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Optimizing Search Engine Marketing For Seasonal Opportunities
Many in-house search marketers operate within a seasonal framework, whether a retail high season culminating in Christmas, a peak summer travel season, or another cyclical ebb and flow of sales time.
Additionally events, like the Olympics or a presidential election, can impact search engine marketing for many businesses. Staying on top of these trends and events can uncover opportunities for in-house marketers to grow and optimize search marketing programs.
Identifying The Opportunities & Trends
The first step is recognizing important trends and events and their timing. A seasonal time like Christmas is a no-brainer, but is Valentine’s Day on a weekend or weekday, and does that make a difference? When is Easter this year, March or April? Getting a handle on which holidays are important versus not is a good starting point.
After holidays, events are the next important area to consider. The Olympics would fall into this category, and any business in travel, sporting goods and services, news and maybe even consumer electronics (for watching events/keeping up on results) will want to flag this event.
Depending on the business, and its geographic target audience, there may or may not be several events in a year that make sense to consider.
A notoriously hard seasonal trend to predict is the weather. Frozen pipes are opportunities for plumbers, sunshine and great weather might sell more sightseeing cruises (or frozen canals, less). Keeping an eye on weather trends can uncover opportunities and areas to monitor investment, but it is an ongoing and unpredictable process.
Organize A Calendar
The next step is to take the list of impactful events above and organize it into a calendar for the year. In-house marketers are busy people with just day-to-day operations, and it is easy for a holiday or event to escape notice (it’s 4th of July already?!). Setting calendar reminders in advance to flag a need for extra work around these topics can help keep these dates top of mind.
As part of the budgeting process building in the proper timing of holiday impacts can be essential to creating and meeting realistic sales targets. Scheduling the seasonal increases and decreases in sales at the proper times makes meeting objectives much more manageable.
Flagging these timing changes also helps in understanding year on year trends, especially for holidays that change dates, or even months between years, like Easter.
Taking Advantage Of The Opportunity
Investing time in keyword research and building new campaigns as warranted throughout the year will harness seasonal and event opportunities to drive incremental results. Understanding the life of these campaigns is essential to manage costs. When should the campaigns go live or be paused for the year? Are some more evergreen and can run throughout the year?
Thinking about ways to capitalize on seasonal opportunities is also a great time for in-house marketers to flex their creative muscles. Holiday based campaigns can have fun messaging that might not work as well in the context of regular business operations. Test and try new messages and ads!
Embracing The Negativity
On the flip side to all the opportunities to add new campaigns, there’s also the need to optimize with negative keywords for less relevant broad matches that will pop up. Almost certainly keywords which are too general (Valentine’s Day, Olympic medal counts) will match to new or existing campaigns and need to be added as negative keywords.
Monitoring query reports for these issues is essential, and the more in-house marketers can proactively identify and add these, the better. Calendaring the timing of events will help remind in-house marketers to be on the lookout.
In-house marketers can take advantage of seasonal trends or events for almost every business. The key to success is identifying and capitalizing on those opportunities.
Some opinions expressed in this article may be those of a guest author and not necessarily Search Engine Land. Staff authors are listed here.