Online Marketing Tips for the Holidays

online holiday shopping

‘Tis the season to be shopping, fa la la la la… Is your business ready to make the most out of the holiday shopping season? In 2013 US consumers spent a mind-boggling $46.5 billion between November 1 and December 31, and companies are doing their utmost to make sure they get a piece of the action. In case you hadn’t noticed, there are tons of websites, blogs, and news articles offering tips and advice on what your business can and should be doing to ensure you have a happy and successful holiday season. But who has time to read all that when you could be shopping for Grandma?

That’s why I’ve gone ahead and saved you some time by reading through them and compiling a list of the best and most commonly advised tips from around the web about what your business can do to improve marketing and sales this season. In no particular order, they are:

Bring the Holidays to Your Home Page: Deck your Facebook wall with boughs of holly! It’s time to make some festive changes to your website, social media accounts, and any other online assets you may have in order to spread some holiday cheer and, hopefully, get people in the mood for doing their holiday shopping with you. This means changing your headline banner and cover photos to reflect the season. Throw up some twinkling lights, snowmen, employees all dressed up, and other holiday-themed media so that your customers have no chance of forgetting why they came to your website in the first place: to shop!

You should also edit the titles and meta descriptions of your pages to reflect the holiday shopping season. When people are searching online, they will generally read the rich snippets of text underneath the link to your website in search results before deciding to click through, so be sure you include some information about special holiday deals and discounts they can expect to find on your site. The same thing goes for product descriptions. Consider adding content like “makes a perfect stocking stuffer” or “guaranteed to bring smiles on Hannukah” to holiday-ize your products.

Also, if you have an ecommerce platform, make sure that the checkout process is smooth and seamless. Don’t let shoppers get put off by confusing steps and leave a full cart in the digital checkout lane.

Finally, consider reorganizing your website content into shopper-friendly categories. For example, you could add sections like “Gifts for Dad”, “Best Toys for Tots”, “Hottest Items for the Holidays”, etc. You can even make some great new content like “Top 10 Hottest Toys for Girls” and link to products throughout your website. Don’t forget to share all the new content on social media and in your emails!

happy holidays

Deals, Discounts, and Free Shipping: This probably goes without saying, but you should absolutely be offering special limited-time offers on select products during the holiday season. The most common of these deals, of course, is free shipping. There’s even a whole day devoted to it. Make sure you plan a particular time frame, providing free shipping on Black Friday, Thanksgiving, and Cyber Monday, for example, or even over a series of days. In 2012 the days between Dec. 1-4 and Dec. 10-13 each brought in a higher percentage of total holiday e-commerce revenue than Black Friday and Cyber Monday combined, so don’t just focus on those two days.

On top of free shipping, you should be offering discounts and special bonus items in order to entice customers to your store and build brand loyalty. You can also use this opportunity to collect information on your customers for use later on by, for example, asking users to hand over their e-mail addresses in order to have access to a particular offer. The holiday shopping season is a great time to pick up new customers since 43% of users on e-commerce sites during the holidays are new customers as opposed to 37% during the rest of the year, which makes sense considering the holidays are a time when people are in the market for things they don’t usually buy any other time of the year.

Utilize Paid Ads: Some businesses are hesitant about the utility of paid ads on Google, Bing, Yahoo, and social media platforms, but the holidays are a perfect time to try it out. Paid search ads are quick and easy to create and roll out and are perfectly suited to short, highly targeted campaigns. Make sure to utilize holiday search terms like “Hannukah sale”, “Christmas promotion”, “free shipping”, “best toys for mom”, etc. as these terms spike tremendously during November and December. The same goes for social media. Go back and take a look at what types of content generated the highest reach and most engagement over the past year and create a holiday campaign that makes use of these kinds of posts. Offer deals and contests through social media and make creative pictures and videos showcasing your products. Don’t forget to use unique tracking codes for each ad so that you can see what works and what doesn’t.

Retargeting / Remarketing: For those unfamiliar with the terms, this involves serving ads to people who visited your website but didn’t end up making a purchase. Basically, if a user visits your site and leaves without making a conversion, you can target your ads to those users wherever they go on the web afterwards and entice them to come back to your site. Offer deals and promotions to bring them back and commit to a purchase.

Mobile, Mobile, MOBILE!: Sorry for yelling, but this is important. According to a Google report 84% of shoppers use their smartphones in-store as shopping companions, and most prefer this to speaking with actual employees! Therefore, it is vital that you optimize your website for mobile, with big, clickable buttons and simple icons that load fast. You can even offer mobile coupons to boost in-store conversions and drive more traffic to your site. If a user logs on to your site from their mobile device in-store, make it easy for them to find the deals and products they’re looking for. Maybe even give them a map tailored to their wish lists!

Email Marketing: Now is not the time to get shy about emailing your customers. Stuff their inbox like a Christmas stocking! Send them all the latest info about products, deals, discounts, special offers, free shipping, and more. Let them know before the deal starts, when it’s happening, and when it’s about to end. Offer special deals only available through email. According to that Google report, 51% of respondents said they didn’t know when they’d start shopping, so email them with all your holiday deals and inspire them to action. It is especially important to reach out to your customers early and often this year considering there are 6 fewer days between Thanksgiving and Christmas.

So there you have it. Although this list is certainly not exhaustive, it covers the most effective actions you can take to make the most out of the holiday season. If it seems like a lot, feel free to contact Agency 33 and we’ll be happy to help you make your business ready for the holidays!

Happy shopping everyone!