Are you ready for the holidays?
For most people, this means “Have you sorted out your gift list and bought enough cranberries (the jellied kind in the can, thank you very much)?”
But for you, a marketer at a small ecommerce business, there’s much more to consider.
Is traffic flowing from social media? Are those visitors joining your email list? How will you make sure most of them purchase what’s in their cart and how will you bring back the ones that don’t?
It can be enough to take the jingle right out of your bells.
The good news is, you’re not in this alone. In fact, you have teams of ecommerce experts who are ready to help you past any holiday hurdle. You just have to know where to look.
To make your job easier, we’ve curated advice from the best minds in the business to help you with your:
Let’s get started. Because when it comes to holiday ecommerce preparedness, there’s no time like the present.
Social Media Ads
Social media ads are tricky any time of year. During the holidays, when competition and costs skyrocket, a single misstep can chew up a huge chunk of your ad dollars.
Here, we have advice from three experts on how to get more out of your Facebook ads from now through the end of 2019.
10 Facebook Ad Strategies to Maximize Your Holiday Advertising
“Imagine every marketer trying to use Facebook Ads in every shape and form for Black Friday and holiday sales… because that’s what happens, and you know it,” AdEspresso laments.
But have no fear! This ten-point list from AdEspresso, a platform that makes it easy to create, manage, and optimize your Facebook ads, is hyperfocused on helping you succeed this holiday season.
.During the time of year when most visitors have an intent to purchase, don’t stress over fighting for ad placement.
“All in all, Facebook has around 16 different placements for your ads which means that there is a lot of opportunity in these other spaces like the right column, Instagram stories, audience network, and more.”
Holiday Facebook Ad Examples Analyzed to Help You Drive Sales
As Wishpond puts it, “This article gives you real-world, holiday-specific Facebook ad examples from businesses like yours — providing inspiration for a successful holiday season.”
Wishpond is an affordable marketing automation platform that makes it easy for small and medium-sized businesses to create landing pages and contests, track leads, send emails, and more. They’ve taken the traditional list of holiday social media ad examples up a notch with a pro/con breakdown of each one.
.Holiday shopping is the ultimate time-sensitive buying experience. Use that to your full advantage.
“‘Sure to sell out.’ ‘Before they’re gone.’ Phrases like this add urgency to the ad viewer’s decision to buy, or not. These glasses look awesome, but they may not be around forever. If I want them, I need to buy today.”
The Complete Guide to Facebook Advertising for the Holidays
Sprinklr provides social media marketing, social advertising, content management, collaboration, advocacy, and social media monitoring — so they know what’s up when it comes to Facebook ads. This post exposes Facebook’s many ad formats and offers tips on how to capture new subscribers from your campaigns.
.Retargeting your audience is a critical function of a successful holiday marketing strategy.
“Dynamic product ads are Facebook’s version of retargeted ads. They can automatically target customers based on products they’ve already viewed and actions they’ve taken on your website or app. Dynamic ads also save you time from creating individual ads for your products and audiences, and they add a personal touch to your messaging.”
When purchase intent is high, display ads are in their prime. Especially if you’ve built an owned audience that’s already paying attention to your brand.
But what kind of ads should you create? These posts from digital advertising experts will stuff your stocking with ideas.
Black Friday Banner Ads: 5 Design Tips [+ Free Templates]
Privy helps businesses capture more emails and convert first-time visitors into customers with an integrated suite of web conversion and email marketing tools. Since an important part of their offering is design templates for display ads, they know a thing or two about what works. In this post, they provide a list of five tips that will help the non-copywriter / non-designer create effective ads.
.K.I.S.S. — keep it simple, seller. Make sure your ads reduce friction for busy holiday shoppers.
“Site visitors may only see your Black Friday banner ad for a few seconds before wanting to click away, so you want to make sure the offer or request you’re asking of them is instantly crystal clear. That means removing any unnecessary decorative elements or text that might clutter the main messaging.”
