By now, everyone has heard of Black Friday, and the common belief is that the day is so named because it is the tipping point for retail businesses between losses on the year and profits. If that's the case, making the Christmas shopping season a success is critical.

Of course, you're not the only business out there looking to cash in on the holiday rush. You've got competitors thinking the exact same thing. So how do you win big while spending small? Here are 3 tips that will allow you to outsmart the competition and enjoy a happy holiday!

Tip 1: Remarketing Is Your Friend

In the ecommerce world, where 2%-3% conversion rates are common, you're losing 97%-98% of visitors to your site. Remarketing is how you stay in front of those people, remind them that you've got what they want (they told you by what they looked at, remember?), and close the deal.

First, make sure your remarketing code is in place right now. Seriously. Stop reading and go set up remarketing. I'll wait and it will be worth it.

Now that you've got that taken care of, define your audiences. A company I'm working with has 3 main areas of their online store: Men's Clothing, Women's Clothing, and Home Dcor. Each of these areas is very distinct, so we have separate audiences. We then created separate ads for each group that showcase top sellers in those areas. Want to really go the extra mile? Use Dynamic Remarketing ads that show the exact products they looked at. #win

By utilizing your budget on remarketing you're able to leverage the lower CPCs in the Display Network and avoid the really competitive (and expensive) keywords. This will make even a small budget go further.

(To learn how to set up a remarketing list for search ads, click here)

Tip 2: Don't Phone It In

If your business does anything via phone calls I've got one thing to say - "Click-to-call." This is an option offered through both AdWords and BingAds where you can set your call extensions (that's how your phone number appears on your ads) to go straight to the dialer instead of your website when searched on a smartphone.

Think that through for a moment. Instead of sending that potential customer to your mobile website (no matter how good your site) where you hope they'll eventually call, you have that click go straight to the dialer on the phone that is already IN THEIR HAND!

Don't have someone to answer the phone during non-business hours? No problem, you can set the hours your click-to-call ad extension runs to match your business hours.

Tip 3: Timing Is Everything

I considered making this tip about starting early, but you already missed that boat. People started Christmas shopping online in September. If you haven't started yet you're already behind.

However, there are still some important timing issues to handle. Like, think about shipping. Based on your shipping method, what is the last day you can offer free/discounted shipping? Put that in your ads to build urgency. When is the absolute last day you can guarantee on-time delivery? Have those ads written and ready to run the day after the previous deadline. Make sure landing pages also include this urgency-building copy.

Lastly, your campaign setting have two powerful options that help you ensure your spend is laser-focused. The first is your Delivery Method and the second is your Ad Schedule. Delivery Method comes in "Standard" and "Accelearated" flavors. Standard will try to anticipate traffic and meter out your budget over the day so it lasts. However, it means your ad is showing haphazardly. Choosing accelerated says that your ads show whenever eligible until budget is exhausted.

You then use your Ad Schedule to zero in on the best clicks. Look in your ecommerce logs to find what times people buy and then use bid modifiers to increase your bids during those windows. Since you know your customers are buying at those times, you jump in front of competitors for the best clicks and then back off the other times. Great way to make your budget efficient in the face of deeper pocketed competitors!

Tip 4: Callout Extensions

This is the newest feature rolled out by AdWords and it is awesome. The extension allows you to write callouts that are 25 characters long. You can put great benefits in there, CTAs, offers, etc. and they are added to your ad like this:


As you can see, adding 3 more lines with 25 characters each is like getting twice as much ad copy. You can mention your holiday sale. You can mention promotions. You can have that awesome info that just didn't fit before. This is a great feature that helps increase your click-through-rate (CTR) which helps improve QS and lower your CPC so that you get more clicks for the budget.

Bonus Tip

Don't stop your remarketing efforts at Christmas. You spent good money on those audiences, so keep using them. New Years is great for offers around resolutions (i.e. fitness, self-improvement, etc.) & Valentine's Day will be another 6-7 weeks down the road. Think you your current audience might shop during these seasons too.


If you want to compete with the big boys this Christmas make sure you've buddied up to your remarketing, nailed your call extensions, and locked down your timing. This way you'll ensure your spend is effective AND you'll be one step ahead come New Year's.

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