How to Use Holiday Gift Guides to Your Advantage

  •    Freelance writer focused on web development, email marketing and baseball. He lives in Los Angeles, but wishes he lived in Tokyo.

In the dark ages that we all lived in prior to the Internet, people found Christmas gifts in one of two ways:

  1. Through advertising they saw on TV or in the paper
  2. By wandering around a store until they found something the recipients might like

This was not always terribly effective. The good news is we no longer have to live this way, because there are now tons of websites with holiday gift guides that include gift ideas for friends, parents, spouses, acquaintances, pets, co-workers and your UPS driver.

Practically every major online store publishes their own holiday gift guides, and you should do the same for your business. Writing guides will benefit you by increasing your SEO and prompting customers to make purchases they may have otherwise overlooked; they'll benefit your customers by helping them with gift ideas for Aunt Linda, who is notoriously hard to buy for.

How can you get started?

1. Pick Your Themes

Depending on your products / services, there's no reason to limit your business to one holiday gift guide. Make a series of guides, give each one its own page, and make this "holiday gift guide" section part of your site's navigation menu. You can call it Gift Ideas or Christmas Gifts or whatever wording seems right for your brand's identity.

There are a virtually unlimited numbers of topics you might use to sort these gift guides.

Maybe you want to create guides directed at recipients:

  • 10 Best Sweaters for a Picky Husband
  • 5 Stunning Bracelets to Wow Your Girlfriend
  • 8 Books for Teens who Like Stranger Things
  • 12 Pairs of Socks for Friends Who Wear Socks

Or based on types of products:

  • Favorite Stocking Stuffers
  • For Geeks
  • Health & Fitness
  • Country Living

Or based on price:

  • Favorites under $25
  • Favorites under $100
  • Favorites over $150 (for fancy people)

You could even do an "employee favorites" or "most popular items in 2017" section. Many of these guides could even apply outside of the holidays; people need gift ideas all your long, not just around Christmas.

2. Bundle Products to Sell More

Gift guides lend themselves to bundling. Why choose one product for your grandpa, when you can buy three gifts he would like at a discount. Put products that complement each other into your holiday gift guides, that way a wife could potentially put together an entire outfit for her husband (or vice-versa) picking only products in the guide itself.

To encourage this, create coupons and include them within these gift guides. You can even create a product category for each guide and then use those categories to make guide specific coupons like "20% off anything from this holiday gift guide." Or you could just make broader coupons like "free shipping on orders of $50 or more" or "$10 off orders over $75" and mention them within the guide to encourage shoppers to buy more than one item.

3. Write Guides with SEO in Mind

Regular visitors to your site will see these guides and put them to use. And just to be sure they do, you should email your customers about your gift guides, announce them on social media, blog about them and use any other marketing or social channel at your disposal to make current customers and followers aware they exist.

But your usual customers and audience shouldn't be the only targets of these guides. These folks shop with you because they like and want your products for themselves. Christmas and the holiday season is a great opportunity to target shoppers who don't necessarily want your products for themselves, but are looking to buy presents for folks who do.

Do you sell robot kits to tech geeks? Great. At Christmas time, their not-geek dads need to be able to find your site to so they can buy your geek customers a robot kit (or two) as a gift. Optimizing for search ensures he can do that.

Don't just make a list of products with pictures like Amazon does for their holiday gift guides. Amazon can do that because they're Amazon. You, on the other hand, are not Amazon.

Ensure each list has a specific target. Then talk about the products, and mention why each one makes a good gift for a tech geek or a girlfriend or a husband or a mom or a grandpa or for a white elephant party.

Repeat the premise of the holiday gift guide several times too. If you've called a guide "8 Books for Teens who Like Stranger Things" then mention "books for teens" throughout. Don't spam it in every sentence, but fit it in whenever it's natural. That'll just make it more likely that someone searching for a book for teens will find your list.

Shoppers need help finding presents for their friends and family. The more you can provide that help and push them towards gifts their loves ones and acquaintances might like, the more likely they'll be to buy those gifts from you. People are already looking for Christmas gifts as we speak, so don't wait for December. Create your own holiday gift guides asap!