As the holiday season draws closer, we put out our stockings and wish each other good cheer, hoping that our ‘nice not naughty’ brings us much–deserved rewards disguised as love and Christmas gifts.
But what returns can your business expect come Christmas?
Search Engine Marketing was shown to be the most effective customer acquisition and retention channel for 85% of retailers in a study conducted by Shop.org, with Search Engine Journal recording a close rate of “14.6% for SEO leads to the 1.7% close rate of all other outbound leads”.
This is where I would look for high volume Christmas returns for your business! And in the spirit of Christmas giving, here are some search tips rooted in human behaviour which will help your business gain value, add relevance amongst audiences and generate sales through the holiday season and into the year ahead.
Personalise your SEO effort – Don’t be the Grinch!
Remember the Grinch? He sat all alone in a cold house, on an icy mountain, looking down upon the city below. Cold and inaccessible. Businesses can often seem far away and inaccessible to their target audiences.
The biggest win for any business is grounded in one simple truth that is relevant all year – SEO is about the technical, but it’s more about human understanding. Quite simply the more relatable you are to your target audience – the more sales you make.
Our recommendation – In our experience the brands who see the best results understand their target audience through creating segmented audience profiles or personas that can be grouped according to relevant need states. Your business may well have these in existence, if not we are able to help you identify these. It is important to dig deeper within these audience subsets to understand the key insights that will trigger and motivate your target to engage and purchase across the Christmas period.
Different strategies work in their own way for different brands, and it is important to apply a tailored methodology. What does count is showing your customer base that you understand them, and to aim for reciprocate interaction, which in turn creates advocacy.
Set your priorities right – clearly arrange your product offers & create digital content to support it
In its essence, for your customers Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) is a service that provides people with the most relevant answer to any question posted online. A good SEO strategy ensures that your brand is optimised to clearly answer all questions that your customers have online, both through your product offerings as well as a category-specific knowledge hub.
Currently 60% of all organic clicks go to the organic top 3 search results (Business2Community). This is why for your brand to rank high on Google it is essential to be aware of the questions your customers or prospects are most likely to ask during the holiday season and the items / keywords most often searched for.
Our recommendation – Using Google trends alongside and the Google Keyword Planner, can be a definite advantage, as it provides the raw data that shows which of your product categories people are looking for.
You can use this information in 2 ways
- To capitalise on current demand with appropriate content
- To prioritise your products and maximise appropriate product exposure
Capitalise on current demand with appropriate content
I like to imagine that every little organic listing that pops up on Google is a little gift for customers and clients. And much like a gift, its content must provide value. Whilst most brands aim to make the most of current demand, you can’t ever do this enough!
Content can provide value in a million different ways based on the brand’s personality. It can be informative, educational, humorous or entertaining and most importantly, relevant.
Outbrain recently published a report noting that search is the #1 driver of traffic sites, beating social media by more than 300%. While in 2012 Marketing Sherpa demonstrated a 40% boost in revenue accruing from implementing a content marketing strategy.
An interesting filter to apply to determine why content is so essential to SEO comes from behavioural psychologist, Abraham Maslow. He developed a hierarchy of needs that motivates the behaviour people exhibit, their purchase patterns included.
It divided human needs into three components where those at the foundation had to be met first, before the others could even be considered.
SEO content isn’t much different.
Content is the foundation that allows both humans and search engines to understand what your brand and its products are all about. Ultimately, if your web presence isn’t strong and rooted in human need or desire, it is internet irrelevant, and both your end user and search engines can see this.
This is why so much relevance is given to finding keyword themes and using analytics that can provide a solid foundation for content building.
For the holiday season, I would take it one step further and asses these basic needs with a Christmas filter on! You can build up your content through videos, blog posts, white papers, infographics and more. Really anything that will spread a little holiday cheer, demonstrate your product offering and have people coming back for more.
Prioritise your products and maximise appropriate product exposure
I was taught as a kid to only ever bet on a sure thing. In the world of digital marketing, this is as close as it gets. Data which supports audience behaviour allows for some interesting SEO driven campaigns, come Christmas.
By pre- arranging your products on offer you get to effectively feature the Christmas gifts you currently have on sale, tying it to current demand via your website, blog posts, listings and more. Ultimately allowing products that aren’t right for the season to take a back seat, for the time being – A Christmas sweater on sale during a summery Australian Christmas will not make the same volume of sales as it would during a wintery American Christmas, but a Christmas bikini would.
Prioritising your products will make it easier for audiences to navigate through your website (and on search) to find effortlessly what they want to buy. While simultaneously allowing you to rank high on terms with high volume Christmas and New Year relevance.
This when combined with the content recommendations discussed in the previous section, will allow your business to create memorable product placements and discussions that will cut through the category and create more engagement than before. There is a reason that Rudolph (with his red nose) is our favourite reindeer of choice, while all the other regular nosed reindeers take the back seat!
In the long run, intelligent product placements and seasonal campaigns could enforce your position as the market leader in your industry category, and generate great sales all year around.
Amplify your advertising & marketing efforts with platform-agnostic SEO
Lastly, if your business has spent a lot this season on Christmas and New Year campaigns, here’s a chance to get more bang for your buck!
Our recommendation – Tie in your marketing, advertising and PR efforts with your SEO efforts. Start early enough to ensure that the discussions and offers that are currently ongoing for your brand are in easy access through your organic listings also.
Search Engine Land recorded that in terms of industry relevant traffic, up to 73% of business users rely heavily on organic results, with media and entertainment coming in at 51% and technology, hospitality and retail not far after. While traditional advertising and SEM complement each other and often work hand in hand to complete a campaign, search engine audiences are more likely to trust what you have to say if your website appears via organic listings also, and could deliver a greater return on your investment over the season.
Next, ensure that the SEO strategies tied in to your overall marketing plan are platform agnostic (at hand on smart phones, tablets and desktops) to capitalise on demand at the point of conversion. Search Engine Watch has found that 50% of all mobile searches are conducted in hopes of finding local results, and 61% of those searches result in a purchase.
And to take this even one step further, Using ‘Google my Business’ you can upload locational information, special Christmas & New Year timings and any other information you want audiences to see as they search for your business online, and gear up for all that Christmas shopping ahead.
Your business’s online personality and presence, much like the diverse personalities of its target audiences can gain hugely from appropriately executed digital marketing campaigns. But much like choosing the perfect Christmas gift, one size does not fit all, and to make a lasting impression that will carry forward into the year ahead, you need a campaign tailor-made to fit your business and you. For this, you know where to find us!
But for now we hope these tips help you enjoy this holiday season a little better, because if you can’t try and optimise your Christmas – why optimise at all?