5 Strategies to Boost Your Holiday Marketing Program
Here's what companies contended with in the 2013 holiday shopping season: Average order value and items per sale hit a new peak, buoyed by a surge in mobile shopping. However, consumer attention wavered and a higher cart abandonment rate helped depress conversions.
If you're looking for tips to get more out of your holiday program, or if you think it might have some potential weaknesses, below I've highlighted five common mistakes with strategies to correct them. Each includes a tactic you can integrate into campaigns and content to make your marketing program more successful.
1. Close the smartphone gap. IBM predicts that mobile will drive 20 percent of online sales and more than 43 percent of site traffic this November. See the problem? People browse on smartphones but buy on tablets and desktops.
No matter how mobile friendly your emails are, a website with cluttered pages and complex forms can turn a shopper into another abandonment statistic. Streamline landing pages to align with email calls to action and find ways to reduce the barriers to browsing and buying.
Try this tactic: Add a one-click pay service such as PayPal, a click-to-call link to your customer support, a guest checkout or a "Save for Later" button that triggers a "come back" email.
2. Do everything you can to take the friction out of holiday shopping. Holiday shoppers have different needs, priorities and concerns. Adapt your website's content and navigation to help consumers browse, buy and get help as easily as possible.
Try this tactic: Send a heads-up email with crucial seasonal information (and links) — e.g., changes in email frequency, seasonal shipping schedules, store locations, extended store or customer service hours, gift card information, return policies, etc.
3. Take an omnichannel approach. You and your customers are connecting in multiple ways today — in-store, via emails, on your website, via social networks and mobile apps, call centers, etc.
Ideally, you'd integrate your customers’ actions and preferences across all channels, but we might be too far into the season to engineer that. So, add it to your 2015 "to do" list and look for content and functions you can add to marketing channels now to engage more customers.
Try this tactic: Cross-promote content across channels. For example, use your social channels to propagate email offers and promote your app, or add email offers and social links to your app.
4. Test and tweak now. You don't want to find out in November that your transactional emails aren't launching on schedule or that iOS 8 broke a key feature of your app. Take time now to audit all of your forms and processes and to test emails, SMS messages and integrations with add-on services such as remarketing, recommendation and e-commerce engines.
Try this tactic: Ask friends and family to test your systems (e.g., email opt-in, mobile app downloading/installation, checkout process, cart or browse abandonment, etc.) and report on their experiences.
5. Keep new customers coming back after the holidays. You'll be attracting a whole new class of first-time shoppers this season. Now you need to retain them and bring them back to shop again and again instead of once or even once a year. Reach out with a program of special content and offers that entices them back to your site, whether to opt in, create an account/profile, download your app, connect socially, join a loyalty program, or buy again.
Try this tactic: Email or text a "thank you" bonus redeemable after the holiday season to first-time buyers/subscribers.
Loren McDonald is the vice president of industry relations at Silverpop, an IBM company, that is a cloud-based digital marketing provider.