As of this Thursday, we will be eleven weeks out from Thanksgiving. And as much as I like turkey with stuffing, cranberry sauce, and pumpkin pie, for eCommerce merchants it means that we are eleven weeks away from Cyber Monday 2017.
If you have a physical store too – and a lot of us do – then you may be marking your calendar for both Black Friday AND Cyber Monday. But the point is, the busiest shopping season is going to be here super-fast. If you are smart, you’ve already ordered most of your holiday inventory.
The time is now … right now … to get your Shopify holiday marketing in place
If you have a marketing “team” and a sizable marketing budget, bless you … go forth and market. But you may want to read this entire post anyway because we LOVE to find proven ways to market for free or at a great ROI. Not just during the holidays, but all year long our motto is “bang for the buck.” And sure enough, there are some real-deal practical things that you can do right now to transform your marketing that will make a real difference in your sales and bottom line this season. And true to our holiday-loving practical nature, each one is straight forward, doable, and a relative marketing bargain.
Let’s get to it people!
Remarketing / Retargeting Campaigns Are Awesome for Holiday Shopping
It doesn’t matter if they are celebrating Christmas, Chanukah, Kwanza, Ramadan, the Solstice, or any other holiday to be named later – people freak out during the holidays. They are going to be searching the web in a desperate effort to find gifts while trying to remember Aunt Enda’s favorite color and if their co-worker is allergic to wool. In the middle of all this, they will arrive at your Shopify eCommerce website.
Potential customers will find your site by referrals, ads, email, SEO or any number of other ways. No matter how they got to your site, it will have cost you something to get them there. But in the frenzy to get their holiday shopping done they will “click around.” They will visit several sites and view several products. It can be VERY easy for customers to get confused and forget exactly which site they saw that perfect gift for uncle Bob on. Additionally, in a rush, customers might accidentally abandon their shopping carts before the sale is complete. Happens all the time, right?
That’s why retargeting campaigns – which are powerful all year long – are super-powerful during the holidays. With a retargeting campaign, if a customer visits your site they are tagged with a tracking pixel. You can then set your retargeting campaign to show them ads that remind them of the item that they looked at on your site. It really is just that cool.
But it gets better. If a customer abandons their shopping cart, the retargeting campaign can be set to remind them that the sale is not completed. And this happens when they are looking AT OTHER PEOPLE’S WEBSITES. While they are searching for other gifts and reading articles, your ads will remind them of what they looked at or wanted to buy on your site. And if you set up different retargeting ads for customers that completed a purchase, you could leverage that one customer into even more sales as the holiday season rolls on – everyone needs last minute gift ideas, right?
In short, the more time your site visitors and customers spend online, the more they see your particular offers.
When a customer clicks on your retargeting ads, it can cost you anywhere from $0.25 to $2 depending on your service and the plan you choose. But remember – these are customers that have already been to your site and looked at products or started a shopping cart. If they see that ad and click on it, the odds of a sale conversion are better than just about anything else out there.
Retargeting pixels work great in Shopify stores and they can be set up quickly. We help customers do it every day. Let us know if you have any questions. If you haven’t used retargeting ads before, the holidays are the perfect time to try it out.
Email, Email, Email
From November through December people get bombarded with email offers. But email marketing is still one of the most valuable ways to generate traffic and sales. Here's how to maximize it during the holiday season.
If you already do email marketing, great. During the holidays, do more. Yes, it can seem annoying sometimes. But your emails will not be annoying if:
- Your emails contain real deals, discount codes, and limited time offers.
- Your emails are fun and entertaining.
- Each email includes a holiday tip or fun fact in addition to the products you are selling.
This is the time to be creative and stand out from all the other emails coming in. But here’s the rub. It’s the holidays and you are going to be really busy yourself. Create a holiday season email marketing calendar that shows each day and time that you are going to email your list and what the product and offer are going to be. Then start creating the email campaigns in advance. This will give you time to think up clever offers, find holiday themed stock art, and plan your discounts.
