If your 2022 holiday marketing strategy looks the same as it did last year, you’re not setting your business up for success. Each year customer needs and expectations vastly evolve. Consider just two to three years ago. Most consumers hadn’t yet leveraged curbside pickup or buy online pickup in store (BOPIS). Think back to ten years ago. Consumers did most of their shopping and services in-person. Now, consumers are shifting to digital. In a recent consumer survey, we found nearly one fifth (18%) of consumers prefer to shop online only.
To help you get the most out of your holiday campaigns and prepare for the influx of holiday shoppers to come in the next several months, we recently hosted an in-depth virtual event. We were joined by a fantastic panel of SEO and digital marketing experts to help us discuss emerging holiday marketing trends and strategies to better inform your 2022 holiday marketing strategy.
Each year, we’re seeing consumers begin their holiday shopping earlier and earlier, which is why we discussed holiday marketing campaigns in late August. In fact, Think With Google research found as of June 2021, 31% of U.S. shoppers had already started their holiday shopping and 37% of shoppers who shopped last holiday season wished they had started earlier. Many of the strategies we discuss during the webinar can also apply to other holidays such as Father’s Day, Memorial Day, Black Friday, and more.
Our event panel included:
- Claire Carlile, Local Search Expert at BrightLocal & Chartered Marketer at Claire Carlile Marketing
- Elizabeth Rule, SEO Analyst and Account Manager at Sterling Sky
- Reuben Yau, VP of SEO at Vizion
Here are the main takeaways from the webinar to help you boost your holiday marketing efforts this season and beyond.
Being Omnichannel Is a Must
Many brick-and-mortar retailers developed options for selling and order-taking online during the pandemic. Those that hadn’t yet adopted ecommerce had to get this effort off the ground with the lack of in-store shoppers and health concerns. Even as concerns about COVID have lessened in 2022, BOPIS, contactless payment and pickup, and other multi-channel service experiences are options that many potential customers expect to see.
Marketers too, agree that omnichannel is a main focus this holiday shopping season. Forty two percent of marketers agree and anticipate omnichannel will be their main area of focus this holiday season.
Your 2022 holiday marketing strategy must adopt an ominchannel approach for all of your holiday marketing campaigns, regardless of channel. Customers must be able to seamlessly move from one touchpoint to the next until they complete their purchase at either a nearby location or online.
To help facilitate the customer journey from search to consideration to sale, Elizabeth shared that you must first understand what the audience on that particular channel is looking for.
Consider your social media marketing strategy, for example. If a consumer is on social media, they’re likely not looking to make a purchase while they’re browsing. Your social media strategy shouldn’t be reliant on pushing sales. Instead, you may want to focus on providing the casual social media user less sales-focused material, such as when you’ll be open this holiday season, products on sale, or videos of what they can expect when they step into your stores.
Be Transparent About Supply Chain Shortages
Supply chain shortages are inevitable this holiday season for most businesses. In fact, the term “supply chain” became more recognized the past few years, as out of stock and raw material shortages came to fruition much of 2021.
These shortages were a mixture of issures. Issues include COVID-19, a shortage of workers, and the Russian-Ukraine conflict, which together caused the perfect storm of continuous global supply issues and shipping delays. Morning Consult’s recent U.S. Supply Chains & Inflation report found 51% of consumers reported experiencing product shortages of specific types of groceries and food, up from 43% in September 2021.
Customers, too have come to expect these delays from the previous holiday season. Based on findings from the aforementioned Think With Google report, 50% of U.S. shoppers said they planned to start holiday shopping earlier to avoid an item being out of stock. To mitigate potential purchasing roadblocks this holiday season, brands must consider encouraging customers to make their holiday purchases earlier. For example, Amazon and other major retailers hosted Christmas in July sorts of deals. Amazon Prime day took place July 12 and 13 this year.
“Prime Day 2022 demonstrates the ongoing ability of retail holidays to generate excitement and urgency even during an especially difficult economic environment,” said Ethan Chernofsky, vice president Placer.ai.
As Prime Day demonstrates, push your holiday content and sales earlier this year. Also, communicate out of stock items, keeping this information up to date on your Google product feed, mobile app, local landing pages, or anywhere else consumers can find your products online. Reuben suggests having email notifications available to notify the consumer when the product is back in stock too.
