It seems like you’ve just seen the first couple Christmas trees go up when suddenly, December’s halfway over and the holidays are charging at you at full speed. Even if you haven’t gotten the chance to spend ample time preparing your online store for the holidays, there’s still a lot you can do to capitalize on this busy season.
From design to email marketing, here are five last-minute ways to optimize your site for the holidays:
1. Update your store design
No holiday season would be complete without sprigs of holly and Santa hats here and there. Not only does this visual holiday cheer get your customers in a festive mood, it alerts them to the special deals you have going on. Since time is short, try looking for sites with free holiday graphics and tweaking them to suit your needs. If you have a bit more design resources, try sprucing up your logo with some holiday imagery, like giving it antlers and a red nose. Don’t forget to also update your homepage with big banners or images calling out your holiday specials, so customers will be alerted to your deals right from the get-go.
2. Update your meta descriptions and title tags
Although SEO changes typically take a long time to make a dent on your page ranking, there are other SEO improvements you can make that will pay off much faster. To make your store stand out, call out the benefits of what you offer in your meta description and title tags. That is, instead of just titling your products “Scarves,” try something like “Scarves – A Great Gift” or “100% Cashmere Scarves” so that the benefits of your product are out in the open and expressed as often as possible.
3. Utilize your social media channels
Your social media channels not only communicate with customers in real time, but can boost your holiday sales as well. Try posting updates about your discounts and holiday specials on your Facebook, Twitter and Google+ pages. Or perhaps share some impressive product images to draw your followers’ attention and entice them to visit your store. You can also run a contest via any of your social media platforms, like a recipe contest on Pinterest or great ideas for your products on Facebook, and use them to give away one of your more popular products to create even more buzz.
4. Capitalize on email marketing
Email marketing brings your holiday specials straight to your customers’ inboxes while bringing your business some high-quality, targeted traffic. Make sure your subject lines are catchy and straight-to-the-point, as well as make sure messages are more personalized and less generic so that they won’t get lost in the crowd. Another tip, especially this close to the holidays, is to send an initial email with a deal, and then later send a follow-up email with a “last chance”-type headline. By repeating the deal and building up the sense of urgency, you’re much more likely to grab your customers’ attention and spur them to act.
5. Show off your security
The holidays bring a flood of sales, but they also bring an increased chance of fraudulent transactions. To get thoroughly prepared for the season’s cyber scrooges, your store’s security should be well publicized to build customer trust. Make sure that any icons that serve as third party validation are visible, like a McAfee SECURE trustmark or your SSL certificate icon. Maybe consider adding text callouts that promote other security features on your site. Ultimately, you’ve made it a point to keep your customers safe, so let them know!
Last minute may not be ideal, but by putting your resources in the right place, you can still set your store up for considerable success. And, if you take notes of how these changes perform or how you’d like to improve them, you’ll be making next year’s preparation that much easier.