Many online retailers rely upon holiday sales to boost profits, and these simple online marketing strategies can help retailers increase website traffic and sales. While these five online marketing tasks may seem deceptively simple, it’s amazing how many people skip them in the rush to get ready for holiday sales. Take a moment now and make sure each of the steps are in place to maximize profits from online marketing strategies this holiday season.
Check Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
Is the website coming up in major search engines? Check search engine optimization (SEO). Look up keywords, and review website optimization strategies. One way to find clues as to how customers are finding the website is to review website traffic logs and review key terms and phrases customers are using to find the business. This helps identify how customers view products and words they use- rather than the company chooses- to seek products. Building search engine optimization strategies around customer inputs usually helps companies improve online marketing by leaps and bounds.
Add Affiliate Programs and Networks
It may make sense to add affiliate programs and affiliate networks to existing websites to maximize every bit of profit potential from site visitors. Amazon books, toys, home and garden items and much more are all available as affiliate programs. If it makes sense, look into affiliate programs and add them to an existing website.
Improve Cross-Selling and Up Selling Opportunities
Cross selling and up selling are two important marketing strategies often overlooked by online marketing teams and internet retailers. Cross selling refers to the technique of showcasing related products when customers view products on an ecommerce site. One example of this is Bedford Fair, a woman’s clothing company. After viewing a product, another related product appears in the sidebar. Search for skirts, and blouses appear that may match the skirt.
Up selling refers to the technique of recommending a more upscale product. An appliance seller may show pictures of $75 blenders after customers view $25 blenders, along with the more expensive blender’s special features and enhancements. In both cases, the idea is to increase the average dollar order so that the retailer’s cost per acquisition number goes down. Check to see if the website under scrutiny provides either cross selling or up selling opportunities, and if not, investigate consultants, companies and software that may transform more basic online retail applications into sophisticated ecommerce platforms.
Decorate Websites for the Holidays
Be sure the website is decorated for the holidays too with special graphics, enhancements, color changes or welcome text reflecting the seasons. Mark the calendar now with a date when such copy and graphics will be replaced, too, or run the risk of having the online equivalent of the family who leaves their Christmas lights up and on until Easter!
Think About Offering Free Shipping, Gift Wrapping, and Perks
Free shipping offers frequently encourage customers to try a new website or take a chance and order a product. They may provide substantial savings, too, as shipping prices have gone up over time. Gift wrapping doesn’t add much to the cost per order, yet it is one more service customers may appreciate. It’s also a good idea to specify now any last minute shopping deadlines, overnight shipping for those last minute shoppers, free gift with purchases, or shopping clubs and other perks.
Strategic Web Site Design For Success
The website strategy should first consider how the site fits within the organization’s overall business practices. For small businesses, the website plan will fall under marketing and operations in the business plan. For non-profit social service organizations, the website plan may fit under community relations and fundraising.
Communications professionals should lead the planning of an organizational website as the strategic communications skills can focus on defining objectives and applying a creative, inclusive process to deliver a site that engages key audiences.
Design a Website With Purpose
To start, the purpose of the site should be defined by reviewing the reasons for bringing the organization online. These reasons can include a need to decrease costs, improve community relations and public relations, sell products directly from the site or to increase sales.
Next, define communications objectives for the site. If the intention is to increase sales by generating sales leads, identify how many calls or emails created by the website would be considered success.
Objectives related to improving public relations may include defining the improved tone and messages of media coverage garnered through the website.
Work With Good Website Designers to Develop Guide
The next task in developing a website is to create a style guide that addresses the look and feel. Work with experienced website designers to brainstorm content for a guide that should include the domain name of the site. Other style questions to consider include:
- What content should be included to achieve objectives?
- Is the site intended to be simply a web presence, similar to an online brochure?
- Is e-commerce needed to allow customers to buy products?
- What colors, photographs and graphics will be used consistently to allow the website to be strong, clear and readable?
- What fonts will be used?
- How will customers interact with the organization using the website? Is there a section for customer inquiries or complaints?
- Is the organization local or global? The website will need to be translated if all or parts of it need to appeal to people or cultures in other parts of the world.
- How can the website development and management be included as part of a communications operating budget?
- Will the site run from the organization’s internet service provider, server or outsourced to a web hosting company?
- How can you use social media to create site interactivity?
Effective Business Communications Uses Website Design as a Strategy
Next, create a site map by drawing a box representing the home page near the top of a page. Create a box under the home page for each major section (products, FAQ, search, contact, etc.). Draw lines between the boxes and the home page to indicate how each should be linked. Think about how these navigational elements relate to your business communications strategy.
Under each section, add boxes for additional pages and lines from those boxes to the section box. Continue creating boxes to represent web pages and drawing lines to connect them to other pages. When complete, this site map should contain each page on the website.
It is also important to consider how the website will be kept updated. Ideally, the site becomes part of one or two people’s jobs with periods of daily work time devoted to its upkeep using the website plan as a key guide.
Creating an effective website takes good planning. When a communications professional is tasked to produce a website, think about how best to mount a phase one of the site based on solid communications objectives and planning.