If you’ve ever braved a shopping center during the holiday season, you’ve probably crossed paths with a number of extravagant window displays all vying for your attention. Even if you had no intention of visiting that shop that day, the best window displays have a way of drawing you in to take a peek at their best holiday deals.
Your company might not have a brick-and-mortar location to create your own holiday window display, but you probably already have a tool in your marketing artillery that works the same way.
When it comes to holiday marketing, the number one element of your business you’ll want to focus on is your website – especially if your company relies on online sales. Luckily, preparing your website for the holiday season doesn’t have to be as difficult as finding a gift for that one family member who “never wants anything”. If you haven’t already started planning your holiday marketing strategy, here are 9 steps to help get your website ready for the end-of-the-year rush.
1) Analyze Last Year’s Data
Sometimes, the most insightful person to learn from is yourself. If your business relies on Q4 sales to finish the year strong, chances are this isn’t your first holiday marketing season. Before you give your website a complete overhaul, analyze the changes you made in years past and ask yourself questions like:
- Which products sold the best?
- Which campaigns drove the most traffic to our bestsellers?
- Which holiday-related keywords did we rank the best for?
- Which pieces of content performed the best on our website?
- Which social media posts were engaged with the most?
Then, use this information to determine what worked, what didn’t, and what you’d like to improve upon this time. Having a starting point to reference will help to ensure you are making the best use of your time, resources and funds ahead of the busiest season of the year.
2) Test Your Mobile Functionality
We’re in the year 2019, and believe it or not, there are STILL websites that are not optimized for seamless mobile functionality. A whopping 42% of consumers conducted their holiday shopping via a mobile device last year, and this number is expected to increase as fewer and fewer consumers frequent brick-and-mortar locations. Even if they aren’t making a purchase from their smartphone or tablet, your potential customers might first be browsing your products on their mobile devices before completing a transaction via a computer or at a physical storefront location. If you haven’t tested the mobile responsiveness of your website lately, use the impending holiday season as your motivation to ensure everything is working and displaying properly.
3) Prepare a PPC Campaign
Pay-per-click (PPC) campaigns are advertisements businesses can set up to run on another website. The appeal of PPC campaigns lies in its name — businesses pay a fee to the website hosting their advertisements based on how many times that ad is clicked. While we tend to prioritize earning page visits organically, the hectic nature of the holiday season serves as the ideal occasion to consider integrating paid methods to give your holiday marketing sales a boost. PPC ads can be time-consuming and difficult to track, so consider outsourcing this to a digital marketing agency if you do not think you will have the time needed to implement this correctly on your own.
4) Strategize Your SEO
Optimizing your website for any type of keyword takes time, and holiday-related keywords are no different. With this in mind, the sooner you begin adding fuel to the SEO fire, the better your chances of ranking for them before the holidays are over. Create a list of keywords you would like to rank for this holiday season, then begin incorporating them intelligently into your website copy, alt text and meta tags to receive a gradual SEO boost.
5) Optimize for Conversions
One popular strategy for boosting holiday marketing sales is using a conversion optimization method called A/B testing. A/B testing is a process by which marketers can compare two similar versions of a landing page, email, or other marketing elements with one varied feature. For example, if you want to see which color button receives a higher click-through rate, you might make two identical emails – one with a blue button, and one with a green button. After sending the blue button variation to half of your subscribers and the green button version to the other half, you can compare your open rates to determine which color converts a higher percentage of your audience base. A/B test several features of your holiday campaign in order to fully optimize for conversions across a variety of marketing elements.
6) Refresh Your Content
In a season centered around in-your-face consumerism, it can be refreshing to sit back, relax and read something that doesn’t scream “SALE!”. If you haven’t updated (or even started!) a blog on your business’ website in a while, treat your audience to the gift of brand new content for the holidays. While you should still utilize your blog as a sales tool, varying your content with non-sales material can actually help you bring in more income in the long run. Informative posts can demonstrate your team’s expertise, company culture blogs can showcase your team’s personalities, and so on. Create a content strategy for the rest of the year including blog ideas such as:
7) Try Crowdsourcing
If your goal for Q4 is to receive an SEO boost before heading into the new year, crowdsourced roundup posts are about to become your new favorite tool in your content marketing toolbox. Roundup posts are a collection of short responses from industry influencers pertaining to a particular topic or question. Before the holidays officially begin, create a list of industry influencers you’d like to reach out to along with fun holiday-themed prompts for them to respond to. Fill your roundup posts with optimized headshots and website links for each influencer who responds (Google loves that).
The real SEO boost, however, comes from your efforts after the post is published. In addition to sending the article to your audience, be sure to also send it to each featured influencer in hopes that they will share it with their respective audiences, as well. We like to end the holidays by asking business owners for their resolutions for the coming year, and it always provides us with a hefty SEO spike and a steady stream of new website visitors.
8) Think Social
When strategizing your content for the holiday season, keep social media in mind. Social media can be used as a tool to engage with your followers and drive them to your website, so it makes sense to intertwine your social and content marketing efforts. Coordinate your social media schedule with your upcoming blog content so your posts are always timely, relevant and consistent across marketing mediums. If you work on planning your social media posts before the holidays officially arrive, it will be much easier to push out content when customers start to scratch that insatiable shopping itch.
9) Track Your Progress
Don’t forget to analyze what went well and what could have gone better, both during and after the holiday season. While everything might not have worked out perfectly during this holiday marketing cycle, tracking your progress means you will be able to make improvements next year.
That being said, keeping track of your holiday marketing campaign can be a difficult task with so many moving parts involved over an extended period of time. If you have any doubts in your ability to devote the time and effort needed to get your website up to speed before the biggest sales season of the year, the greatest gift you could give yourself is handing the work over to an experienced digital marketing agency. They will be able to handle all of the design, content and analytical elements for you so you can spend the holidays doing what you do best – leading your business towards finishing the year strong.