It’s a fair bet that if you’re an online retailer in any sector (except very specialised sectors, like for instance Halloween costume supplies!) then you probably see your biggest volumes of sales around the Black Friday period leading into Christmas.
By analysing data from Google Analytics showing the traffic trends of hundreds of retail websites, it’s relatively easy to point out the busiest selling periods online for most retailers. Some businesses are highly seasonal, others enjoy constant traffic and sales with a peak around the November / early December time.
Normally organic Search Engine Optimisation takes months to kick in, so what you do now may only take effect several months down the line. Thankfully organic SEO isn’t the only game in town when it comes to promoting your business online and in fact you should be thinking about utilising both changes in user behaviour and other marketing methods in the run-up to the now well-established pre-Christmas Black Friday selling period.
Remember, if you are running Google AdWords then having a well optimised landing page will mean your ads have a higher quality score. This means not only will you pay less for the ads, but the chances of you actually getting a sale from those clicks will be greatly improved.
Boxing Clever with Google Shopping Campaigns
Imagine if you only ever had to pay for advertising when someone walked through your door and you had a chance to try and sell to that person. Sound like a good deal? That’s what you get with Google Shopping. This spin-off from Google AdWords displays an image and short descriptive title, price and contact details in a block at the top of search results.
Google Shopping has been giving much better ROI than traditional Google AdWords for most of our clients and the beauty of this system is that if you have a product feed you can submit to Google (through their Google Merchant interface) then potentially you could be displaying great adverts at the top of page 1 in Google’s search results today, for some very competitive keyphrases!
Optimised ‘Black Friday’ pages
People will and do search for ‘Black Friday’ deals online. It makes sense therefore to have a page or group of pages optimised for Black Friday related keyphrases. Visuals for any optimised pages have to entice users of your website to go to the deals and the content sufficiently enticing to convince users to click on that all important ‘add to basket’ button.
All the usual advice about having unique content on every page, writing enticing product descriptions and persuasive category text still applies, however adding ‘Black Friday’ tags and image overlays for your product pages, obtrusive banners on category pages and especially on the homepage for the Black Friday promotion are a must to drive excitement. Try to keep people on your website if at all possible. With so many retailers offering deals during this period, you want to keep as many of those potential purchases as possible!
It’s All About MOBILE!
Unless you haven’t set foot out of your ‘bricks and mortar’ store since 1972, you’ve probably heard of the inexorable rise in the popularity of smart phones. Smartphone usage in the UK is on the rise, with 32% of UK users regularly making a purchase http://goo.gl/JqdWwQ . That makes us the most prolific mobile shoppers on the Planet, well ahead of our mainland European cousins.
So what to do? Make sure first of all that your website displays well on mobile devices of all sizes, that’s smaller screen sizes (320px) right up to the latest modern widescreen tablets – actually go through the navigation and make a purchase yourself if your web designer hasn’t done this, if there are any blocks to purchase you could be missing out on your busiest trading period of the year!
Don’t forget… people also read emails on their smartphones, so make sure you use email templates which can be read on a mobile screen, you could be losing out on clicks from your emails if you don’t. Which leads me neatly onto my next point…
Email Isn’t Dead
Yes I know… email marketing is so last decade. Except it isn’t. If your business has been trading for many years, you’ve probably built up a very nice list of email addresses from previous customers who have specifically signed up to receive emails from your business.
Email marketing can give fantastic returns on investment if it’s done properly, so if you don’t know how to do this effectively I’d recommend outsourcing to a specialist, but there are also tools out there online which you can use to do this for yourself for very little cost.
It’s worth mentioning that even if you have the best email list going and you’re a great writer, crafting that perfect marketing email relies on you implicitly knowing the mindset of your recipients, which means you must really get into the ‘nuts and bolts’ of what people are looking for.
Email marketing therefore works best with people who are already friendly to your store, so for that reason, use in combination with social media (Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest etc) usage, so you can create a feeling of service and community… you’re not really trying to sell things, you are informing your friends of a great offer via the handy medium of direct email!
Head of Creative Online Marketing
David has been involved with Search Engine Optimisation and web development since 1999 and has spoken at many different retail and SEO conferences including Spring Fair and SES London