Black Friday is the biggest shopping day of the year and conjures images of decorated store windows, packed shopping malls, and families raiding department stores for one-day specials. But Black Friday doesn’t take place only in the world of physical retail. Internet marketing both supports storefront specials and offers an alternative for those who would rather avoid the crowds. Here are five ways you can make sure your online presence fuels your holiday sales—and doesn’t leave you floundering behind your competitors.
- It’s time for a social media blitz: Whether you have 5,000 fans or 500,000, this week is the time to keep them engaged and excited about your holiday specials. As always, the secret to a good social media presence isn’t to advertise, but to socialize: share holiday memes, inspiring messages, funny stories, pretty pictures of the decorations in your store, and shots of cute puppies in Santa hats. But remember that this is the time of year when everyone has shopping on their mind, and make sure you’re offering specials as well. Restaurants should share pictures of the latest specials while retailers should show pictures of the most in-demand toys, gadgets or winter fashions. Offer discounts, mention in-store perks like hot cider, and generally get the excitement up with your brand as the purveyor of holiday cheer.
- It’s too late for organic SEO, but not too late for ads: If you started a smart, content-driven SEO campaign several months ago, chances are good that you already appear higher than your competitors in local searches. But even if you aren’t yet in the top three spots for your niche, you don’t have to miss out on online holiday sales. This is the time of year when it pays to spend on Google AdWords, even on pricey competitive terms. The rates for hot keywords may seem bloated at this time of year, but remember: more of those searchers will follow through with an online purchase than any other time of year.
- It’s actually not too late for SEO: Despite what we said above, there’s a lot of time between now and Christmas and not everyone finishes their shopping on Black Friday (actually, who does?). Plus, any SEO effort you put in today will continue to pay off for future shopping seasons. Make sure you have optimized landing pages for all of your holiday specials and start blogging 2+ times a week. Check out whether you’re facing a penalty from Google and take the steps to fix it.
- Every day is Cyber Monday: The Monday after Thanksgiving is “Cyber Monday,” the widely celebrated day of online shopping specials. While that’s a great marketing term, the reality of online shopping is that it knows no set hours. Your customers will be looking at your products by Black Friday if not sooner (likely even as you read this post). Your online promotions should start immediately, and extending any Cyber Monday specials is only going to help your bottom line. Let your competitors wait for one vaunted day to open their online doors—get ahead of the crowd and steal sales from brick-and-mortar shelves over the weekend.
- Make sure your details are right—everywhere: If you have a brick-and-mortar store, the two most important things for people to know are your location and your hours. That can quickly become a mess online, where outdated information appears in the least-expected places and misleads consumers (and costs you sales). There are four main places you need to check your info: Yelp, Google search results, Google Maps, and on your own website. Check not only that addresses are correct but phone numbers as well, and that hours reflect special holiday hours if any. And yes, your own website is as likely as anywhere else to contain the wrong information—you may have updated the Hours page, but how many other places are your hours listed on your site? Dig deep and make sure everything’s up to date.
There are many ways that good Internet marketing can boost holiday shopping rushes, and these are only a few. What other tips do you have for businesses looking to stand out during the holidays?