Tricks of the marketing trade

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Making the most of your Christmas marketing budget (Part Two)

Lewis Moulds, content strategist at Hit Search, concludes his guide to boosting online sales this festive season.

PPC and Off Site SEO

When somebody punches a long tail keyword term into Google, it’s fair to assume that they’re looking for a particular product but they haven’t chosen who they’re going to buy it from. They would have visited that store directly or included its name in their search otherwise. The best chance of getting this type of customer's business is to appear as highly in the search results as possible.

If you have a large marketing budget to dip into, PPC will likely do the trick; but most retail terms will be all the more expensive at this time of year, so how do we build a good festive campaign without breaking the bank?

As a retailer, if you’re not in Google Shopping you need to get there as soon as possible. In a way Google Shopping can level the playing field since many listings are presented to the customer on a single page. If you have a nice image and a competitive price, you should generate clicks.

And don’t forget about SEO! An old school link-building campaign will get you on the naughty list, but quality links and PR outreach will still help you to rank. Google knows if you’ve been bad or good, so be good for goodness sake!

One of the problems we encounter fairly regularly in SEO is the desire for a retailer to compete with a rival whose link profile is still a mess but hasn’t yet had a penalty.

It’s important to remember that just because a business hasn’t been punished by Google, doesn’t mean they won’t. Since a pre-Christmas penalty could derail your whole financial plan, it’s best to do things by the book and trust that Google will get around to dealing with those who don’t.

Web Design and CRO

Just because Santa lands his sleigh on the roof doesn’t mean his job is done. He still has to get the toys down the chimney.

All of the tactics above will drive traffic to your site but that doesn’t mean the hard work is over. We have to get that traffic to convert.

Earlier this year, we wrote about the growing importance of CRO to the overall marketing mix and this will also form an important part of our September 30th workshop.

There are a number of ways to improve your site for the benefit of the user and it isn’t too late to get these changes in place before Christmas 2014.

Software like Optimisely allows us to run A/B tests on a feature or page of your site without the costs and development time associated with programming. With Optimisely, we can adjust specific features of a page for a fixed amount of time and collect data on the way this feature performs in comparison to the original page.

Any number of short term changes can be trialled in the coming months; and could help you to improve your Christmas returns for a reasonable cost. Once you know what works and what doesn’t, in 2015, you are equipped with the knowledge you need to permanent improve the site.

In the meantime, here are our Top 3 Tips for Pre-Christmas CRO:

Deliveries and Returns

Is delivery and return information easily accessible on your website? We recommended including quick links to these pages in the footer but it is also important to feature these points on every product page and throughout the checkout process too.

Don’t make a user search for this vital information because they’re likely to simply go elsewhere; and if you’re offering free UK delivery, you want to shout about it on your website.

Abandoned Basket Emails

Has a user added items to their shopping bag but left the site before they were purchased? Entice them back with a friendly reminder email using shopping cart abandonment software.

When a user abandons their basket you can schedule emails to remind them to come back and complete the purchase. You could even offer them an incentive if they do; like a discount code or free delivery.

All a user has to do is click on the link in the email to recover their full shopping cart. Basket abandonment software is quick and easy to set up and most only charge if they earn back revenue.

Upselling and cross-selling

Are you making the most of upsell and cross-sell features? If you’ve been on a retail site, you’ll know what they are.

Most product pages feature boxes entitled “you may also like”, “complete the look” or “customers also bought”. These elements are perfect for recommending other products which are relevant to that user.

You’re still marketing to them once they’re on the site. With Christmas fast approaching, retailers need all the marketing opportunities they can get.

The hard work starts here, but at least it’s not too late to make that hard work pay off.

Read Part One.


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