Don't make assumptions on who searches for your products, or the best way to market to them, according to Jeff Chun, Personalization Mall marketing manager. He suggests doing as much research as possible. Then cast a wide net with keywords and paid search ads. The results may surprise you.
Chun tells me he didn't anticipate the number of women searching for products geared toward men on the Mall would be five times as much as men searching for woman-related products -- a number that jumped from three times as much in the prior year.
"Our Google AdWords campaign search traffic skewed heavily toward people searching for gifts for men, Chun says. "It's been interesting. We've been trying to build traffic toward the Gifts for Women section, to see if that would change, but we can't force the traffic."
In Google AdWords, Personalization Mall bids on keywords, breaking it down to customize the ad text and landing pages based on how the searcher phrases the search. The company has about 6,000 keywords dedicated to romantic gifts. Personalization Mall spent a little more than $2 million on AdWords. Worth every penny, Chun says. The data collected from internal analytic tools and Google Analytics speaks loud and clear. The company has seen an increase in Valentine's Day sales by about 22% this year, compared with 2009, though average order price remains about the same as the prior year, around $50.
Chun also relies on Yahoo and Microsoft Bing paid search campaigns, but the volume of traffic remains significantly lower than with Google AdWords. The same trend of higher search volume for Valentine's Day gifts for men holds true in paid search campaigns across all three engines.
Valentine's Day is a peak period for Personalization Mall; only the Christmas holiday is bigger. Photo puzzles are a top seller this year, along with other personalized photo products like mugs.
Chun says Personalization Mall will start preparing for the annual Mother's Day campaign in about a month. Easter comes first, in terms of holidays, but the next major boost in traffic and sales will come when folks honor mothers.
And while women are flocking to Personalization Mall more often than men, there's evidence that men still dominate when it comes to searches for Valentine's Day gifts. Findings from Yahoo search suggests that males make up 73% of searches for "when is Valentine's day." The term "Valentine's Day" surged into the top 450 terms on Yahoo search, according to Yahoo. In the past two weeks, searches on romantic vacation jumped. Yahoo has seen a 32% rise in searches for "romantic weekend getaways" and 19% for "cheap weekend getaways."
In these recessionary times, frugal searches include downloads of "free valentines cards" and "free printable valentine cards" from online stores, according to Yahoo.