The holiday season will soon be upon us and you know what that means – shopping! Endless amounts of shopping. And if you’re a retailer, the holidays equal late hours and little sleep (also known as stress). On top of all the sales, there’s also the marketing to consider. Learning how to write a holiday gift guide just might help you drum up more business to capitalize on this high sales season.
In 2017, holiday retail sales from November to December increased by 5.5% to $691.9 billion, including online stores. Statista projects a 15.3% increase in holiday e-commerce shopping this year alone. So, whether you’re an online retailer or brick and mortar business, you’ll want to do everything you can to benefit from this growth.
Now that you know that consumers have their credit cards at the ready and are poised to spend more this season, you can give them a gentle nudge in the right direction with the help of a holiday gift guide. Used correctly, this simple yet effective tool can boost traffic and increase sales.
The Humble Holiday Gift Guide… What is it?
Deciding what gifts to get for friends and family can be difficult; we’ve all been there – your potential customers have too. A gift guide is basically a list of ideas for gifts people can buy. A pretty handy list if you ask us, especially as the festive season draws nearer. Loyal and new customers alike will undoubtedly appreciate it. Whether it’s in the form of a blog article or an email sent out to your contacts (or both!), here are a few tips on how to write a holiday gift guide that will increase traffic and boost sales.
1. The Sooner, the Better
Get your holiday gift guide up early, ideally by early October. Why? The earlier you publish, the more time SEO has to work its magic to boost organic search closer to the holidays. Another reason to get your gift guide up early is that many shoppers actually start searching for gifts as early as October. Your holiday gift guide can benefit procrastinators and early birds alike.
2. Keep it Niche
Search the general term “gift guide” and the results will probably only leave you overwhelmed. Shoppers are searching for specific gift guides, so identify your target niche and stick with it. Think along the lines of “Christmas Gift Ideas for 5-Year-Old Boys” or “Christmas Gift Guide for Guitar Players.” This gives your gift guide a better chance of getting noticed instead of lost in the sea of seasonal content.
3. Use Long-tail Keywords
The more specific your gift guide, the longer your keywords. This isn’t a bad thing. Remember, you’re trying to corner the search traffic for consumers that are looking for exactly what you’re selling. Understanding your target audience and what they’re searching for is critical when it comes to how to write a holiday gift guide. A great tool to use is www.kwfinder.com – sign up for a free account and get 5 searches per day. When using long-tail keywords, remember:
- Choose keywords that have a decent search volume but relatively low competition
- Use keywords that fit naturally into your content
- Find the keyword, then write content for it, not the other way around
- Don’t overuse it. Long-tail keywords can stick out like a sore thumb
- Track your keyword’s performance. This will help you in the future and ensure that you’ve chosen a high-performing keyword
4. Make it Visually Appealing
Pretty, easily skimmable gift guides tend to perform better. This includes making your guide reader-friendly. Think about it. Would you rather read a long email from your favorite brand that’s full of plain text, or one full of clever, colorful images and minimal text that gives just the right amount of information? Exactly. Keep in mind that visual learners make up approximately 65% of the population. So the more visual and easier to read your gift guide is, the better.
5. Make it Easy to Shop
Some shoppers may begin searching for presents early, but they still enjoy convenience. The best way to facilitate an easy shopping experience is to include direct product links throughout your holiday gift guide. You might also consider grouping similar items together so that they’re easy to find. For example, “Holiday Gifts Under $25” will allow those with specific budgets to avoid wasting time searching through pricey gifts. The easier it is to find and purchase what they need, the less likely they are to abandon your store (online or physical) for the competition. Consider visuals letting them know that there are only 3 steps to purchase, for example.
6. Maximize Promotion
The actual work begins after the holiday gift guide is published. Make sure to post your gift guide several times on your various social media channels. Depending on your budget, you might consider sponsored posts or pay-per-click ads as well. Ask your strategic partners, employees, and/or colleagues to share the guide on their social channels. Another tactic for expanding your reach is segmented email marketing – sending out different versions of the guide that are targeted at specific sectors of your audience, such as gifts for women over 50, or gifts catered to residents in California. The data you gather from performance of these emails will also prove valuable for future holiday campaigns.
How to Write a Holiday Gift Guide: It’s More than Just Content
Hopefully by now we’ve answered your burning question of how to write a holiday gift guide! Remember, there’s a lot of competition out there, and your gift guide needs to make an impact. What makes yours stand out from the rest of holiday gift guides out there? Content is certainly important, but what ultimately helps boost traffic and deliver ROI is a comprehensive content marketing strategy that guides all your efforts so that they’re working seamlessly in concert. With a content marketing plan in place and a well-developed gift guide, you’ll be well on your way to mastering the art of the humble holiday gift guide.
Still not sure how to write a holiday gift guide for your audience? Contact us to learn how we can help.