Now here’s a Grinch-like statement: if you’re just now starting your holiday mobile marketing plans, it’s already too late.
On the other hand, if you’ve been honing your SEO content strategy throughout the year, you may be in for some Christmas cheer.
By now, marketers understand that digital marketing is important for holiday shopping. Gift givers turn to Google to search for the perfect item for a loved one with search phrases like “best gifts for teenagers” or “Christmas gifts for her.” Once a shopper has an idea for a gift, she might search for online reviews about the item or seek the location of a brick-and-mortar store that carries it.
Content and SEO strategy can impact all of these actions, helping potential customers discover and purchase products.
Unfortunately, however, many businesses get bogged down in creating up-to-the-minute content instead of thinking year-round. And when November suddenly rolls around, they have a vision of the future—the grim ghost of shopping seasons yet to come—wherein they’ve already lost customers to brands who have earned ranking authority through a year-round focus on consistent, quality, original content. When the holidays come around, those quality-content-focused companies have the authority and expertise to nudge higher search rankings for their holiday-related content.
There are many levers marketers can pull when thinking about the holiday season—but when it comes to building out a strategy that will sustain your brand all year long and elevate it through the holidays, five primary practices stand out from the rest. Naturally, holiday-specific content plays an important role in converting customers come winter. But with a good year-round content strategy in place, there’s no need to reinvent the wheel. Businesses can repurpose existing content to attract holiday shoppers and beef up their holiday campaigns. Here’s how.
Mobile is here to stay. And while most businesses would acknowledge the importance of mobile technology, I’m still confounded by the number of businesses and organizations out there with websites that won’t display properly on mobile.
Optimizing your website for mobile comes part and parcel with mobile marketing for the holidays. According to Google, 64 percent of shoppers will use mobile search to get ideas about what to buy. Shoppers need to be able to navigate your website with ease from their mobile devices. It’s simply too easy for them to navigate away from clunky, slow-loading, non-mobile-friendly pages and find their holiday gifts elsewhere.
This should be an obvious part of your mobile strategy, but it’s easy to overlook the simple stuff. Make sure people that search for your business can quickly find directions to your location, your hours, and a phone number. If you have extended holiday hours, update them on your company’s Google page. If shoppers think you’re closed when you’re actually open, you’ve lost a potential sale.
Here’s a quick holiday content lesson: the content you create throughout the year matters just as much as the content you create over the last three months of the year.
A few key stats help demonstrate why. Mobile searches related to “unique gifts” are up 65 percent year over year, and mobile searches related to “cool gifts” have increased more than 80 percent, according to Julie Krueger for Think With Google. Krueger explained that these shifts are the result of a new species of “supershopper” who are on a quest for the best, and search helps them find what they need. Indeed, during last year’s holiday season, mobile searches for “best gift” grew 70 percent year over year, Krueger reported.
This type of gift-related content doesn’t have to come just at the end of the year, however. Shoppers are always looking for awesome gifts, and incorporating this type of content into your strategy can increase ranking strength.
Brands that create stellar content throughout the year can lean on that body of work when the holidays come around. Instead of creating brand-new content, companies can optimize existing content for the holiday period. A retail company might take an existing article about top kitchen gadgets and optimize it for the phrase “best kitchen gifts 2016,” for example.
Holiday-specific content can play an important role with “showrooming” consumers, who check their mobile phone for more information while they shop in a brick-and-mortar store. Curated gift guides (with links to online reviews) can provide must-have information to customers discovering items in a store’s physical location.
For maximum holiday content effectiveness, companies need to think early. Big Commerce advocates the 45-day rule on seasonal content. According to its research, if a company wants to get in on 90 percent of the search traffic related to a given holiday, its seasonal content must be published at least 45 days prior to the holiday. As the below graph shows, publishing content 45 days out captures the rising tide of search traffic related to the holiday.
A majority of shoppers check online reviews before making a purchase. Encouraging your customers to post reviews can help boost your SEO ranking while also appealing to customers who rely on reviews to guide their decision-making process. Throughout the year, consider ways to encourage customers to post reviews, like the tips described here. Make sure reviews display properly on mobile (especially for those showrooming customers).
The holidays are a busy time for businesses and consumers alike. By thinking about how year year-round mobile marketing and content strategy fits in with your holiday strategy, businesses can create evergreen content that’s especially useful during the holidays—a time-saving technique that also helps boost search ranking. The end of 2016 will be here before we know it. In 2017, brands have an opportunity to adjust their approach for a better position when the holidays come round again.