Small businesses have to go the extra mile to bring in Christmas sales. Here are some smart ways to market online that can give you the edge over your competitors this holiday season

  1.  Researching your competitors: Check out your competitors websites. See what they are doing and use that to gain a competitive advantage. Doing a simple search for the keywords that your customers are likely to search will reveal what they are likely to see. You are in a much better position to compete if you know what you're up against.
  2. Marketing by email: Sending out holiday emails to announce promotional offers to loyal customers makes them feel special and reminds them to return. Early bird discounts can encourage people to spend their holiday budget with you before they commit to purchases elsewhere. Following up with emails recommending other products that work well that they have just purchased can lead to additional sales.
  3. Search Engine Marketing: Creating a holiday campaign landing page with 'gifts' as keywords will help with search engine rankings. Post holiday specific articles that will be helpful for your potential customers such as how to get the best deals, how to avoid the holiday rush, what the hottest products are this year and so on. Ensure that each article uses the keywords that your customers are likely to search for.
  4. Social Media Marketing: Increase your social media efforts by spending time and money to increase your social media presence. Promotions, discounts, gift cards, free gift wrappings, contests and videos are all excellent ways to build a community of fans around your business who will then spread the news to members of their own social network. Loss leaders will drive the people on your social network to visit your site or location. Low cost promo item giveaways with your business contact information will always remind them of you and the excellent service they received by ordering from you.
  5. Easy to use website: Optimizing your web site's usability helps to make sure that people you worked so hard to bring to your site will stay on, look around for longer, increasing the likelihood they purchase something. Pay particular attention to the checkout process, especially if you find a high incidence of shopping cart abandonment.
  6. Make your site mobile friendly: Launching a mobile-optimized version of your website will ensure that you attract mobile customers. Mobile-optimized websites are able to sense when a visitor is using a smaller screen and change the layout of the site so that it is easier to read and navigate on the smaller screen. This is very important since more are more people go online using smart phones.
  7. Include product videos on your site: Shoppers who watch videos of products are more likely to purchase those products. So, interesting videos are not just a way to entertain and inform but also a great way to drive traffic to your site.
  8. Free shipping offer: It is a good feature for online shopping and is considered a primary holiday standard and very important service. In many cases free shipping is what makes the difference in where a shopper chooses to buy.
  9. Display a shipping calendar: A shipping calendar can let your customers know when a purchase will reach them. This will reduce the customer service time spent assuring customers that their purchase will reach them on time. Clearly post your shipping cut off times on your website let customers will know when the latest time is that they can place an order and still receive it by Christmas.
  10. Attracting last minute customers and welcoming returning customers: Help last minute shoppers by providing overnight shipping and other last minute shopping options. Offering daily deals days that go on till the last possible shipping day gives customers who wait till the last minute, ample time to buy from you.
  11. Invest in marketing: Spend more on marketing strategies around the holidays. With every one trying to compete for shoppers who are willing to buy, a well organized marketing strategy can certainly help you stand out. A professional web marketing firm can be your best bet to ensure increased return on investment.
  12. Connect with your customers: Its easy to get lost in a sea of businesses competing for attention. Connecting with your customers by making every contact with them a memorable one, from shopping to shipping to customer service can make a world of difference in customers choosing you over others.
  13. Provide shopping assistance: Offering a toll free number or live chat can certainly make the shopping experience personal and encourage visitors to buy.
  14. Eliminate the perception of risk: Make sure that not only is site secured but also post notices and security certificate emblems to assure customers that your site is safe. Money back guarantees also help drive sales.
  15. Last but most effective: Collect customer data, interpret them and learn from your online campaigns to optimize your long-term success.

These tips will surely help you on your way to a great holiday sales season. Happy Holidays!

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