The Holiday selling season is here.

The top 10% of Amazon sellers understand that they must prudently and systematically do everything in their power to maximize Q4 profitability during this crucial time.

The holiday season is a different environment from what most Amazon sellers experience throughout the rest of the year. For some businesses, up to 75% or more of their total sales volume occurs during the holiday season.

It all begins with understanding the purchasing behavior of shoppers, in order to strategically maximize the increased traffic and 'buying frenzy' mindset of shoppers. Often during this time, shoppers will shorten the time spent in researching their best purchasing options, in favor of just buying the gifts they need as fast and simply as possible.

Here are strategies that will help sellers to stay off Santa’s naughty list for marketing performance and help them to earn higher profits throughout the holiday selling season.

Advanced Preparation Creates Opportunities

Every holiday season brings with it a wealth of opportunities (e.g. higher sales volumes and conversion rates) for those sellers who are prepared.

Unfortunately, many sellers procrastinate when it comes to developing their holiday marketing strategies. While many shoppers are prone to last-minute shopping in early December, many others purchase gifts as early as September and October.

Tip: Sellers may find themselves reading this article well into the holiday season, realizing that they have not properly planned. Don’t give up, just take immediate action. Every single day is an opportunity to grow your Amazon business, especially during the holiday season.

Capturing the attention of these early shoppers is particularly important for sellers because it provides an opportunity for them to expand brand awareness into new audiences (targeted messaging and creatives), encourage existing customers to shop/buy their products early (incentivized offers), and to re engage former customers (limited-time discount pricing).

By sending out holiday advertisements and seasonal offers during the early months of September and October, sellers can increase the odds that their products will reach the Consideration Phase of the Customer Buying Cycle with as great a number of relevant shoppers as possible.

Amazon Live, as well as off-Amazon advertising (Tik Tok creator partnerships, shoppable ads on Instagram, influencer partnerships, etc.) should be leveraged to widen opportunities for a seller's products and brand. Utilize these channels to create a personalized shopping experience that mimics the level of engagement shoppers feel with a great in-store shopping experience.

Advanced preparation allows sellers to perform A/B split tests to determine which types of advertising campaigns yield the best results with each group of shoppers. As the holiday shopping season progresses, sellers will be able to funnel different audiences to specific products and serve relevant promotional offers that influence shoppers to buy from them.

Test and Learn with Amazon Attribution

Measuring the success of holiday marketing to guide campaign optimizations is just as important as the campaigns themselves. Amazon Attribution is an advertising and analytics measurement solution that can give sellers new and unique insights that can be used to better understand how shoppers are engaging with their brands on and off Amazon, not only during the holiday season, but throughout the year.

Armed with this information, sellers can...

  • discover how different messaging or creatives impact shopping activity on Amazon,
  • run A/B tests to determine which marketing strategies are most effective based on how shoppers discover, research, and buy products during the lead up to the holiday season,  
  • see how campaign performance differs based upon where shoppers are directed (Amazon Stores or detail pages),
  • make real-time optimizations using on-demand reporting to continuously monitor and adapt holiday campaigns to respond to shopper trends and actual behavior to maintain sales momentum through the end of Q4,
  • ascertain how non-Amazon touch points help shoppers discover and consider products on Amazon,
  • acquire insights about which non-Amazon audiences are most valuable to their businesses.

Increase Budgets During the Holiday Season

Increase budgets and bids on high performing campaigns and keywords during the holiday season when shoppers are in a frenzied buying mode.

Competing successfully during the holiday selling season means being prepared to spend more in order to minimize/eliminate the possibility of campaigns running out of budget, causing sellers to potentially miss out on sales opportunities because their ads are no longer showing.

To stay competitive during peak periods, sellers should set their bids to the highest amount they are willing to pay without compromising their profitability.

Sellers should have flexible budgets designed to be deployed in response to shopper demand where and when it occurs during periods of high shopping intent and for the rest of Q4.

Pro Tip: Sponsored Products – use the Dynamic Bidding feature (Amazon will automatically adjust the bid in real-time by a maximum of 100% to increase the likelihood of a sale).

