IndustryHoliday Search Marketing? You’d Better Be!

Holiday Search Marketing? You'd Better Be!

Tips for using PPC, retargeting, e-mail marketing, and viral marketing to help boost holiday sales.

If you don’t have your holiday marketing plan yet, you’re getting a very late start. But there are still things you can do in the short term to help boost sales for the Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year’s holidays.

Organic Rankings — Possible?

Organically, you’re going to have a hard time unless you choose some long-term phrases that you can rank for simply by building a page that actually contains the keyword. The problem with those long-tail terms: a lack of traffic. You’d need to build 300 pages based on 300 terms to see a significant spike in traffic before Christmas — that’s a lot of work and time.

Paid Advertising

You’re better off investing in paid advertising to push sales through the holidays. There are some inexpensive ways to capitalize on paid advertising. For some ideas, check out my last column, “Alternatives to GoogleAdWords — Worth Your Time?


Start a retargeting campaign to support your holiday sales. The right creative can increase conversion rates by targeting the visitors that have already been to your site. You can also lower acquisition costs because retargeting is much less expensive than PPC advertising, so “reacquiring” those lost visitors is much less expensive than another organic click — and you can get them back without relying on a Google, Yahoo, or Bing search to do it.

A few sites can be helpful for a relatively low investment. Retargeting works via cookies and is relatively painless to the user. Check out,, or to get started.

To see how it works for yourself, visit one of those retargeting sites and then surf the Web for a bit. Hit news or informational sites and watch for the retargeted display ads. I was on the FetchBack site and went to and saw the display ad. This is pretty amazing technology that won’t break the bank for a short-term campaign in time for the holidays.

E-mail Marketing

If you haven’t implemented a holiday marketing strategy, you’re probably hurting for sales. E-mail marketing still has one of the highest conversion rates in online marketing — if your list is clean and targeted. Here are some tips to get the most “bang” out of your e-mail blast:

  • Keep it short and to the point — this isn’t a newsletter.
  • Offer minimal choices — an e-mail blast shouldn’t have tons of links and navigation. Your deal and a button to click is plenty.
  • Run your blast through SpamCheck and make sure it has a low score (below 2) to ensure delivery.
  • Don’t forget tracking scripts on your links so you can attribute your sales to your e-mail marketing campaign!

Go Viral

Viral marketing is probably the most difficult type of campaign to bring to fruition. It really depends on the product or service and what sort of spin you can put on it. The Will It Blend? guys hit a goldmine with their viral videos in a relatively short amount of time.

The reality is, more viral campaigns fail than succeed. That doesn’t mean you can’t do it, but be realistic and know that luck plays a big part in having a campaign go viral.

Remember, you need a network of people to help your video, article, or image go viral. If you don’t have that, start building it now and try again next holiday season.

So it isn’t too late, but you better get to work to realize a boost in your holiday revenue. As a bonus, I can tell you that I, along with last-minute shoppers around the world, respond like hounds at a BBQ to a rate cut or free last minute shipping. So consider using that as your e-mail marketing, viral marketing, retargeting, and PPC ad theme — it isn’t too late to get your hooks into other shopping procrastinators like me.

Join us for SES Chicago on December 7-11. Now in its 11th year, the only major Search Marketing Conference and Expo in the Midwest will be packed with 70+ sessions covering PPC management, keyword research, Search Engine Optimization (SEO), social media, local, mobile, link building, duplicate content, video optimization and usability, while offering high-level strategy, keynotes, an exhibit floor, networking events and more.


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