Hello! It’s ONLY July. Why on earth are we writing a blog post that encourages you to start planning for the holiday shopping season? After all, it’s not even 4th of July and Cyber Monday is still over 150 days away.
Believe it or not, many consumers (including the springbots) start their Christmas shopping around August. Many of these shoppers, even though just perusing, are in the beginning stages of “making their lists and checking it twice.” So if you’re not already thinking about how to prep your store for the holidays, you are behind….even though it’s only July…sigh.
Read this post to prepare your online store for the holidays with 5 holiday planning tips you need to try this month:
1. Look At Last Year’s Data. While you’ve still got time (and before you confirm your marketing plans) do your homework. Effective planning that makes for a successful shopping season starts with understanding your data. Use July to research and analyze last year’s holiday data so that you can understand what channels and what specific campaigns in those channels had the greatest impact on sales. You will also want to understand what channels and campaigns did not garner the desired results so you can avoid repeating.
2. Identify Who Your Holiday Customers Are. After you’ve done a deep dive into your store’s marketing data, you should also have an understanding of who you customers are. Put the month of July to good use and identify who your high and low Customer Lifetime Value customers are. Once identified, you can segment these customers into different lists to send highly personalized and targeted campaigns. And don’t just stop at this segment. Build segments and create campaigns for customers on Facebook or Twitter, a campaign targeted exclusively to your female customers and those customers that made last minute holiday purchases last year.
3. Focus On Targeted Holiday Content. One way to get ahead in the holiday marketing game is by ramping up your content strategy. Create a page dedicated to the “hottest gifts” or a guide to holiday gift buying for men. Create blog posts about holiday shopping tips, shipping deadlines or holiday events ideas that relate to products you sell. Make sure to write content that includes the products you sell and holiday terms (like Christmas, holiday presents, holiday gifts, Christmas ideas, boy holiday gifts, ect.) will help your website rank better for these longer-tail niche keywords. Great content aside, make sure that you have a highly visible call-to-action button on each of your blog posts that link to your product pages.
4. Get Automated with Abandoned Cart Emails. Early in the holiday season, people shop around online and add items to their carts that they are considering purchasing. The best way to remind them to return and complete the checkout process is to set up Abandoned Cart Emails. These emails are triggered when a potential buyer adds a product to his or her cart and then leaves your site without making a purchase. They will receive an email showing them the exact items they left in their cart and remind them to hurry back to checkout.
Since early-bird holiday shoppers have time to shop around, they may need an added incentive to make a purchase from your store and not another. Consider including an offer for free shipping, a discount code, or a free gift with purchase in the email in order to boost the ROI of your Abandoned Cart Emails.
Use the next few months to determine the best time to send Abandoned Cart emails by testing out different time increments. One strategy is to start by sending the emails 1 hour after the cart has been abandoned, and then increase it to 2 or 3 hours. The time period with the most conversions is your best option. Test your emails and have them fully optimized and holiday ready by October 1st.
5. Try Out New Marketing Channels. Make a list of the marketing channels you used last year, and explore new channels or improve upon existing ones this year. Have you tried creating videos to show ways to enjoy your products? Have you ever hosted a Facebook giveaway? Are you connecting & engaging with potential customers on Instagram with visually-appealing photos of your products?Now is the time to test and try out all these new channels that have the potential to this 2015 the best holiday season yet.
If you want to revamp your Instagram holiday marketing strategy, we’ll be dishing out tips in our upcoming webinar “12 Instagram Marketing Ideas to Try Before the Holiday Rush.” The webinar is on August 13th, and 10 insanely lucky registrants will win a selfie stick!
What’s the takeaway? Don’t wait until October or November to start planning your holiday marketing strategy! July is the time to begin and finalize your plan. Use these tips and increase your 2015 holiday revenue by preparing for early shoppers.