November brings us into what is typically the busiest time of the year for many businesses! The last couple months of the year bring Black Friday, Shop Small Saturday, and Cyber Monday. When the pandemic hit it also changed shopping habits and amplified online shopping, as many retailers remained closed.
This trend will likely continue in 2021 and your business should be ready handle the influx of customers as well as the changing trends.
1. Have a website
A Facebook Page isn’t enough. If you don’t have a website in 2021 you’re going to be missing out on a huge number of potential customers! Customers are increasingly researching products and deals online. If you don’t have a responsive website, you won’t even be a part of those conversations and discussions.
Make sure your website has your updated hours and any additional procedures they should be aware of due to the pandemic. You should also include all of your Black Friday, Shop Small Saturday, and Cyber Monday deals on your website. Be sure these are listed using text and not an image or linked PDF, as Google can have trouble indexing those types of media. If Google can’t read it and show it to the appropriate shopper, it’s pointless. These types of media are often difficult to navigate on mobile devices as well, which is where the majority of shoppers are searching.
2. Consider deals and promotions
Consumers are looking for the best deal. The internet has made it extremely easy to research who has the best ones in a larger geographic area, before they even leave their home. A special deal or promotion could make your business more competitive with others. Consider a discount, giving a special gift to the first x number of shoppers, or something similar.
3. Make sure hours of operations and COVID-19 safety guidelines are defined
We already discussed this a bit with your website, but I think it’s important enough to mention again. Ensure your website has accurate and up-to-date information. Double check your address (if you’ve moved recently), hours of operation, and contact information. Test your contact forms and ensure they’re working as expected. If a customer can’t get a quick response, they will move on. Having inaccurate information could cost you big in 2021!
4. Update your online directory listings
While you’re checking your website, make sure other online listings have updated information for your business as well. This could include your Google Business Listing, Yelp Business Listing, and other similar business listings online. Google also now allows you to include posts on your business listing on the search engine. Use this to increase the reach of those searching for products or services you sell!
5. Take advantage of digital advertising
Social media gives us unique targeting capabilities that can’t be found anywhere else. It can often give you the most return on your investment due to these very targeted demographic and audience capabilities. Capitalize on this cheap, targeted advertising avenue.
Google Ads are another great example of digital advertising that is highly beneficial for businesses during the holiday season! Google Ads are pay-pay-click. Therefore, you don’t pay unless someone actually clicks on your ad. While social platforms are great for building awareness around your business, product, or service, Google users actually have an intent to already buy when your ad appears. This is important. Because your ad appears based on keywords, they are actually searching for your product or service at the moment your ad appears! That’s huge! And when consumers are researching on Google, you want to appear when your specific keywords are searched for in your area.
6. Send out a mailer
Mail is not dead. Many people are still working from home during the pandemic, making mail an even more important part of your marketing strategy in 2021. Include contact information and details about your deals or promotions. Be sure to include any details about who is eligible and any date ranges that are specific to the sale.
Mailers can come in many different sizes. Using a unique size, can help yours stand out in their inbox! You can also target mailing lists not only by geographic areas, but also household demographics as well. Only want to target households with pets? You can do that.
7. Ensure you have extra staffing
The holidays mean higher demand. Ensure you have extra staffing to handle the higher demand for online orders and to safely meet demand in store during this busier season. You can have an excellent deal and product, but if a customer can’t make the purchase or has a bad experience you can bet they’ll move on to somewhere else. Competition is too great during this time of the year for bad customer service. Keep this in mind when making those schedules!
Many businesses are experiencing a shortage of workers right now. If that’s the case for you, perhaps spreading your deals out over a longer period of time would be more ideal. Many big box retailers have begun to do the same as well to limit the large crowds that typically appear on these days.
8. Take advantage of stories
Stories are one of the most underutilized features by many businesses! Customers love to see behind-the-scenes. Share short clips of your staff putting out the holiday inventory, share special products that will be on sale, and other promos. Don’t worry about these being perfect. Since they will be gone in 24 hours, customers are used to this type of media being less-polished and actually prefer it. Professionally edited videos typically stick out as ‘ads’ and don’t perform as well. This can be an easy and quick way to get the word out about your holiday plans!
9. Use a geofilter
Geofilters are very inexpensive and fairly easy to setup! You can find design specifications on Snapchat. Then, just log into your Snapchat account online, upload your artwork, choose the area it want to be visible in, and complete the purchase.
Placing a geofilter over your location or even a competitor’s location can help spread the word about your promotions and attract additional in-person customers. It’s also a great way for customers to share loyalty to your brand!
10. Ensure consistency across all marketing channels
Make it easy for customers to remember and distinguish your business when they see it. All of your ads, across all mediums, should have the same look and feel. Customers typically have to see your ad multiple times before deciding to make a purchase. This metric is called frequency. You’ll likely see it in your ad insights.
Whether they’re seeing a billboard or a Facebook ad, they should be able to immediately make the connection. This means using the same brand colors, models, fonts (the way the text looks), and logo. This also helps build brand equity that is beneficial after the holiday season is over as well!
Start with these tips and you’ll be well on your way to a successful holiday shopping season and beyond! If you’d like assistance with promoting your Black Friday, Shop Small Saturday, or Cyber Monday sales we’d love to see how we can help. Send us a message or give us a call at (318) 545-2600 and we’ll get the conversation started.