Start Your Holiday Planning with These Search Marketing Hacks

The holiday season is synonymous with tradition. Spending time with friends and family, exchanging gifts, enjoying favorite meals: Ask anyone to picture the holidays and chances are some vivid images will come to mind. Retailers, however, know each holiday season is unique, with its own set of challenges to overcome.

The trends retail marketers need to recognize in 2018 are already taking shape, from the continued growth of mobile commerce, to the emergence of voice search, to evolving consumer habits. To help you get a head start, we’ve assembled search marketing hacks so you can get an early start on your holiday preparations.

Offer special in-store offers so people visit local locally instead of just online.

Think Local

Taking on a worldwide behemoth like Amazon may seem impossible, but there are ways you can beat bigger competitors in your own backyard. Make strategic use of local cost advantages like sales tax implications, distance to brick-and-mortar stores, warehouse locations, cost of living, and nearby competitor locations. Stand out from competitors by offering exclusive discounts, faster shipping, in-store pick-up options, and other perks your rivals can’t match.

A Great First Impression

Consumers have many things vying for their attention, especially around the holidays. They’re not loyal to brands as much as they are to moments. We all experience a rush of excitement when we see a box from our favorite online retailer on our doorstep. That thrill is the moment that keeps us coming back, order after order.

Providing a customer with this kind of experience starts with making their first interaction special. Showcase your best-selling products, ensure you have a presence with both text and Google Shopping ads, and don’t be afraid to throw in some extras like free samples. Any of these tactics will help you make a stronger imprint on a new customer’s mind.

Own a bakery? Why not give a free doughnut after 10 orders?

Surprise Your Customers

Of course, after reeling a buyer in, the goal is to convert them into a long-term patron of your brand. During the busy holiday season, it’s easy for purchases to feel overly transactional. By taking small steps to make these orders memorable, you’ll inspire customers to associate your business with a positive, standout experience.

Consider acknowledging milestones like a customer’s 10th order or $500 total spent. Everyone enjoys being spoiled from time to time, so treat your existing buyers like new customers occasionally with unexpected bonuses to keep them engaged.

Embrace Responsive Search Ads

We live in a “me first” society, a fact that tends to rear its head during the holidays. Users expect a highly personalized experience when they search, as evidenced by the popularity of “for me” queries. Can just three ads adequately meet the individual needs of 20 people searching for flowers? Probably not, as you’re likely dealing with 20 very different situations.

That’s where Google’s new Responsive Search Ads come in. These ads display up to three headlines and two 90-character descriptions, though you can enter as many as 15 headlines and four descriptions for additional flexibility. Google then uses machine learning to figure out which combinations perform best for individual search queries.

With more variations in ad copy, you can address a wider range of contexts for users. This feature is still rolling out, but you’ll definitely want to include it in your holiday plans.

Start Decking Those Halls!

For more tips to apply this holiday season, watch our full SEM hacks webinar. We also have a collection of free holiday marketing resources, including a workbook, paid search planning calendar, 1-on-1 clinics, and more!

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