Leaves have not yet started falling off trees, but we already see holiday memes on social media. The response is usually something like, “Ugh, give me a break! It’s not even Halloween yet!” But for businesses who count on successful holiday sales to pull off a profitable Q4 to finish the year, it’s never too early to start planning online marketing strategies for the holidays.
There are a lot of essential items to remember for your digital holiday preparation! You don’t want to overlook critical opportunities to grow your customer base, so be sure to include these in your plans. During this season, everything moves at a faster pace and with greater intensity. Therefore it’s essential to plan and prepare before the holiday season begins. Below are four key areas you will want to address for the upcoming holiday season.
Deliver Messages with Website Callouts
Customers let their fingers do the walking as they research to find the products and services they want online. Your website needs to be ready for the holiday season, as it’s the gateway to your business. Consumers need to easily find your site and navigate its contents to address all their needs.
- Review your content, branding, and website design. Your website reflects your business, so it needs to show clearly and accurately who you are and what you do. Make sure your site has a clean, inviting, and up-to-date look before the holidays.
- Ensure people can find your site when using search engines. Search engine optimization (SEO) works to put the right words in the right places, so search engines and customers know what you do and sell.
Encourage Engagement with Social Media
Consumers use social media to determine which products they want to buy and which businesses they shop with. Therefore, your business should have a presence on major social media platforms as long as they align with your brand’s strategy. Use these networks to increase brand awareness, build your reputation, engage with consumers, highlight new products and services, and educate consumers.
- Have a social media strategy in place before the holidays begin. This might include scheduled contests, giveaways, videos, educational posts, etc.
- Let the data do some of the work for you. Use social media reports to determine the best direction to take for your social strategy.
- Plan to use paid social advertising to expand your social media reach and to increase post engagement.
Expand Audiences with PPC Ads
Paid search campaigns and display ads are effective ways to raise awareness of your brand and drive valuable conversions. Ad impressions and conversion rates tend to see an increase during the holiday season, making it the perfect time to run these types of campaigns.
- Be prepared to increase your ad spend during peak holiday dates. Use data from previous holiday seasons to determine the best times to target your desired audience.
- Plan a retargeting strategy to keep your brand before online consumers who have already shown an interest in your product or service.
- Use keyword research to choose the best keywords to use in your ads. Using trending keywords mixed with longer-tailed queries in your strategy will give your ads a competitive advantage.
Connect on All Devices with Mobile
More shoppers use mobile devices, including phones and tablets, to shop during the holidays every year. Consumers are well-informed, and they want to find the products and services they are looking for quickly and easily. If they can’t find it on your site, they will not hesitate to go to the following website. Therefore, mobile search and mobile optimization are more critical than previous holiday seasons.
- If your site isn’t mobile-friendly or doesn’t load quickly, you are guaranteed to lose out on customers. Now is the time to make sure your site is prepared for a surge in traffic.
- If you already have a great mobile site, consider creating an app to encourage customers to interact with your brand. Using apps allows brands to push notifications and leverage geographic targeting to understand their customers’ behavior better.
- Run mobile ads for important holiday dates, at specific locations, and during select timeframes.
Extend Reach with Email Marketing
Email marketing is a form of direct marketing that delivers a unique experience to current or potential customers, drives them to purchase, improves loyalty, and creates lifetime customer value.
- Since email can often be dismissed as spam, center email marketing around personalized, interesting emails that customers want to open and engage with regularly.
- You need people to opt-in to your emails. This can be anything from a signup form on your website to buttons and forms on social media.
Ring in the New Year with Good Data
As you’re making plans for digital marketing this season, it’s never too early to consider next year’s strategy. Start collecting data now that will help plan for next year. The more data you can collect, the better. Google Analytics is a popular option, but there are many options to dig deeper into customer patterns.
The next few months will determine how your year ends and where your business is positioned to begin the new year. Make sure you have a good plan in place when it comes to your marketing strategy.