Your Holiday Marketing Timeline: Part 1

Organize your promotions and advertising efforts with a holiday marketing timeline. In part 1, we’ll get you started with a checklist that will carry you into mid-October.

September Checklist

The busiest time of year brings its own headaches to go along with those more robust shopping carts. In particular, how can you be sure you are making the most of the opportunity that these months provide?

We’ve pooled advice together from some of our most experienced specialists to provide a marketing timeline that will give you manageable goals to tackle between now and December. Whether you are focused on SEO and have barely delved into shopping feeds, or if you are struggling with where social media fits into your overall plans, this checklist will help you get started.

Look for another calendar update in October, when we’ll provide a new checklist for optimizing your marketing campaign.

SEO

  • Make note of industry trends and research past campaigns that have done well (both your own as well as competitors).
  • Ensure top converting category and product pages are optimized for search by conducting keyword research.
  • Create descriptive title tags, meta descriptions and on-page copy. Product descriptions should be as unique as possible, include eye catching photos and video if possible.
  • Start connecting with relevant, influential bloggers and see how many are willing to help you promote your business or specific product. Be creative with these propositions – they should add value to the bloggers community.

Social Media

  • Create a detailed promotion and content calendar that outlines what deals, sales, coupons, discounts, blog topics, social content, etc. you’ll be running from November to early February.
  • Determine how many campaigns will you will run and the best time of day/best day of the week to drive traffic.
  • Decide on a budget to use each month to run social advertisements and (if necessary) outsource your social media efforts.
  • Set up custom audiences in Facebook for retargeting to people who have previously visited your website.

Shopping Feeds

  • If you are new to shopping feeds, set up your first feed so that you have time to troubleshoot any errors that may occur before the holiday season starts.
  • If you have recently migrated account to Google Shopping, look to make sure everything migrated correctly and segment into product groups as needed.
  • Review Google’s policies to make sure your products and information comply. A common mistake merchants encounter is having watermarks on their images.

PPC

  • Decide whether you will update existing campaigns or create a standalone holiday campaign; there are advantages to each strategy. Find the one that best suits your needs and goals.
  • Review historical holiday performance and identify when traffic and conversions increased. Use this information to predict and navigate potential trends during the upcoming season.
  • Build out keyword lists based on current top converting keywords, new products and fast movers.
  • Be sure to include keyword modifiers such as “gift,” “ideas” and others as applicable to your industry.

Email Marketing

  • If you are new to email marketing, make sure you have appropriate ways for your customers to sign up for newsletters. This can be sign up boxes on your website in the header, footer or left navigation. Also, you can provide them the option during the checkout process.
  • Look into options to encourage more newsletter subscribers; this can be via social media, modal popups or bringing more attention to the website sign up.
  • Decide how frequently you’re going to launch newsletters each month: once a week, bi weekly, once a month, etc.
  • Create a calendar through January that determines which day you will send updates if there is a promotion.

Promotional Calendar

  • If you have the data, look at past promotional efforts. Take away wins and losses from last years incentives.
  • Create a promotional schedule that expands through February.
  • Decide where each promotion will be featured–website only or email only.

If you find that you need help in order to make the most of the holiday season, we encourage you to learn more about the Marketing Services team that helped put this checklist together.

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