Search Marketing Agencies Start Celebrating Christmas In JulyAre you getting into the Christmas spirit? Well, you’re 3 months too late!

Not meaning to be harsh but any business wishing to cash in on Christmas should have all their plans laid out during that most unlikely of times – summer. Whether you plan a social media campaign, PPC or SEO, your agency should have begun preparing you for the Christmas dash back in July and August.

There are some businesses who are able to come in late to the party, but the majority should begin to assess who their competitors are, where their budget will be best spent, the likely trends and keywords for targeting, supply and back office support, the build up to key messages etc etc, back in summer. A good search marketing agency will assist you with forward search marketing planning several months in advance of any campaign. And search marketing agencies worth their salt will run test campaigns prior to the festive season to ensure that your keywords are effective and all your back office systems are fully functional.

Why?

It is no good to you if, as the first lights go up and the adverts appear on TV, you realise that the most potentially lucrative month of the business year is upon you. No campaign, whether advertising, PR, SEO, PPC or social media is implemented without testing it, resolving any teething problems, and targeting the appropriate audience. And in order to capitalise fully on the e-commerce benefits now available in the EU and UK, you need to have spent the year building your community of loyal followers, checking all of your systems are fully functional – whether that is an email campaign or ecommerce shopping basket, and ensuring that your business is ready for the December and January shopping influx.

The reality is that some of those last minute shoppers could become lifetime buyers through your e-commerce system if you get this right, or they could become out and out naysayers for your brand if you get it wrong.

Yes, you can run last minute Pay Per Click campaigns to target buyer trends for a particular product, or because of a breaking news story, but your Christmas campaign should be started back in the summer. If you are one of those who has left it too late, make the most of the gap that occurs in January and February to explore the opportunities that your search marketing agency can bring to you for Easter and Summer, before your competitors spring on board.

However, in the meantime, build your social media community by employing a soft sell approach. Share funky presents with them through affiliate programs (so you earn a commission or percentage on each sale), run a competition that engages them so they remember you in the long hard winter months and come back to check on whether they won, or sell bizarre out of season or end of run items that you have so you are still top of their minds next summer….. and next winter, when they are looking for a slightly extraordinary Xmas pressie, who will stand out?!

In e-commerce, you can win by being the first to market with a Radio 4 hoody or whatever the latest greatest must-have item is, but it is more likely that it will be through planning and building a campaign over the previous months. Your SEM agency should be able to help you build a fulfilling campaign for certain products, which has sufficient flexibility to permit you to leap on any bandwagons going and use your PPC and SEO advantage gained during the previous months to your advantage. The best time to begin building a campaign is whilst your competitors are still digesting their turkey – ClickThrough is open on Dec 27th-31st and then 3rd Jan onwards so we look forward to beating your competitors in 2011!!

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About the author:

A practising internet marketing consultant since 1996, Lindsey Annison helps companies improve their website marketing, online PR and information architecture. Lindsey is also a qualified adult education lecturer and author. As co-founder of the Access to Broadband Campaign, she has been instrumental in the provision of high-speed internet access to rural areas in the UK. Lindsey is also a past winner of Silicon.com's Outstanding Contribution to UK Technology