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Holiday season 2011 is over–Are you ready for 2012?

Whoa there, big fella!!! What do you mean that the holiday season of 2011 is over? It just got started? Heck, we’re still in the same calendar week as Cyber Monday 2011! Have you lost your bits and bytes? No I haven’t, because here is the truth. Whatever you have done for the online shopping season for 2011 is already in place and running. Sure you may need to tweak some things here and here and you may increase some PPC spend to fill in the gaps but if you are racing around trying to put together your 2011 plan right now well, I hate to tell ya, but in many online areas that ship sailed a long time ago.

christmas 2007
Image by paparutzi via Flickr

Don’t understand yet? Well, here’s one quick example for you to consider. The only holiday SEO efforts that you can consider that will do anything for you here on December 2 are ones for next year. In fact, you should have a strong plan ahead for the rest of this year and the first half of next year to have enough time to possibly impact your organic search results for holiday season 2012. Heck, with the push to move the season opening even further up in the calendar year, you may be running late right now!

What about social media? Isn’t that something that can be turned on a dime and used right here and right now for results today? On some levels, yes, but on most, no. Social media is about relationships and even in this hyper quick world of everything right now or else, relationships take time. If you are looking for social media sales impact this time of year, it will be more like the online consumer equivalent of a one night stand vs. a long-term meaningful relationship. Sure, you can find some folks desperate for a deal on Facebook, but them finding you is more of an accident at this late stage of the game.

Social media seeds need to be planted, cared for, and then ultimately harvested. There is very little that is immediate about social media. Not to say that last-minute discovery can’t happen through a recommendation of a friend, but the only reason you would get that is because you had a relationship with the friend in the first place. Get it?

But what about putting more money into PPC? Sure, you can do the “chase the keyword” dance at this late stage, but what do you think your conversion rates will be if you are doing something as a last-ditch effort in the final minutes of the game? Paid search is the absolute last place that you want to be treasure hunting at this time of year. A well thought-out and researched plan that was developed starting, oh, back in July that was integrated with your SEO and social media efforts give you  the best chance for success. No guarantees, of course, but it’s a heck of lot better than throwing good money after bad now.

Maybe you’re thinking that I don’t know your clientele and that you need to be alert and flexible in order to get them where they are. I don’t disagree, but being flexible is most effective when you are being flexible as a result of a well thought-out and planned approach rather than a last minute “let’s drop the net here!” mentality.

So I think you get the point. Good luck in 2012 because for all intents and purposes the 2011 holiday season has already taken its course. If you want to have some control, your thoughts should be on 2012.

Cheers!

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