Christmas Comes Early for Online Marketers … Every YearOctober 9, 2012 By Marc Poirier
Christmas comes but once a year, but the preparation period for marketers should last all year long. Here are five tips that will help you be prepared to reach customers and prospects at the times when they're most ready to make a purchase:
1. Define your message. In any advertising campaign, at any time of year, the right words to use are the ones that speak to your target audience in the clearest possible way, advising them of the benefits of using your product or service. In an online marketing campaign, it starts with the message that generates the click, then carries over through to the conversion page. Ensure that your message is cohesive throughout and that you're plainly and simply giving consumers a reason to buy.
2. Define the time. One of the best tools that an online marketer can use to define the peaks and valleys of their marketing efforts is Google Trends. This works great for display advertising, as I've found that interest in particular topics directly correlates with clicks that generate conversions on display campaigns. Knowing when to turn up the heat gives you a great advantage over your competitors.
3. Train your pay-per-click campaigns. This is also especially important with display advertising campaigns, but applies to search efforts as well. You want to have your campaigns trained and running smoothly well in advance of the season you're targeting to ensure that you're getting the most out of it. If your campaigns are already running smoothly and you've given them the opportunity to gather enough data to be effective, you'll be way ahead of the curve and ready to reach your audience when the busy season hits.
4. Define your metrics. Success in every marketing campaign is defined differently; it's up to you to know what the metrics are that will define success in your venture. Some campaigns may revolve directly around sales, while others will be lead generation or branding exercises. Know the metrics that are important to you and take the time to refine your methods of analyzing those metrics before jumping full-swing into any seasonal campaign.
5. Test and refine. Part of training any campaign to be successful is testing the results. Your tests throughout the year will help you to refine your advertising campaigns, enabling them to be ready for seasonal changes. When you get into the thick of it during the holiday season, you'll have a clear idea of what creative and landing pages are reaching your audience, then you can then alter them to suit the season's requirements. Be ready to examine and refine your campaigns based on their results and your predefined metrics.
When it comes down to it, seasonal cycles need to be addressed long before they happen, and you need to have a good handle on your online campaigns well ahead of time. Remember that most alliterative of advice: proper planning and preparation prevents poor performance.
Marc Poirier is the co-founder and chief marketing officer at Acquisio.