Of late, Indian consumers have had the best of times when it comes to online shopping, as e-commerce majors continue to battle it out (and push prices to rock bottom levels) with bonanzas like Amazon’s Great Indian Festival Sale and Flipkart’s Big Billion Day.
However, we shouldn’t forget that online retail has just found its foothold in India. E-commerce revenue accounts for less than 5% of the overall retail market.
Diwali, then, still remains India’s biggest driver of sales – and that includes offline, online, B2B, B2C and any other type of business transactions.
With online businesses of all sizes just concluding their Diwali offers (and hopefully, still counting the money) it’s time for taking stock of how successful your marketing campaigns were, and what lessons you can learn from them – to be better prepared next year!
Many marketers tend to believe that everything depends on the budget. While usually, it makes sense that the more money you throw at your campaign, the better returns you get, timely and actionable data can be a game changer and get you exponential ROI for the same budget.
Digital marketing and business intelligence tool suite SEMrush released some very useful data in the form of a Diwali/Holiday Marketing Guide a few days ago. This guide featured insights crucial to SEO, PPC, social media and content marketing, which could prove instrumental for marketers in getting a competitive advantage in planning and executing high stakes holiday campaigns.
Let’s take a look at how big data analytics and expert insights from SEMrush can help us create a marketing strategy that will keep us going every Diwali, with just a few tweaks to our tactics. The key here is to stick to the fundamentals and go forward step by step.
- What factors matter this season?
During every yearly or seasonal occasion like Diwali, there are some trends that matter more than others. There are bound to be some fads, some “in-things” and “latest” products that consumers want to lap up in an effort to be seen as “cool” among their friends and family.
Of course, along with these new buzzwords, fads and quirky products, there will be the usual stuff that marketers can bank on – these are the cash cows on which the event itself is based. For Diwali, the products getting a sure boost in sales would be lights, crackers, apparel, sweets, and gifts, while the trending terms being used online would be related to greetings, images, shopping deals and discounts.
So how would you gain more context into these trends so that you can stay on top every year? You can start with conducting detailed keyword research into these terms.
The way to go about this is start with the terms you’re familiar with, and then use tools like SEMrush Keyword Magic to find closely related semantic terms that can be used in the same context. You can pull data for different durations (like periods of low and high sales) and see the historical fluctuations in searches. This will help you estimate the amount of efforts you need to put into targeting these keywords.
- Which niche is most profitable?
One of the most common mistakes marketers make is to promote just their bestselling products during any season, come what may. While you do need a consistent strategy to market your most profitable products, you should refrain from making assumptions as to what people want to buy. With the amount of sales data that is available today, there is no reason not to conduct enough research before flooding the market with your pre-set campaigns.
For example, data from Boston Consulting Group tells us that Consumer Electronics is the niche where maximum sales take place in the ecommerce sector.
However, SEMrush data says that it’s actually very cheap to advertise for Electronics as opposed to Education, Insurance, Telecom or even Travel.
Again, the BCG data shows that penetration into the Food niche is very low, but we all know how that is changing fast with apps like Zomato and Swiggy that you’ll find on virtually everyone’s phone.
This highlights the importance of real-time, contextual data that helps us make timely decisions on how and where to spend our marketing and advertising budgets.
- What do your customers want?
Understanding audience behaviour is crucial if you want to eventually convince them to buy from you.
For that, you first have to know how they go about purchasing goods or services.
In India, unlike developed markets like the USA or UK, the smartphone is the pre-eminent shopping device that consumers use to access the internet, research brands and products, solicit and read reviews, and eventually make the purchase.
This means you need to prioritize your brand messaging, shopping functionality and payment methods for mobile devices over the desktop version. You need to make sure you’re not involuntarily losing mobile sales or putting off customers just because you don’t know their browsing habits and preferences.
- What are your competitors up to?
You only have to look at the public battle between Amazon and Flipkart to know how important it is to closely watch the competition and stay ahead of their every move. This is all the more important if you’re a small business, because you’ll never know when you’ll get drowned by a huge advertising splurge from a giant in your industry.
Competitive intelligence and web analytics come into play here. You need to use every piece of data that comes your way to reformulate your strategy. In digital marketing, that translates to monitoring the metrics and competitive benchmarks that will help you get closer to your business goals.
SEMrush returns vital data on how your competitors are carrying out content marketing, SEO, PPC and social media campaigns, including
- The keywords you rank for versus your competition
- The number of backlinks your articles have compared to those of your competitors
- The traffic that your competitors are getting from various online sources, channels and media
- Your competitors’ best performing content in terms of shares, links and clicks
- The exact messaging your competitors are using on their Google ads
- How can you make your plan foolproof?
During holiday seasons like Diwali, the time and resources available for you are very, very limited. Add to that the scale of budgets involved, and you can be sure that one small mistake can prove to be a huge catastrophe for your business.
I will take this opportunity to repeat the significance of data – data on your market, your customers, your competition, your own business, your industry, and the evolution of technology in general – all these need to be factored in while you create your foolproof digital marketing plan for limited-time or seasonal occasions.
While you monitor the sales or brand awareness you’re getting from your advertising, you also need to closely watch the amount you’re spending to get these results. The more granular data you amass, the less chances you have of wasting any part of your budget.
Over to you
Every Diwali, business owners invariably face the same question: How do we stand out from all the marketing noise and sell products that actually deliver value to our customers? The solution is not to blindly rush into the frenzy and pour all your ad budget into a random campaign that you intuitively liked. Your best bet is to rely on hard data and competitive intelligence to create effective content and ads that will appeal directly to your customers.
Again the stats, data and tactics in SEMrush’s Diwali Marketing Guide will give you enough strategic information on how to plan and execute your seasonal marketing campaigns year after year. I look forward to hearing your thoughts, tips and tricks in the comments below.