It's now November and the number of e-mails I am getting asking for guidance on how to increase sales has gone through the roof. Whilst it may today be a little too late to impact your long term SEO for this year's season, I do have 25 really simply tips for boosting your sales this Christmas season.
- Make Your Homepage Christmas Focused - think about how Amazon and eBay each year tweak their styling and change the categories across the homepage to be more focused on gift giving or christmas decorations. They do it for all kinds of seasons, it really works.
- Tweak Your Design to Be Season Focused - Add a few baubles and flourishes around your website, maybe change your colours to be seasonal but in-keeping with your brand. Add to the vibe that you are ready for the season, make users trust you.
- Add a Countdown! - I cant tell you how much this will really increase your sales. Start with a countdown to the end of an offer in a category, then your last shipping day, then have the countdown space show an URGENT SHIPPING option (yes they will pay more for last minute shipping, be prepared).
- Create Curated Gift Lists - Most humans are lazy. We search for gift ideas for him, and gift ideas for her - Take a look amazon have a ton set up - or the best subscription coffee services as an example. Your lists should be segments of your audience, you can create as many as you want, and you don't need to just do one list per segment - you can do multiple lists big breaking up your audience segment or looking at price range.
- Focus Your Blog on The Christmas Season - From the start of November until Christmas Day you should be focused only on talking about the season, showing your best products, your curated lists and perhaps promoting features of your site - emails newsletters and wishlists - it's your chance to showcase and promote, but don't be too spammy.
- Increase Customer Reviews - Customer reviews are basically testimonials for the product you sell and the service you have given. If you can increase your reviews you should increase your sales too - and they don't just need to be on your website. See if you can get reviews on other sites too, such as on your Google business listing or your Facebook page.
- Create a WishList functionality - if you've not already got a wishlist system in place it's a really handy way to ensure users can store ideas of products they want & you have. If set up well, you can even prompt them to come back every now and then for those products - or possibly by default sign them up to your email newsletter.
- Create Holiday Sale Bundles & Upsells - This is often overlooked, but if you can swap your upsells and bundles products you should. Think of how Amazon says "others also bought" and then says "buy all three for X" you should be doing the same but twisted towards Christmas. It may be that you can't do that but maybe you can add a really simple upsell to your checkout such as a santa keyring that is a real impulse buy that is high margin and helps your bottom line.
- Add an Email Newsletter & AutoResponder - an email newsletter is a great way to promote upcoming sales, special offers, latest news and generally keep your audience loyal to your brand. They don't have to be expensive to implement and if you've already sold some products you may already have permission to send emails to them (triple check how you are setup, don't assume). The easiest option to get sign ups is to add a form to your website (and even facebook) and a cool tool to do this, send your newsletter, integrate to most ecommerce solutions, and set up an auto responder, is MailChimp - it's what we use and it's free for upto 2000 subscribers. yes free. Click here to sign up to mailchimp.
- Add Free Shipping - You may not be able to offer default free shipping, but look at offering free shipping over a certain price level. This will not only entice people - it's something free, or at least that's how they view it - but it will also help them to spend more... imagine your shipping is £4 and you've got 3 things in your basket your really want but it costs £29 the free shipping is at £30 - you aren't going to not buy something even if that something is another £8 or £15 ... It may seem like a way of business loosing money but done right free shipping will help you grow a customer base and help your bottom line.
- Get a Bit Technical - Check you don't have any broken links, missing images and that your SSL certificate is in place (if you don't have one get one). Cover the basics and then if you get time, see if you can start to implement things like microformats for products within your templates - if your technically minded its an hour or twos work, if not employ a dev to do it!
- Update Your Copy - There's nothing more annoying to users or search engines than copy on your homepage or even within products that never changes. On key products and in key locations give it a revamp - you should do this seasonally before hand to really try and boost your search engine power anyhow! also update your title tags and meta descriptions at this point.
- Add an Abandoned Cart System - It's annoying that a large number of people will add something to the basket, even get to the point of adding an email and not checkout. Thats where an abandoned cart system comes into play. Do your research they don't have to be expensive and can just be a plugin added to your site. My advice is have a 2 hr / 24 hr and 1 week email set.
- Offer a Free Gift when Customers Spend X - If you are in the UK you will have seen the Argos adverts at Christmas where if you spend £50 you get a £5 voucher and if you spend £100 you get £10 voucher ... they make a big play on it. Not because it's nice for you as a customer, but because ultimately it increases sales and footfall. The vouchers can't be used in that purchase and so mean a customer has to come back or the voucher is passed on (in this case), so what you are giving a discount on a purchase but if you are collecting that users details and inspiring loyalty to your brand it won't just be once they are coming back, but again and again.
- Get Really Social (Media) - Schedule posts with amazing graphics (use canva) and really make the most both of your blog content, product content and non-site content. My advice is to look to a tool such as MeetEdgar to do this, its a bit expensive so also look at Buffer - it's a bit less feature rich but really cool too. The important thing is to be really responsive when people tweet you questions and and engage with you, your brand should be a personality and not an ignorant buffoon.
Want to Learn More?
There are a ton of articles on this site about how to market online over the festive period and through the year. However, I want to share 3 books with you, available on Amazon, which are designed for those of you with small businesses, are just starting out, are really looking to Grow Today. These are all £10 or less, so the perfect gift to yourself ;)
If you've got any questions about how to improve your sites sales over the festive period, leave a comment below or contact us by the usual means.