How to prepare your ecommerce PPC strategy for the festive season

5-MINUTE READ - 29th October 2019

Bradley Hall
Bradley Hall Head of Paid Search

Thanks to the likes of Black Friday and the approach of Christmas, the busiest shopping period of the year will soon be upon us. Every retailer out there will be looking for ways to capitalise on the festive period in order to make as many sales as possible over the next few months. So, in order to stay ahead of the game, you need to be assessing your digital marketing strategies to see where some adjustments need to be made.

If your business already uses pay-per-click (PPC) advertising, or you’re thinking about giving it a go, there are some steps you can take to supercharge your strategy for the festive period. And, I’m going to take you through some of those here. You can also check out our guide to paid search ads and how they can benefit your business if you aren’t yet familiar with this area of digital marketing.

Make year-on-year comparisons

It’s easy to get caught up in what’s currently working well for your business, but different campaigns can perform completely differently in summer and winter, for example. So, if a particular product is doing quite well at the moment, you need to remember that seasonality could have something to do with it, and things could change quite drastically over the next few months.

To get a better picture of what you need to be promoting over Christmas shopping period, instead of looking at your latest data, look at information you gathered in the final quarter of last year. Do certain products become much more popular as soon as winter hits, and are there any particularly interesting insights about how your festive PPC ads have performed in the past?

Advertisers will often wait for their return on investment (ROI) to increase in the lead-up to Christmas before they’ll increase their spend. But, if you look at the data that shows how your campaigns have performed historically, you can anticipate how everything is likely to go and make the most of every single day during peak periods. You can do the same when it comes to anticipating drops in performance, too.

Know your budget well in advance

If you’re only just trying to work out what your PPC budget is for Q4, you need to start thinking further ahead. If you have a yearly budget assigned to PPC, it’s crucial that you plan this out according to how you expect your campaigns to perform. So, for example, if Christmas is typically your busiest time of year, you’ll want to assign a large proportion of your budget to this period.

If you typically divide your budget by 12 so your monthly budget is always the same, you’ll risk overspending during a period where you see a low ROI and are also likely to miss out during months that are on the busier side. This is why it’s so important to assign more budget to months when you’re expecting your campaigns to perform particularly well.

However, it’s just as important that you avoid overspending, otherwise you’ll risk biting off more than you can chew. There is such a thing as making too many sales if your business can’t cope with a particularly large influx of new business. So, in order to continue providing shoppers with a positive customer experience, you need to spend enough to make you a healthy profit, but not so much that your business is stretched to its limits.

Make sure all of the key dates are in your calendar

Q4 boasts a whole host of prime shopping days, which will offer you the chance to run some great promotions. It’s likely your competitors are already jumping at the chance to do this, so I would highly recommend that you do too. Here are some of the key dates you should have in your diary:

  • 29th November — Black Friday
  • 30th November to 1st December — Black Friday weekend
  • 2nd December — Cyber Monday
  • 14th December — Free Shipping Day
  • 20th December — Last postal day for two-day services
  • 23rd December — Last postal day for next-day services
  • 26th December — Boxing Day sales

If you’re running any promotions for these events, make sure that your website clearly outlines the relevant dates and any specific details customers should know about.

Most importantly, you also need to clearly state your Christmas cut off dates. Each year, thousands of bad reviews are given to businesses who haven’t been able to deliver Christmas presents on time. And, even if the blame lies with the courier, it’s you who will lose customers’ trust. So, it’s better to be safe than sorry. If you’re worried, bring your cut off day forward to give you a bit of a buffer. Then, if your customers make an order after this date, make sure they know it’s at their own risk.

With that said, it’s vital that you also keep an eye on similar businesses so you can ensure you’re staying competitive. The best way to do this is by signing up to their newsletters and following their social media accounts. Then, you’ll hear about any promotions they’re running, as well as their Christmas cut off dates. It might even give you some inspiration!

Re-engage with your customers

While Q4 offers the perfect opportunity to gain new customers, you shouldn’t forget about those who’ve shopped with you before. If it’s been a while since they’ve shopped with you or they aren’t currently looking for your products, you might have slipped off their radar. But, sending them a quick reminder and letting them know about any promotions your running won’t hurt.

If you have a database of people who’ve said they’re happy to receive marketing communications from your business, use this to send out an email blast. You might just be surprised by how many are happy to hear from you and then go on to make a purchase!

Following the tips I’ve outlined here should help you to maximise your profits this quarter, and enter the New Year in the best position possible. Plus, you should have gained lots of new customers that will look to buy from you again in the future.

If you’re looking to run pay-per-click ads and don’t know where to start, or you’re just too busy to get the most out of your campaigns, the help of a PPC agency can be invaluable. Get in touch to discuss your requirements today.