Building A 2020 Holiday Paid Media Strategy For The “New Normal”

Ecommerce, Paid Media Advertising, Seasonal Marketing

We are all probably done hearing about the “new normal” but the reality is this year the holiday season isn’t going to look like it has in past years. COVID-19 has given us all a hit, but pressing into your online marketing will help your business thrive this holiday season. With well-executed paid media strategies you can keep the festive cheer going and captivate your customers. 

When (and How) to Ramp Up Your Holiday Marketing 

It seems, holidays come sooner and sooner every year. Big box stores are carrying Christmas items in September (yikes!) For 2020 everyone is looking to the holidays for something to celebrate and something to buy. 

This year many retailers are ramping up their sales early (because really what else are people doing with their time online but shopping?) The Black Friday in-store frenzy is dead (thanks COVID) so moving online to extend the shopping season makes sense. And forty percent of consumers begin their shopping before Halloween! Pretty much all that to say now – yes, NOW! – is the time to start planning and executing your paid media strategy.

How are you going to do that? We have a few suggestions. 

Paid Media Marketing

Paid media marketing is a pretty essential component of growth and brand awareness for businesses. The paid advertising ecosystem includes pay-per-click, retargeting, display and social media ads. To get the ball rolling this season we recommend that you leverage all that paid media has to offer to entice more customers to your holiday deals.

Run Holiday PPC Ads

Most people start their shopping with online searches. You can’t rely on luck being your digital marketing strategy. To be found among the billions of websites on the internet you need to build a Pay-Per-Click ad strategy. Pay-Per-Click ads benefit both you and your customers by making it easy for shoppers to find your special offer (win, win). 

As the busiest season of the year heats up, PPC is one of the fastest ways to target shoppers looking for holiday gifts. Pay-Per-Click is a bidding auction where advertisers bid for their ad to be placed on the top of search engine results. Each time the ad is clicked the advertiser pays a fee to the search engine. Google is king here. Google ads are generally easy to set up but aren’t “set it and forget it” advertising. Optimization is necessary to keep your marketing dollars from being sucked down the drain. 

There are a few things you can do to get a better ROI:

  • Make sure your website or landing page is ready for the influx of customers. Customers will bounce if it isn’t a smooth transition to your site. 
  • Know your customer – who are they what words will they be searching for to find your product?
  • Already been running ads? Get creative with your ad copy by adding seasonal language – like “holiday coffee maker”.
  • Keep testing. Carefully. Don’t change everything. Test new words, new titles, new deals. 

Black Friday Bid Strategy

If you have waited till Black Friday to start your Black Friday PPC ads then it is too late. It is going to be an arms race on Black Friday so offering sneak peeks and special discounts at least a week or more before the big day is the only way to grab customer’s attention. 

Some intrepid eCommerce businesses start their Black Friday sales late on Thanksgiving Day letting shoppers leisurely wander the online deals in their post- turkey-and-pumpkin pie haze. It is even easier to do this time of early access online, but make sure your website is ready for the traffic. 

Whatever your strategy it should include planning your Black Friday PPC ads way ahead of the day. Also remember that Black Friday isn’t the only big day of the holiday season. The weekend before Christmas gets a lot of buyers who have frittered away their time till the last minute. Build a campaign that makes it easy for last minute shoppers to find what they are looking for quickly. 

Get Your Holiday Social Media Ads Going

Being stuck at home with our cats and children has made social media an important connection tool for adult people trying to keep their sanity during COVID. As more people scroll their feed you should be there offering holiday cheer, information, photos, and deals that will forge a trusting connection to your business. During the holidays, dialing up your posting frequency isn’t enough to cut through the noise. You need social media ads. 

Social media ads allow you to serve people in different stages of buying. Maybe, after tempting someone to your site with an offer, they abandoned their cart.  Get their attention with a social media retargeting ad that offers free delivery. Still didn’t complete the purchase? Offer a limited time discount. By making sure that your ad is delivered at the right time you create a smooth customer experience they remember. 

Promotional Campaign Ideas

Empathy in this tough season is a must. We all are struggling in some way to navigate this “new normal”.  As you build your digital marketing campaigns make sure you explain to customers why your product is going to help them this holiday season. 

Think long and hard about how your product is unique and what problems it solves. Is it the perfect gift for that hard-to-buy-for spouse? Does it make cooking at home hassle-free and healthy? Maybe every product sold gives back to a community nonprofit. 

Customers are going to be focused on buying local so make sure that your ads develop that local connection. Create ads that direct them to your online store so they can skip the trip and still browse your product catalog. 

Creative Ways to Build Traffic

We all get pretty excited about a good deal. Coupons, sales and specials are all excellent ways to encourage customers to BUY TODAY. A good strategy to use is traditional escalating sales  – 20% for week 1, 30% for week  2, 40% for week 3 –  is one way to build traffic.  One-day-only flash sales are another excellent tactic to use in your paid media ads.

Don’t forget to include Black Friday and Cyber Monday sales into your planning. You might want to think about extending your sale to include the entire weekend after Thanksgiving. But not every deal has to be a discount. Create urgency in your ads with time-sensitive offers like free shipping, gift-wrapping or guaranteed delivery before a certain date. 

Short on Time?

Even during COVID, customers are looking for ways to make their lives easier during the busy holiday season – and probably you are too. If you are short on time and need expert help to get your paid media campaigns up and running the Intuitive Digital team is ready to help strategize and implement your holiday promotional marketing. Reach out and we can get started. 

About the Author

Nick Footer

Nick Footer is an entrepreneur and founder of Intuitive Digital, a national award-winning digital marketing agency in Portland, Oregon. With over 15 years of experience, he has helped hundreds of businesses improve their online presence through search engine optimization, paid advertising, and website design.

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