10 Create Christmas Display Advertising Ideas
Bannerflow is a creative management platform for building banner ads, landing pages, and more. If your creativity is already maxed out like a post-holiday credit card, this list will help spark some ideas for your display ad campaigns.
.Shorten the path from awareness to purchase as much as possible during the holidays. One way to do this is by running dynamic display ads that feature your hottest products.
“By adding product feeds to your banners, you can instantly let viewers know about stock listings on items they may be interested in.”
Email is unique because, unlike with social media and search, you don’t have to pay one cent to land a favorable spot in your audience’s inboxes. Instead, the cost of attention here is sending the right kinds of emails to the right people at the right time.
Here’s how you do that, according to the experts that know best.
Effective Holiday Email Marketing in 2019: Examples, Tips, and Tools for Successful Campaigns
“Via email, you are reaching out to your most engaged audience — customers and subscribers you already have,” this article explains. “Showing any of these audiences the value that your store offers, particularly within the holiday period, is the secret to conversions.”
If you’re looking for a comprehensive holiday email marketing guide, look no further. It breaks down several important email types, examples, and tools to make it all easier.
.If you’re out of stock when a shopper is ready to buy, you’re out of luck. But if you alert those shoppers when new stock is available, you may salvage some of those lost sales.
“Take Suzanne Moore, founder of So Suzy Stamps, who uses InStockAlerts to send a personalized message to shoppers when their items are back in stock.
‘I’d say: “Hey, hurry up, it’s back in stock! You need to order it before the other lady does,” she explains.
‘I was able to add my personality into those automated messages, and it’s that personality that really attracts and retains my customers.’”
12 Tips for Holiday Email Marketing Success
Klayvio is an email marketing platform with powerful list building, segmentation, and analytics features. Here, they offer some really nice detail on how to plan for and execute an end-to-end holiday marketing campaign.
.Creating a connection between your social media ads and email marketing will help you grow familiarity, trust, and sales.
“It rarely takes just one touchpoint to get a new or existing customer to buy and if it does, hold on to those people! For everyone else, you can combine your social ads and email marketing efforts to target existing subscribers. Some examples of segments you can target this way are product specific purchasers, holiday buyers, and VIP customers.”
13 Excellent Holiday Email Marketing Tips to Use This Year
As this Optinmonster blog post explains, “Email marketing alone brought in $169.8 billion dollars in revenue for businesses during just the last 2 months of 2018.” Read their 13 tips to get the most out of your email marketing strategy this holiday season.
.If someone opens your holiday email, you are within sight of the sales conversion finish line. Don’t trip here by sending irrelevant information.
“There’s no point in marketing to the wrong people. That’s why one of the best things you can do to improve your holiday email marketing is to segment your list. Email list segmentation allows you to send more relevant and targeted emails to people who are truly interested in what you have to offer.”
Conversion Rate Optimization
On paper (well, on screen, anyway), having a solid user experience that’s optimized for conversion seems like a gimme in the world of ecommerce. But there are many moving parts that need regular attention.
These conversion rate optimization experts have some tips to help keep holiday shoppers moving smoothly from visitors to buyers.
How to Optimize Your Site for a Successful Holiday Ecommerce Season
“Now is the perfect time to optimize your ecommerce site to not only improve the shopping experience but make sure that holiday shoppers keep coming back to you all year round,” this article explains.
This post is one of the most all-around useful on our list because it offers tips for holiday marketing and onsite optimization, plus it gives you the tactics and tools to execute.
.People who search your website have a higher intent to purchase than casual browsers. Don’t miss out on those valuable conversions.
“Shoppers who use your site’s search function are 4-6X more likely to convert than shoppers who don’t. The catch is that 20-30% of searches end in a dreaded ‘No Results Found’ page unless shoppers are using exactly the same language that the site does.”
If you improve your users’ search experience, you can also increase conversion rates during the holiday shopping rush.
10 Simple Ways to Boost Your Holiday Conversion Rate
“You’re up against thousands of ecommerce and retailers out there,” says Invesp cofounder Ayat Shukairy. “What can you offer your visitor that’s going to give them that extra encouragement to go with you over the 10 other sites they’ve visited?”
