Sign up for our daily recaps of the ever-changing search marketing landscape.
Black Friday Is NEXT Week. Is Your Local Business Ready?
The holidays are right around the corner, and columnist Rachel Lindteigen provides helpful advice for how local business can prepare.
It’s hard to believe, but the holidays are upon us. Thanksgiving is less than a week away. Black Friday and Cyber Monday are almost here. Is your website ready?
Did you implement a holiday marketing strategy? Have you checked that everything is in proper working order? If not, now is the time. Before you head to the store to stock up on the last items you’ll need for Thanksgiving dinner, ensure your website is ready to greet your customers.
If your website supports a retail location, double check that all of your store contact information is correct on your social media accounts and more importantly, in the local map directory listings.
Have you updated your listings to include extended holiday hours? Be sure your customers can find this out easily. It’s a bit late to add Schema markup for your store hours and holiday specials now unless you’ve got an on-staff IT person readily available. If you can’t add Schema, it’s OK.
Add information about your holiday hours anywhere you can and be sure you update your information on your website, too. Make it visible, have it on the homepage or provide a prominent link.
Remember, many of the holiday weekend shoppers will be browsing on their mobile phones; don’t make them dig for information. Help them find what they’re looking for and they’ll be more likely to visit your store or site and buy.
If you sell products or services on your website and offer shipping, there are a few more tactics to review:
- Include A Shipping Calendar. Do you have a shipping calendar on your website that is easy for your customers to find? If not, add one now. If you can create a separate page for your shipping information, that would be ideal. You can share this via your social media channels, and be sure to optimize the title tag and Meta description. Be sure your shipping information is clear and easy to understand.
- Feature Deals, Sales & Special Offers On Optimized Landing Pages. If you’re offering Black Friday or Cyber Monday specials, do you have your holiday landing pages optimized and live yet? If they’re not live today, it’s almost too late. Google needs a few days to index new content, so make this one of your top priorities today. You can create your Black Friday and Cyber Monday landing pages even if you haven’t finalized your product specials yet. Get the pages live and ensure the title tags and meta descriptions are optimized. For now, include some evergreen content about Black Friday or Cyber Monday and let your customers know when to check back for more information. Update the product specifics when you’re ready.
- Create Landing Pages For Holiday Gifts/Special Services. If you’re promoting holiday gifts or offering special services such as gift wrap, create a page to provide that information. The holiday shopping period is short this year; consumers will be looking for convenience options. Thanksgiving and Christmas are just four weeks apart this time. Consumers have only three weekends beyond the Black Friday/Cyber Monday weekend to shop.
- Offer free gift wrap. Offer free (or nominal fee) gift wrap with purchase (in store or online) and promote this on your website and in social media.
- Offer Free Shipping. Offer free shipping, if not for the entire holiday season, consider participating in Free Shipping Day on December 18th.
- Bundle Related Products. Create product bundles that make it easier for consumers to buy a gift. This is a great way to upsell; you can offer bundles or additional related items.
- Create An Optimized Page For Gift Cards. If you offer gift cards or gift certificates in store, are you able to sell them online? If so, have you created a page for your gift cards or e-gift cards? Some shoppers, especially the last minute ones who haven’t started yet, may be looking for a very simple gift like this. Send reminders about gift cards via email and social media; have the page visible on your website. Some holiday weekend shoppers won’t want to go near a store but would love to buy their gift cards online. Consider an incentive offer for the buyer, perhaps a small percentage off. You’re more likely to end up with two sales this way.
Finally, think about the customers that find you online and visit you in person over the holiday weekend. They may be tired, they may be frazzled, and they may be going to every store in town in search of that one item their kid absolutely must have that they can’t find anywhere.
Try to make it easier for them. Have extra staff in store to help them; if the weather is cold where you are, consider offering warm beverages like coffee or cocoa in your store. If you provide a great experience online and offline, you’ll be more likely to build loyal customers that want to come back again next year. It’s easier to keep a customer happy than to find new ones all the time.
Before you settle in for the holiday weekend with your family (or staff), be sure your website and retail location are ready for the influx of shoppers you hope to see. Double check that everything is in working order and ready to go before you wind up in a post-Thanksgiving turkey coma.
Once the holiday weekend is over, consider sending personalized thank you notes to some of your best customers (online or offline purchases), it’s a great, easy way to create a lasting impression.
Some opinions expressed in this article may be those of a guest author and not necessarily Search Engine Land. Staff authors are listed here.