Harness SEM for Holiday Sales Success

November and December bring in 30 percent more revenue than any other months of the year for e-tailers, so it makes sense to develop a strategy to capitalize on this busy season.

Consider some of the following search engine marketing (SEM) tips to boost your profits this holiday season.

  1. Create a week-by-week marketing plan.

Your marketing should change based on shoppers' behavior, which is often reflected in the proximity to Christmas. In mid- to late-November, for example, consumers are typically looking for the best deals, translating into searches for low prices, buy-one-get-one (BOGO), and promo codes. But by mid-December there's a shift to searches for quick and easy presents. Ads based on these needs, including free gift wrapping, fast shipping, or free shipping, can catch the eyes of last-minute shoppers.

  1. Use expanded text ads with holiday-specific copy.

Now that Google has expanded its text ads by 47 percent, marketers have some breathing room for headlines and descriptions. Take advantage of the extra word count to include copy about holiday offers, and to customize a URL path for specific landing pages.  

  1. Reconfigure your keyword mixes. 

When shopping for themselves, consumers may use more brand- or item-specific keywords such as "black leather couch" or "Fila running shoes." But the holidays require marketers to think from a gift-giver's perspective, where searches tend to contain specific people (e.g., "gifts for teachers") or types of people (e.g., "gift ideas for football fans"), price caps ("best stocking stuffers under $10"), or trends (e.g., "best-selling books"). 

  1. Bid for more competitive holiday-related terms.

Although terms like "free shipping" and "top gift ideas for women" might cost you more than you're used to paying, you'll make your money back in site traffic and higher conversion rates due to increased visibility and targeted terms.

  1. Utilize Google merchant promotions.

This free feature gives businesses the opportunity to add their promotions alongside their product shopping ads on Google Shopping and Google.com. The links, which can include incentives such as free shipping, BOGO, cash back, and percent off, can boost click-through rates and increase conversions.

Put SEM to work this holiday season and watch your sales grow.