On November 6, we shared a webinar about the most important digital marketing tools to utilize as the year comes to an end. Curtis Warren, Lead Acquisition Manager here at Boostability, shared a lot of tips for businesses who want to take advantage of the holiday shopping season. With 7 years of digital marketing experience, he heads the lead acquisition and email marketing team. Curtis was joined by Greg Sterling, VP of Market Insights at Uberall. With over 20 years of digital media and marketing expertise, Greg writes for Search Engine Land and Marketing Land and is a leader in the space.
Curtis and Greg shared information that will strengthen any small or medium business’ year end marketing plan. In case you missed what their comments, we summarized the most important action items below. If you want the full experience of learning from these experts, click here to listen to the full webinar.
The end of the year always proves to be a strong quarter for retailers as consumers loosen their wallets in preparation for the holidays. However, in 2019 the holiday shopping period is condensed. The late Thanksgiving holiday pushes back the massive sales that draw customers in droves. Given the shorter shopping period, data suggests a big Black Friday and Cyber Monday this year. It also buys time for businesses to prepare their end-of-year marketing strategies. Now is the time to get started!
Here are a few of the actionable items you can implement into your marketing plan as you move into the holiday season.
The #1 thing Curtis and Greg recommend is a fairly simple tool. Update your Google My Business (GMB) profile. Google My Business is a free tool that allows you to communicate directly with customers who are looking for you.
- Make sure your NAP (name, address, and phone number) are correct on their index
- Update your holiday hours
- Answer questions
- Share current pictures of your location or your products
- Respond to reviews
- Post holiday promotions or events
Mobile Online Optimization
In 2018, Google implemented Mobile First Index which prioritizes sites that are optimized for mobile searches. Mobile searches continue to grow in use and 70% of consumers will use a smartphone to shop and buy this season. Most users are shopping from their homes or in a physical store. In the case of the latter, mobile searches help them look for reviews and other information about a product they are considering buying. For this reason, mobile users are an important demographic to communicate with. If your site loads too slowly on mobile devices (more than 3-4 seconds) you could lose that consumer.
Any errors or issues with your website should be addressed ASAP but it can be a large undertaking. Work with your web designer to see what can be done. If this tool is not feasible at the moment, rely more on GMB; it is an easy way to get a mobile friendly profile.
86% of adults use reviews to inform their purchase decisions. Google and Yelp are two of the most reputable sites and they make it easy for businesses to monitor their reviews. Respond to reviews when you can to encourage customer loyalty and mend damaged relationships. If you stay in communication with your customers you will get more leads!
This tool can also help your SEO strategy. Reviews from both resources rank highly in organic search results and can drive more traffic to your website. Don’t be afraid to ask your customers for reviews on Google. Most customers will have great things to say and more reviews means higher search rankings.
Pay-per-click (PPC) Ads
This is a great option for driving quick traffic to your website. PPC visitors are twice as likely to make a purchase as organic visitors because ads allow you to capture the right search intent. It doesn’t hurt that PPC ads put your business at the very top of the search results. If done correctly, there is the potential to have your business show up three times on the first page! Your PPC ad, GMB profile, and organic search result can support and reinforce each other making your business stand out among the competition on the SERP.
Social Media is another way to quickly communicate with customers. Get your message across and convince them that you are their best options. Share promotions, discounts, and events with them.
Paid advertising on social media should be an important aspect of your strategy. Images and videos tend to be more compelling than plain text ads so social media advertising is the perfect way to grow your following. Platforms like Instagram and Facebook have access to consumer data that allows you to target exactly the right potential customers. Advertising on social media is essential for faster growth since Facebook has limited organic social media reach.
Curtis explains that email marketing “continues to be the most successful business marketing tool available.” And he has no doubt that trend will continue through 2020. Greg goes as far to say your email database is one of your biggest assets. The holidays are the perfect time to build up your database by offering exclusive discounts over email. Not only will the discount drive more sales but you will be preparing for long term email marketing goals.
Emails are an ideal tool for your retention efforts. Give your customer the content they are looking for and remind them why they chose you before. Consider creating a holiday gift-giving guide to distribute through email. You can show consumers how you can meet their holiday shopping needs!
Curtis and Greg shared a lot of advice but here are their pro tips for ending 2019 on top.
- Don’t try to do everything! Think about what your objective is and focus on which of the above tools that would benefit you the most. There is always time to use the other tools over the next year
- Create a content calendar. Think strategically about what your business is producing and promote it across several channels (Social Media, GMB, Email, etc.).
- A retained customer is the best customer. Create incentives for them to refer new customers.
- Create a profile on Nextdoor. The app lets you promote deals through hyperlocal radius targeting.