In this quick-read holiday post, Ayat provides ten easy ways to improve your conversion rates that specific to the season.
.Gift buyers are different than your brand’s typical customers. They’re often people who don’t know much about your products buying for people who do. Shoulder the product selection load for them, and they’ll reward you with a purchase.
Learn from Amazon’s CX Mistakes This Holiday Season
“It’s all about efficiency,” says FullStory’s Caitlin Brett. “If your site performs well for most shoppers, your user experience is intuitive, and your customer service team has the right tools to respond to concerns, you’ll be able to avoid a debacle and clinch more sales.”
FullStory is a digital experience analytics platform with heat maps, website visitor replay, and more. While some of this article talks about traffic load testing (not something most small businesses need to. worry about), it also offers some solid tips on creating a better user experience that will improve conversions.
.Shoppers use their phones for many steps of their gift buying process. For example, someone standing in a store may check prices, read reviews, or look for similar products on their phone. So make sure your website is 100% optimized for a perfect mobile experience.
“In a study examining data from across the web, Google discovered 53% of mobile visits are abandoned if a page takes longer than 3 seconds to load. Sure, 3 seconds seems like a generous amount of time, but in reality, the average load time for mobile sites is 19 seconds over a 3G connection.”
Reducing Cart Abandonment
The unrealized potential of an abandoned cart on Black Friday worse than unboxing a pair of socks wrapped in a Playstation box.
Luckily, there are plenty of strategies you can use to make abandoned carts (almost) as rare as Santa sightings.
13 Ways to Combat Shopping Cart Abandonment
“Imagine if shopping in the real world were the same as shopping online,” this article quips. “You walk into a supermarket or a department store, start filling up your shopping cart, only to be suddenly distracted by a kitten playing with a nerf gun in Aisle 3. You promptly forget about whatever it is you were thinking of buying, watch the kitten for a while, then walk out of the store . . . This is what shopping cart abandonment is.”
Leave it to digital advertising platform WordStream to make cart abandoment sound kinda fun. But in reality, it’s not — which is why this article gives specific advice for avoiding 13 common reasons your shoppers walk away from their carts full of gifts.
.Distraction is a killer in the world of online conversion. The same device that gives shoppers near-instant access to your store will also ding and buzz to pull them back out. Let shoppers know that they’re almost complete with their transaction, and they’re more likely to wait to check that email or text.
“By clearly showing customers where they are in the checkout process, you’re eliminating the potential worry that actually buying something from you is going to take more time than the prospect is willing to commit. It also helps eliminate ambiguity and makes the process clearer and easier for customers to understand.”
At Matcha, we’ve had a backstage pass to watch hundreds of ecommerce businesses use content to grow. The trick is knowing how to use it at different stages of the season.
Here’s a resource that will help you leverage content marketing to drive more traffic and valuable holiday sales.
Template: How to Create Gift Guides That Increase Ecommerce Sales
“Gift guides are the perfect opportunity to get in front of people who are actively shopping and need some guidance.”
This article provides a step-by-step process for creating the perfect gift guide. From writing a title that attracts your ideal customer to promoting your guide, it’s all in here. Bonus: It includes a downloadable template, so creating your guide is as easy as filling in the blanks.
.Getting traffic from organic search can take time, so make sure to promote your guide using content ads and email marketing to start driving traffic immediately.
You can also partner with companies in your niche to create and comarket gift guides. When multiple brands promote the guide, you can exponentially increase the number of people browsing your products.
It’s easy to get stressed this time of year when you run an ecommerce store. After all, Santa wouldn’t have time to check your to-do list even once.
Just remember, you have a workshop full of ecommerce elves ready to help!
In fact, here’s a great place to get started. Download this 7-step guide to preparing your online store for Black Friday and beyond, and you’ll be sipping eggnog at the ugly sweater party without a care in the world.
Feature image provided by PhotoMIX Ltd.