5 Digital Marketing Holiday Prep Tips to Make This Season a Success
by Adam Nelson
It's already September and that means the holiday shopping season is just around the corner. So far, 2020 has shaken things up a considerable amount in the e-commerce world and chances are, your business has been impacted in some way. It's next to impossible to predict what comes next, but the consensus is that it will be a much busier holiday season than usual for online retailers as more shoppers opt to purchase online rather than risk unnecessary trips to brick and mortar stores. The following is a short checklist of things to remember as you prepare for the 4th quarter rush.
1. Strategize, But Stay Flexible
Having a thorough strategy in place across your digital efforts is particularly critical during the holiday season, but remember to keep your plan flexible. This year more than ever, there is a lot of uncertainty as we move into Q4. More customers moving to online shopping means new audience segments, some of which will be new to your business. Inherent with this is a lack of performance data on these new audiences, so maintaining the flexibility to move efforts (and budget) to better performing channels or campaigns will be necessary for those looking to thrive this season. In addition, experts agree that demand will spike earlier in the holiday season this year, so it is important to have a quarterly budget that is fluid across weeks/months to accommodate these changes.
2. Finalize Your Promotions
The sooner you plan the details of your holiday sales or promotions, the better. Too often we find that promos aren't finalized until shortly before they go live, which tends to result in a lack of cohesion across marketing efforts. Developing content takes time, so make sure your teams have enough of it to properly showcase any sales or promotions across their respective channels.
The majority of my daily activities involve managing paid search campaigns on Google. Implementing promotion extensions or updating ad copy to highlight current promotions almost inevitably leads to an increase in click-thru rates and comes at zero additional cost to advertisers. Google is very particular about what it approves for promotions, particularly when it comes to Shopping ads. As a result, we often end up submitting them for approval two or three times before they are given the green light, with each review process taking a few days on Google's part. By ensuring we have all promotions set up and approved well in advance of their actual start dates, we prevent the possibility of missing out on those incremental clicks during the time when your customers are most likely to buy.
3. Determine Shipping Cut Off Dates
A good way to turn a new customer into a one-time customer is by having them receive a gift order after the holiday. Often this is out of your hands as an e-commerce retailer and a result of shipping delays, so the best way to prevent this is to plan accordingly. Assuming online sales grow to the highest levels ever as projected this holiday season, you can count on there being more carrier delays than ever. Once you set your date(s) for various shipping method cutoffs, make sure it is clearly visible on the site to avoid any potential confusion.
4. Adjust Automation Targets
This one is more paid media-specific, but with the increase in automation on various ad-serving platforms it's a good idea to assess your targets to make sure your efforts are ramped up as soon as the holiday traffic starts to hit. Various bidding strategies on different platforms use recent data to determine conversion rates and how to bid for ad placement to make sure you are remaining near your target goal. That said, as holiday traffic to your site increases, it can take up to a couple of weeks before spend increases to capitalize on the increased conversion rates, leaving missed sales on the table. On the opposite end of this, it can also lead to inefficient spend for a period of time after the holiday rush. Adjust your bidding targets on your paid campaigns accordingly to get in front of this and make sure you are being aggressive enough to get those incremental sales.
Google Ads now also offers seasonality adjustments, which allows advertisers to specify time frames during which increased conversion rates are likely along with the flexibility to enter expected increases. This gives you is the ability to maintain the profitability of your campaigns before, during, and after the holidays.
5. Have Billing Squared Away
Another point that is specific to paid media efforts is one that might seem obvious, but is still worth reiterating: Make sure your billing info is up-to-date and a backup credit card is on file with any platforms you are using. This includes making sure your expiration date is not during the holiday period, the card has plenty of available balance, etc. A few years back, a Lett Direct client had an issue with a Google payment being denied by their credit card on Black Friday. Luckily, we were able to resolve the issue fairly quickly, but on a day such as this, they stakes are much higher and minutes down equates to sales lost.
This list is by no means all-encompassing, but hopefully provides an added reminder of some of what it will take to make the 2020 holiday season a profitable one for your business. To learn how Lett Direct can help, give us a call at 231.753.8046 or drop us a line today!