Online Marketing Tips for the 2013 Holiday Season
Whether your holiday marketing has already kicked off or if you haven’t even started, do not fear, there are several things that you can do to make sure this season is a selling success.
But first, here are the hot ‘facts and figures’ about holiday sales:
- Last year, U.S. consumers spent a whopping $42.3 billion from November 1 – December 31.
- According to Experian’s holiday marketing data, last year search engines were the key driver of traffic across retail Websites, so it would be wise to pay special attention to your SEO.
- Experian Marketing Services’ survey of 212 retail marketing executives found that the most popular time to introduce holiday campaigns overall is during the first 15 days of November, before the crucial Thanksgiving and Black Friday holiday weekend.
- The hot ticket in digital marketing this year will be mobile marketing, according to eMarketer. Your website need to be mobile friendly with large, clickable buttons and simple icons instead of slow-loading images.
Whether you have an e-commerce store or information based site, there are a few different channels you’ll want to pay close attention to this holiday season.
1. Get Your Website Optimization into the Holiday Spirit
Make sure that the content on your site is optimized for search engines. Your content should inspire people to include your business in their holiday season plans.
- Modify your onsite optimization for the holiday season. Re-write title tags and meta-descriptions to take advantage of important marketing opportunities. For instance many people read the rich snippets of information found on search engine results pages before they click a link to a website. These are marketing opportunities for organic search. Place your offers, special deals or product descriptions right inside these snippets of text.
- Consider revising some of your product descriptions or service description content. If you sell fleece outerwear you can revise your product description to “perfect for keeping warm during the blistering cold this holiday season.” Don’t forget to replace the product descriptions after the holidays are over.
- Make sure your website content is organized by a holiday theme. For example, your e-store might have a landing page that presents different products that would make “Great Gifts for Dad” or “Holiday Gifts for your Furry Friends.” If you have a blog, highlight your holiday-themed posts on your homepage or within another new category and make them easier for your viewers to find.
2. Spruce Up Your Social Media Messages
Implementing social media marketing as a sales tool is important year-round, but increasingly important during the holiday season. As consumers become more comfortable with digital tools and social media, they expect the brands they follow to reflect and acknowledge the holidays as well. Luckily, using a few different social media channels, it is easier than ever to get your holiday message out to your online audience:
- Humanize your brand and spread some cheer. Share some fun photos from your staff Christmas party or Secret Santa gift idea’s you thought up for your staff members & colleagues.
- Post product videos on Instagram or Vine. Consumers love a video — so why not give them one of your products? Instagram and Vine videos are only a few seconds long, but that should be plenty of time to introduce audiences to a specific product or service you offer. Make sure you publicize these videos on your other social media sites as well.
- Prep your Pinterest for Holiday Promos. Pinterest may be the social media platform to take advantage of this year. Create a holiday board complete with seasonal language and images to add value to your reader’s shopping experience – without being overly promotional. Or host a Pinterest Contest by asking followers to pin a product or an image of yours for a chance to win a prize or special discount. Promote the contest on Facebook and other digital channels, like an email blast or blog post.
- Deck the halls of your Facebook cover photo or Twitter header with boughs of holly. The holidays are a perfect time to dress up your branded social media graphics. Create a playful holiday scene or choose some stock imagery that will welcome viewers to your page. Just make sure that your holiday update matches your brand aesthetic and that you replace them once the holidays are over.
3. Mobilize Your Presence
The use of mobile phones as a holiday shopping tool is growing—58 percent of American mobile phone owners used their devices in the 2012 season alone. So you’ll need to make sure that your customers marketing and shopping experiences support their mobile usage. Although developing a complete mobile or responsive site takes a significant amount of time, you could still take advantage of some of these end-of-year mobile campaigns:
- Use Mobile Coupons. Research predicts that consumers will redeem more than 10 billion mobile coupons this year. Integrating mobile specials into your marketing strategy can help boost your in-store conversions and drive more traffic to your website and other channels online.
- Combine Mobile and In-Store Engagement. Since mobile has become such an integral part of consumers day-to-day lives, a great way to capitalize on this is to make mobile the key player of an integrated multi-channel strategy to target consumers. A few years ago, Macy’s created a Black Friday app that gave customers a previews of deals, engaged them through push notifications, allowed them to create shareable lists and then, once they were in a store, it helped steer them toward their chosen merchandise.
- Deploy Mobile-Only Deals. Make your mobile customers feel special with deals tailored just for those who place orders or make purchases on a smartphone or tablet. Offer loyalty rewards—pegged to specific days, such as Black Friday or Cyber Monday—available only to program members who respond to your mobile messages.
4. Deliver Exclusive Email Deals
Sending your customers coupons and reminding them about important dates, delivery cut-offs and holiday promotions can go a long way, especially if they wait until the last minute to get their shopping done. Timing is key for email marketing campaigns, so you’ll want to make sure you target the appropriate audience on the right occasion:
- Don’t forget about Free Shipping Day. Last year’s Free Shipping Day accounted 76% more sales than in 2011. This trend is likely to continue this year on Free Shipping Day, Wednesday, December 18. Let your customers know that you are acknowledging this day and remind them a few days before or on the day of to make a purchase.
- Entice Email recipients. Each year, consumers are known to purchase a gift or two for themselves. 50% of consumers did at least some “self-gifting” during the 2012 holidays and spent an average of $139.92 according to ExactTarget’s Email Marketing Holiday Calendar infographic. Offer some exclusive discounts or specials for customers buying more than one of the same product, segment your list based on repeat buyers and send them a special offer or notice about a sale to say, “Thank you!”
5. Create Unforgettable Shopping Experiences
Remember that the holiday shopping season is a busy time for shoppers. While it’s important to focus on online marketing strategies such as optimization, social media and mobile marketing, we shouldn’t forget this very important piece of the puzzle: the customer. Ensure that the users experience while shopping on your online retail store is memorable. People usually shop online because going into stores can turn into a real “Nightmare Before Christmas”, so make sure your shopping cart abandonment rate doesn’t increase by offering online shoppers a seamless experience. Your site’s entire checkout process should be smooth and user friendly while emphasizing trust and customer support. A simple technique to build customer trust is to add Security Seals.
Retailers depend on the last two months of the year for up to 40% of their annual sales. It makes sense to prepare your company’s most valuable asset—your website—early. Contact Executionists if you need any assistance this season.
Got any plans in the works for your own company’s online holiday marketing campaign? We’d love to hear about them in the comments section below!