Use this holiday marketing timeline to get your small business website ready in the months prior to the cyber Monday, & the Christmas holiday selling season.
- Craft some text for your holiday specials. Have a brainstorming session to come up with some creative copy. Ask everyone you know which one they would buy. Once you’re happy with the offerings and your text, talk to your graphic designer about implementing the special onto your website. They can create a graphic or button for you to draw attention to your new special.
- Double check to be sure your supply chain can accommodate your specials. There’s nothing worse than having time sensitive orders you can’t fulfill.
- Put the specials up on your Web site, make them pretty and appealing – link from your homepage or feature specials on the homepage. On these pages you’ll be able to market “seasonally” for these specials. Instead of just saying “unique ties for men” you can target it towards the holidays; “christmas and holiday ties: gifts for the man in your life”.
- Design an email marketing blast to go out to everyone on your list. If you’re really prepared, you’ve collected these from every online buyer you’ve had over the last year (or five), and you have a wide base of possible customers that want to be exposed to your holiday specials.
- Put the email blasts on your Web site. (Yes, before you send them out to your email list – it’s okay, I promise.) Email blasts are news, so put them on your Web site or blog, go visit some other blogs or forums, and talk about what you’re offering, then add the link to your email signature. Optimize this new content and get the search engines looking into what’s going on ahead of time. If you’re putting this up in early October, those pages should be indexed and ranking by Christmas.
- Send out the first blast in October – you probably won’t get many buyers yet, you’re just planting the seed with this email campaign.
- Write three more email marketing blasts to capitalize on shoppers in early November, the week before Thanksgiving, and the week before the last possible day you can ship your product to reach customers prior to the holiday.
- You want to be prepared for Cyber Monday (the Monday after Thanksgiving). The term Cyber Monday, a neologism invented by the National Retail Federation’s Shop.org division, refers to the Monday immediately following Black Friday, which unofficially marks the beginning of the Christmas online shopping season. In response, many retailers now encourage people to do their online shopping at home on Thanksgiving Day itself by offering their Black Friday sales online that day.
- This is when your hard work in September and October will pay off. Send out the emails you prepared for early November and Thanksgiving week. If you have a great email marketing team, send copy to them in October with instructions on when to send. You’re going to be busy and won’t have time to think about it then, so have it done and ready to go.
- Visit (or have friends visit) some social networking sites. Find out where people are talking about holiday shopping and online shopping, letting them know you’ve got specials and packages. A link from these sites will always help. Myspace, Facebook, or any industry-specific blogs you can find will do the trick. If you are in the electronics business, search google for “electronics blogs or forums” — sign up and start posting about your specials. This can be time-consuming, but it’s free advertisement for your company. Be sure to add your URL and keywords to the SIGNATURE of your account and any relevant information you post in these forums can help get you visitors to your site and help with your search engine ranks.
- Send out your last email blast and then take advantage of last-minute shoppers by offering them “one click” buying from the homepage. Give them last minute gift options in the email. Feature a description of your special, a “buy it now” link straight to the credit card form, and it’s done. Make sure you let them know when the last possible day to buy online is, so they can get the item shipped to them or their gift recipient on-time. Don’t worry about shipping; procrastinators know last minute shipping is expensive, and they’ve learned to deal with it.
- Tip: One thing I look for when I’ve procrastinated is the lovely phrase, “free shipping.” I’m just dumb enough to pay a bit more for a product if the shipping is free. Wrap some shipping cost into the product price, and give the impression of a discount along with the “package deal” you’re already offering.
Have a Stress-Free Holiday Season
Plan ahead. Get content on your site early to rank for the holiday season. This time of year is extremely competitive, and if you have a strategy that makes it easy to execute when you’re busy, the holidays won’t seem so hectic. Give it a try, jump on board with those early holiday revelers, and hopefully, your holidays will be merry and stress free.