The 2013 Holiday season is here! Don’t see the writing on the walls yet? Well, check your Twitter, Facebook or Tumblr or Pinterest to see how the hashtags – holiday, Christmas, Christmas gifts and others are already topping the lists of social mediators. That’s not all, even your least feared competitor online seems to be ahead of you in getting the Christmas lights on for this season. And you? Ready with the Christmas graphics on your website – home page, landing pages, discount offers, holiday gifts inventory? Great. But how do you plan to convey it all to your customers? Is your content holiday ready?
Try the following tweaks in your store’s content to make it ready to shine and sparkle just as your holiday graphics. Don’t worry, we are aware of the Hummingbird update and wouldn’t want to stir any feathers by giving going-holiday-berserk spammy tips. 🙂
1) Spruce up your online content properties – We mean not just the Home Page or the meta tags of category and product pages but all content properties including blogs, social media profiles, newsletters, thank you pages, holiday, gifting landing pages that you may have created. Create interesting banners for the home page with holiday-themed messages and holiday phrases. Use words such as cheer, magic, yuletide and others that can help build an instant connect with people. For this you could also lift up holiday metaphors from the classic delightful tales which never seem to bore or seem overused. Keep the content Exciting, Cheerful & Happy – just like the holidays should be.
2) Be clear & crisp when announcing holiday benefits – Use shorter phrases or less words to announce offers on stores and be very clear in your discount and shipping policies. Do not use confusing terms that can put people off or confuse them further. Be clear with your Coupon Codes and Expiry dates. Have a separate landing page with all the coupons and their corresponding conditions, expiry dates and so on. People are generally short on time during the holidays. So directing them to an all-inclusive discount schedule on your store will certainly help them – especially discount offers that are closely timed such as Black Friday, Cyber Monday. Keep people prepared. Start building the momentum a week before the discounts are to open with Social Media updates and blogs.
Be value-additive with your content; if it is not adding any value to the reader, scrap it. Also, vis-a-vis the Hummingbird update, your content is much more likely to be ranked if it is helpful to the customers. Answers questions such as why, what to buy, get the best tips and so on in your website content.
3) Be blatantly distinct with your call to action – The holiday season is not so much about getting attention as much it is about ‘action’. Make sure you are blatantly distinct with your Call to Actions on every page of different web pages. Make them shorter and more precise for eg. – Click here for Christmas Gifts → Christmas Gifts here. Black Friday, Cyber Monday, Thanksgiving – promote all these using different content styles across all content properties – Blogs, Press releases, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Google+ etc.
4) Be personal & customize your story-selling technique – A lot of eCommerce stores are going to do exactly what you are being advised or something you already know or have implemented. So how can you set your efforts apart? Simple – by being yourself. Be personalized in your messages, aim at developing a connection with your customers and not just selling. And if you do want your sale graphs to go off the charts, then customize the way you are selling your story. Reach out to your end customers the way they’d want to be reached out to without losing or compromising on your brand identity. Tell your customers how you are planning to celebrate holidays. Keep posting personal party preparations, your own wish list, etc and encourage people to do post their own lists on your blogs or social media profiles.
5) Go the extra mile in Newsletters, 404 Error Pages, About Us, Thank You Pages & Messages – Newsletters are your brand’s personal messages to your customers. Experiment with it but do not overdo the Yuletide or underplay it to no effect. Make sure you are not shocking the customer into the “never-again” mode. Shock them pleasantly – Your offers – discounts, express shipping, cheap Christmas gifts, etc. should be accompanied with cheerful wishes for the holidays. Also add appropriate and fun messages on 404 Error pages, Thank you pages, thank you messages and other emails going out from your store.
6) Keep social media updated – It’s very important that your social profiles are also sending out holiday wishes and not just announcing discount offers on your stores. Share interesting facts, holiday related information or anything that can make customers happy. Mix up your promotional updates with non-brand related ones. Keep the excitement alive and don’t shy away from sharing what other brands are doing right.
7) Be holiday friendly in your ad copies too 1) Your ads rank for holiday related keywords and phrases. 2) You get holiday traffic
8) Build On the connection with proactiveness – Make sure every post-purchase email or message you send out encourages users to stay in touch with you on your social media profiles or leave reviews for you. People will most definitely pass on writing reviews during the holiday gifting season. Give them incentives to write reviews for benefits during the post-holiday season. Similarly, encourage them to sign up for newsletters as well. Remember your store may not get as much exposure in any other season than the holidays, so convert this connection into an all-seasons association. You can do this by making a killer impression on new customers with an unmatchable buying experience or surprising your existing base with a fantastic customer service and giving them sufficient choices and variety.
9) Keep the surprises & spirits Up – Nothing makes people more happy than surprises especially during the holidays. Come up with surprise blogs, content blasts – guides, eBooks and extra freebies that will make your customers happier than they already were!
10) Don’t fizzle out as the holidays end– Anybody in the industry knows how fragile is the holiday blast bubble. It pops out sometimes even sooner than the last holiday shipment out for delivery is received. So ensure that the post-holiday season is relaxed but not dull or abhorring to your customers. The transition from the enthusiastic holiday spirit back to the routine should be subtle and not abrupt. Slowly and steadily shift the gear back to your non-christmassy avatar. People are relaxing after a chaotic holiday but that doesn’t mean they expect you to be boring or under the winter gloom. You can tone down the holiday effect a bit but don’t completely fade out with boring content or themes. Keep customers engaged with content related to the New Year or Upcoming events such as the Valentines or Spring Season.
Holidays are a great time to make yourself known, connect and pull yourself out of a stuck up routine. So shake things up, reinvent your store’s personality. The latest Hummingbird algorithm update has again reinforced that our content should make more sense to human beings than to keyword-sensitive bots. So aim toward building relationships with impressive copies on your website.
P.S – We are in mid-October right now and if you start today itself, you can expect to get some peachy part of the pie. Many stores start preparing for the holidays in late August or early September; relatively you may be late but yet are much better off starting now than not having tried at all!
Have a wonderful holiday season everyone!