When you own an online business, keeping up with the best marketing strategies and ensuring important deadlines aren’t missed is essential to the growth and profitability of your company. As the holidays approach, making sure you’re ready to implement an effective holiday marketing strategy is an excellent way to ensure your online business shows a profitable season.
Here is a quick guide to help you gear up for the online holiday shopping season.
Make a Plan
You don’t build a house starting with the attic, and you shouldn’t launch an online holiday marketing campaign without carefully laying out a plan first. Start by identifying the most important online shopping days for your business and make a fall marketing calendar.
For most online retail businesses, the major sales days will Black Friday, Cyber Monday, Small Business Saturday, and the few days before and after Christmas. While traditionally, the start of the holiday season didn’t begin until after Thanksgiving, retailers have been pushing the shopping season back more and more.
Now, beginning in early November with preliminary targeted marketing efforts can be a great way to get your customers excited about the products and promotions to come. Additionally, as an online retailer, it is imperative that you take advantage of the weekend following Thanksgiving. Cyber Monday has become a big part of the holiday sales for many retailers with an online business.
When planning, make sure that your Q4 online marketing budget is skewed to accommodate the influx of online shoppers on or around these key days. Consider developing customized creative and ad messaging that draws online shoppers to your site on these days. Important business steps such as changing your online inventory to meet the upcoming demands of the holiday season, as well as scheduling future email promotions and follow ups should be planned in advance and placed in your marketing campaign calendar.
Plan your holiday marketing strategy carefully, but be sure to move quickly, especially if you are just not getting started. You don’t want to fall behind your competitors, and these major online shopping days are sure to creep up fast.
Don’t Ignore Past Customers
Hopefully, your online business already has a growing list of visitors who’ve previously made a purchase on your site. As with most types of businesses, it is much easier to draw in previous online customers for additional sales and other promotions than it is to gain new customers. This means that you should take advantage of your email list and be sure to send email marketing messages designed to bring your past customers back for even more purchases this holiday season.
Sending targeted emails for holiday shopping is easy when you track previous purchases. For example, for the best open and conversion rates, emails should be tailored to the buying history of the recipient. Things that can set your emails apart from other retailers:
- Incentivize past customers to return by offering a free gift, special discounts, etc.
- In addition to upselling past customers, try to provide some other valuable resources in your email (e.g. links to complimentary products, interesting news and updates in your industry, etc.).
- Recognize loyalty with a simple “Thank You!” and address the recipient by name if possible. Personalized messages are usually better received than those starting with, “Dear Past Customer.”
As the holiday season approaches, it is important to consider how your social media and blog posts reflect these changes. Online shoppers expect to engage with a professionally designed website and functioning shopping cart with seamless integration across desktops, laptops, tablets, smartphones, and other devices. Any hiccup in this online shopping experience can spell disaster for an online retailer, particularly during this high-traffic period of the year.
Aside from touting your holiday products and promotions on social media, be sure to place on emphasis on creating quality content that your customers will find engaging. This means that what you create needs to be engaging, hold your readers attention, and add some type of value for them. Otherwise, you’re just wasting your time creating mediocre content that very few (if any) of your social media followers will appreciate.
Summing it All Up
This is it – the time of year all online retailers have been waiting for. Plan and execute your online holiday marketing strategy correctly, and you’ll be on ecommerce sales heaven. Fail to do so, and you’ll be contemplating “what if…” while your competitors are counting their money!