What You Need to do Now for a Successful Holiday Sales Season!

Planning for successful holiday selling season

2020 so far has been “unprecedented”— that’s the phrase of the year — as will be this holiday sales and shopping season. The COVID-19 pandemic has changed how people shop and it will change the 2020 holiday selling season. Forget Black Friday and Cyber Monday — think Cyber October! Shopping will start earlier. If you haven’t started planning, you’re behind the times!

Now’s the time to start planning for a successful holiday sales season. Moreover, depending on your competition, you will probably have to budget some advertising dollars to reach your target market.

When I recorded this video, I didn’t know when Amazon Prime Day would be, but I guessed in October. I called it! It’s Oct. 12 & 13. That means if you sell on Amazon or want to, you must set-up and optimize everything right now! Immediately!

Think Like the Searcher

  • The consumer is in control
  • What are they searching for?
  • How will they find you?
  • What comes up in search?
    • Website – impulse buyers
    • Blog/Video/Pictures – content answering questions
    • Social Media – promotions
  • Put yourself in their shoes
  • Pain points and problems have changed!
  • Think of the gift-giver — not the end user

Trust and Credibility

People buy from whom they know and trust. All this effort is to build trust and credibility. And we know in today’s world a reputation can be lost in seconds. Credibility is the most important aspect of your business that you can build. How do you do that?

  • Be active on the social networks
    • Create social proof
    • Reviews
    • Comments
    • Followers
    • Likes
    • Relevant posts
    • User-Generated Content
  • Honest & transparent
  • Full disclosures
  • Promises made, promises kept: especially when it comes to fulfillment, shipping, costs — everything. All that has to be determined and configured ahead of time.

Make sure your product descriptions are fully optimized with relevant keywords. That is the only way you’ll be found.

Customer Experience

Put people first! Consider the complete buying journey — put yourselves in their shoes. There’s a lot of competition out there. The business that offers the best customer experience for the price will win. Furthermore, if your whole customer experience works, they’ll be back!

  1. Website and Social Media
    • Branding
    • Ease of use
    • Navigation
    • Information – transparency
  2. Shopping Cart and Check-out
    • Quick and uncomplicated
    • Secure
  3. Fulfillment
    • Processing
    • Shipping
    • The last mile — final delivery or pick-up
  4. Returns

Optimize for Search

You want to be found when people are searching for what you have to offer. And we go back to the gift-giver. That person may be looking for gift ideas — it’s up to you to provide them and make sure they’re come up in search.

Each of the networks has its own internal search engine that rivals Google. It’s important that you fill out your about sections, bios, product descriptions, etc., completely with keyword-centric descriptions of what you have to offer. Avoid flowery language. Especially on Twitter, Instagram, and Pinterest where you only have 160 characters for a bio. Facebook gives you a lot of space as does LinkedIn. Take advantage of it.

Walmart Marketplace and Walmart+

“The program costs $98 a year, a discount to rival Amazon’s $119 annual Prime membership, and includes unlimited free delivery from stores — including groceries — plus gasoline discounts.”

  • Just like any other ecommerce platform, but under the Walmart umbrella
  • Walmart+ launched Sept. 15 – it’s direct competition with Amazon Prime
  • Your products will be on walmart.com
  • You need to apply as a seller at marketplace.walmart.com
  • Only accepts “reputable sellers with a strong history of meeting customer expectations”.

Paid Ads

Budget some ad spending dollars. Face it, you might just have to spend some money to increase your reach — especially if you’re in a highly competitive field. What’s nice about digital advertising, is that with just a little investment, you can reach a lot of people. Here are some of your options…

  • Google Ads
  • Social media paid advertising
  • Targeting
  • Paid advertising on popular websites that your target frequents
  • Test to see with $100 which work for you — Test in early October. Spend $25 in 4 different places with a message like: “get a jump-start on your holiday gift shopping!” and see which ones give you the best results.
  • Use the networks’ ad departments

10 Tips to help you get a jump start on a Successful Holiday Sales Season:

  1. Social Media Christmas TreeYou must realize that your gift-giver may be a different target than the people you’ve been marketing to so far. For instance, if you sell women’s accessories, you’ve been targeting women of a certain age. Now, you need to target their husbands or boyfriends — the gift-giver. Do some research to figure out how best to reach them.
  2. Choose the right social media network. If you’re promoting a local event venue for corporate parties (B2B), then you’ll want to focus heavily on LinkedIn and Google My Business. If you’re an ecommerce site, then Facebook, Instagram and Pinterest are going to be your primary networks. But, don’t forget that LinkedIn users are consumers, too! And, of course, you’ve got the younger generation on Snapchat.
  3. Create great enticing graphics. You need to stand out above all the other posts — not just your competition! Use only sharp, quality graphics and videos. For instance, videos and animated gifs are more eye-catching than static, still photographs. I like Canva.com. It’s a free graphics tool and they have all the templates you need. Use the 800 x 800 standard social media graphic template for all the networks.
  4. Don’t use the same images over an over again. You don’t want to be boring. There are plenty of free-use graphics out there. I like Pixabay.com.
  5. Change your social media cover graphics to reflect the holidays. I’d do this immediately! Furthermore, keep an eye on your competition to see when they’ve switched over to the holiday mode. Use Canva to create original, stand-out cover graphics.
  6. Diversify the people in your pictures. You want to make sure you’ve got everyone that’s a gift-giver covered! Don’t use the same type of people in your pictures. For instance, if you’re trying to reach the male gift-giver, show a picture of a guy giving a gal a gift.
  7. Christmas Shopping Cart & GiftsShowcase your best gift-giving ideas on your website or social networks. Like, “gifts for men”, “gifts for kids”, “gifts for women”, etc. Create a board on Pinterest for each category. Then, pin pictures from your website there.
  8. Do some fun videos. Like I mentioned above, videos and any animations are more eye-catching than still photographs and graphics. Have fun. First, not all videos need to be professionally done. Second, use your phone or tablet to record impromptu, casual videos with greetings and messages. Third, upload them everywhere: YouTube, Instagram Stories, IGTV, Facebook, TikTok & LinkedIn. In addition, embed them in your blog.
  9. Make sure to cover all the holidays! It’s not just Christmas! There’s Hanukkah and Kwanzaa, too. Also, what about New Years? You may want to change cover graphics to celebrate the new year.
  10. Budget some ad spending dollars. Face it, you might just have to spend some money to increase your reach. Moreover, what’s nice about social media advertising, is that with just a little investment, you can reach a lot of people. Furthermore, you can specifically target your audience. Again, look at your competition. How are you going to stand-out? How are you going to reach that gift-giver? Additionally, Facebook offers free advertising advice for Facebook, Messenger and Instagram.

You only have 2 seconds to catch someone’s attention online these days!

Need some guidance? Let’s start with a free 15-minute phone consult and we can talk about your goals for the season. Click here to schedule one today!

Social Media 1:1 coaching & training

Want to do it yourself? Then here is the step-by-step guide that you need. Available on Amazon Kindle!

Special note for ecommerce businesses using Shopify.

I understand that they’ve discontinued their tech support. That is not good! I recommend that if you’re on Shopify, move elsewhere. Before you go, do some research, read reviews and make sure they offer 24/7 tech support!

Related: How the COVID-19 Pandemic has affected the Supply Chain

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