Alexander Nessel // Oct 18 2012
[emailoptin type="holiday2012"][/emailoptin]Once again we’re in make-or-break Q4—the time of year businesses worldwide prep (and hope) for a flood of holiday business. The time of year that can determine the difference between a going concern and concern whether you can keep going.
Be it crafting a quality, attention-grabbing email campaign or optimizing a mobile marketing strategy, this post should guide you to profit maximization and jolly holiday sales.
So yes, hopefully the flood is coming. And with Portent’s holiday internet marketing sales tips, you’re certain not to drown.
Experts expect the following to be the biggest online shopping dates of the 2012 holiday season (ranked by total revenue):
Most people have heard of Black Friday (the Friday after Thanksgiving) and Cyber Monday (the following Monday), but Green Monday and Free Shipping Day are two powerful, albeit less renowned, sales dates.
Green Monday is two Mondays before Christmas. eBay named it in 2007 because they noticed significant sales spikes on their site that day.
Free Shipping Day is the last day most online retailers will guarantee that their shipments will reach customers’ doorsteps by Christmas Day.
Take a look at the revenue generated on the best online shopping days of 2011:
|Significant Shopping Days||Online Sales (millions)|
|Monday, November 28 — Cyber Monday||$1,251|
|Monday, December 5||$1,178|
|Monday, December 12 — Green Monday||$1,133|
|Tuesday, November 29||$1,116|
|Tuesday, December 6||$1,107|
|Monday, December 16 — Free Shipping Day||$1,072|
|Tuesday, December 13||$1,064|
|Friday, November 30||$1,025|
|Thursday, December 8||$1,024|
|Thursday, December 15||$1,018|
What this chart means for you:
The holiday season continues to be the heaviest time of year for emails with 2011
experiencing a 19% jump in branded messages over the previous year. But as consumers
receive more emails, open rates decrease. Lesson? Your email needs to pop.
(For the basics of email marketing, check out this refresher by Portent CEO Ian
Below are four tips to improve the odds that your holiday email is opened and considered.
Keep in mind none of these keywords guarantees your message will be opened. Your holiday email will sit alongside a zillion others, so incorporate both popular phrases and unique attention-grabbers.
*Extra: Include branded keywords in email coupon codes, then set up a special page on your website just for coupons. This will help track specific conversions.
In the 2011 holiday season, flash sales increased an estimated 31%. A flash sale—not to be confused with a “flash mob” (see right)—is a limited-time, high discount offer.
2 Tips for Making Your Flash Sale Extra Flashy
Evaluate the traffic
For slower traffic days, discounted big ticket items tend to attract customers, whereas a medium ticket item may prove more enticing on a high traffic day like Cyber Monday. Even if the customer decides not to make that big purchase, their eyes will veer towards the other items on your site.
There are sites entirely committed to flash sales. To differentiate yourself, you need to offer a specific set of items at a specific time.
For example, if you sell power equipment, place only power drills on sale for one day.
In Q2 of 2012, online sales accounted for 5.1% ($54.84 billion) of seasonally adjusted total retail spending and, according to internetretailer.com, 76% of consumers research online before making 30% of all retail purchases.
While e-commerce shows staggering growth, you have exponentially more opportunity if you’re able to market both online and at a brick-and-mortar location.
Make it simple for customers to find and buy your products with these basic steps:
And e-commerce’s one severe limitation—shipping—can prove a boon to in-person sales. December 18–24 is the prime week for advertising products to last minute brick-and-mortar shoppers.
The iPhone 5 sold 5 million units within 3 days of launch and the Samsung Galaxy S3 sells 200,000 units per day; these figures are bound to increase in Q4. Given the unbridled growth of this market, optimizing your presence in these channels is crucial.
Most smartphone-savvy shoppers use their mobile devices in the following three ways:
How to convert on mobile opportunities:
And if you have an app, keep in mind that app-store gift cards are BIG stocking stuffers, especially for anyone getting a mobile or tablet device. Someone who receives both is a conversion waiting to happen.
Advertise your app consistently through November and December via mobile offerings on your site, emails, and social networks. And you don’t need to stop at Christmas—your product doesn’t require shipping and is the perfect follow-up gift to anyone with a new phone or tablet.
A conversion doesn’t have to be a sale. Below are a few ideas for attracting and engaging your consumers without overtly pressuring them to buy.
The takeaway? Interact with your community. Build loyalty—and, yes, eventually sales—through a productive and engaging back-and-forth with your target market. You won’t lose a customer by being too helpful.
Holiday sales don’t stop at Christmas. While the retail market traditionally dips post-holidays, New Year’s resolutions save Q1 for anything fitness, health, and sports related. Promote the products that fit these criteria, or get creative and cross-promote.
The following days boast the highest post-holiday sales:
Plan your emails and send them right before or early on those days. Customers want to see subject lines like “After-Christmas Sale,” “Holiday Clearance,” and “New Year’s Clearance.”
Always optimize images for speed and quality both onsite and in email communication. As a general rule, use lossless compression whenever possible. For web graphics, use a PNG or GIF rather than JPG for improved image quality. For photographic images, use JPG to minimize the file size for speed, but be sure not to sacrifice image quality by re-saving too many times.
Fix Broken Links
Especially in times of high traffic and frantic shopping, a broken link on your site means a lost customer. You’re missing SEO opportunities and, more importantly, a flawed site makes you look less reliable. There are plenty of free tools available such as Xenu that will find broken links for you, so there’s no excuse.
Gauge Your AdWords
Be conscious of your ROI. To run an efficient and profitable AdWords campaign:
So there you have it. Follow these tips and you’ll be a billionaire by January 1. OK, maybe that’s a bit of a stretch, but the tips above give you a great jumping off point for creating an effective, efficient holiday sales e-strategy.
[emailoptin type="strategy"][/emailoptin]If you’d like more education, information or suggestions on web marketing strategy, please feel free to shop the Portent store for such classic hits as:
We wish a merry holiday season to you and yours!
Alexander's background is in e-commerce and business development. He brings that experience to Portent, working with clients to create customized marketing strategies. Read More