The Holiday season is approaching quickly which means you need to maximize your SEO and online marketing efforts. While more customers are looking to beat the hassle of lines and crowds to get big sales it’s your job to build brand awareness and optimize your online store for more visibility in organic search results.
First things first, step out of your business owner mentality and slip on your customer’s shoes, or slippers, for the Holidays. Grab a hot cocoa, turn on your computer and start shopping.
Every shopper searches for different terms and keywords according to season and occasion. Whereas a New Year’s shopper would search for party favors, party decorations, drink mixes, etc., a Holiday shopper might search for gift ideas for Dad, presents for my boyfriend, etc.
Proactively preparing your online store with the messages that resonate with your target market during the holiday season is important because you want to make an instant connection. Effectively telling your customers you understand they are looking for great gifts and great deals, for example. This updated copy and content will also help search engine crawlers understand your intent. Not only does this help customers once they are on your site, but it helps with your marketing efforts overall. Prominent marketing expert Jay Baer discusses three main marketing concepts that are especially important to remember for the holidays to build brand awareness and earn more sales.
Top of Mind Awareness: Advertise as much as possible so your customers think of you first when looking for a product.
Your brand should be at the top of your customers’ minds at all times. The best way to create TOMA is through product advertisements. Let’s use buying Dad a coffee mug as an example.
Your job is to promote your product so whenever your audience thinks about anything in relation to a coffee mug they immediately think of you. Release special promotions, offer free shipping or gift wrapping, and share coupons and discounts through all of your social media accounts.
Create Holiday email campaigns promoting the best gifts for dad. Include some mugs but also promote your awesome coffee gift baskets, best coffees and cool coffee recipe books/ingredients. What goes better with a coffee mug than coffee?
Lastly, to create TOMA, share customer feedback and reviews. This is very important as providing positive product reviews not only builds trust between your customers and your products, but helps you understand what you can do to improve your online store.
Frame of Mind Awareness: When you’re customers are ready they will find you.
This type of awareness is where behind the scenes SEO comes into play.
Using the same example, make sure that any time someone is ready to buy their dad a coffee mug, your online store appears first.
The first thing you should do is research your competitors for similar products and find which of their pages are ranking highest and performing best. Do this by using Google’s Keyword Planner to find every highly searched keyword relevant to your niche. Enter these keywords in search engines to see who is performing for those particular keywords and phrases.
Now you can optimize your pages using competitor research. Rework your title tags, meta descriptions, main headings and product descriptions associated with product keywords. Make sure you use Holiday related keywords for the particular searching season.
Friend of Mine Awareness: By providing value to your customers, they see you as a friend and will reward you with customer loyalty.
This type of awareness requires the most work and patience, but is the most beneficial. Friend awareness builds the strongest relationship with your customers by providing true value to them.
As an online marketer, your best tool for this type of awareness is social media. Following the coffee mug example, Tweet and Facebook about the most unbreakable coffee mugs, customized coffee mugs, the best types of coffee to put in your mug and why coffee tastes better in certain mugs. You’ve got to humanize your posts, deliver knockout customer experiences and create buzz worthy moments. Provide content and information on everything that relates to coffee so it appears in your followers’ news feed along with anyone’s feed that has liked or is following coffee-related pages. Aim to create audience connections based on what’s useful and genuine to them rather than product and price and you will be subscribed to, shared, bookmarked and buzzed about.
While being ranked higher in search engines is your main goal with brand awareness, it’s the efforts behind getting your business ranked high that are most important. If you take action using the three described ways to create brand awareness you will not only boost your Holiday SEO and marketing efforts, but create a business marketing campaign that will strengthen your online store way beyond the holiday shopping season.
Reed Daw is an SEO Associate for Volusion, a leading ecommerce software company. He specializes in SEO, user experience and content marketing. Follow him on Twitter @Reed_Daw.