I recently read a post Matt McGee wrote about optimizing your campaigns for the holidays, and it got me thinking about other events you may want to be optimizing for in order to increase your reach. Of course, it depends on your business, and your target audience, but you should be able to find events to match your goals.

For the purposes of this article, let's take a running store selling shoes to consumers as our example business. Assuming they have a bricks and mortar location as well as an ecommerce site, they would want to look for both local and larger events:

Local and National:

Running Events: Most localities have active running communities. These groups often plan events ranging from 5k races all the way up to ultra-marathons. Some of those events have tens of thousands of people running, while others may only have a few hundred people interested in them. No matter the number of participants, it's a great way to reach a targeted audience. It also appears that not many people are taking advantage of type of promotion.

For example: a search for either the Marine Corps Marathon (DC) or the Rock and Roll Marathon (San Diego) shows 0 PPC ads, and no running stores in the top 10 organic listings. A search for Ironman Triathlon does show one PPC ad for a sports drink, one for a sports equipment store and one sales themed organic listing (for a heart monitor). There's hardly a saturation of advertisers on these results.


2008 Beijing Olympics: There's less than a year to go to this popular event. If you have a sports or travel related business, you need to be thinking about how you can tie your business in to some facet of the games. There are many running events in the games, meaning the running store should be targeting searches for a variety of running themed terms. Searches will be coming in from all over the world, but if our running store is running PPC ads they can always geotarget the ads to limit exposure.

International Running Events: If the online store ships abroad and has some form of competitive advantage over the 'local' competition, there's no reason not to optimize against international events such as the London Marathon or the Sydney Triathlon.

2010 South African World Cup - Yes, it's a lot further out than the Olympics, but the qualifying rounds begin next summer. Interest in the event will rise over the following 2 years. Yes the World Cup is about soccer, not running, but the store could easily focus on things like training and increasing endurance. It's not a big leap to find a way to tie the store's products in to this event.

You can see that there are many opportunities out there for our hypothetical running store. As for your business, look at your local papers and specialty trade magazines and see what's coming up. You can also look at what happened last year that's going to happen again and plan for it. National holidays don't have to be the only events that can drive new customers to your business.

Discuss this article in the Small Business Ideas forum.

September 11, 2007

Simon Heseltine is the Director of Search at Serengeti Communications a McLean, Virginia based digital marketing agency specializing in search engines, social media, word of mouth, Blogs and RSS, digital PR, and online media & advertising for a wide range of clients in both the nonprofit and commercial sectors.

Search Engine Guide > Simon Heseltine > Thinking Beyond the Holidays for Campaign Optimization