The full swing of the holiday season is just around the corner, and with only a few weeks left in the year, the time to ramp up your Q4 marketing strategy is as soon as possible. Whether you provide a service or a product, your business can undoubtedly benefit from infusing your end-of-the-year marketing with some holiday cheer.
Why is the holiday season so important for business owners and marketers? One reason – it’s the time of year customers are most willing to spend money. A 2017 study found ecommerce sales increased 15.8% during the holiday season, and mobile sales alone increased by 35%!
Ignoring the trends of the holiday rush can prove to be a costly mistake for your business, so building your holiday marketing campaign weeks in advance will give your team a competitive edge over companies who wait until the holidays have already arrived.
Just as consumer behavior tends to be consistent holiday season after holiday season, so are the ways businesses can plan ahead to set themselves up for success. Check out some of our top 10 tips for holiday season internet marketing to help your business drive more traffic, make more sales, and end the year with a roster of new customers.
1) Look Back on the Past
Should old marketing strategies be forgot and never brought to mind? Quite the opposite! The best starting point for your holiday marketing is holidays past. Take a look at the marketing strategy you employed this time last year, and evaluate what worked, what didn’t and which elements you’d like to utilize again this year.
2) Plan a Free Shipping Campaign
Offering free shipping is undoubtedly a dynamic strategy when it comes to effective ecommerce marketing. 79% of consumers admitted they would be more likely to shop online if free shipping was available, and 24% would purchase more to hit the required price point needed to reach the free shipping threshold. Having free shipping offers available throughout your holiday marketing campaign not only encourages customers to make a purchase, but also provides your business with the opportunity to upsell.
3) Spread Holiday Cheer on Social Media
The least buttoned-up face of your business should exist on social media. No matter how straight-laced your business might be on a day-to-day basis, the festive nature of the holiday season provides boundless opportunities to inject some fun into your social media presence.
Social media moves fast, and if you aren’t able to catch a user’s eye in a cluttered feed, the chances of them taking an interest in your business are slim. Luckily, the vibrant colors, bright lights and recognizable characters of the holiday season lend themselves well to creating a fun social media campaign for the end of the year. No matter what type of business you’re running, amp up your visuals for the holiday season and watch your campaign grow.
4) Spice Up Your SEO
Pumpkin spice, apple spice and cinnamon spice might be the stars of the holiday season, but something else that could use some spicing up this time of year is your business’ SEO. Common search queries often shift around the holidays, and your business should follow suit by incorporating seasonal terms and phrases like “holiday sale” or “free shipping” into your keyword strategy. Depending on your industry you might want to get even more specific, such as “holiday TV sale” for an electronics store.
Make these same adjustments in your blog posts, on-page SEO and backlinks to keep your SEO strategy consistent. Pay attention to which keywords are currently driving the most traffic to your website, and nurture seasonal versions of those terms. The holidays provide a valuable opportunity to increase your web traffic, so make this step one of your top priorities if you want to broaden your audience.
5) Create Buyer Personas
While you might have a good idea of who your primary audience is generally, the holiday season brings forth a whole new wave of buyers with varying objectives. Your tried-and-true marketing strategy might help you close some sales with your regular customers, but you may need to experiment with multiple types of marketing messages to target a variety of buyer personas. Some of the most common types of holiday buyers include:
The Deal Hunter: Nothing motivates them more than the thrill of a great deal. Appeal to them by offering coupon codes with affirming messages like “Biggest sale of the year!” and “Lowest price of the season!”.
The Last-Minute Shopper: Marketing to these buyers lasts until the final second of the holiday season. Increase urgency using phrases like “Last Chance” or “Final Hours”, and offer rush delivery if that is an option for your business.
The Loyal Fan: They know your products, they love your products, and they’re likely to continue buying your products. Spread holiday cheer by sending them a personalized thank you email with a coupon or free gift to show your appreciation.
The Window Shopper: Quick to add to cart, slow to make a purchase. This type of buyer might look at hundreds of products on dozens of websites before deciding to make an order. Convince them the time to buy is now by amping up your abandoned cart emails with a limited time discount code exclusive to that shopper.
6) Utilize Retargeting Ads
Approximately 96% of first-time website visitors are not ready to make a purchase. Hearing that only 4% of your web traffic is comprised of motivated buyers might discourage some marketers, especially if your business relies on strong Q4 sales. Savvy marketers, however, might see this as an opportunity to utilize retargeting ads to reengage visitors until they become customers.
Retargeting ads allow you to advertise your business through third-party websites like Google or Facebook. Let’s say you own a sneaker company, for example. A consumer might simply be browsing your selection the first time they visit your website, but seeing an advertisement for a particular pair of sneakers they clicked on while scrolling through their Facebook feed might help to recapture their attention. Rather than being out of sight and out of mind during the hustle and bustle of the holiday season, your business’ retargeting ads will help to keep potential customers engaged until they are ready to buy.
7) Have a Referral Traffic Strategy
Referral traffic refers to Google’s method of tracking website visits that come from sources other than a search query, such as a link from another website. If you haven’t utilized a referral traffic strategy yet, use the holiday season as your motivation to reach new customers, build backlinks and get into Google’s good graces.
One effective way to create referral traffic is to forge relationships across your industry in hopes of receiving a feature on their website. Research top industry influencers who have created niche holiday resources related to your brand in the past, like gift guides. To further entice them to feature your business or product, consider including a discount code exclusive to their followers. This reciprocity will not only help to drive up your website traffic, but could also win over a few new customers who trust that influencer’s recommendations.
8) Amp Up Your Emails
If you aren’t competing in the email marketing game, your chances of winning over customers this holiday season just got harder. The holidays provide a plentitude of occasions to fill your subscribers’ inboxes with cheer, whether it be through sales announcements, shipping updates or friendly season’s greetings. The aesthetics of your email are just as important as the copy, so consider outsourcing your graphics to a marketing agency if you do not have an in-house designer.
9) Ramp Up Your Visibility
The more visible your holiday marketing campaigns are to your target audience, the more people will start searching for your business by name. It seems simple enough, but how exactly do you ramp up your brand’s visibility? Luckily, there are a variety of strategies available to your business depending on your budget and objective. Optimizing your keywords will help your website climb the ranks in a competitive search query, and increasing your social media activity will put your business’ name onto more users’ news feeds. If you have a larger marketing budget for the holiday season, consider utilizing paid ads to ensure your business is seen by your target demographic.
10) Get Flashy With Sales
As if the holiday season wasn’t already flashy enough, incorporating flash sales into your holiday marketing strategy could provide your business with your biggest purchase wave of the year. The limited time nature of flash sales instills a sense of “FOMO” in your customers, which drives up the urge to buy and buy fast. Before you launch a flash sale, you’ll first want to strategize your primary goal or objective. Are you hoping to move a product that isn’t necessarily selling well? Do you need to move a large amount of inventory prior to the new year? No matter what you’re trying to accomplish, an estimated 35% transaction rate increase from creating this kind of offer makes flash sales a worthwhile strategy to consider as we head into the holidays.
Even if you have a solid grasp on marketing your business the rest of the year, the rapid nature and increased competitiveness of the holiday season may require a very different strategy than you’re used to. If your business’ success hinges on strong Q4 sales to finish out the year, you might find that working with an experienced digital marketing agency who can handle the strategy and implementation for you proves to be the gift that keeps giving.