Go, go, go! The biggest shopping days are upon us! But never fear, there is still time to make marketing adjustments to ensure you have a cracking holiday season.
We reached out to the best of the best eCommerce and online marketing experts to find out which strategies they suggest you should be using over the upcoming holiday shopping season. So without further ado…Here are 15+ winning holiday marketing strategies from digital marketing, SEO and eCommerce gurus to help you make more sales this holiday season.
Adi Bittan: CEO & Founder of Owners Listens
“During the holidays, many companies become overwhelmed by the volume of incoming customer requests. Service suffers, customers complain, staff is frustrated.
Keep in mind that when people purchase gifts, they are more nervous than when they purchase for themselves. Add to that an explicit delivery deadline and you get very stressed out customers. Coupled with higher holiday volumes, this can strain your service staff
While they make short term sales, companies that don’t prep for it lose the opportunity for loyal, repeat business. It’s especially unfortunate considering all the time and money spent on holiday marketing.
What to do?
Review your FAQ and support templates, over communicate things like expected delivery times, gift wrap options, and return policies, refresh staff training, add tactics for stress management and dealing with difficult customers, make sure support channels are clearly listed on your site otherwise customers will go to Facebook or Twitter, and list your support channels in order of efficiency.”
Chris Makara: Digital Marketing Strategist, Skilled in SEO, Social Media & Analytics
“My number one tip for small businesses during the holiday season is to rely heavily on remarketing. With remarketing, you’ll be able to aggressively promote your product or business to people who have already shown interest.
Basically, you should increase the frequency and ad spend to these users until they convert/buy from you.
Just be sure to exclude conversions from your remarketing campaigns so you aren’t wasting money on people who have already purchased. Also, be sure to dial back the spend and aggressiveness of the campaigns once the holiday season is over.”
David J. Bradley: Digital Transformation Expert, Best-Selling Author and Speaker
“Companies need to stay in front of their customers all throughout the holiday season. They need to always be a click away so that they are available when their customers are ready to buy. During holidays, there is a mix of impulse buys and thoughtful buying processes, so you need to be ready for both for your consumers.
The best way to do this and to make sure you are always available and top of mind is through “retargeting.” With retargeting, your brand is prominently displayed in front of people who have engaged with you in some way, like visiting your website, or a specific product page. This allows you to focus on a “warm” audience so you are there when they are ready to buy.”
Eyal Reich: COO & Co-Founder of StoreYa
“Many merchants are afraid to advertise during the holiday season thinking the cost per click is higher. They are right, but they are also wrong.
Although CPC does increase by 9% during the holidays, ROI actually increases by 36% which means that this is THE time to advertise. We reached this number by analyzing $50M worth of sales of last year holiday season. Read this case study.”
Kurt Elster: eCommerce Guru, Shopify Plus Expert, Founder of Ethercycle and host of The Unofficial Shopify Podcast.
“The average ecommerce shop sent 15 emails for the holidays last year. Some specific industries, like fashion and apparel, sent up to 30 emails per subscriber. How many emails should you send? Like all things, the answer is it depends. What are you comfortable with? What is typical in your industry? Look in your inbox for last year’s holiday emails. How many did you get from your favorite brands?
As a safe number, I would send a minimum of ten, but ideally, 21-30. This is the one season when it’s appropriate, so let’s seize the opportunity. Regardless of how many emails you choose to send, implement automation to segment your campaigns so they’re only sent to customers that haven’t purchased in the last 15 days. This ensures that recent buyers aren’t alienated by too many emails or making a purchase at full price and missing a deal.”
Noah Kagan: Internet Entrepreneur and Founder of AppSumo
“90% of the e-commerce visitors don’t buy on their first visit. Most of them are comparing your product and price with other online stores. The possibility that they come back to your site—and make a purchase—is incredibly low once they leave your store.
This number only rises during the holiday season. Yes, you get more people visiting your site, but it doesn’t help your business when the majority of traffic never become your customers.
To make the most out of the holiday season, focus on building your email list. Here’s how to do it:
- Create an email opt-in form with a compelling offer or discount in exchange for your visitors’ email address.
- Email your subscribers regularly to build the relationship.
- Send them special offers and start turning them into your customers.
Building an email list doesn’t only help boost your revenue during the holiday season, you also get to communicate with (and sell to) your prospective customers after the holiday season is over.”
Mark Rushworth: SEO, Digital Media and eCommerce Expert
“In three words, “watch your profitability.” Irrespective of the channel used whether it be paid, social, email or organic you need to make sure that you control your budget and focus on what is going to deliver the best ROI. This may mean cutting back on PPC for your least popular products to maximiZe what generates the most profit, stopping display temporarily, ramping up organic outreach on key lines three or four months in advance of the festive period or jumping on CRO to improve conversions by a few percent and potentially doubling sales.
Profit, not turnover, should be your goal unless you’re brand building in which case turnover may be more desired. Ask your suppliers to give you this data and work out where your budget is best spent and make a dispassionate but informed decision.”
Ted Rubin: Social Marketing Strategist, Keynote Speaker, Brand Evangelist and Acting CMO Brand Innovators
“Story is important: remember the power of storytelling, and use it in your communications. The holidays offer up so many great opportunities to tell your story in a way people will care. People can’t resist a good story. It’s an emotional connection bridge that is built into our human DNA. Social enhances this connection by allowing more consumers to share more stories about more of the products they see, buy and use.
Another thing to remember about stories is that people are already having conversations about your brand, and you can’t control that. Companies who try to stem the tide of stories they have not embraced by trying to control the message find this out the hard way. However, you can influence the kind of stories that are told about you by being involved in the conversation, transparent in your use of social media, and responsive to the needs of your customers, both online and offline… #NoLetUp!”
