll see during the holidays. If you have no plans to up the ante during such a critical time for sales, you're missing a huge opportunity.

So, how do you ramp up your online marketing strategy and increase sales this holiday season? I suggest focusing your efforts on the following areas:

Paid Search

If you're not already leveraging paid search to generate leads and bolster sales, now is the perfect time to do so. One of the greatest benefits of paid search is that it can be adopted immediately and ceased relatively quickly. This makes it ideal for creating short, highly-targeted campaigns that run only during the holidays. Also, paid search allows the flexibility to coordinate paid advertising with your inventory, meaning you can allocate your dollars to the promotion of products you have in stock at any particular time. This lets you not only target the highly lucrative online shopping market, but also generate interest among people who prefer to do their shopping at malls and brick-and-mortar stores -- a great advantage if you have physical retail locations.

Remarketing

Remarketing is the process of targeting ads based on the activity or actions people have taken on your website - and during the holiday season, it can be tremendously effective. If someone comes to your site and doesn't make a purchase, you still have a great opportunity to serve up ads based on their search activity, what pages they visited, their conversions, and so on. Since you have tracked this information, you can remarket with highly targeted, effective messages that speak specifically to your audience. If you are willing to up your remarketing budget, you will likely see a very strong ROI.

Relevant Content

Writing content that speaks to your target demographic -- i.e. people shopping for your products -- is perhaps the simplest and most effective way for you to ramp up your online presence and increase sales throughout the holiday season. Like all types of content, seasonal content should be helpful to your audience. For example, if your readers are likely to buy for young girls, write a blog post on "The top 15 toys for six year old girls." For clientele that is B2C based, you can promote your content via Facebook ads and other social media avenues.

Obviously, what you publish will vary based on your industry and target buyers, but offering help through content is a rule that applies across the board. And through your content, you have the ability to position your company as the ideal place to buy that product by offering incentives. Free delivery is a very valuable and effective perk this time of year, though things like discounts, coupons and free wrapping services are also good.

The Holidays on Your Website

Create a page that is holiday-specific, and reflect the theme throughout your website through images, offers, the wording used, content and so on. This is a particularly wise move for businesses that are inherently seasonal, but can also be beneficial for those that expect to receive -- or want to attract -- a high volume of business during the holiday period.

Categorize Your Website Visitors

Leverage the information you gather through tracking and analysis to build categorized lists -- based on search patterns, demographic, etc. -- which you can market to in the future. Though your campaign may end once the holiday season does, any data you have gathered will retain its value well beyond this timeframe. Let's return to the example of customers that are shopping for six-year-old girls this season. You know that next year, they will likely be shopping for seven-year-old girls. This is great insight which you will already have at your disposal prior to launching your next campaign. Focus on optimizing your website to encourage conversions and subscriptions so that you can obtain this valuable information and take advantage of it in the future.

The holiday season is a treasure trove of sales opportunities for companies looking to test and expand their online marketing strategies. Employing the above methods to ramp up your business online at a time when people are intending to shop can serve not only to elicit significant ROI, but also give you the chance to track efficiencies and obtain valuable data, which in turn will help inform future marketing initiatives.