Keep Your Digital Storefront Up To Date
According to our own recent research, 42% of local consumers prefer a mixture of shopping in-person and online. Knowing customers are seeking your brand online and in-person, both storefronts must be up to date with the correct information. Just as you’d prominently display your store hours at the front of your brick and mortar location, so too should your hours and other pertinent information be displayed digitally.
Here are a few tips Claire had to share for keeping your digital storefront up to date this holiday season:
- Seed common holiday FAQs and add these questions to your Google Business Profile. And, add the business owner’s responses to each of these questions.
- Leverage Google Posts to share holiday offers, gift suggestions, holiday events, and more.
- Take professional, high-quality photos of what consumers can expect should they visit your stores in-person. Add these photos to your Google Business Profile.
- Update your holiday hours on your local listings to reflect any closures or special hours you’re offering.
- Keep your holiday messaging consistent across all platforms, from your on-page promotions to your social media campaigns.
Paid Search Is the Easiest Way to Get to the Top
Just as inflation is boosting prices for products and services, so too are ad prices. According to Insider, Meta’s cost per thousand (CPM) increased by 61% YoY, reaching an average CPM of USD $17.60. Additionally, TikTok’s CPM increased by a staggering 185% YoY, peaking at an average CPM of USD $9.40. Google also joined the ad surge with programmatic display CPMs increase by 75% YoY, while search ad cost-per-clicks (CPCs) were up by 14% YoY. Amazon has also seen notable CPC growth for their sponsored products offering, up 14% YoY.
When the majority of the economy recovered in 2021 as COVID-19 case severity began to lessen, advertisers began to compete for ad space. Now, here we are with higher ad prices across all mediums. Despite this price surge, Elizabeth still recommends brands participate in paid holiday ads. Ads are always at the top of search and take up valauble real estate. They’re a surefire way to get your business above the fold.
If your budget allows, leverage paid this holiday season. But, Elizabeth also shares that your SEO strategy should not be neglected. While SEO doesn’t produce immediate results, it’s a long-term startegy that allows your brand to flourish during the holidays and beyond.
Maximize Your Local Landing Pages
Another large part of your local holiday marketing strategy will be your on-page SEO and promotions. While your Google Business Profile may act as your initial digital storefront and should be well optimized to convert zero-click searchers, your landing pages deserve as much attention. Your website is a crucial component in the overall customer experience, and is a key tool in facilitating online sales.
In order to create a successful holiday marketing campaign that extends to your local pages, Reuben suggests focusing on the core essentials. These essentials include:
- Ensuring your contact information is prominent, and customers have an easy way to reach you if they need support
- Link back to your Google Business Profile
- List your holiday hours and closures in an easy to read format
- Localize your content as much as possible, including adding nearby stores, promotions specific to that store, the store’s address, and nearby landmarks.
- Ensure you’re adhering to Google’s Page Experience expectations
- Test your lead generation, email, and subscription forms beforehand to ensure they’re functioning correctly
- Share specific staff customers can expect to see if they visit your location in-person
- Consinder incorporating rising terms such as curbside pickup, BOPIS, safe shopping, and more
Optimize Your Mobile Customer Experience
M-commerce or mobile shopping involves shopping through a mobile device. M-commerce has become an important channel that can’t be ignored this holiday season. According to Insider Intelligence, retail mobile commerce (m-commerce) sales grew 15.2% YoY in 2021, topping $359 billion. In the U.S., m-commerce is expected to nearly double its share of total retail sales between 2020 and 2025. Your brand should fully expect browsing and shopping on mobile devices will be an integral part of the shopping experience this year.
To optimize your mobile experience prior to the upcoming holiday rush, Elizabeth recommends understanding your brand’s own mobile experience first. Have an understanding of what consumer experience when they land on your website from their mobile device. And, have a firm understanding of what devices consumers use most often when viewing your site. This may include desktops, mobile phones, or tablets.
When reviewing your mobile experience, consider addressing the following questions:
- Are buttons big enough to click?
- Is text large enough?
- Are the fonts used legible?
- Are there any pain points in checkout?
- Are there too many steps in your checkout process?
- Does your search function work?
- Are you using visitor location information?
More Tips for the Upcoming Holiday Season
Want more holiday marketing ideas and 2022 holiday marketing strategy best practices? Learn how to optimize all your marketing channels in time for the holidays by watching the webinar on demand. Simply fill out the form below.