John Lincoln: Co-Founder and CEO of Ignite Visibility
“First, before you even start, review your analytics from last year. Make sure to get a clear understanding of what drove the most revenue for you so you can double down on those efforts.
My number one marketing strategy tip is to create a clear promotion that everyone can understand. Either choose one product, a site wide discount, refer a friend campaign, etc. and develop a marketing strategy around that. To select this promotion, look at what will drive the most revenue for your business and then look at all the campaigns you have run over the past year. Also, review your competitors campaigns.
Once you have your campaign selected, start promoting it at least six weeks before the holidays. Do a series of press releases, blog posts, guest posts, Facebook ads, Google AdWords ads, email marketing campaigns, etc. Make sure to have a marketing plan that promotes the campaign from all angles. I also highly recommend YouTube ads. They are very inexpensive and will help you get the word out about the promotion. The in-stream ads work very well. For your targeting, try the new in-market audiences. They can have a big impact on sales. Finally, make sure you add a countdown timer on your site that shows when the deal is coming to a close. That always helps conversion rates.”
Sam Hurley: Digital marketer and Founder of the OPTIM-EYEZ Platform
“Personalization is the most critical component of any holiday marketing campaign. Make your visitors, community base and customers really feel special and get to know them properly (at scale, when required).
This ‘human’ touch has the power to set you apart from the masses of competition — and ironically, Artificial Intelligence (AI) is the enabler.
Serve content, offers and product news that are timely and highly-specific to the tendencies and past behaviors of your audience, on an individual level…including their current stage in their own unique buyer journey, while taking into account their status (i.e. active, dormant, infrequent etc.). Combine AI with personable customer service for a winning combination!”
Bonus: Emojis are a powerful method to grab attention. In subject lines of emails, use the snowman emoji to boost open rates by 66%!
Neil Patel: Marketing Expert, Consultant and Speaker
“Don’t wait until the last minute to execute your holiday promotional strategies and preparing for factors outside of your marketing strategy. Make sure you have enough inventory and staff on the schedule who are familiar with your procedures to fill and process incoming orders.
Touch base with your web hosting service and find out if your website has enough speed and bandwidth to accommodate a potential surge in visitors. Slow loading times or a site crash could be detrimental to your company, so get all of this sorted out ahead of time. Planning ahead for unforeseen circumstances will save you time, money, and headaches in the long run.”
Bonus: For more from Neil visit his full guide to preparing for the holiday season.
Scott Levy: Best Selling Author of Tweet Naked and Founder of Fuel Online
“Typically most business owners and even social media agencies don’t realize that social media ads and cost per click can often double or quadruple during the holidays. The most value and ROI we’ve consistently seen are from these two things:
Firstly, by providing great Holidays Tips and How To’s that accompany your items. We love to provide value with all of our content strategies, but even more so during the holidays. People appreciate it more when getting bombarded with “buy my crap” posts and ads! How to save money, how to make your own gifts, where to find the best bargains, cute, click inducing, thought provoking content like “Is it Ok to Regift?”. Remember, be clever!
Secondly, Giveaways and Contests are social media gold during the holiday season. Everyone loves FREE stuff and really well done “Free/Giveaway” posts can easily go viral if done right, boosted to the appropriate audiences on Facebook and Instagram, and with the right attention grabbing emotional imagery.”
Lukasz Zelezny: Head of Organic Acquisition at uSwitch
“As an SEO I always teach holidays businesses a golden URL rule. Imagine you have Christmas Holidays, Easter Holidays or Bank Holidays. These keywords/search queries are often combined with a current year.
People frequently type ‘Christmas Holidays 2017’, ‘Bank Holidays 2017’ or ‘Easter Holidays 2018.’
Now, the greatest idea is to avoid keeping a year in the URL. Instead of: example.com/bank-holidays-2017/ use: example.com/bank-holidays/
Then each year you can update content on that URL. You are retaining rankings and aggregate backlinks pointing for years to the same URL. What if you want to retain the previous year’s content? Build an archive: example.com/bank-holidays/2017, example.com/bank-holidays/2016, example.com/bank-holidays/2015.”
Allan Pollette: SEO Guru, SEO Consultant, SEO Web Marketing, SEO Consulting, SMM at Yioop
“One of my earliest online businesses was selling art online. Original art was a difficult thing to sell online because of the price and normally people want to see the art in person before buying. However, each Christmas I would create a section of my site that would be themed around the holidays. As well, I would allow the user to shop by price and suggest products for stocking stuffers or for that special someone.
The point is I would cater to the way people would shop and focus on helping with gift ideas. Every November and December the site would generate 80% of its yearly sales as a result. So position the products you have to best suit the season. Also, from a SEO perspective, remember to target the seasonal keywords in your site’s copy like: Christmas gifts, holiday gift ideas, Kwanzaa gifts, Hanukkah gifts. The visitors will appreciate that you are helping them with their holiday shopping, and having targeted seasonal keywords will help you rank for what people will be searching for.”
Joel Mackey: Website Marketing Manager at Keypath Education & Executive Editor at Z6Mag.com
“Try and ensure that mobile experience and local content are a main focus as Google is making big moves in these areas this year. This would include a site that serves up at least a responsive design and fast load time for mobile.
For local, you want to include geo targeted content and relevant content around those geos. The results from both tactics can be immediate and provide as quick as a 24-hour turnaround if you’re not meeting needs in these areas already.”
There you have it: 15+ winning holiday strategies from the pros! Have tips of your own? Pop them in the comments below.
Nicole is a content writer at StoreYa with over sixteen years experience and flair for storytelling. She runs on a healthy dose of caffeine and enthusiasm. When she's not researching the next content trend or creating informative small business content, she's an avid beachgoer, coffee shop junkie and hangs out on LinkedIn.
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