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Six Digital Marketing Tips for Retailers this Holiday Season

Digital marketing tips for retailers #HolidayShopping

Digital marketing tips for retailers #HolidayShopping

With Q4 officially starting tomorrow and a whirlwind of excitement around holiday shopping season already underway, I asked a few of our team leaders what advice they would give advertisers who are looking to capitalize on this year's final and most exciting sales season.

Here are some great tips from a few of our key strategists, here at All Inclusive Marketing, to help you be more successful this holiday shopping season:


SEO Strategy

As September rolls around, there is always a looming sense of urgency while merchants and their marketing teams prepare for the major Holidays.  Some merchants increase their marketing budget, and as a result, decide to incorporate SEO as an additional channel.  The decision can be hasty given the timeline, and leaves open the chance of  hiring an SEO who uses outdated or questionable techniques (especially if the SEO is tasked with getting results in time for the upcoming holidays!).
With new search engine algorithms measuring backlink quality and velocity, the long term result to this type of decision can be devastating.  My advice to merchants is this: If you are considering SEO for this Holiday season, you’ll probably be considering it again next year.  In that case, take your time to find the right team now, and task them with performing steady, effective SEO in anticipation of the 2015 Holiday season.
By same time next year, you won’t be making rash decisions about SEO – you’ll already be well positioned for the holiday rush.  Further, you’re SEO campaign should already be producing a positive ROI, giving you extra revenue to invest in additional holiday marketing efforts. - Jared Mumford, Senior SEO Specialist 


Tech Strategy

Try to establish and enforce a code freeze starting on October 1.  That means, no changes to page layout, no shopping cart changes, no changes to anything that involves website experience.  As fourth quarter heats up, your site needs to be able to handle all the extra traffic and transactions.  If something breaks, causing a drop in conversions, it could be very challenging to figure out the root cause of the issue.  Further, because there is a constant flow of traffic in Q4, every second the site is down equals lost revenue. - Carolyn Kmet, CMO


Business Strategy

Meet the needs and engage with today's connected shopper! Nowadays, and especially during the holiday, people are looking to shop as comfortably as possible from their mobile devices or desktop in order to save time and avoid lines. Having an optimized website, fast checkout process and preparing your e-store early on to rank 1st in Google for specific keywords will allow stores to staying on top of customer's needs and offer shoppers a great experience to find the products they like and buy conveniently. In the meantime, having a strong inventory management system and the ability to quickly ship to a broad range of destinations efficiently will allow merchants to increase customer satisfaction and boost sales.  - Julia Stanescu, Director of Business Strategy & Development 


eCommerce Strategy

The key to a smooth and successful holiday season is the scheduling and management of IT and developer resources. So many changes take place on websites during the holiday season, whether it be thematic changes to align with the current holiday, landing pages that need to go live and expire on schedule to align with campaigns or product and pricing changes to reflect holiday specials, there's a lot of technical need in a short period of time. There're five holidays between October 31st and January 1st (seven if you count Black Friday and CyberMonday), so keeping your site and products up to date and inline with your campaign goals is key. This means ensuring that your IT and development teams have a clear understanding of those goals and a strategy to make them happen. - Jon Levine, Director of eCommerce


Social Media Strategy

Using social media as a sales tool can be a great idea for the Christmas Shopping season, however, you want to make sure you're doing it right so you can gain that optimal outcome. So here are some tips:
  • Using Pinterest showcases your favourite items beautifully: Include a detailed description, link to the product, and price- This can answer all your consumer's questions and lead to that final sale.
  • If you're a fan of Twitter, include pictures or video's with a quick fun caption and link to the product page, but remember: Stagger your product Tweets to reduce the risk of sounding/looking overly salesy, it can result in being ignored or un-followed.
  • Facebook is excellent for gaining lots of interest- but remember to build on your existing relationship with your fans: Give them a holiday gift or run a Christmas Contest!
  • LinkedIn is a perfect channel to share news about various holiday offers your company is providing. Write a brief blog post to update your company profile with, and don't forget to include that image!

