The summer is over and fall is just around the corner, which means that the holidays are coming up once again. Here are 10 strategies you can use now to get your website ready for the season.
Don’t Neglect SEO
Search engine optimization is a must if you want to grow your brand online. While it isn’t everything, without it, all other online marketing techniques won’t be as effective. For starters, submit your sitemap with the holiday changes you’ve made to the search engines and update your meta tags. Keep your content fresh and frequently updated as well.
Use Holiday Words in Your PPC Campaigns
Add holiday related keywords to your pay-per-click campaigns such as gifts, Christmas, Hanukkah, holidays, and presents. Consider long-tail versions such as “gifts for dad” or “presents for co-workers.”
Offer Options for Last Minute Shoppers
In 2012, Consumer Reports found that 17 million shoppers had yet to finish their holiday shopping by Christmas Eve. The same poll found that 38 percent of last-minute shoppers were willing to pay extra for faster shipping options. Make using your website as simple and give your customers plenty of shipping options at various price points.
Offer Small Boxes for Gift Cards
Gift cards are very popular, and they’re a great way to bring new customers in the door. According to Consumer Reports, 62 percent of late holiday shoppers chose to buy gift cards. Try adding a little box for the card to fit in to make it special, with the name of your store on the lid, of course. Don’t charge for the box: consider it advertising.
Send Follow-Up Email to Recent Customers
Research shows that email marketing increases site visits by 217 percent. Send emails to your existing customers advising them of your holiday specials. Not only will you get some of them to come back and shop, they are likely to tell their friends about it, too. Restrict your emails to once per month, unless you have a special sale. You don’t want to annoy your email list with too much mail.
Use Every Customer Contact Point to Increase Your Brand
Make sure that your brand is everywhere you connect with your customers. If you offer phone support, include your brand in the standard greeting. Do the same with web chat, if you offer it, and email support too.
Make Social Media Work for You
Two interesting statistics about social media and marketing are that 52 percent of marketers got a customer through Facebook and the most effective way to connect with millennials is through social media. So, if your business doesn’t have a Twitter or Facebook account, make one and start using it to tell the public about your sales and special holiday offers and services. Don’t stop there! Encourage your customers to share information about their purchases on social media.
Make Your Website Mobile-Friendly
19 out of 20 milennials worldwide own at least one smartphone, and they’re obsessive when it comes to checking it – they do this 43 times during the day, on average. To reach this tech-savvy demographic, you need to make your website accessible and fully functional from anywhere.
Encourage Customer Reviews
Recent polls about what activities shoppers engage in online found that 67 percent of them used the Internet to read product reviews. Add a feature to your website that allows people to leave reviews. Not only is this free content for your website, users find it valuable and useful.
Offer Free Shipping for the Holidays
More than half of people who bought gifts online for the holidays say that one of the reasons they chose to buy online was free shipping. Even if you don’t plan to offer it all year, consider having it for the holiday season. Your customers will appreciate it, and many will come back later in the year to shop with you again.
Whether you run a small speciality store or a large enterprise, the holiday season presents its own challenges and opportunities. Take advantage of both to increase both your brand and your sales.
Image via Flickr by the idealist