The holiday season is often more hectic than it is jolly for businesses, parents and just about anyone besides the kids that are getting most of the gifts.
Although stress comes along with the holiday season, it's important to remember that this time of the year is often the most rewarding in terms of sales, and it's essential to capitalize on these customers hungry for deals.
If you run an online business, the holiday season is most likely going to be the busiest time of the year for you, but if you don't prepare for those sales, or have a plan for boosting customer visits, there's a good chance your margins suffer after checking in on your reports.
You also may just want to improve on your performance last year, so it's nice to have fresh suggestions for ways to boost online sales during the holiday season. So keep reading to learn about some ways to make it a happy season for customers and your business.
Run Social Media Contests to Engage Your Followers and Stir Up Buzz About the Store
One of the more effective plans for social media is when you implement some sort of contest. If you have some loyal followers on social media, you'll find that they enjoy sending in their own content or taking pictures of themselves using products.
Creating personal updates is the main reason social media was created in the first place, so embrace this to show that you are hoping to have fun with your customers during the holiday season. A contest is a cool way to stir up buzz about your company, while also getting people excited about a discount or a free prize. More people are going to go to your store, and hopefully they buy products.
Check out some holiday contest ideas for Facebook.
Personalize Your Marketing Greetings to Make People Feel Special
Make your customers feel the holiday spirit! Whether you send them a personalized email or a letter in the mail thanking them for their business, they are bound to head back to your store for the next purchase they need to make. After all, making someone feel special during the holidays is a way to bring them back as a lifelong customer.
Hit the Paid Social Media Marketing Trail
It's nice sending out social media posts during the holidays, since you can keep costs down while also getting in some solid marketing. However, it's also one of those times when you should be spending more money on your marketing efforts.
Use this time to check in on which of your free social media posts have performed well over the past few weeks. Test out some holiday posts in early December. If any of them blow up with the organic traffic, consider paying for an ad, using the exact same post that performed well as a free Facebook update.
Increase the Chances of People Talking About Your Company Through Word of Mouth
Word of mouth is still one of the more guaranteed ways to get people into your online store, so why not improve the chances of people talking about your store? An affiliate program is a nice idea, but your affiliates are not technically your customers. They may push more traffic to your site, but the goal is to convince your fans to tell others why your store is so awesome.
For example, tell people that they can get a $25 gift card if they refer a paying customer. You could also give something to the customer that signs up, maybe a buy one get one half off.
Ensure Your Shopping Experience is Mobile Friendly, Especially for Cyber Monday
Google has spoken. You need a mobile experience for your online store. Otherwise, you'll be penalized in the search engines. Not to mention, more and more people are making their purchases through mobile devices, making it all the more important to show them that you are willing to cater to their needs.
Create Search Engine Ads That Target Customers Searching for Holiday Keywords
From “Cyber Monday” to “Holiday Deals,” keywords are a huge part of bringing in more traffic during the holidays. Users don't care where they get their products, as long as they get that 50% off. Buy sponsored Google and Bing listings to bring in customers craving the big deals. Don't only rely on organic traffic,
Re-target Customers Who Have Shown Interest in the Past
Write this one down. It's potentially the most important item on the list. People who have shown interest in products in the past are far more likely to shop from you than people who have never been to your store. Stop pouring all your resources into bringing in new people and focus on those ones who have abandoned their carts.
Donate a Portion of Your Sales to a Charity
People love it when companies donate proceeds to charity. Granted, it all depends on the charity you select, but as long as you find a reputable organization, people feel better about giving their money to your company, since they gain a sense that they have done a good thing over the holiday season.
Some companies even ask the customers which charity they would like to contribute to.
Create Holiday Gift Guides
The holiday gift guide is a list of products, categorized into certain titles, making it less stressful for people to go through their holiday shopping process. For example, you may generate a guide of tech gadgets, since your store is all about selling the latest in technology.
This guide would share information about affordable products, along with suggestions for kids, less tech savvy customers and more. The point is to make a subjective guide about the top products in the industry, while also pushing people to your store for some quality deals.
Introduce New Products and Market Them Like Crazy
Nothing's more intriguing than a new product. For example, if you sell iPhone cases, you have to be ready for that new iPhone release, because everyone with that phone is going to want one in their stocking.
Over to You
We encourage you to share some other techniques you use to boost online sales during the holidays. We could technically make a never-ending list, but we feel this is a good place to start, particularly for smaller online companies. Anyways, leave us a message in the comments below if you have any suggestions or questions.
Feature image curtsey of Tyler Anthony