Seasons and
events in the UK
and the world over have developed an increasing importance for brands and
marketers in appealing to consumers. One only has to look at the impact of
occasions such as Valentine’s Day to see how lucrative an event can be for a
brand.

Search offers brands a potentially engaging way to capitalise upon this,
which may not be as hard as you think. The initial
groundwork of a seasonal paid search campaign must be rooted firmly in the website
in question.

Depending on the brand, there are two potential options to pursue…

In the
first instance, CSS skins and styling applied to an existing site enables
brands to build a page around the season or campaign topic, while not having to
make significant changes to the site overall.

However, if
a campaign or season is integral to a brand’s strategy, then it may be
worthwhile creating a dedicated microsite to direct consumers towards,
specifically tailored to a seasonal event. Either option can deliver success,
depending on the campaign and brand.

Once a
campaign is up and running and has been used one year, it can then be built on
and improved for future iterations. The initial execution will provide all the
nuts and bolts moving forward; an agency can slightly change the look and feel
of a campaign to make it more successful and the supplier can be rewarded based
on how much traffic a campaign has had in the past.

There are
some simple rules for brands and agencies to follow:

Ad copy

For instance,
a basic yet important rule of seasonal search is that the ad copy and ad groups
shouldn’t just reflect the seasonal campaign involved
, but must be painted with
a broad creative brush, too.

Relying on the seasonal event alone to provide
engaging copy could be complacent; it’s very easy for brands and agencies to
rely on seasonal events to make their ad copy topical. The inclusion of the
word ‘Christmas’ in an ad, for example, simply won’t achieve the necessary cut-through
among many other uses of the term by competitors.

There are
ways to work around this. It’s possible for brands and agencies to latch on to
the trends that are popular throughout a certain season and make their ad copy
much more engaging. Taking Christmas as an example once more, agencies could
include hot toys of the year or other key trends and work them into their ad
copy and ad groups.

Another example is to cotton on to programmes such as the X
Factor, with the final traditionally broadcast around the Christmas period and
offering wide audience appeal. Of course, any such practice should give due
consideration to registered trademarks and operate within those parameters, but
the principle of enhancing ad copy through seasonal trends is a good rule of
thumb to try and follow.

It’s also
important not to focus solely on the product. For example, to sell a Christmas
product, a good way to engage the consumer is to focus on lifestyle, using the
seasonal aspect to make the sale. This can be done through the landing page,
which can reflect the mood of the season.

Consistency throughout the campaign

In addition
to creating engaging ad copy, consistency throughout the seasonal campaign is
essential to success.
As we have discussed already, the landing environment for
a campaign is of equal importance to the ad copy. The landing page needs to be
consistent with the search terms selected, as do the keywords and ad copy.

The
potential of a seasonal campaign is there to tap into. One only has to look at
the success of brands such as Coca-Cola and Cadbury’s, which have now become
somewhat synonymous with Christmas and Easter respectively.

Indeed, one might
point to Coca-Cola as being the original instigator of the seasonal campaign. Such
was their success in becoming synonymous with the Christmas season, that many thought
that the popular image of Father Christmas we know today had been heavily
manipulated by Coca-Cola.

In essence,
good brands are always seeking to capitalise on any opportunity that might appear.
Seasons and events have become integral part of marketing strategies for all
brands, so it’s surely in the interest of both brands and agencies to get their
approach right. Indeed, as social media continues to exert influence, the scope
is there for brands to use this and other interactive platforms to make the
most of their seasonal paid search campaign.

In
following a few simple rules, it might be a lot easier than some brands think.