If inventory or conditions change as the season progresses, you can always change the offers or products in the emails. But if you organize your email marketing now and get a jump on it, tweaking them and sending them out will only take a few minutes and you’ll be far less stressed. Most importantly, all your marketing emails will go out as planned.
Holiday Season is Deal Season
People love deals every day of the year. But during the holidays, customers are ADDICTED to deals. Create your deals and tie them into your email and retargeting campaigns. Here's one template that's a good way to start.
From Thanksgiving week through Christmas there are five weeks. Schedule a “deal of the week” and build urgency with an expiration date for each one. Tuesday is normally one of the best days to send out emails, and this holiday season it is perfect because of where the holiday dates land. That means that for 2017, send those Deals of the Week emails on:
- November 21st (just before Thanksgiving and Cyber Monday)
- November 28th
- December 5th
- December 12th
- December 19th
As a kicker, create two after-Christmas Sale emails and send them on Monday, December 27th and on Wednesday, December 29th. And I normally recommend sending emails to arrive at 9:15 AM customer time – I have my reasons and there is some science behind that … maybe that’s a topic for a future blog post.
That's only seven emails. You can do that! Get them pre-written and set up in your email marketing app and set reminders for yourself to check them before you send them out. Your holiday email marketing was never so easy!
And when you are crafting your Deals of the Week, remember that deals are not just about price. Sure, a big 30% Off banner is great. But sometimes bundling items to create complete collections or kits ... or applying discounted shipping offers can perform magic too. No matter what kinds of deals you put together, make sure that you track the clicks and conversions to discover what combination works best with your target customers. Which brings us to one of our favorite holiday deals ….
Gift With Purchase
One of the more effective “deals” during the holidays is the Gift With Purchase. Swiss Colony does a great job of using “gift with purchase” to trigger holiday sales. They use it in their mailings and their online catalog. And they use it to cash in at Christmas. It works like this … you buy a gift and get a little something extra on the side for free. And who doesn’t like that? The customer can keep the bonus for themself or use it as another “emergency gift.”
I used to see this work all the time on other people. And then one day I noticed that it worked like a charm on me too when I was buying a new pair of headphones. They were very expensive and I was putting off spending the cash. Then I got the email that said if I bought those premium headphones I had been admiring online, I would get a free hard-shell carrying case for a limited time.
It was only a few hours later – after I had made the purchase – that I realized how powerful that kind of offer is.
One of the side benefits of using the Gift With Purchase deal is that you do not get customers hooked on discounting. The core value of your merchandise retains its perceived valuable price point, but the customer still perceives that they are getting a great deal. This kind of offer is used to great effect with consumables such as cosmetics, personal care products, and specialty food items. And if your Gift With Purchase is a consumable, that gift can be a sample of something that you sell all year long. So your Gift With Purchase incentivizes the sale now AND becomes a leader to regular purchases all year long.
During the Holidays, Shipping is King
Rule #1 – if you offer free or steeply discounted shipping, shout it from the rooftops. People hate to pay for shipping these days. If shipping is your core strength, you have a big, built-in advantage and you should use it as a big part of your holiday marketing.
And shipping is a great way to package a super-attractive deal as the holidays get closer and closer. Consider that instead of discounting merchandise, offer free rush shipping instead. When the calendar is grinding away, sometimes shipping matters even more than price. When it’s late December, if you can get that Star Wars Jedi Action Figure to my nephew in time for Christmas, you are my hero and I am not going to quibble about the price quite as much.
Start Right Now
All these holiday marketing strategies have been proven to be effective time and again. And the best part is that Shopify stores can implement these kinds of promotions cost effectively. But the key is to start now … right now … to get your plan in place before the action starts.
Like always, if you need any help or have any questions, send us a note. We’d be happy to help.
Thanks for reading!