Good news, bad news. First, the good news is that we’re in the home stretch for Mother’s Day in the US – when an estimated $14 billion will be spent on gifts for ‘moms’. The downside, however, is that digital marketers are facing fierce competition this year. The three main reasons for this are:

Consumers are spending less. While the $14bn estimate from the National Retail Federation is significant, take note that Mother’s Day spending is expected to be down by 10% this year.

Shoppers typically buy gifts from a limited amount of categories. According to Rakuten LinkShare, the most popular products purchased through the affiliate channel for Mother’s Day 2013 were flowers, chocolates, jewellery, and garden supplies. This heightens the competition for digital marketers promoting products in these categories while also presenting a challenge to retailers with products that fall outside the traditional buying categories.

The shopping season is short. Last year, the two weeks leading up to the Mother’s Day holiday was the peak ordering period for flowers, chocolate, gifts and garden supplies. However, jewellery purchases peaked two-to-three weeks before the holiday. Knowing this, there’s little to no margin of error when it comes to your Mother’s Day marketing campaigns.

Given these factors, here are seven ways that digital marketers can make the most of the upcoming Mother’s Day holiday.

Organise the products on your website according to gift types. For example, you can direct visitors to ‘gifts for mom’, ‘gifts for wife’, or ‘gifts for your mother-in-law’. By making the decision process easier for shoppers you’ll increase the likelihood of conversion.

Expand your base of affiliate publishers to include all possible mom’s day shoppers. Considering that Mother’s Day shoppers may not include the audience you target on a regular basis, you want to be sure you’ve expanded your reach to publishers that attract all relevant demographics. At first this idea may seem like a no brainer, but it’s a critical detail that’s often overlooked.

Advertisers should consider presenting exclusive offers to the affiliate channel. Along with inspiring publishers to drive even more sales, exclusives and incentives will also help advertisers build stronger ties to affiliates.

Analyse last year’s keyword performance. If you haven’t already, you’ll want to identify the keywords you used last Mother’s Day and the accompanying results before you invest too heavily in your campaign. Additionally, remember to build out a campaign-specific keyword list including gift versions of keywords such as ‘Mother’s Day Bouquet’ and modifiers such as sale, coupon and guaranteed delivery.

Look at your recent Valentine’s Day campaign performance. You’ll discover three interesting parallels between the two holidays that can support your Mother’s Day marketing efforts.

Specifically, when comparing the two days, there are overlapping product purchases with flowers, chocolates, and jewellery ranking among the most popular items. Second, peak shopping typically happens in the days leading up to the holiday. And third, the total consumer spend on the holiday is not that far off with an estimated $17bn having been spent on this past Valentine’s Day.

Also, if you’re a company with a presence in the UK, you know that Mother’s Day was celebrated on March 30 of this year. For this reason, you may also want to factor in those results as you ramp up your US campaign.

When it comes to your display and retargeting efforts, you want to be sure you have a way to accurately track and attribute which display ads drove or assisted in the conversion.

One of the most effective ways of doing this is by applying an engagement model. Since marketers use the word ‘engagement’ a lot, let’s understand that in this context, engagement is the irrefutable proof that a customer’s interactions with a marketing channel, primarily a display ad, directly led to the purchase. The advertiser only pays when it can be proven that the ad led to the sale.

Don’t overlook the opportunities afforded by coupon sites and loyalty sites. They were the main drivers of Mother’s Day traffic and orders last year for the affiliate channel, according to Rakuten LinkShare.

With the right digital marketing strategy in place, advertisers and publishers will be able to realise significant gains during the upcoming Mother’s Day shopping season.

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