The mother of all search initiative modifiers is the holiday messaging element. Each and every time Americans decide to celebrate they head for the search boxes in droves. Mother's Day is no different and it's time to make preparations for the big maternal cash in.
According to Yahoo! Search, consumers spent 11.5 billion dollars to celebrate Mother's Day in 2005. Mom's day is traditionally the fourth biggest shopping season in the calendar year and you shouldn't let those searchers get away.
Search activity begins around the middle of April and while the mid-year excitement can't compare with November holiday bliss, with a little finesse and a little panache you too can exploit the grandest of all greeting card holidays in search.
Letters to Mom
Which search engines are on top this season? According to data released by comScore's qSearch this week, Google is still the pinnacle of search activity. While the indelibly cute Mother's Day Google logo is inevitable there are plenty of options for reaching out to searchers ahead of schedule.
Google's rally toward world search domination continues with a 6.3 percent increase in share of searches in the March 2005 to March 2006 time frame. Google captured 42.7 percent of home, work and university searches. Yahoo and MSN showed a slight decline in the same time period. Yahoo dropped from 30.6 percent to 28 percent and MSN took it on the chin declining from 16.5 percent to 13.2 percent.
AOL's Time Warner Network dropped from 8.9 percent to 7.6 percent from 2005 to 2006 but the big surprise was in the search site formerly containing a butler. IAC's Ask.Com jumped from 5.5 percent to 5.9 percent in the same time period.
Keywords and moms
Take a good long look at your top performing keywords. While normal campaign optimization applies, simply changing up top performers to include a Mother's Day option can have a huge effect on holiday revenue potential.
Testing the performance of existing brand terms and top keyword modifiers go a long way to finding the right mix of keyword and holiday purchase motivators, i.e. adding the phrase "Mother's Day Gift" is a good start for reaching mother-minded shoppers.
Overhauling products and their applications for Mother's Day shopping can lead to big jumps in revenue. Let's not forget those last minute shoppers, notorious for gift card purchases at the absolute last minute. Gift card keywords and modifiers can connect searchers in the time-challenged category most efficiently.
Getting creative with your creative
Content is still king in search and keywords alone won't make Mother's Day shoppers click and buy. Customized content in landing pages with site design and messaging is a sharp way to approach the holiday.
Organizing product and keyword messaging into a holiday format is a great step forward, but a few quick tricks in optimizing site creative can help steer purchase behavior in the right direction. Many brands add a few tulips and carnations along with spring colors to create a mom motif.
Creating a gift guide with a few generic questions that apply to most any mom is another holiday trick that works. Existing inventory can be repurposed to be the perfect gift for the mother on your searcher's gift list.
Of course, the ubiquitous gift guide façade opens the door to a plethora of keywords as well. Clueless shoppers seeking a retailer-provided answer to the gift-giving questions can find home with your, ahem, guide but make sure you devote the time to the right creative.
If you don't have the time or resources to reorganize your entire product line, add a landing page that looks festive and link it to existing content and make sure you drop Mother's Day keywords into text link messaging.
Think outside the chocolates
Most of us think of Mother's Day and sending flowers, candy or jewelry but it doesn't have to end there. Airlines offer incentives for moms by labeling otherwise unmovable seat inventory in a low travel time frame as Mother's Day gift options.
Lesson learned? One man's blatant exploitation of a pseudo holiday is another man's perfect gift. Selecting keywords, optimizing messaging, landing pages and creating gift opportunities for otherwise hapless searchers will ensure that you get a piece of that multi-billion dollar Mother's Day pie.