Photo via Pixabay
It’s crunch time. Less than two weeks left before the biggest shopping day of the year and only six weeks until Christmas! Hard to believe, isn’t it? You’ve probably already started your holiday marketing efforts, but it’s not necessarily too late to throw something new into the mix!
The market gets noisier and more competitive every year, and simply having good prices is no longer enough—everyone promotes discounts around the holidays. What can you offer that no one else can?
This week, I’ve put together my best recommendations and tips for how to make this holiday season your most successful yet! Whether you’re brick-and-mortar or eCommerce, B2B or B2C, there’s something here for everyone.
Omni-channel is [...] orchestrating the customer experience across all channels so that it is seamless, integrated, and consistent. Omni-channel anticipates that customers may start in one channel and move to another as they progress to a resolution.” — John Bowden, Time Warner Cable
No one in today’s world shops exclusively through one medium. We find inspiration everywhere, browsing in physical stores and on websites, asking family and friends, looking on social media, and yes, occasionally, viewing an actual advertisement.
Omni-channel marketing is a modern approach to commerce that focuses on designing a cohesive user experience for customers at every touchpoint. I liken it to branding consistency—wherever you appear, in print or online, your marketing messages should not only fit together but reinforce each other.
Visuals drive that consistency, so whatever marketing methods you choose for the holiday season, make an effort to keep the same look and feel. Images, colors, and fonts should work together across multiple channels.
You know you have a powerful brand when consumers only have to LOOK at an ad—not read it—to know that it’s yours.
Have you checked your directory listings recently? If you haven’t, take minute to run a quick search through Moz Local and see what turns up. If there are any inaccuracies in your business name, address, phone number, and website, correct them as soon as possible. Most importantly, make sure you’re listed on the three major search engines: Google, Bing, and Yahoo.
Hopefully, you’ve already claimed those listings, which will make it possible to log in to your account on each and provide any special holiday hours you may have. You can access your GMB listing through Google My Business and your Bing listing through Bing Places. Yahoo is now administered through Yext, so you’d have to go through there to update your info.
And finally, don’t neglect to verify your contact info and post holiday hours on your website, any landing pages, and your social accounts. Facebook and other social platforms won’t have a dedicated space for holiday hours, but it’s easy enough to post them (and pin the post so it doesn’t get buried) or add them temporarily to your bio.
The first thing a marketing email needs to do capture your customer’s attention. Did you know that 47% of email recipients decide whether or not to open an email based on subject line alone? That’s a lot of pressure for the first 6–10 words of your email, but CoSchedule has a great tool called the Headline Analyzer, which assigns a score to your subject line based on specific criteria. I sometimes go through 10 (or 20) variations before settling on the one I like best.
Once you get someone to open your email, including animations or video and using personalization have all been shown to increase click-through rates. In fact, just using the word “video” in an email subject line boosts open rates by 19%, click-through rates by 65%, and reduces unsubscribes by 26%.
If you have the capability to segment your emails based on purchase history, age, gender, etc., you should absolutely do it. Segmented email campaigns have an open rate that is 14.32% higher than non-segmented campaigns.
And finally, don’t forget how effective it can be just to show your appreciation. Email subject lines that include the words “thank you” have, at 62%, the highest above-average engagement levels. The holidays are a perfect opportunity to reach out to previous customers and say, “We appreciate your shopping with us! Here’s a 15% off coupon to help get your holiday shopping started!”
There are lots of things you can do to optimize your paid advertising for the holiday season! For simplicity’s sake, my advice is written for AdWords, but it will translate to Bing just fine if that’s the platform you use. I’ll break it down by section:
Lastly, don’t forget about remarketing! If you don’t have this set up, now’s the perfect time. You know how sometimes you do a Google search or look up something on Amazon, and then suddenly you’re seeing ads for it everywhere? That’s remarketing. With the right code, you can target your ads specifically to people who have been to your website or viewed a specific product.
We do a lot of shopping around this time of year, so staying in front of prospective customers is important. If they’ve already browsed your site, make sure that they remember you when they’re ready to buy.
It’s certainly not a requirement for your business to have an online store, but many do—and there are many factors to consider in order to make it a success. According to a recent study, eCommerce is growing 23% year-over-year.
Despite this growth in sales, many retailers are finding it difficult to capitalize on their digital sales channels. “Build it, and they will come” really doesn’t do it anymore. There are a myriad of factors that play into how successful your online store is: functionality, user experience, proper SEO, and mobile-friendliness, to name a few.
If you have an online store, consider these points:
Lifestyle images and photos of the product in use are influential for online shoppers. Because they can’t physically see or hold the item, themselves, they need to be able to imagine what it would be like to have it. It’s like staging a home for sale—most people see the empty rooms and can’t imagine what it would look like “moved in.” But throw in some minimalist decor to illustrate the function of the rooms, and they’re on board.
Lifestyle content doesn’t just inspire—it sells. We’ve seen brands grow revenue per visit by nearly 50% and increase return on ad spend by over 200% when they incorporate lifestyle content on site and in ads on social channels.” — Apu Gupta, Curalate
One of the things I like about The Ink Road store is that many of the stamp sets include photos of cards or other crafts created with those stamps, so you can really see the possibilities. They’re also posted on the blog regularly, providing constant inspiration on how to use their products.
It’s not an exhaustive guide by any means, but hopefully you’ve picked up one or two things you’d like to try! Just to review:
Catherine has a degree in English literature and a passion for all things marketing. As Digital Specialist, her focus is on web design, search engine optimization, social media, online presence management, and project coordination.