Making The Most of Christmas: Key Tips for Success

October 22, 2013

Paypal have kindly added their Top Tips for Christmas selling…I have to say they have captured the key points perfectly…Read on and Here’s to a successful Christmas 2013 ūüôā

Making The Most of Christmas: Key Tips for Success

Christmas Success Tips

 

Preparing your Product, Content, Sites, and Marketing to Maximise Success.

For many retailers, the period from mid-October until early January is busier than any other part of the year.¬†¬£830 million was spent with retailers online each week in December 2012, compared to¬†¬£493 million per week in June, and it’s not unusual to find offline and online stores which make as much in a month over this period as they would in 3 or 4 across the rest of the year.

Based on how hugely important this period is, we’ve put together our set of key tips to help you prepare for the busy period, and to make the most of the opportunity!

Product

Take a look at your product range and plan out how to maximise its impact across the season ahead:

Once you’re clear on your products, and how they fit with your customers, you have a great basis to plan your promotions, and your content across the whole season.

Content

After ‘product’ comes ‘content’. Take a look at the content you have available to you and extras that you¬†could¬†produce. These may be:

  1. About products.
  2. About your brand.
  3. About your customers.
  4. General holiday themes of giving and sharing.
  5. Essential info (delivery info, returns, last order dates, product features).

This may be content to place on your site itself, or on your blog, or it may be content that you share via social media channels like Facebook, Twitter, and Google+ to build interest in your brand and products over the season.

Some examples of the¬†most¬†“shareable” content that you could create around the themes above include:

Using the above topics and themes, come up with a series of pieces of content to publish across the holiday period. As you publish each, promote it to your email list and via social media. Keep a close eye on analytics to understand quickly which areas are of greater/lesser interest to your audience and, of course, don’t be afraid to promote your products directly among this too!

Marketing

The holiday period is the biggest period of the year for marketing budgets. Make sure you have a simple plan, listing out all of the activity you will carry out across the next few months is key to your success.

Many businesses plan their marketing by month of the year. Over the holiday period, as things speed up, it is often worth keeping a closer eye on your marketing weekly or even more frequently.

Pay-Per-Click:¬†Search Ads like Google AdWords are one of the easiest marketing channels to increase or decrease, but they can also be one of the most costly. If you have budget to spare, but lack time, PPC is a simple place to spend a bit more to generate results without investing lots of time. If you do decide to invest extra budget here, start with your ‘highest converting’ search terms first to give yourself the best chance of turning visits into customers.

Over 2013, several enhancements have been made to Google AdWords. If you have time, look into ‘Product Listing Ads‘ and ‘Bid Adjustments‘ as two areas of particular use over Christmas.

SEO: SEO is the reverse of PPC, in that it’s difficult to spend money to increase results, but is much more of a time commitment. It also usually takes much longer to have an impact on ‘organic’ search engine traffic, but there are still steps you can take over the busy period to ensure you make the most of this ‘free’ source of visitors.

Social media

If you can build up your Twitter, Facebook, or Google+ following prior to the busy season, it’s very much worth doing so. It’s equally important to keep up momentum and keep an eye on these channels across the season – especially to head off any complaints and make the most of any positive feedback.

If you are producing great content, and sharing this via social media, that will help in building your following. Two other simple options to look at include:

Email

As with social media, it’s worth trying to increase your email list before things get busy. Retailers send huge amounts of email over the holidays. If your email recipients are already in the habit of opening your emails beforehand, and like what they see, your emails are far more likely to be spotted in the busy inbox over Christmas.

  1. If you know what day your big competitors send out their emails, try to send the day before.
  2. Try to avoid ‘commuter’ periods when sending your emails. If users read emails on their desktop, laptop, or tablet, they’re usually more likely to buy than if they read on their phones.
  3. Use a mixture of graphical, visual emails, and simple text-only emails to better engage with people who favour each.
  4. As with your products, and your content, it’s hugely important to plan out your emails over the entire season. For example, having one big ‘highlight’ product in each weekly email is generally much better than sending out all of your highlights in your first email, and your ‘second bests’ in the following weeks.

 

Your site

If you’re planning any big extra functionality changes to your site, it’s very much worth testing and rolling those out before things get busy. There is nothing worse than a major site change going disappointingly wrong at a crucial time.

Some of the big extras that have become more common over the last few years include:

The run up to the busy season is also a very good point to check everything’s working as it should be – from product search, through to the critical checkout. As mobile ‘visitor’ growth has been enormous again this year, it’s extra important to check your site on phones. Even where customers don’t purchase via phones, they may often use them to research products and judge you against your competitors. The iPhone is still one of the most popular smartphone in the UK, but Android phones like Samsung’s Galaxy range and HTC are on the rise, so ensure you test for these handsets too.

We hope some of the tips here help you over the holiday period and that you’ve had a successful year!