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It’s already October and the clocks are running fast toward the holidays. Once the Black Friday is there, the holiday shopping will start with the full swing. As an e-commerce seller, holiday season is your best bet to pump up your sales to meet your yearly revenue target. Data from the National Retail Federation shows that around 30% of the year’s total revenue for small e-commerce merchants comes from the last 60 days of the year.
But to get most of the holiday season you need to start planning early. Here are some tips and a checklist to make it easy for you.
Be ready with your calendar
While planning for the holiday marketing campaigns, you must know the holidays you are going to target. You should have the holiday list and know how each of these days can affect your sales.
Here’s the list of upcoming holidays.
Last year according to Statista, $106.22 billion dollars were spent online during the holidays in the USA alone. This is about a 16% increase from the previous year.
The following table shows the highest U.S. e-commerce spending days during the 2016 holiday season.
Plan your campaigns:
To get the most out of your social media posts, plan the campaigns in coherence with your overall holiday marketing strategy. It will help you to achieve consistency in messaging over various marketing channels.
There are many types of campaigns like hashtag campaign, giveaway campaign, user generated campaign etc. Now, depending upon your brand, your target audience and social media platform you need to choose from these various campaign types.
Here are some holiday season campaigns inspirations from successful brands on social media.
Update your social profiles:
As soon as you know what campaigns you’ll be running, the first thing you need to do is update your overall social profiles.
It’s really important that your pages show what you’ve got for your audience.
So, what do you do? Look for ways to promote your campaigns or holiday info on your profile pages. Update your banner to include holiday-specific offers, use the link of your holiday landing page and so forth.
Create a content calendar:
Start early with your social media strategy for this holiday season.Create a social media content calendar. It will not only help you to plan what and where to post but will also help you create a consistent brand experience for your social media audience.
Schedule your posts:
Begin crafting your social media posts once you have your posting plan ready. This will save time when the rush of the holiday season takes over you. The best way to schedule your posts is to use a social media scheduling tool. There are many such tools out there, you need to pick the one which suits you best.
Setup your Facebook ads:
Facebook ads are a great way to bring in new traffic to your site and drive sales, particularly around the holidays. If you are ready to cough up some money on Facebook ads, stay prepared with it as well.
You should start serving your ads right from the beginning of October. That’s because more than 20% of shoppers start researching from October, with around 50% starting in November and 25% in December. Start from October and boost up your ad spending on November and December.
Enhance your email strategy
Schedule your holiday campaigns
Email marketing has become best Holiday marketing channel for the e-commerce merchants for its exceptionally high ROI. According to this Holiday Email Marketing Guide by Mailchart, 20% of the Holiday sales comes from email marketing. As you prepare your marketing plan across various marketing channels this holiday season, don’t forget about your email marketing campaigns!
Here are the most important campaign types you need to consider while planning your holiday email strategy:
i) Holiday specific offer emails.
ii) Cart abandonment emails with holiday special offers.
iii) Upsell/ cross-sell product recommendation emails.
iv) Best selling products promotion.
You will find some inspiring holiday email campaigns here.
Once you have planned your email strategy, start creating and scheduling those emails to avoid the last minute hiccups.
Revise your regular campaigns:
Revise the emails you are already sending. Make sure your transactional emails like order confirmation and shipping confirmation emails also maintain the same holiday vibe as in your promotional emails.
Update your store SEO
Prepare Holiday Keyword List:
Even if you are not focused into SEO, you should know the most relevant keywords for your Shopify store. However, these keywords may not be the best one to target in the holiday season. You must prepare a Holiday specific keywords list. Check out the Google Trends reports to find the keywords shoppers are frequently using. Update your keyword list with these holiday specific keywords.
Also, dig into your last year’s search analytics data to identify the keywords which brought sales. Make sure you include those keywords into your holiday keywords list.
As one of the most popular shopping destination in the USA and in many other countries, Amazon is a great place to find keywords for holidays. Try searching around the product you are selling and you will find some cool suggestions.
Once you have a list of the keywords specific to holidays, start creating the landing pages/collection pages.
According to the 45-Day rule, publishing your content a week before a major holiday will allow you to engage in 50% of the search engine traffic while starting 45 days in advance will help you participate in over 90% of the search traffic.
Publish blog posts:
Based on your keyword research, identify some topics that align to the buyer journey for your most popular products. Instead of thinking about transactional keyword like “buy X,” or “order X online”, think about the questions that customers might ask before they’re ready to buy.
That’s where blog posts can come in and add huge value to your conversion funnel.
Revise your PPC campaigns
Along side optimizing your email and social media strategy, revise your paid search strategy with focus to the upcoming holiday season.
However, if you aren’t running PPC ads already, I will not suggest starting at this moment as it will be highly competitive and much more costly in the holiday season.
Here are few tips to update your PPC campaigns for the holiday season:
Analyze last year’s data:
To plan the PPC strategy, first analyze last years data to understand what worked best and what you missed.
Try to find the right combination of the keyword, ad type, ad copy, the offer and the timing which brought the most sales last year and replicate the same for this year.
Create special landing pages for different Holidays:
To convert your holiday traffic, you must plan landing pages specific to holidays. Make sure to feature your holiday special offers along with the relevant products on these landing pages. When you are using a special offer in your ad copy, the visitor should see the same offer above the fold of the landing page when they click on the ad.
If you are using your homepage or collection pages as a landing page, make sure that you advertise your offers on the top of the pages prominently with banners.
Update your ad copy:
Don’t use the same ad you are using throughout the year. Update your ad copy with the new offer and use various extensions to get the most out the ads.
Start a Loyalty & Reward Program
You’ve spent a lot of effort growing your business and bringing new customers into your sales funnel. Now, you need to retain these customers.
A proven way to retain your customers is to use a loyalty program. It can help you better engage with your customers by rewarding them for their loyalty.
An well designed loyalty plan can change the way your customers interact with your store.
There are many loyalty and referral Shopify app out there. Try these apps and pick the one suitable for your reward program.
That’s it for the first part of the article. In the second part, we will discuss how to prepare your store for the holiday traffic.