The busiest shopping season of the year is just around the corner, and there's only one question to ask:
Are. You. Ready?!
Last year, holiday shoppers worldwide spent $108.15 billion on online purchases, which was 14.6% more than the year before. It's estimated that 2018's results will set a new record, as increasingly more people choose online gift shopping over going to physical stores.
But isn't October a bit too early to start thinking about Christmas?
The answer is: it's not.
Last year's data shows that people started to search for gift ideas as early as in August, and the second half of October was when the holiday shopping craze really started to pick up the speed:
In other words, now is actually the perfect moment to get your holiday strategy in place. And today, we'll share several year-end marketing ideas that will help you make the most of the jolly season and take your sales to the next level.
Here are 7 holiday marketing ideas to try:
- Add new, holiday-themed products to your shop
- Write a holiday gift guide
- Offer discounts and free shipping
- Set up a pop-up
- Use email marketing
- Place a promo bar
- Retarget your shop visitors
1. Add new, holiday-themed products
'Tis the season to be jolly, and holiday-themed products are the perfect way to give people that special Christmas feeling. That's the reason why products like Christmas jumpers, strings of light, and cinnamon-spiced everything are especially trendy around this time of the year.
No matter what you're selling, think of ways you can jump on the trend and create a holiday version of your product.
Are you selling clothing? Then design your version of ugly Christmas jumper. (It doesn't even have to be a jumper - design your ugly Christmas mittens, t-shirts, socks… whatever!)
Is your product handmade jewelry? Launch Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer earrings.
Home decor? Hello, Christmas pillows, candles and mugs!
2. Write a holiday gift guide
Holiday gift guides are probably one of the most popular types of content - they're easy to create and useful to readers, which is why people love them. But most importantly, gift guides can make you good money - the inventory management company Stitch found that retailers that create gift guides see on average 3.17% lift in revenue from gift guide sales alone.
How to put together a gift guide that boosts sales?
First, define your niche.
Look - ''Holiday gifts for a friend'' is great, but the topic is too broad, which means that the competition may be too big to have the chance to rank high Google. So, instead of going broad and risking never coming even close to the first page of Google, try to narrow down your topic.
Product: ethnic accessories
Gift for: friend
Blog topic: ''Holiday gifts for your German (American, Latvian, whatever) friend''
Product: wooden accessories
Gift for: husband
Blog topic: ''Christmas gifts for your lumberjack husband''
Second, place the targeted keywords in important places.
Keywords will help Google find your article when someone types in the specific search query. What's important, search engines pay extra attention to keywords in places like:
- Title tag
- First paragraph of the article
So, if you've put together a list of ''gift ideas for a German friend'', then make sure this keyword is included in all of these places.
3. Offer discounts and free shipping
Everyone loves discounts and deals, but the holiday season is the time people demand them. Christmas shopping and promotions are like Santa and gifts - they are expected to come as a package deal, or everyone's disappointed.
The good news is that discounts are not only a great way to please your customers, but also an effective revenue-boosting strategy. For small businesses, 17.7% of their total yearly revenue is generated by promotions, such as discounts, coupons, and similar offers.
When it comes to holiday shopping, a good deal might be the breaking point that can either make a customer buy from you or your competitor. Stats show that 87% of consumers look for deals when they’re shopping for holiday gifts, and overall 73% of all holiday purchases are influenced by coupons and promotions.
Still not willing to give discounts?
Free shipping might be your answer. 73% of holiday gift shoppers say that free shipping is very or somewhat important, and they would not consider making a purchase if they're required to pay for delivery. This is your chance to give people what they want while keeping your prices untouched.
4. Set up a pop-up
When you hear ''pop-up'', you may be thinking ''annoying''. But the truth is, pop-ups are annoying when they're misused. When they're used thoughtfully, pop-ups are an extremely effective way to convert cart abandoners, grow your email list, and promote deals.
Sumo, the company that offers tools that automate website growth, analyzed nearly 2 billion popups and found that the average conversion rate for pop-ups is 3.09%, with the top performing pop-ups converting 9.28% of the time. And by converting we mean that it either resulted in a new lead or purchase.
How to use pop-ups on your website?
- Grow your email list. Offer visitors to subscribe to your newsletter when they're about to leave your website or in exchange of a discount on their first purchase.
- Promote your deal. Let your visitors know about your current sale, discounted products or free shipping offer.
Engaga.com offers several tools, including pop-ups and promo bars, that help you turn your website visitors into customers and email subscribers. What's especially important - Engaga popups are optimized for mobile and won't harm your Google rankings.
A study shows that simple and unobtrusive pop-ups perform 30% better than the flashy ones. Keep your pop-up simple, and you'll see higher conversion rates.
5. Use email marketing
No, emails are not dead. Yes, people still want to receive news from brands as long as they're useful and relevant. And yes, emails are one of the best-performing marketing tactics with the average ROI of 122% - that's nearly 4x higher than other marketing formats, including social media and paid ads.
