You’re probably used to a welcome boost as shoppers search for the perfect gift. But are utilizing the holiday marketing opportunities to their full potential? Here are 5 steps to prepare for and attract extra holiday web traffic.
- Perform a web-site “tune-up”
The last thing a stressed, last minute shopper wants is a slow loading website. Believe it or not , every second counts – in fact a delay of one second leads to a 7% loss in conversion. Your consumer has plenty of options. If they grow frustrated with the speed of your site, they can simply turn to one of your competitors. Remember that even though it is not in a brick and mortar store, shopping online is still an experience.
There are tools that can help you check your current load speed such as Google’s Page Speed Insights and GT Metrix. They also provide suggestions, which is probably the most helpful part if you are already aware your load times aren’t the best.
It also doesn’t hurt to make sure your server is prepared to deal with the extra traffic – which might mean an upgrade. Even if it seems like a pain to spend more monthly, it will be worth it when your site doesn’t go down on a critical shopping day.
- Boost your SEO
A holiday season means a new influx of buyers who probably don’t usually frequent your site. While hopefully your marketing and advertising channels will help bring people in – a good number of new users will probably simply click on your site because it was the first relevant result that comes up. This means anticipating what people are going to search.
If you have analytics from last year, this is a great place to start because you already know keywords that were popular, and can put greater focus on them in your new content. This is a slow-building race, as it takes to time for the information to crawl in Google results, so don’t wait until the week before to start doing this.
Having a landing page focused specifically on your holiday products and deals will be the easiest place to work in language people might be searching for that wouldn’t make sense elsewhere on your site – such as “Christmas gifts for him”.
Make sure your website doesn’t have any 404, broken links, or incorrect redirects. Use Link Redirect Trace to make sure all of your redirects are working properly, and Screaming Frog to look for 404 errors or broken links. It’s essential for your site to work FLAWLESSLY for both users and Google spiders.
- Add a charitable focus
Christmas is a time where people are in a giving mindset – and not just for family members and friends, but the community around them in general. If your company has a charity whose values they support, Christmas is a great time to form a partnership. Whether it’s donating a certain percentage or taking part in an event, people will be inspired to support you when they see you helping work towards the greater good.
Adding a page about this on your website means people who already support the charity might find you, and it is easy to structure a campaign around this for an extra boost. Just make sure it’s an organization you can truly support and that you know is legitimate.
- Prepare your Security
The most data breaches happen around the holidays. This fact SHOULD scare you, because the loss of a day website’s traffic the weekend before Christmas is likely to affect your bottom line a lot more than a day of downtime in the middle of the summer.
If you don’t know if your website is ready, have an inside or outside IT technician run an audit of your current security system – firewalls, data protection to search for flaws. Ask them to predict common attacks and see if that tactic would work.
Once you are sure your website is safe, help shoppers feel secure. One way to do this investing in SSL authentication. A user can recognize a website that has this because the url will start with “https” instead of “http” and a specialized green lock icon. You can also get a “trust seal” from a source such as Norton to reassure the consumer your site is virus free.
- Have a Strong Mobile Plan
Your mobile website should just get as much attention as your desktop version. Following all the above steps for mobile may look different with condensed pages and images and a different browsing experience. You will also need to take additional security protocols for mobile threats, that differ from desktop ones. This is double the effort but with smartphone shopping so popular, it is essential.
You may even consider investing in a smartphone app if you haven’t already done so. The advantage here is being able to send push notifications to the user. You can alert them of different items going on sale, sales coming to an end, and other special offers. This could help remind a user to finish a transaction who might have got distracted and abandoned their cart.
It might feel tempting to rely on the natural influx of shoppers for the holiday season. But every one of your competitors is expecting extra traffic too – so make sure your company’s website stands out! Putting the pieces together in advance for a successful digital holiday marketing plan means less stress when the extra users start to flow in. Make this season a merry one not just for your shoppers, but for your company as well.