Shoppers are already knee-deep in the holiday grind. In fact, 1 in 5 consumers began their holiday shopping in September so if you haven’t started readying your business for the seasons, now is the time.
Unfortunately, implementing a last-minute, holiday marketing strategy can be time consuming and stressful. Here are a few tips to ease the burden and boost sales through the end of December.
It’s no surprise that a majority of consumers research online before to making a purchase, especially during the holidays. If their research leads them to your website and it doesn’t load within three seconds, Radware estimates 57% will abandon it. That is why it’s more important than ever to provide a fast and flawless experience to appeal to the tech-savvy masses. There are a variety of online tools that can help you check for any loading lags and missing elements within your website.
You’ll also want to verify that your website is mobile-compatible. In 2014, mobile traffic accounted for almost half of all online traffic and 26% of e-commerce sales between Thanksgiving and Cyber Monday, according to Custora. That’s a big piece of the holiday pie (pun intended) that can be lost if your website isn’t appealing on mobile devices. Google’s mobile-friendly test is a quick way to see how your website looks on mobile devices before launching your holiday marketing campaign.
Finally, consider reviewing your landing pages. I would venture to say it is the most important piece of your marketing campaign. Rather than sending interested consumers to your home page to fend for themselves, send them to an optimized landing page that is unique to the offer or ad. Include a countdown or coupon to create a sense of urgency and turn those last minute shoppers into satisfied customers.
- Revisit PPC Keywords and Ad Extensions
Keyword campaigns may not be the most visual of marketing techniques but they are crucial if you want to capitalize on the seasonal shopping rush. Unfortunately, many business owners take the “set it and forget it” approach and are left wondering why their conversions are down at the end of the year.
Online shoppers change their search habits during the holidays so it only makes sense that your pay-per-click campaigns should follow suit. You should still maintain core keywords, but including seasonal and trending search terms in your campaign can give your business the boost it needs to meet your holiday sales goals.
You should also consider using ad extensions. It’s easy to get lost in the content of a search engine results page but call extensions, sitelinks, and offer extensions can help your ads stand out from the crowd. Implementing them can be tricky, but it’s worth the effort and tends to increase conversions in the long run.
- Use Smart Visuals and Seasonal Ad Copy
The holidays are about emotion. Consumers want the experience that comes with having the latest phone or the perfect necklace, not just the physical product. If you want to capture the attention of busy internet users, you need to move beyond stock photos of products and towards photos that your audience can connect with. Images that show your products being unwrapped and enjoyed in everyday life with colors that emotionally resonate are more likely to be noticed and, eventually, increase your return on investment.
But how do you get these images?
While you’re probably already using social sites like Facebook and Twitter, try incorporating visual platforms like Instagram and Pinterest to collect user-generated images. Nicole Bandklayder, co-founder and CMO at Bijouxx Jewels, suggests running a contest that requires entrants to submit a photo with a hashtag for a chance to win a special holiday gift. People love being acknowledged by their favorite brands and user-generated images are proof to potential customers that you’re worth their business.
Don’t forget to rewrite your ad copy to accompany your holiday graphics. Creating an enticing, unique message takes time but it will set you apart from your competition that relies on the same copy year around.
- Go Native
If you haven’t looked into native advertising, you should. Native advertising is the hot, new trend in online marketing because it matches the platform it serves on and reaches an audience actively engaged in content. Many content providers like BuzzFeed have successfully experimented with native and reaped the rewards. Essentially, your business can stand out by blending in.
According to Business 2 Community, there are three key elements to a successful native advertising campaign: platform, content, and transparency. The first step is finding the channel best suited to your needs. If your ad can blend in to the other content on a platform, you guarantee that the right message will reach the right audience. Next, you need to provide useful content for people engaging with it and position yourself as the expert. Finally, consumers don’t like to feel tricked. Clearly brand your content for best results.
- Email Retargeting
Email marketing is still one of the most effective ways to connect with customers on a personal level. In 2014, it was named as the best holiday marketing channel after driving 27.3% of sales on Black Friday and that is not expected to change in 2015.
Use an mobile compatible template and take some time to plan how you’ll grow your current email list, what messages you will send and when you’ll send them. For example, you could create an email promoting gift cards and send it out right before Christmas, putting your business in front of last-minute shoppers who will purchase quickly. Then send another email after Christmas reminding them to redeem their gift cards.
If you want your email marketing campaign to be as effective as possible, don’t forget to implement retargeting (commonly referred to as remarketing). Retargeting allows you to send the same or different message to readers through display ads after they open your email. Retargeting is ideal for holiday shopping because consumers tend to take their time researching and browsing before a purchase. This means that, even though your first touch point is crucial, you need to follow up and reach those same individuals at multiple points in the sales funnel.
The holidays are all about emotion, innovation, and simplicity. Don’t get lost in the hustle and bustle of the seasons. Take the time to implement a smart marketing campaign that caters to consumers’ online shopping trends.