Search Engines like when you update the content on your site, right? And your customers like when you run sales and promotions, yes? Combine the two and you have a nice little recipe for SEO success.
I have an e-commerce client that I do this for and so far it’s worked great. Just about every month of the year we run a sale or promotion that we then advertise with a banner on the homepage of the site. We try and keep it seasonal and current. For instance this month’s sale was related to Mother’s Day, and the month before was related to Spring Cleaning. The client and I sat down last year and worked out a twelve-month calendar for 2010. I came up with the concepts and she was able to tell us what the final discount would be. Each month, we both know what is coming up and the calendar has really helped keep us organized.
At this point you might be wondering, what does running a sale have to do with SEO? Well, if you start early enough you can plan and create new content for the site based upon the sale concept. For instance, if I am running a mother’s day sale, instead of just putting up a banner that says “Mother’s Day Sale”, I can ask customers to write in and tell me their favorite mother’s day memory while also letting them know about our sale.
Another mother’s day idea is a cute baby photo contest. The lucky winner would receive a gift card to my site and all visitors would reap benefits of the sale. The photo contest will engage visitors to the site, while the sale will help turn them into a customer. I could also incorporate this promo into my SEO blogging strategy and post the photos on my blog – what mom wouldn’t want to show off her cute, chubby cheeked child?
Another idea is a Halloween sale with a best costume contest, or a Winter Holiday sale with the Best Holiday Recipe contest. But, you don’t have to rely on just contests. Let’s say your website sells house ware, you could run a Holiday sale and then update your website with recipe tricks or tips on how to survive the Holiday season. If your sale relates to one specific item on your site, like lamps, you can write an article with tips for changing the look of a room using only lamps, or an article with the ‘top ten things to think about when purchasing a lamp’.
When brainstorming your promotional ideas be sure to remember the following:
- Relevancy – stay as close to your good or service as possible. Your sale should relate to your customers. If you sell tennis shoes and most of your clientele is high school athletes, they’re probably not going to relate to a Mother’s Day Sale and photo contest.
- Keep things simple – the idea is to run these promotions throughout the year so you don’t want to complicate things too much. If you opt for a contest or submission based promotion, keep the instructions clear and the time frame for entries short.
- Relate back to the sale! The point of this is to entice visitors and turn them into customers so when you’re writing about those lamps, be sure to refer to the Lamp Sale that is going on.
- Remember SEO basics – When you’re writing your promotional content remember to think about internal linking and keyword optimization.
- Include any exemptions – Some manufacturers will not allow you to discount their items. Include those on your calendar so they do not get left off of the sales banner.
- Details! – Make your calendar as detailed as possible, as early as possible. This will allow for quick promo changes throughout the year. In your initial calendar include the tagline, the discount, and the run date for the sale.
- Incremental discounts work well – from personal experience, I’ve seen success with incremental percentage discounts. For instance, spend $150 and get 10% off, spend $250 and get 15% off, etc.
At the end of each promotion take good notes on what worked well and what you would change. When it comes time to work on next year’s calendar you’ll be in a better position to improve the necessary features.