With the holidays approaching, it's important that you start growing your email list as soon as possible. Start today by setting up a pop-up that offers visitors to join your list and receive news about special deals.
One brand found that their new subscribers generated 2x more sales than those who'd been on the list for some time already. In other words, your recent subscribers may be your most active buyers, which is why you should never stop growing your list.
When your holiday deal goes live, use your email list to spread the news. What's important - don't be afraid to send several emails promoting your deal, as there will always be people who won't open your email or will simply forget to make the purchase.
Source: Herschel Supply Co.
For example, to promote your 24-hour Black Friday deal, you can send four emails:
- Get ready: the day before the sale starts, inform your subscribers that there will be a sale and get them into the shopping mood.
- Launch: in the morning of the day of the sale, make an announcement that the sale is on. Make sure to mention when it ends to create a sense of urgency.
- Remind: a few hours before the sale ends, send a reminder to subscribers who didn't open your first email, as well as to those who did but never made a purchase.
- Surprise: reach out to everyone who opened at least one of your previous three emails but didn't buy anything. Offer them a discount code to use on your website within the next 24 hours.
Segment your list based on subscriber activity and personalize your messaging. For example, send separate campaigns to people who opened/didn't open your previous emails, clicked/didn't click on your call-to-action, or bought/didn't buy something from you.
6. Create a promo bar
Promo bar - that ''banner'' at the top or in the bottom of your page that lets you show promotions on your website - is another way to inform your visitors about your ongoing holiday deal. It's an effective way to communicate your message without interrupting your visitors (which is the reason why people don't love pop-ups.)
During the holiday season, you can not only use a promo bar to highlight your sale but also to:
- Promote your free shipping offer
- Highlight your friendly returns policy
- Let shoppers know you offer gift wrapping
- Announce the launch of your holiday-inspired product
7. Use Facebook retargeting
Looking for the perfect holiday gift, people will visit many websites, including yours. The bad news is, 96% of these visitors will leave without a purchase and forget about your shop.
One way to bring these 96% back, is to use retargeting - the form of online advertising that helps you stay in contact with your visitors after they've left your website. Retargeting is one of the cheapest and most efficient types of paid ads, as it's targeted to people who already recognize your brand and/or products.
There are several tools you can use for retargeting, including Google Adwords. That being said, Facebook is probably the best for beginners - setting up a retargeting campaign is easy and straightforward, and the targeting options Facebook offers are laser-focused and therefore effective.
Before you create a retargeting campaign with Facebook, there are 3 things you should do:
1: Set up your company's business page on Facebook (if you don't already have one.)
2: Connect your Facebook Ad account with your shop by installing Facebook activity tracking code into your website. If you're a Mozello user, just copy your tracking code and paste it into the head section of your website - go to Settings -> Code, and paste your code in ''Additional HTML code for HEAD section'':
3: Create a custom audience of your website's past visitors - from your Facebook Ad account, go to Audiences → create a new custom audience → Website traffic.
When that's done, you're ready to create your retargeting campaign. When you're at targeting, don't forget to choose the pre-defined custom audience from the list.
Creating ad campaigns that convert well is an art to practice. From my experience of spending over half a million dollars on Facebook ads, here are the characteristics of well-performing ads:
- Includes an image that stands out in the feed, or in the best case scenario - a video.
- The deal is well-highlighted in the image or ad headline.
- Features social proof (eg., a customer review) or customer-friendly shop policies (eg., ''100% satisfaction guaranteed'')
15 bonus ideas to increase your holiday sales
Want more ideas? Here you go:
- Offer Christmas gift wrapping
- Add gifts to orders over a specific value
- Give away free samples
- Decorate your website with a festive header image
- Change your logo
- Create your advent calendar (with treats that encourage purchases, such as discount codes or free gifts with all orders)
- Cross-promote with other brands
- Launch gift cards
- Allow customers to add a greeting card to their orders
- Use upselling and cross-selling
- Create landing pages to promote your deals
- Use push notifications
- Run Google ads
- Offer HQ pickup for those shopping at the very last moment
- Make it easy to choose - highlight your best-sellers
Start your holiday preparation as soon as possible. Choose the tactics you want to implement, then make a list of things you need for that.
For example, to send out email campaigns, you'll need an email copy, holiday-themed visuals, Google Analytics up and running to track the results, maybe even a special landing page for your holiday deal, etc.
If you have no clue which idea to start with, here's a hint:
1: Set up a popup and start collecting emails.
2: Write a gift guide and/or create a landing page for your holiday deal. Google will need some time to start showing it in the search results.
3: Create your holiday product and get everything ready for its launch - product descriptions, images, promo materials. Schedule its launch for November or the first week of December.
4: Install Facebook's activity tracking code into your website, then create a custom audience of your website's visitors.
5: Get your holiday visuals ready, including social media images, website header image, email visuals, etc.