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Festive and Holiday SEO vs PPC SEM

It is December 1st 2016 and there is only 24 days left til Christmas.

Black Friday, the 2nd busiest shopping day of the year, has already come and gone. The busiest day, Christmas Eve, will soon be upon us.

When it comes to the holiday season and spending your time and money on SEO, you might as well not even bother. Search Engine Optimization is designed for the long haul. It takes months for SEO to take effect. SEO does garner the best results, dollar for dollar - but the effects take time.

So don't bother. SEO simply takes too long and you are trying to advertise last minute. Anything you advertise in December won't see major results until months later. And that will be too late. Good for next year maybe, but not right now.

If you are trying to sell product NOW, during the Christmas rush, then your best bet is actually Search Engine Marketing (SEM), and that means paying Pay Per Click (PPC).

Lets say for example you are trying to sell a computer console game (eg. Skyrim Special Edition for PS4 = awesome game. I am hoping to get it for xmas myself.) and you want to be getting your customers to actually buy the product instead of just browsing, then you need to be focused on getting them to the checkout stage of purchasing.

This means you need to set up a PPC campaign wherein you only pay if the customer:
  • Clicks your ad.
  • Clicks a product for purchase.
  • Goes to the checkout.
Google Adwords is your best bet for getting all of that. And the great thing is that they have to do all three things before you pay a penny.

It doesn't guarantee that they actually buy the product. Half of them might change their mind and decide to shop elsewhere, but if you are offering a good sale price, free shipping, 1 day or 3 day shipping, then chances are likely they will purchase via your store. This is why you need to calculate how many people are making their way to the checkout and how many actually make a purchase. Once you know the percentage, then you can compare that to your profit margin and figure out how to maximize your returns and how much you can be bidding/spending on each sale.

Hot Tip - If your sale price beats the price of the same product being sold on, and still has a good profit margin, you are basically guaranteed to make money if you are offering comparable shipping to whatever Amazon is offering.

For example if Amazon is selling the same console game for $69 and after Fedex shipping and expenses you are making $35 off every sale at the same price, you can then lower your price to $59 (and be making $25 off every sale) to beat their sales price. You could be spending $1 or even more on paying for clicks, but if half the people who make it to checkout stage change their mind and don't make the purchase, then that doubles your marketing costs to $2 for every sale. But you are still making $23 off every sale.

All you need to do then is calculate how many products you have in stock and how many you want to sell RIGHT AWAY. If you have 1000 units of the game, you could make your daily advertising limit $2000 (which most likely won't end up being used right away, but it could theoretically happen).

If you manage to sell 200 units the first day (for a cost of $400 but a profit of $4600) you are already in the black. Then just lower your daily advertising limit to $1600.

Day 2, another 200 or so units sold.

Day 3, Day 4, Day 5. If you are doing well you sell out of units and might even order more from your distributor. Then you simply suspend your SEM PPC campaign and wait until your next shipment of 1000 units arrives. Also you laugh all the way to the bank because you just made $23,000 in 5 days. (The Fedex people are amused by you sending out 1000 small packages in 5 days, but they might start offering you a business discount in the future.)

And eventually the well runs dry. The Xmas shopping season is over.

So you recalculate your profit margins, change your prices, change your PPC bids, and continue selling products anyway at a smaller volume.

And wait anxiously for next year, trying to calculate which console games will be the big sellers and worth advertising.

Update, Jan. 2017.

I did get Skyrim Special Edition for PS4 for Xmas. Woot. Oh and it is beautiful. The graphics are amazing. Breathtaking. I already had the old PS3 version of the game, but I wanted to play the new one with the updated graphics and all the added mods, expansions, etc. Simply wonderful game to play.

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