Black Friday, Cyber Monday, and Now Gobble Thursday - More Holiday Tips for Web Marketers
1. Free Shipping and Other Shipping Discounts
If you don’t provide some type of shipping offer, you'll lose out! People expect free shipping in one form or another during the holidays. So, even if you’re a small company, you better figure something out or you will lose customers to competitors that do. It doesn’t have to be free shipping on everything. You can provide free shipping on orders over a certain amount (like $25 or $50). The specific amount is based on your business, so you can figure that out with your CFO. :-) Also, make sure you communicate the offer in all of your campaigns (email, paid search, shopping engines, etc.) More on this later. Personally, I absolutely lean towards buying from online retailers that provide free shipping for the holidays.
2. Have Your Holiday Email Schedule Mapped Out
Email marketing to your internal list is still the most effective way to get in touch with your current customers (which is why I rank it as the most powerful online marketing channel at your disposal). It’s a powerful driver of sales, especially if you carefully map out your holiday schedule. For example, determine the special offers you will run during the holidays, when those offers take hold, determine your creative for each blast, and start scheduling the blasts. Also, I would plan on sending follow up emails. I can’t tell you how many times a reminder has pushed me to place an order. Let’s face it, people are ridiculously busy during the holidays so sending a reminder is a good idea.
3. Provide Outstanding On-Site Search Functionality and Provide a Holiday Guide
When I crank through my holiday shopping, I love using on-site search (as do many other people). I want the results to be clean, return relevant results, and provide a good amount of information about the product. I really only want to go to product detail pages of items that I want to buy… In addition, providing some type of holiday guide helps customers find great gift ideas fast. For example, show visitors what’s featured for the holidays, provide great gift ideas, break them down by category, etc. If you are short on resources and time, then create a few new pages on your site and organize your products based on how your customers search for items. This can be by style, age, price, size, etc.
4. The Mighty Gift Card
Know matter how you cut it, people love gift cards. In my opinion, I believe there’s only 1 out of 10 people that know how to buy gifts. I mean really good gifts that are well thought out. Most of us have been on the receiving end of some doozies, right?? Anyway, provide gift cards on your site for people who want to buy something quickly or for those that don’t know exactly what to buy. The dollar increments should match your products. So, if you sell $10 items, then have the gift cards in $5 increments up to $50. If you sell $50 items, then have a $10, $25, $50 and $100 gift cards. You get the picture…
5. Coordinate Your Online Marketing Campaigns
Make sure all of your marketing efforts are coordinated. For me, I’d rather not see one offer in email, another in paid search, and yet another when I hit a landing page. For example, if you are running free shipping for the holidays, then make sure you communicate this offer via email, paid search, shopping engine listings, banner ads, etc. And, make sure your campaign landing pages match the advertisements people are clicking through. Imagine someone clicking through a free shipping ad and then hitting a landing page with no mention of the offer (or worse, a different offer altogether!) If you have a blog, make sure you communicate your latest promotions in your blog posts, and again, have those offers match up with the pages you are sending visitors to. It doesn’t take much to throw off potential customers, which means fewer conversions, and less revenue.
In closing, there are many things you can do to enhance your holiday marketing efforts and I’ve provided a few ideas above. Think about it…if you map out your top 10 ideas and then run with your top 5, you’re giving yourself a better opportunity to have a successful holiday season. Just be prepared to adapt as the weeks go by, based on the data you are collecting (hello web analytics).
I can hear those shoppers gobbling up your products already. I can’t wait for Thanksgiving morning. :-)
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