How to prepare for $68B retail spending event.
Aww, back-to-school already? Yes, it's that time of year again when retailers' minds turn to reaching parents and students of all ages purchasing supplies, clothing, and electronics. According to the National Retail Federation, combined K-12 and college spending will reach over $68 billion this year, serving as the second biggest consumer spending event for retailers behind the winter holidays.
The flexibility and real-time nature of paid search and PPC campaigns make them ideal tactics for the back-to-school marketing mix. In recent surveys, more people say they will shop online and will comparison-shop online than last year. With this audience more available online, it will be critical to be visible and offer unique messaging to entice shoppers.
Now is the time to review your current program to determine how back-to-school themes can be incorporated into your account. Major themes include keywords related to textbooks, school gear, supplies, dorms, apparel, software, games, laptops, mobile devices, tablets and more. If your products fall into these categories or subcategories, it's a good idea to reach out to the back-to-school crowd and capture this seasonal traffic.
You will be working on a short and accelerated timeline, so once your new keywords are implemented, quickly expand high performing keywords and employ negatives real-time as they become available from query reports.
Whether you are starting from scratch or revisiting the creative from last year, you can attract more clicks by incorporating the appropriate keywords.
Paid Program Expansions
Including back-to-school seasonal tactics will not only expand the potential of your current account, it is also a great way to test new approaches for winter holiday season.
Back-to-school seasonality seems to pass in a flash. Search traffic begins in early July, peaks in mid August, and falls off at the end of September. Early planning is recommended, but more essential is understanding the shoppers you are trying to reach, where they purchase, and how to stand out from the crowd this back-to-school season.
Lisa Raehsler is the founder and principal strategist at Big Click Co., an online advertising company and Google AdWords Certified Partner, specializing in strategy and management of SEM and PPC for search engines, display, retargeting, and social media ad campaigns. Lisa has led strategy on dozens of PPC accounts and puts her experience into practice every day as a thought leader in integrating clients' search campaigns with ecommerce websites, behavioral targeting strategies, and web analytics. She has participated extensively in the local interactive community, as well as at national search engine marketing conferences. Lisa's recent speaking engagements include SES, OMS, MIMA, HeroConf, and SMX conferences, as well as numerous private and public training engagements. As a columnist for ClickZ and Search Engine Watch, she writes on the topic of paid search. Follow her on Twitter @LisaRocksSEM.
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