It’s November, and we’re getting down to the wire in preparing for the holidays. For many, November 1 marks the start of the holiday shopping season, and whether you like it or not brands everywhere are going to launch their holiday campaigns. I don’t know about you, but as a consumer I am counting down the days for Black Friday ads to be released – they usually start around November 1 and details for some of my favs have started to roll in. 😊 There are many pieces to a successful online marketing strategy like a continuously flowing distribution of content, an optimized ecommerce website, and more. But there are a few things you can do with online advertising to help increase sales this holiday season.
Capitalize on Your Email Lists
Your email lists are incredibly valuable – use them! They are great for sharing content, promoting specials and sales, and building relationships with your customers. The holidays are a great way to connect with your customers on a personal level in their inbox and online.
We have a housewares client with an email list that has an ecommerce conversion rate 271% higher than the rest of their website. Their email users are the most likely to convert and each website session from their email list is worth a full $2.90 more per session than the next highest traffic source.
If you have a sizable email list, you should consider using it in your advertising campaigns as an audience list to help boost sales. An audience list is a pool of users – in this case your email subscribers – who you show ads to. Your email subscribers are already familiar with and might have already purchased from your brand. The likelihood of these people engaging with your ad and purchasing from your website is going to be higher than reaching people who are not familiar with your brand. With a short amount of time, this is an option to consider to help boost those holiday sales.
Use Audience Lists to Show Ads to People Who Already Know Your Brand
As I mentioned, an audience list is a pool of users that you are using to show your ads to. Instead of focusing on trying to reach a new audience, especially in such a competitive landscape, focus on trying to reach people who have already engaged with your brand. You will get the most out of your budget by targeting people who have already engaged with your brand, and these users will be more likely to purchase from you than people who have never heard of your brand or products. Think of the different kinds of audiences you want to reach with these types of lists. Here are a few ideas:
- People who have visited your website in the last 60 days.
- People who have visited certain product pages on your site in the last 60 days.
- Facebook users who have watched 75% of your product promotion videos.
- People who like your Page on Facebook.
There are an endless number of potential audience list combinations you can create. It all depends on who you want to reach. The further down in the funnel your audience list is, the more likely it’s going to be successful. If you are focusing on pushing a specific product this holiday season, create a list of users who have visited that product page on your website. Do you have blog posts that feature this product? Include visitors to that blog post in your audience, too. Targeting this audience across your advertising channels is going to ensure the people seeing ads for this specific product are the most likely to engage and purchase it because they’ve already shown interest in it.
Use Lookalike and Similar Audiences to Expand Your Target Audience
So far, we’ve talked about what you can do to reach people who have already interacted with your brand or visited your website, and yes, those users are going to be cheaper for you to reach during this competitive time in the advertising landscape. Reaching your current customers is a great strategy, especially when you are short on time, but there are other ways to quickly and effectively reach people who are similar to your current customers and audiences.
There are two ways we can do this. First, Google has a product called Similar Audiences. Similar audiences is a way for advertisers to create a list of users who behave similarly to their current customers or website visitors. Let’s say that you have an audience of people who have purchased holiday tabletop décor and you want to reach more people who would be interested in those products. Based off of people’s search behaviors on Google, you can create a list of people who have searched similarly, maybe with searches like ‘Christmas table decorations’ or ‘holiday decorations for the dining room table’. Similar audiences is available for Search, Display, Shopping, and YouTube campaigns in Google AdWords.
Google isn’t our only option for creating a list of website visitors similar to yours. Facebook uses Lookalike Audiences to help advertisers reach similar users based on your current customer data (email lists!), past website visitors, or people who already like your Page.
It would be wise to use these types of audiences in both Google and Facebook, but monitor them carefully. Both channels use a large amount of data to create these audiences so that they’re as similar to the conditions you gave it; however, they won’t always be perfect. During the holiday season, your budget is especially valuable. If you find that a lookalike or similar audience is costing you too much money, consider lowering bids or removing it all together. If that’s the case, you might want to take a look at your current audience list. How is this list performing? If your original audience list is not performing well, your lookalike and similar audience lists will not perform well either.
As advertisers, we can be pretty lucky with some of these ‘quick’ ways to capitalize on our target audiences with last minute strategies and tactics, but we shouldn’t have to resort to these as last-minute options when the holidays or any other busy seasons are upon us. Take these tips and get as much as you can out of the holiday season, but use this as a lesson for next time. In order to really see success with your holiday sales, a strategic and integrated marketing plan is one of the first ingredients. Advertising isn’t and shouldn’t be the only option to make the holidays successful. Your website content, social media content, SEO, website user experience, and more, work together to generate sales and create loyal customers. If you want to find out if your current online marketing strategy needs work (holiday focused or not!), check out our completely free whitepaper.