Prepare Your Website to Handle the Holidays
Now that Google is paying more attention to consistent website content injections, if your company engages in eCommerce, you will find that putting up-to-date copy onto your website that is specific to the holiday season is more important than ever in the past. Just remember, the value of solid graphic design can be the key to driving readership to your fabulous content.
Product Placement Testing
One issue that concerns a large number of those who employ a strategic e-marketing plan is where to place promotional banners on their websites. Should they be at the top or on the side? Most testing and heat maps (which indicate the most prominent focal point of a typical web page) conclusively indicate that you get better results at the top of the page. One large company found that the bounce rate was 76% for sidebar promotions versus 60% for those located at the top, all other things being equal.
Naturally, top placement involves positioning the promotional banner immediately above or below the website header. If your website is a fixed template design, you may not be able to relocate the header. In that case, place the promotion as close to the top as possible.
Companies often find when they make significant changes to a web site design that load times increase markedly. It is easy to understand how frustrating it would be to spend a lot of time developing holiday promotional website tools only to find that the increase in load time outweighs the benefits of the promotion. This is one area where professional assistance can be useful. A website that takes longer than 4 seconds to load requires immediate attention.
Load times can also increase for companies who run successful promotions. Word-of-mouth increases website traffic to the point where the website can be negatively impacted or even completely crash. If your customers will not wait for your website to load or it isn’t displayed at all, your fantastic promotion is of little value.
Optimize for Mobile
If your company has not yet developed a mobile app and mobile-specific website, Santa’s workshop may not find you. Here are some statistics that just may win you over:
- Fully one third of consumers are expected to shop equally online and in stores this year.
- A staggering $41.68 billion in mobile U.S. eCommerce is expected for this holiday season, a number that is projected to increase to over $113 billion by 2017.
- Tablet driven purchases are predicted to increase by 87% over last year with smartphone purchasing increasing at a rate of 47%.
Increasingly your customers are using mobile devices to not only find and learn about your company, but also to make a purchase. Mobile consumers are also expecting to find coupons and other promotions as a result of a mobile search. As inexpensive as mobile specific websites have become, it is a clear mistake to ignore them.
As has been the case over the past several years, the No. 1 key to online marketing success is free or discounted shipping. Remember, you will still come out ahead by building the shipping cost into your product price and promoting free delivery. This year Free Shipping Day occurs on Wednesday, December 18. Last year, it was responsible for over $1 billion in sales within that single 24-hour period!
PPC vs. PLA
Anyone who gets to the game late can still get great results with a properly managed pay-per-click program. Those who say, “It doesn’t work” are usually the ones who are guessing at keywords rather than conducting good keyword analysis and PPC testing. Most companies who have been avid proponents of PPC are finding their click through rates increasing with the use of PLAs (product listing ads) that include images versus traditional text advertising.
Finally, be ready early. Last year, all of the top ten online spending days during the holidays occurred before December 15.