Are you looking to market for the holidays this year?
in a 18% Globally, online shopping accounts for an increasing proportion of retail sales and is expected to increase.
Whether you’re already selling online or using digital marketing to increase in-store sales, you’ll want to avoid these 14 marketing mistakes that can cost you online visibility, customers, and revenue.
1. Use your standard website instead of landing pages
Direct consumers to the most relevant pages of your site and highlight your offer. but how?
Make good use of targeted landing pages to attract customers with specific offers around that holiday.
No one has the time or ability to redesign a large portion of their site but using landing pages keeps content fresh, timely and relevant while keeping design and development light.
Some tips to get started:
- Keep the design consistent with the larger site.
- Include holiday offers on your homepage or banner in addition to your landing page.
- Include links or return to the main site if users do not find the intended offer or service.
2. Leave it up to the last minute to review the sales funnel and checkout process
Are you confident that your customer experience is the best it can be? Are you willing to bet on your holiday growth goals?
When considering holiday marketing, it’s essential to walk through the sales process from start to finish as if you were a new customer (as many probably are).
See where there are gaps in the conversion process or where payment friction can be reduced. For example, is your site’s search or main navigation easy to use to find what you’re looking for?
Verify that all parts of the checkout process work quickly and efficiently on both the desktop and mobile versions of your site. You will need to complete this prior to the holiday promotional period so that any changes or updates can be made and tested prior to launch.
If SEO is a major priority for your launch, plan for the months ahead so that your pages show up in search results when customers search for them (ideally 6-8 months out, but it’s never too late to start now).
3. Not optimizing your mobile site
Mobile accessibility is important for marketing, especially during busy shopping periods.
Holiday shopping is shopping on the go for many consumers, and e-commerce sales are expected to be the least 50% on mobile in 2021 for the first time ever. Good mobile experiences are also likely to boost site conversion rates.
As we all are aware that Google prioritizes ranking for mobile optimized sites. In short, make sure your mobile experience is just as good as your customers’ desktop experience.
4. Ignoring voice search optimization opportunities
Voice search may not be the industry earthquake that was expected, but that doesn’t mean it should be ignored. This is especially true of major categories in entertainment, such as recipes, which are a hot category during any holiday season.
It’s still important to think about how you can optimize your site or product pages for Alexa, Siri, and Google Home.
Answer questions about product usage and FAQs that can become feature snippets by applying the right kind of structured data and fully answer user queries in a natural way that can be thought of to get sound results.
5. Not preparing your site for an influx of traffic
Your website needs to load before potential customers lose interest in it. Do this by making sure that your servers can handle higher than normal levels of web traffic when you start selling or promoting.
Ideally, there should be little or no impact of increasing traffic on customers using your site by:
- Consider the possibility of a “failover” site, which is a backup server site that can handle the traffic if you can’t connect to the host if your site goes down.
- Confirm that your payment processor can handle a large number of orders in a short period of time.
- Check with your merchant services before the holiday to see how the system works under these conditions and what their backup options are, or what other integration methods they offer to help spread some of the checkout burden.
6. Assuming all of your clients celebrate the same big holidays
This slip is generally intended for the year-end holidays. In short, don’t just focus on the big holidays like Christmas and Thanksgiving.
Not all of your customers will celebrate these holidays, so keep messaging toward that fact.
Plus, if you have an international audience, you’ll want to do more internal screening throughout the year for well-intentioned mass emails around US holidays. (eg Mother’s Day in the UK is in March vs. May in the US)
The competition in the e-commerce market is real between Black Friday/Cyber Monday and New Year’s Eve.
Also consider the impact that small, related holidays might have on your brand. It probably doesn’t make sense to celebrate World Gin Day for the vast majority of businesses, unless, of course, you’re a gin-based distillery. In this case, you can do without a “holiday” in which no one else has a voice and set and present your brand in a fun and fresh way.
Small Business Saturday, Green Monday, Giving Tuesday, and Free Shipping Day are good opportunities to market on other holidays that are not associated with a religious or federal holiday.
7. Invoking “Guilt Marketing”
You will probably sell more products, but is it worth the long-term cost to your brand? Nobody wants to buy a brand that makes them feel bad.
In general, you’ll want to focus on the good things about your products or services rather than making customers feel guilty about buying them. There is also potential for increased revenue after the holiday if customers are only sold at a cheaper price or a guilt-ridden letter.
Instead, focus on your unique selling proposition, why your product stands out, and how it makes a customer’s life better. Focus on improving their situation and not on how they let things get to this point.
