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The holiday season is creeping up quickly, and it’ll be here before you know it. As a business owner, that means time is of the essence. With December less than two months away, there’s no time to waste if you want to make this holiday season successful. That’s why we’ve compiled a list of ten steps to ready your business for outstanding seasonal sales.
1. Optimize your website
Last year, 50 percent of shoppers said they planned to purchase holiday gifts online. That number is expected to rise this year.
Now more than ever, shoppers want the convenience of ordering holiday gifts online. That means your website needs to be optimized before web traffic starts to increase. When a shopper visits your website, he doesn’t want to deal with a hard-to-navigate website or slow load times. He wants to find a product, purchase it, and check it off the list. If your sluggish and outdated website slows him down, he’s going to find somewhere else to purchase. Avoid losing those coveted customers by updating and optimizing your website now.
2. Make it mobile
Once your website is optimized, go one step farther and make it mobile-friendly. It’s estimated that last year, over 20 percent of all online purchases during the holidays came from mobile devices. That percentage is going to be even higher this year.
Again, the goal is to make holiday shopping as easy as possible for your customers. They want to buy, not deal with tech issues. If your website isn’t mobile-friendly, they’re going to move on to a website that is. Don’t give them that option.
3. Create a gift guide
Almost every magazine, website and blogger creates a holiday gift guide around this time of year. One of the best ways to increase your brand’s visibility this holiday season is to include yourself in a few of these gift guides, whether that be via paid or earned media. To find your product featured in a holiday gift guide, you can create an advertising campaign, or you can reach out to bloggers and journalists and ask to be included.
(P.S. We can help you with both of those things)
4. Update your information
Before things get busy, make sure you’ve updated your phone number, physical address and email address on your website, social media accounts, and any other listings your business might have. Chances are you’re going to have a few customers trying to get in touch with you over the holidays. Make sure your information is current and easy to find.
Again, just as shoppers won’t wait for an outdated website to load, they won’t struggle with trying to find your current contact information, either. They’ll just move on and purchase somewhere else.
5. Plan your promotions
Promotions are one of the best ways to get shoppers excited about purchasing. To encourage shoppers to buy, create a detailed plan of your sales, discounts and giveaways leading up to the holiday season. Promote these sales via email lists, social media and digital advertising over the next couple of months to lead shoppers to your website.
6. Find your USP
Every business has discounts and promotions during the holiday season, so the key to successful seasonal sales is finding out what sets your business apart from the rest. That’s your unique selling proposition, or USP. This is what makes your store, brand or product better than all the rest. What sets you apart? Why are you the best? Focus on this when advertising to your shoppers around holiday time.
Perhaps you offer complimentary gift wrapping, a great return policy or free shipping. These perks might seem insignificant, but they have the power to sway shoppers.
7. Check your displays
Your store’s physical presence can make or break it during the holidays. Before the rush begins, make sure your decorations and displays are up and ready. It’s also important to make sure your storefront is organized and easy for shoppers to navigate.
If you don’t have a brick-and-mortar store, go through this process with your website. Add some seasonal touches to your layout, and make sure your special holiday deals and items are front and center.
8. Get social
Social media is a great tool for your business year-round, but it’s especially great around the holiday season. Platforms like Facebook and Instagram give your business a free and wide-reaching tool to connect with customers. You can use social media to promote new products, holiday sales and/or gift ideas. The options are truly endless when it comes to using social media this holiday season. Just make sure you’re staying active and consistently posting new content.
9. Create an advertising campaign
Shoppers only buy from brands they know about — that’s why advertising is so important. For shoppers to purchase from you, they need to be aware of your brand. You can build brand awareness by creating an advertising campaign and spreading the word about your business. Focus on promoting a single product, a special holiday deal, or your brand as a whole.
The best way to spread the word during the holiday season is by advertising with both digital and print media. With this mix of media, you’ll reach more eyes (read: more potential buyers) in a shorter amount of time.
10. Test it out
None of these steps are one size fits all. What works for one business might not work for another. That’s why it’s important to test, make changes and try different things. A digital campaign might work great for Business A during the holidays, but Business B might have better results with an earned media campaign. That’s why it’s important to start preparing for the holidays months in advance. October might seem early, but a two-month cushion gives you enough time to test and make changes before the holiday rush.
So what are you waiting for? Start prepping for the holiday season now!