Let the season begin!
According the National Retail Federation, 41% of Americans said they start their holiday shopping before Halloween, and about 20% begin by the end of September. The holiday season is huge for companies of all stripes, with $965 billion in consumer spending between November and January (Deloitte 2015).
Many retailers have already started their holiday promotions. A month ago, Wal-Mart announced its hot holiday toy list. And 105 days before Christmas, Kmart aired its earliest holiday ad, featuring a giant gingerbread man and warning shoppers, “Don’t let the holidays sneak up on you.”
Many shoppers post their first holiday sighting on Facebook – “Can you believe Trader Joe’s has a tree up?” — but are soon overwhelmed by all the promotions. As more brands launch campaigns earlier, the landscape becomes very cluttered and it’s harder to stand out among the noise.
So what about the marketers who haven’t been as proactive as Wal-Mart? Is it too late to start your holiday planning?
Nope! Digital marketing offers great ways to stand out and deliver results. Digital tactics can grab consumers’ attention and influence purchasing decisions. Here are a few last minute digital marketing ideas – consider them our gifts to you — to boost your holiday sales.
Tip 1: Focus on paid search.
Paid search can be one of the most important tactics to drive sales — especially during the holidays — and it’s a channel you can ramp up quickly if needed. According to MarketingLand, ad impressions rise by 50% and conversion rates by 60% during this time of year.
Increase your paid media budget to reach consumers during this critical time. Use social advertising and display to speak to customers in a relevant context and stand out among the other brands that are posting holiday-related content. Use seasonal keywords like “gift ideas” and product names plus the word “sale.” Make sure your paid search ads promote your best seasonal deals. Retargeting can keep your brand on shoppers’ radar.
Tip 2: Consider your content.
Organic search is still the largest driver of traffic for many companies. Branded content – videos, photos, blog posts, featured articles, infographics, and more – is a creative way to differentiate your brand and get in front of shoppers who don’t already know you. While holiday-themed content may not have a long lifespan, this content engages consumers looking for deeper information and is proven to enhance SERP rankings.
Create holiday content to get in front of consumers who are doing seasonal searches, introduce your brand and product to new prospects, and improve sales.
Tip 3. Get ready for mobile.
Shoppers are using their mobile devices more than ever before to find stores, compare prices, and make purchases. For the 2014 holiday season, mobile traffic accounted for 45% of all online traffic. Between Thanksgiving and Cyber Monday, traffic from mobile devices contributed to 26% of eCommerce sales (IBM Digital Analytics Benchmark Hub, 2015).
Boost your mobile ad spend during the holiday season, especially in locations where customers can visit your store. If your site isn’t as mobile-friendly as it could be, emphasize in-store promotions to encourage visits. And make sure your email template is mobile optimized to help boost email click-through rate.
Tip 4. Don’t forget the desktop.
Many shoppers still enjoy a big screen when checking out products and opt for the now traditional desktop experience. Last year, PC traffic represented 54.8 percent of all online traffic, and 77.3 percent of all online sales (IBM Digital Analytics Benchmark Hub, 2015).
Help these big screen shoppers become customers with deep content, reviews, and product promotions that encourage conversion.
Tip 5: Reward your repeat customers.
Nothing makes a shopper feel more special than an exclusive deal specifically for them. This is a great time to thank your most loyal customers and hold on to any on the verge of heading to the competition.
Segment current customers and those who purchased last holiday season but haven’t been back since. Design retargeting, paid media, social and email with their loyalty in mind.
Tip 6: Make it personal.
Speaking of audience segments, don’t treat all customers and prospects the same. A recent study showed that 70% of consumers expect some level of personalization from the brands they engage with (Internet Retailer 2015). Personalization is more than just merging someone’s name into the opening of an email. It means knowing what is useful and relevant to that particular individual.
Personalization is especially important during the holidays when consumers see a high volume of marketing messages. Create tailored messages based on preferences and connect with shoppers on a personal level. Then use their preferred channels to reach and engage them. Engaging them when and how they are most likely to respond will help differentiate your brand and increase conversions.
It’s not too late to have a successful holiday season. Use these digital tactics to create a satisfying customer experience and reach shoppers with high quality, relevant content that will keep them coming back all year long.