Ultimately, the customer’s problem is your brand’s solution. Count on this rather than feeling guilty.
8. Not enough inventory/stock
Consumers love your products, and the holidays give them increased incentive to buy. Don’t limit sales by low pelleting inventory.
Common customer frustration stems from the inability to obtain highly promoted products. Anticipate demand based on previous sales and replenish stock/inventory levels accordingly ahead of time.
Running out of some stock will be inevitable, but do what you can to prevent that from your most popular items and inform customers of low stock.
9. Understaffed in customer service
Consumers expect to be able to resolve a problem quickly, particularly through chat functions on the web and social media. Are you trying to get ahead of the customer experience?
Start with these tips:
- Create FAQ pages Easily accessible from your cart/checkout and all landing pages. These should answer basic questions about shipping and checkout processes, and help reduce the need for employees to answer questions in real time.
- Consider the live chat feature During key promotional periods to answer customer questions quickly rather than relying on live phone or email support. (You can also pre-program responses to frequently asked questions in the live chat software for ongoing customer service when your team is offline!)
- Monitor social media sharing For any questions left there. Potential customers may ask questions as a comment on Facebook or Instagram instead of messaging the brand directly. Make sure to scan daily to try not to leave customers (and sales) waiting.
10. Non-compliance with delivery dates
The quickest way to frustrate customers is to promise a delivery time, especially one that guarantees delivery on heavy holidays, and then fail to arrive on time.
Particularly around holidays when items are ordered by a deadline, be upfront with customers about expected shipping and delivery times, even if they are unfavorable.
It’s better to set expectations and meet expectations than to leave them angrily wondering why their gift didn’t arrive on time.
If possible, create a real-time shipping estimate at checkout that allows customers to check their shipping history based on their location and shipment type.
Especially on busy holidays like Christmas, let customers know ahead of time when the latest guaranteed delivery date is, and when it’s too late to order with certainty that it will arrive on time.
11. Miss out on opportunities to upsell or cross sell your products
Brands can benefit from both upselling (encouraging customers to buy an item that is more expensive than their original choice) and cross selling (encouraging customers to buy an additional item in a related category).
This helps increase average order value and exposes customers to a wide range of brand offerings. The most complete product experience helps ensure a happy customer will return for future purchases.
In fact, based on recent survey data, first-time buyers are 27% It will probably go back to your business but that increases to 54% after your second or third purchase.
12. Not setting up retargeting ads
The easiest selling is to customers who are already familiar with your brand and products. Especially those who have already visited your website and expressed interest.
In fact, abandoned shopping carts account for the average 69.57% of e-commerce website visits.
Retargeting ads can help regain some of that lost traffic and extension sales.
Not all shoppers buy right away, even during the holidays. Many prices are compared across competitors, often resulting in abandoned carts or visits without a purchase.
Retargeting ads helps keep your brand and products top of mind and encourages purchase.
13. Spending your digital advertising budget too soon
It can be tempting to load your advertising budget in advance to get ahead of competitors.
The catch is that customers may not be looking to buy yet, and you will have exhausted your budget before you actually need it to compete.
It’s a delicate dance between maximizing your advertising budget when customers compare products versus products that are ready to convert when they buy.
To help spread out your budget, consider higher costs the closer you get to the holiday and think about user buying timelines and what they might pay.
Ad click costs are likely to increase as more retailers bid on these keywords and compete for consumer attention on paid social channels. Monitor ads constantly throughout your campaign and look into targeting long-form keywords that can be high convertors but cost less.
Don’t be afraid to let go of low-performing campaigns to ensure you have a budget for campaigns that are fast paced and converting, ahead of plan.
14. General and non-personal promotions
In an age where consumers expect personalized offers and know marketers collect their data for this very purpose, the public offering feels incomplete and lazy. Not sure where to start?
Try these ideas:
- See what competitors are doing and how you can stand out from them.
- Update your ads frequently, especially for the same products, so your marketing doesn’t become stale and impersonal to your customers.
- Personalize where possible. Email marketing is a great place to start, as you can use the data you have collected from your customers such as name or any demographic information you can use in the email.
- Make shopping recommendations based on your previous purchases.
Holiday marketing is a mainstay for many brands and helps drive sales. Many customers know that they are looking for exciting offers and big discounts, so lowering prices and announcing sales is not enough anymore.
With these tips on holiday marketing mistakes to avoid, you’ll help your brand stand out in a crowded market and avoid mistakes that turn customers away.
- How to create a holiday content strategy
- Holiday Marketing Campaign Checklist: 6 Essentials
- The Complete Guide to Holiday Marketing