By the InteractOne Marketing Team

With summer coming to a close, it’s time to start your digital marketing prep for the 2018 holiday season. What’s the key to Pay-Per-Click advertising during the holidays? Start earlycreate well planned and targeted campaigns as soon as possible. Well-prepared PPC campaigns perform better. It’s that simple. We are preparing clients for the November/December shopping season now.

Here are four tips for Magento merchants on how to run a successful PPC campaign during the holidays.

Lock Down Your Budget

A set budget is crucial for Pay-Per-Click success during the holiday season. It’s important to capture as much traffic during the holiday season as possible without overspending on PPC. Set clear expectations on ad spend so your team can focus on keeping costly aspects of a campaign in check and adjust before your whole holiday budget is spent.

We recommend a budget based on revenue instead of a set amount. Revenue-based budgets allow scalability during traffic fluctuation while maintaining profitability.

What If You Already Have Successful PPC Campaigns?

Great, you’re ahead of the game. Mature PPC campaigns, with high-quality scores, will experience a better cost-per-click than new campaigns. It is also less time consuming to make bid adjustments than it is to update ad copy or keywords. Due to Google’s approval process, new ad copy, keywords, ad groups, and campaigns all start out at a 0 quality score. To get a start on the holiday rush, identify your top performing campaigns. Then, plan out ad copy and have keywords ready by, or before, mid-October.  All you’ll need to do is throttle the budget a little when it’s go time.

Start Testing Your Pay-Per-Click Campaigns

Don’t waste your budget on ads, keywords or landing pages that simply don’t convert. Tests need to be run (at the very least) a couple of months in advance of the holiday season.

A/B tests are the best way to discover what works and what doesn’t in PPC campaigns. Implementing split-ad testing prior to the holiday season will help determine the elements of your ads that impact user behavior so you can adjust them.

Elements such as calls-to-action, landing pages, and keywords influence whether an ad will result in a conversion. Focusing on those elements during testing will map out what successful ads should look like. Once your tests have accrued some data, use it to make careful, data-driven changes to the user experience. This will result in the best version of your ads.

For more advanced eCommerce marketers, we recommend multivariate testing. Although, for many merchants, tracking all the moving parts is not worth the aggravation. Notably, there are many helpful tools (including us) to help you with multivariate testing. However, like A/B tests, it’s important to start these tests sooner rather than later.

Sync Your Marketing Efforts

Campaign efforts performed simultaneously such as PPC, eMail, and social media advertising will perform better than stand-alone campaigns. Performing marketing campaigns in tandem through different channels increases the chances of brand recognition while creating brand familiarity.

In order to be successful in harmonizing these campaigns, be sure to keep the language and branding consistent. Also, be sure to build your email lists and loyal followers throughout the year so there is a larger sales audience come November.

Work to optimize your customer shopping experience (this should be an all-the-time edict, but it’s especially important during the holidays when shoppers are busy). With products being available on Amazon and other large online warehouses, ensuring a great customer experience on your site is of the utmost importance. Double (maybe even triple) check that elements such as site search, site navigation, image quality, links, internal linking and checkout experience are top quality.

Better customer experience is one reason why “Chief Experience Officer” (CXO) is a growing job title. Too many companies find themselves compartmentalized or silo-ed in their efforts. Or, companies rely on an agency to manage a specific marketing channel and do not effectively develop or communicate a central overarching strategy. The integration of all marketing initiatives (including customer experience) takes time. Merchants need to start plans for a larger strategy that includes PPC, eMail, social, and site optimizations.

Get Started Now – or Very Soon

Begin with these tips to maximize selling opportunities when traffic is at its peak during the holidays. Even if your marketing efforts aren’t as organized as they should be, there’s still time to put a plan into place.

If you would like some help, contact us to get started. Or, give us a call to talk to a Digital Marketing expert: 513-469-3345.