The holiday season is the perfect time to create a boost in revenue. The challenge is to capture the attention of consumers who have a multitude of shopping options from in-store to websites to social media platforms. The first step is to drive consumers to your website. Once they are there, you have to engage them with fabulous and interactive content, provide the highest level of user experience, and convince them that your products or services are the perfect gifts for their loved ones this holiday season.
BEFORE YOU GET STARTED
But before you start creating holiday campaigns and changing up things on your website, take a moment to look back. What were the results of last year’s holiday promotions? Where were your successes? Can they be duplicated? What were your challenges? Can they be avoided?
A combination of two things should guide any work you do on your website. First and foremost, review your company goals. What do you need to get out of this holiday season? Are you seeking more subscribers and leads? Or are you highly focused on increasing your sales? Every part of your holiday marketing campaigns and related website work should drive toward those goals.
Secondly, review last year’s promotions to understand which strongly registered with your target audience and which went over like a lead balloon. Build from that information as you look to plan this year’s holiday campaign.
In addition to keeping in mind your brand goals and last year’s efforts, take a look at the performance of your various marketing channels. Analyze the strength of your social media presence to understand which platforms are more effective than others. Understand the impact any pay-per-click or other paid advertising campaigns have had in driving traffic to your website. Evaluate your email subscriber list and make sure it has been cleaned up and is up-to-date.
Before you start working on sales advertising, crunch the numbers to understand what sort of holiday deals your brand can most afford to offer. Make sure your holiday sales efforts are sustainable and in the best interest of your bottom line. If it has been a challenging year, opt for less expensive offerings: let VIP customers preview holiday goods, beef up your gift card promotions, use (free) email and (inexpensive) social media marketing instead of more expensive advertising channels.
Finally, learn from others and spend some time scouting out your competitors. Look at strategies they have employed in the past to determine if you might be able to tweak their approach to work for your target audience. Look at bigger companies both inside and outside of your industry for general holiday marketing ideas. Scale their strategies to work for your brand and your customers.
Now that you’ve established a solid foundation for your holiday marketing campaigns, it’s time to look at your brand website. Here are some tips to help you get your website ready for the holiday season.
With the holidays comes an increase in site traffic much of which will be via mobile devices. And, of course, they don’t call it the holiday “rush” for nothing – people are always in a hurry. If your website is slow to load, consumers will move on to their next option. According to research led by Akamai, if your website takes longer than 3 seconds to load, you could be losing half your visitors and a 2-second delay can increase bounce rate by 100%.
To understand how quickly or slowly your website loads, use Google’s PageSpeed Insights tool. This free resource allows you to simply enter your brand website’s URL into the search bar and it returns analysis on the overall speed. In addition, PageSpeed Insights provides suggestions as to how you might improve your load time. If you’re feeling this is all beyond your level of tech-savvy, you can always contact an agency like Strategy Driven Marketing to help you make sure your site is running at optimal speed.
Limit the Risk of Down Time
Choosing the appropriate website hosting option for your needs is imperative to keeping your website from crashing. There are three different options for hosting: shared hosting, VPS hosting, and a dedicated server. Shared hosting is least expensive and requires that you share with other sites hosted on that server resources such as disk space, RAM, and CPU. VPS hosting still has you sharing a server with other websites but provides you a dedicated portion of the server’s resources.
A dedicated server provides the most space but is also the most expensive option. A dedicated server does require more work in regards to the technical setup and configuration but it provides you complete control over your hosting. You may, for budgetary reasons, begin with a shared hosting situation. The key is to keep tabs on the impact your hosting choice is having on your site speed so you can upgrade as needed. While a dedicated server can cost more than $200 a month, that cost compared to being offline during the holiday rush could be money well spent for your business.
Use Holiday Coupon Codes and Exit-intent Popups
Nothing brings out the competitive spirit like the holiday season. Each year it seems brands go further outside the box as they offer special deals in an effort to out-do one another. Coupon codes are an excellent strategy. They are easily pushed out in your email marketing and can be prominently displayed on your ecommerce site. In addition, you can get your coupon codes listed on the major coupon directories.
Another strategy to consider is using a holiday-themed exit-intent popup to present a “can’t pass this up” offer to the visitors trying to abandon your site. Exit-intent popups can track when a user is about to leave your site and send them a targeted offer at exactly the right moment. It could be an instant discount code or something like free shipping, to entice them to stick around and complete a purchase. If you can convince even 10% of that traffic to keep shopping, it will make an impact on your holiday revenue.
Include a Retargeting Pixel
If a visitor leaves your website without completing a purchase they could potentially disappear forever. By retargeting those visitors, you have the opportunity to follow users around the web and send them targeted messages that encourage them to return to your website and complete the transaction.
A retargeting pixel is a small, unobtrusive piece of code that you add to your site that can track a user to Facebook or Google and display ads for your products or services that will keep your brand in consumers’ minds. Retargeting is effective because you are already aware of the user’s interest in your business and consequently know they are more likely to be tempted by a special offer from your brand. This type of online advertising is perfect for keeping your brand in front of consumers during this busy season and can turn bounced traffic into conversions.
Decorate for the Holidays
Your brand’s standard homepage isn’t likely to inspire holiday shoppers. You can help consumers get into the holiday spirit by decorating your homepage for the holidays. Use festive colors, fonts, and images to let visitors know about the amazing holiday deals they can find on your website. Simplify your landing pages to keep shoppers’ focus on your holiday products and sales. Remember to include clear, hard-to-miss calls to action.
Schedule other holiday-themed content as well. Creating holiday-themed content that can help solve the problems of consumers during this stressful time will build consumer trust. Even if a site visitor came for the holiday-based advice you are offering in a blog, they can still be converted into customers. Work with your website developer to promote your online shop and products natively within the content throughout your site.
Remember to include holiday-based keywords as well as buyer keywords throughout your blog posts in order for your content to be easily discovered on the web. All of these strategies are most successfully executed when you plan your brand’s holiday content well ahead of time so that you aren’t scrambling to come up with ideas at the last minute.
Now that you have some actionable ideas to help you get your website ready for the holiday season, you’ll be able to attract new and returning shoppers to your online store and impress them with your holiday deals and your festive spirit. For more tips regarding holiday marketing, website strategies, and more, see our articles:
The experts at Strategy Driven Marketing would love to help you get your brand ready for the holiday season and figure out how to best stand out from your competitors who are also preparing to push out emails and social posts and get festive on their websites. Contact us today to get started!