PPC seasons’ greetings: It’s never too early (or too late) to plan

Pay-per-click metrics can vary a great deal between seasons.

With the economy now slumping, it’s even more important to keep your supply, ad budget, and marketing sides synched with seasonal demand.

Need a surefire way to do that? Put reminders on your marketing calendar to check your cost per sale and profitability, then adjust your seasonal PPC strategies accordingly.

We’re well into the Easter and spring home-and-garden season, but for the rest of the year, you’ll want to map out your paid search strategy ahead of these major seasons:

Mother’s Day; Summer Fun & Vacations―5/1-8/1

Back to School and College―8/1-9/15

Halloween―10/1-10/31

Winter Holidays―11/1-12/25

“Get What You Really Wanted” Week―12/26-12/31

Here’s how to capitalize:

• Update sales and offers on your Landing Pages to match the current season. Ensure your headline, copy and calls-to-action on the page are completely relevant to the offer. You don’t want to create “site flow disruption.”

• Diversify your offers so that you always have a product that’s in season. Stretch. Innovate. Repurpose. For example, flowers and candy for Mother’s Day again? Yawn. What Mom really wants is . . . what you have to offer, of course!

• Study last year’s campaign results. Note the biggest ROI and most profitable keywords. Track these and apply adequate budget.

• Put a reminder on your marketing calendar to check your cost per sale and profitability. Successful paid search means locating the right customers, convincing them to convert, and eliminating costly traffic from tire-kickers.

Here’s a one-question quiz:

You already know the winter holidays are THE major engine for annual income, but how do the other major seasons and holidays stack up in terms of retail sales spikes? According to the National Retail Federation:

#2 Back-to-school

#3 Valentine’s Day

#4 Mother’s Day

#5 Easter

#6 Father’s Day

#7 Super Bowl (not really a season or holiday, but it generated over $9 billion this year)

#8 Halloween

#9 St. Patrick’s Day

Even if you missed #3 and #9 (today), now’s the time to start gearing up for #4-6. Think of it as March Madness for marketers. And if you want a cheat sheet for the rest of the year, download our 2008 MEC Annual Merchandising Calendar (PDF).

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