Whats Your Holiday Web Marketing Strategy?

Savvy etailers know that holiday purchasing decisions start marinating long before the Thanksgiving turkey. With the last of the Halloween candy barely devoured, the critical holiday season is already in full swing. Make sure your marketing strategy includes email, PPC, and social media so that your business enjoys a joyful - and prosperous - season.

Studies show that over half of Americans begin researching Christmas gift purchases before Thanksgiving, and nearly three-fourths have decided on a particular gift before the first week of December. A well-executed, proactive marketing plan is essential for a successful end to '09.

Although research indicates that 55% of shoppers will shop online this holiday season - an increase of 6% over last year - the Web landscape is more saturated than ever before. To be heard over the chorus of countless other offers, your messaging must offer shoppers clear value in direct language that captures their attention.

Email marketing is still the king of ROI, allowing you to talk directly with your customers with special promotions tailored to their demographic or purchasing history. Strong email campaigns speak the consumer's language, compels them to action, and encourages them to share your messaging with friends and family.

Paid search or PPC (Pay-Per-Click) marketing is an easy way to drive targeted traffic during the holiday rush. While organic rankings take time to cultivate, paid search allows your messaging to appear at the top of search engines quickly and at a relative low-cost. PPC often captures the attention of consumers who are already intending to purchase, and can generate a significant amount of online revenue.

A social media strategy is critical too - social networking traffic has exploded over the past year, and more and more shoppers are using their personal networks to review products, research brands, and inform their purchasing decisions. Social networking site Facebook has grown exponentially, evolving from a small Web community to one of the largest markets in the world for branding, advertising, and the exchange of beliefs regarding goods and services.

In a recent survey, 30% of responders said that they learned about about a product, service or brand on a social networking site. Sites such as Twitter and Facebook also generate more direct sales than previously believed - a quarter of those surveyed have gone directly to an ecommerce site after learning about a product or brand on a social networking site.

In an increasingly competitive landscape, a solid Web marketing strategy can be the differentiator that allows your business to thrive. End 2009 on a high note with a comprehensive marketing strategy that includes email marketing, PPC, and social media...and have a safe, happy, and successful holiday season!