Bonus Tip: Sponsored Brands – use the automatic bidding option to optimize bids for placements in tandem with shopping results, which will result in greater visibility during the holiday shopping season.

Appeal to the Shopper's Emotions

The holiday season brings with it a blend of emotions for shoppers. These emotions range from excitement to nostalgia.

Understanding the psychology behind shopping behavior is a key element in the holiday strategies of the top brands on Amazon.

Sellers should develop seasonal content that taps into these strong emotions and evokes a response from their targeted audience/shoppers.

By sharing carefully crafted content (inspirational, festive, sentimental, humorous, joyful, etc.), sellers can make a connection with shoppers so that they associate their products and brand with the seasonal emotions they are feeling, helping to set them apart from their niche competition.

Sellers can use PPC campaigns like Sponsored Display and Premium A+ Content that gives them the ability to tell their brand story and showcase their products in more visually appealing and interactive ways. They can also implement social media and email promotional campaigns that focus on seasonal emotions.

Tips for Amazon PPC Optimization for the Holidays

Here are some simple PPC tips to help sellers to capitalize on the holiday selling season.

Review & Renew Your Keyword research – Sellers should make sure that they have an accurate and up-to-date list of keywords to facilitate targeting relevant audiences and capturing the appropriate traffic. The most successful sellers understand that researching potential targets is not just something for new brands, and is never “done.” Search terms and placements are ever-changing, which means keywords are, too.

Create a Strong Negative Keyword Strategy – Negative Keywords work like a filter, creating more opportunities for ads to display on searches that are relevant and that could lead to conversions. They allow sellers to clean up their PPC campaigns by determining which words are not producing results.

Sellers should lower the bids on under-performing campaigns and keywords. Cost-per-click usually skyrockets during the holiday season. Cut any needless Ad spend. Structure your bids and budgets to uncap your best performers while restricting problematic targets that could spike your ACoS.

Review Backend keywords – One of the first things an agency or seven-figure seller will do when preparing PPC for the holidays is audit the backend of their listings. Sellers should make sure that the most popular search terms are included. If applicable, optimize listings to highlight specific products as great holiday gifts.

6 Tips for Amazon Store Holiday Optimization

  1. Add a seasonal page to highlight holiday-centric products,
  2. Create interactive gift guides and immersive quizzes to direct shoppers to featured holiday items,
  3. Spotlight holiday inspired discounts within featured products,
  4. Have the store's brand value proposition align with any 'emotional' holiday messaging,
  5. Use rich and engaging multimedia content, such as holiday themed videos and images,
  6. Build multiple store pages and organize products to ensure easy navigation for shoppers.

Common Holiday Marketing Mistakes to Avoid

Failure to plan early. The holiday shopping season has continued to start earlier and earlier every year. Sellers should have in place a well-defined plan far in advance of the peak holiday selling period and for the remainder of Q4.

Failure to implement new advertising strategies. By using the same exact holiday marketing strategies from the previous year, sellers essentially limit their potential to scale profits by failing to explore and capitalize on the new opportunities offered by new holiday marketing approaches.

Failure to upsell shoppers. After sellers have attracted shoppers with their dialed-in holiday advertising strategies, they should seek to maximize those interactions by offering enticements like special holiday discounts, redeemable coupons towards the next purchase etc., to encourage shoppers to spend more.

Failure to focus on gratitude. Sellers should show shoppers how much they appreciate them and are valuable to the continued success of their business, not only during the holidays, but throughout the year. Doing so is a smart way to influence brand loyalty and repeat sales. During the holiday season, shoppers may spend a significant amount of time debating where they want to spend their money. The simple act of including “thank you messaging”(such as in product inserts) can influence shoppers to remain loyal and inspire them to leave positive reviews about their shopping experiences.

Happy Holidays…

Sellers should be strategic in their approaches to the holiday season. With some planning, they can drive their holiday sales upwards towards new benchmarks, reaping sustained rewards throughout Q4 from the huge surges in search traffic.

Whether it's offering personalized and immersive shopping experiences or sharing heartfelt gratitude, sellers have a variety of strategies for promoting their businesses to drive higher profits during the holiday season.

Entourage: Software to Scale Amazon Ads and Results Driven Management.