Remember- It's the holidays! Spread some cheer by sharing some fun quick pics from your staff Christmas party, or Secret Santa gift idea's you thought up for your staff members & colleagues! - Jules Babcock, Social Media Strategist 


Affiliate Marketing Strategy

Holidays shopping is a perfect time to create buzz about your services/products, and increase your sales! You are aware of this, and other merchants are as well. If you have an affiliate program, it is very important to contact your target affiliates/bloggers now, to schedule placements and promotions before they are fully booked. Make your affiliates' life easy, by providing some exclusive content they can take inspiration from, while writing they reviews etc. - Frank Ravanelli, Affiliate Marketing Specialist

There is a ton of opportunity over the next two and a half months to boost sales, and as Jon Levine pointed out, there are five holidays (and seven major shopping days) all happening in the next few weeks.

What are you doing to ensure your success in the coming weeks?

10 Tips for Increasing Holiday Shopping Results

October 1st marked the first day of Q4 and sellers and affiliates alike are focused heavily on the busiest shopping quarter of the year. Halloween, Thanksgiving, Black Friday, Cyber Monday and Christmas all mean huge sales opportunities for all. According to ShareASale:

•Q4 2011, consumers spent $50 billion online shopping!
•Affiliates see upwards of 50% of their revenue during Q4.
•Cyber Monday was the #1 highest shopping day of 2011.
The following two Monday’s were #2 and #3. These three weeks are the most impactful spending time of the year.

If you're not already full swing, you're a bit behind the rest, but you still have time to catch up and get your placements in order before you miss out completely! Here are a few tips to make sure you're taking advantage of the busiest sales cycle of the year.


1. Fund Your Account

If your affiliate network offers it, make sure your program is set on auto-deposit. You do not want to risk going offline right when you have your biggest chance to sell.


2. Test Your Links

Make sure you have no broken links in your program. Check all your creatives (text links, banners, widgets) to make sure they are working and tracking properly.


3. Optimize Your Datafeed

This is one of the first things you should do when you launch your program, but if you haven't already, make sure your data feed works with proper images showing, accurate prices and descriptions, that titles have essential keywords and so on.


4. Create Some Widgets

If you have a data feed creating widgets will be easy. If you have widgets already, go back and make sure they are showcasing your best and most relevant sellers this season.


5. Check Your Welcome Letter

One of THE most important tools you have in getting your affiliates active is your welcome letter. The majority of these are auto responders, however there are things you can include to help affiliates get excited about promoting you sooner. Include links to text links and banners,  mention your product data feed, list your best selling products and include your contact info in case they have questions. Then respond right away!


6. Promotions and Deals

With buyers ready to spend, they will be looking for the best deals online, especially over Black Friday and Cyber Monday so make sure you have lots of promotional offers and deals, both for affiliates and customers, and communicate those clearly. You can also keep a few exclusive offers to help you negotiate placement on sites you otherwise wouldn't be able to get without an exclusive offer.


7. Newsletter Outreach

If you have personal outreach options, I always encourage you to speak with your affiliate partners directly, however don't forget about everyone else! Send a weekly or monthly newsletter that highlights your deals, offers, new releases, website updates and any other essential information an affiliate would need to know to help them sell this season.


8. Giveaways

Affiliates love having giveaways to get their audience excited - it's also a great way to get an editorial piece or better placement on a website. If you have a product that you can share with your affiliate or they can share with their audience you will get more exposure and better placement this season.


9. Holiday Placement

If your affiliate network has a holiday section, get listed there. If your affiliates have a holiday or season season section, get listed there. Be relevant and make sure you are found where people are looking.


10. Relevant Creatives

It's amazing how many sellers never update their banners or text links. Make sure you have seasonal banners that are appropriate for each major selling day and be relevant. For banners, make sure you have a clear image, branding, message and call to action button.

By following these points you'll be sure to have a far more successful Q4. When you're done, be sure to go back and check your reporting for year over year growth.



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