There’s not much you can do about the changing seasons.
As the months progress, the weather changes. Holidays come and go. And if your business is seasonal, even in a small or indirect way, there will be times when your marketing and advertising efforts simply don’t work as well as they would in other seasons.
Maybe you’re an HVAC company that sees significantly lower demand in fall and spring, when compared to spring and summer. Or maybe you sell pools, along with related equipment and accessories, and winter is practically a dead time for you.
Whatever the case, you’re not going to see as much value during your slow times.
So how do you beat these PPC campaign seasonality issues?
Some seasonal patterns in business are totally intuitive and predictable. If you sell Christmas decorations or specialize in winter holiday apparel, you’re going to see sales spike in November and December – without much activity the rest of the year. If you own a landscaping business in an area with cold winter weather, you shouldn’t expect much activity until spring.
But some seasonal fluctuations are less predictable – and harder to understand.
Many businesses see significant and consistent drops in conversions, sales, and other KPIs at around the same time every year – despite little to no logical reasoning to support the trend. For example, you might notice plummeting sales at the beginning of February, with restoration to normalcy around mid-March, every year of operations.
How do you begin to identify and understand these patterns?
The simplest analytics tool is to study a year-over-year chart (and preferably, several that cover different variables). Look at as many years as possible and watch for observable trends. Is there a month or series of months when you see a boom in sales? Or especially low sales? Take a look at not only sales and revenue, but conversions, ad traffic, organic traffic, and other factors.
At this point, you should be able to identify your biggest seasonal issues.
It could be valuable to analyze the root causes for these seasonal disruptions, but that’s not always the case; sometimes, it’s enough to simply know that a trend exists. The good news here is that as long as you’re willing to experiment and continuously make progress, you should eventually close the gap between your best and worst seasons.
Here’s some additional good news; whatever seasonal issues you face are probably also affecting your top competitors. That means they’re struggling with the same things you are. It also means you have a critical opportunity to surpass their performance.
Part of your seasonal optimization strategy should be pushing your campaign to do its best during your peak busy season. When do sales usually spike? And how can you make sales increase even further?
The most straightforward answer here is to increase your spending. Assuming you can keep all other variables consistent, including the relevance of your audience, the quality of your landing pages, your conversion rates, etc., a bigger budget should lead to much better results.
If you face significant competition during the busy season, this may not be a viable option for you, as ad spending can become cripplingly exorbitant when there are too many people competing for the same group of keywords. Here, if you don’t have the budget to compete, your best strategy is some form of avoidance. That could mean targeting a different demographic, targeting people at a different stage of the sales funnel, or even offering a different selection of products and services so you’re not trapped in a pit with a bigger, more threatening competitor.
The bigger issue for most brands is finding a way to make up for seasonal slowdown.
Just as “everyone is a genius in a bull market,” every advertiser is brilliant during the busy season. It’s the slow season that’s a much bigger problem.
Many advertisers confront this problem by simply reducing their budget or minimizing their marketing efforts during this slow season. Intuitively, this makes some sense; if you’re not seeing adequately profitable results from your efforts, there’s no reason to spend as much as you did before.
However, you can get an edge over your competitors and create more value for your brand by adjusting your PPC advertising strategy specifically for the slow season.
These are the strategies that can help you:
Micro conversions aren’t as valuable as full conversions, but they’re much easier to get and they’re less expensive to manage. During your off season, micro conversions are a potentially lucrative way to keep your campaign running – and the real bonus comes weeks or months later, when you’re carefully nurtured early-sales-funnel micro converts eventually decide to purchase from you.
If you want to increase the effectiveness of your display ads, or make the most of a limited budget, it’s a good idea to take advantage of multiple networks simultaneously. Not only will you broaden your reach, you’ll also be able to take advantage of the most cost-effective advertising opportunities available. Microsoft and other secondary networks may not have the notoriety of Google, but they also have less competition and, in many cases, lower prices.
Are you looking for more advice on how to properly address seasonality issues in your PPC campaign?
Or are you ready to increase your budget for this powerful advertising strategy?
PPC.co can help you with everything from initial strategy to ongoing experimentation and optimization. Contact us for your free proposal today!