Put those long-term projects on the back burner until the new year marketers.. it’s time to focus on where the revenue is!
Q4 = Halloween, Black Friday, Cyber Monday, Christmas and the beginning of January sales. Not to mention the need for a winter wardrobe and a World Cup thrown in for good measure!
It’s the most competitive time of the year for retail and this year with the cost of living crisis it’s going to be tougher than ever. If you’re going to cut through the noise you need to be on top of your game.
Stock fulfilment, delivery and customer service will be the headache for most businesses, but for marketers, it’s all about delivering sales.
Right now you should be focusing on 3 things:
1. Getting in front of potential customers
2. Giving site visitors the best possible user experience.
3. Making the most of your receptive audience.
Getting in front of potential customers
Whilst Black Friday weekend is about getting the best deal, Christmas involves a lot of research and browsing. So getting in front of customers to become a consideration is just as important during Q4 in the build-up to peak trading.
Firstly make use of the data you already have, take lessons from what has worked in previous years, make sure you use the same landing pages (anyone that’s deleted last year’s Black Friday page and is creating a new one needs to take a long look in the mirror!), look at what messaging has worked in the past and incorporate those tactics into this year. But don’t be afraid to experiment with new approaches too.
It’s easy to think your marketing will be more efficient if you just show customers ads when they are ready to buy, but Christmas purchases generally follow the same theme.
Research > Consideration > Purchase
Even if the customer knows exactly what they are looking for, they will still research the best price, the fastest and cheapest delivery and want reassurance they are buying from somewhere they can trust.
Think about how you will scale up your paid search and shopping coverage, especially with Black Friday approaching. Bear in mind that CPCs will be inflated, so budgeting shouldn’t presume that you’re going to get more traffic for the extra spend.
First-party data is key – Even an ad click-through to your site is valuable. It will allow you to retarget users with the products they look at and bid up in search results to people already familiar with your brand.
Consider building out your campaigns to include gift-related terms and think about creating landing pages that will help customers quickly and easily find products of interest.
Make sure shopping feeds are optimised with titles, descriptions, up-to-date images and all attributes are completed. Consider using labels to separate products into groups such as high margin or best converting to push budget where it’s going to get the most bang for your buck.
And most importantly, get testing with ad copy, headlines and landing pages. You want to have a proven formula of what to say to get customers to click through and what page to drive them to in the busiest weeks.
Giving site visitors the best possible user experience
People are also desperately scouring the internet for ideas of what to buy relatives and friends, so the retailers that can help customers identify things to buy will be the biggest winners.
Focus your on-site efforts into site speed, on-page content, checkout process and navigation.
Slow loading websites will not only increase bounce rates but could also affect your SEO rankings with core web vitals an important metric used by Google (quick tip: consider using a browser plug-in like Lighthouse to see how you score).
Consider any quick wins on user navigation, include links for gift idea pages on main navigation and re-evaluate copy and internal links on category pages to ensure they are relevant to holiday shoppers.
Too often product pages become the neglected part of a website despite being the most important page in the purchase journey – After all, this is where they press Add to Cart!
But with hundreds and sometimes thousands of product pages to optimise changes are usually rule-based to do it at scale. Too often these pages use manufacturer descriptions and unless you’re the cheapest what is going to convince the user to buy from you over competitors? What’s more, if you’re using the same product descriptions as your competitors why should Google rank you above them?
Target your highest converting products as priority and give these pages a bit of extra love by writing engaging and detailed product descriptions.
Up-sell and cross-sell is important, especially if products are going to sell out. Make sure you are giving users alternative options and encouraging them to keep browsing to pick up higher average order values.
Have a clear plan in advance of which site banners, promotions and offers you are going to be offering over the holiday period, also be sure that your delivery proposition is clear and easy to find from all pages.
Making the most of your receptive audience
Your receptive audience is anyone that has given you permission to communicate with them.
Make sure you have a solid content plan for email subscribers and social followers. There will be lots of opportunities to engage with the audience that doesn’t relate solely to throwing products in front of them.
Remember, all audiences are not equal. Segment your email audiences into groups and customise the copy, products and messaging. This could be by age, previous spend or gender. Think about demographics and the people each audience is likely to be buying gifts for.
Look back at last year’s analytics to see what times and dates were the busiest on your site. When was your audience online? This could be a good guide for when to send out email communication. But as always, keep on top of Analytics, look for trends and how you can take advantage of busy online periods.
As for social, add some festive cheer to your profile, banners and post images. Consider running competitions and leverage UGC over this period, the more you can engage with your followers the more you’ll be top of mind when they start spending.
When shouting about discounts and offers make sure you use trending hashtags and that you check ad copy, landing pages and site messaging are updated to match.
For busy days like Black Friday consider promoting tactics like hourly promotions well in advance. Not only will this keep people coming back to your site but they’ll also have a keen eye on any communication coming from your brand.
If you need help maximising your reach and visibility then why not get in touch with Honcho? Established in 2008 we’ve helped some of the world’s biggest brands acquire new customers through SEO, Paid Search, Social Media, Content & Digital PR campaigns.