The holidays are finally here, and holiday shoppers are raring to buy right now.
Adobe's Marketing Cloud is a marketing solution that can track "80 percent of all transactions from the top 100 retailers in the U.S." Using data from over 55 million product purchases in 2015, Adobe compiled a report on holiday shopping and found that Americans spent $83 billion dollars during the 2015 holiday season.
It's not a question of whether people are going to shop online during holiday shopping season (they will). The question is whether they'll spend that money on your website.
Here are some last-minute improvements you can make to your website to help make sure you're getting the most out of these seasonal shoppers.
1. Focus on what's working.
When marketing at this point in the holiday cycle, you may want to only focus on channels that have been proven to work for your company.
Aside from the uptick in sales and business, most people's lives are busier during the holidays. Holiday parties, family gatherings, gift buying and other things that normally don't happen this time of year are in full effect. You and your staff may not have time to focus on trying to build up marketing channels that are unproven or that have yet to work.
Successful marketing is a lot of trial and error. Your results may not be normal or consistent because this isn't a normal or consistent time of the year. People are spending money on things and in ways they don't normally spend. If Facebook marketing hasn't been working for you, now probably isn't the time to try and improve it. Work instead on what has been driving results. The same goes for Instagram, Snapchat and other platforms.
2. Increase your ad spend for holiday shoppers.
This tip is only for businesses that are currently spending money on ads. If you've been running PPC or native ads, it may be time to put more money into them. There may be more commercial searches now, which means that if you're selling something, there could be more opportunities to get it in front of people.
You may also want to try retargeting during this period, if you haven't already. Retargeting means showing ads to people based on their previous actions. This might include people who have clicked on one of your ads or visited a certain page on your website, like a product page. The difference with these potential customers is that they already have at least some idea of your company and or products.
Consider allocating some of your ad spend to re-engage these people. Ad networks like Facebook Ads and Google Adwords offer retargeting capabilities.
3. Make your privacy and return policies easy to find quickly.
You don't want to give potential customers any reason to not follow through and buy something from your website. Things like slow load times or confusing sales copy can keep a customer from buying from you. Eliminating these points of failure can be an easy way to help improve cart abandonment rates.
One cause of concern for a customer might be a lack of trust and understanding. Consider making it easy for visitors to see how your company uses customer's data, ships their purchases and handles their returns. This might be a deciding factor in making a purchase, and can help make your business easier to trust.
4. Display your company's guarantees prominently.
This goes with the point above, but takes it a step further: if your site is in the Better Business Bureau, consider posting the BBB badge to show customers. If your site's shopping cart is protected with an independent security system, you may want to display that badge, too.
People want to trust the fact that their data is safe in your hands, and adding any visual cues like banners and disclaimers can help.
5. Improve or add landing pages.
Landing pages can help focused buyers hit exactly what they need when they need it. These are also great for specific sales you're running and ad landing pages. Instead of showing buyers a list of products, try adding a few landing pages to really hone in on the buyer's intent for some of your better-converting products.
For example, let's say you sell kitchen utensils. Instead of having a page titled “carving knives," you could make a landing page with your three best carving knives with some holiday feast imagery titled “The perfect carving knives for your holiday feast." This helps showcase your best products, which helps remove choices (and friction) for your potential customer.
6. Use analytics to level up high-converting search terms in PPC.
If you're tracking conversions on your site's shopping cart, then you have some very valuable information on what search keywords lead to conversions for your website. When you know what terms convert really well, it can help you start driving more traffic to them by using PPC advertising like Google Adwords.
Let's say your company sells baseball gloves. In your analytics software you notice an abnormally high conversion rate when people search Google for “cheap Wilson baseball gloves" and click through to your site.
Since you know that searches for that exact keyword convert highly for that product, you can use PPC advertising to boost the number of eyeballs that see your website for that exact search. You could make an ad, send customers to that exact page and bid for the exact keyword. You can replicate this process for any keywords that converts highly on your website.
7. Increase your email marketing frequency.
Email marketing can potentially be a very high-converting sales platform. If you're already sending regular emails to your customers, consider sending more during the holidays.
With increasing your email frequency, remember that the emails should be useful. If there's no good reason to open the emails, your customers might ignore them, or even worse, mark them as spam, which diminishes your trust with email ISPs.
Consider getting creative with what you can send emails about: Perhaps send a series of emails highlighting different projects, promotions or contests—anything to get your emails read by customers.
8. Get local SEO in place if you haven't already.
Now that Google knows where people are when they search, it means that when holiday shoppers search for a gift on their phone while shopping, they're going to favor local results.
If you're a local business, consider setting up business profiles for Yelp, Google Business and any others that are applicable to your business. This can help you capture valuable search traffic from people who are in the area and ready to shop. Setting up these profiles is straightforward and simple, and will only take a little of your time.
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