While clients and prospects are already starting to plan shopping for holidays, most website owners are still unprepared for the upcoming holiday traffic. If you’re among those without a plan or strategy, let’s get that done because the sooner, the better. Now is the time to bring your A-game so you can keep ahead against your competitors.
Before we dive into the steps, you should know that there are numerous ways you can employ to rightfully prepare for holiday traffic. Sometimes, you will also find it difficult to prepare; you shouldn’t let stress discourage you to prepare for your existing and potential customers.
To strike it rich this holiday season, with growth in sales and your overall business, below are the best ways to prepare and draw out more traffic to your website.
1) Have a plan/strategy; how do you do it?
The last two months of the year are normally filled with special festivals. So, you should call on smartness and alacrity and turn in more sales in this festive period. As an online retailer, this period allows you to easily meet your yearly targets as buyers are on the increase.
However, all these cannot be achieved without having a plan or a strategy ahead. First, you should use earlier years’ (especially last years’) reports to analyze your expected traffic and sales and build on upsurging them.
Tools such as Google Analytics, Clicky Analytics, Mint Analytics, and Piwik help carry out different types of analyses and reports. These data will help you dig out the latest trends in what your customers will respond to throughout this season.
After doing that, a good plan is to highlight all holiday dates and use the analyses to understand what your customers will root for accordingly.
2) Bring up the holiday spirit!
It’s time! Promotions, bonuses, discounts, and special offers are the first step to drawing out impressive traffic during holidays. If you haven’t considered using promotions as a marketing strategy, then the time is now. And even if you have, you need to deliver holiday-specific promos.
Before anything, caution should be taken to avoid making significant changes to the appearance of your website to promote a special holiday offer. Any changes, if significant, can be a huge turn off for existing, regular customers and send them to competitors.
Meanwhile, you need a descriptive theme when preparing your website for holidays. This brings up the holiday spirit for both existing and prospective customers. Care should also be taken to choose the ideal theme according to upcoming holidays; for instance, choose an impeccable color for the theme (e.g. red, green, and gold for Christmas). The more you adorn the website, the more customers’ attention you will fetch.
3) How to manage social media channels this holiday
When you first take the online route as a means of marketing your product or service, a good percentage of retailers are often confused when deciding what the best type of marketing for their business is.
Social media is one of the best marketing models since it is both cost-effective and scalable. Many turn to Instagram, Facebook, YouTube, and Twitter to promote their products and/or services. Other cost-effective means of online marketing are blogging and email campaigns.
Further, the increasing level of competition on social platforms get most people worried but you can overcome this by following simple techniques, such as;
a) Deals and promotions: Bang for the buck is a general rule most buyers swear by. Well, it’s fairly logical that customers love to get more for their money. Deals and coupons are a great tool for lead generation and can drive massive traffic to your landing page. Start promoting deals, coupons, countdown discounts, contests, draws, and similar promos on your social media channels to spike engagement, brand awareness, customer satisfaction, traffic, sales, downloads, etc.
b) Build trust: Building trust is actually a simple task. The main difficulty you’ll ever face (ironic, huh?) is that of being consistent and still delivering high-quality content. The power of a frequently-updated and insightful blog cannot be overlooked. Always delight your customers and readers with interesting topics, unconventional contents, rich media (e.g. infographics, video blogging), and other content that’d either educate or entertain them or do both.
You can also root for a discussion board so customers can connect with other customers and debate, discuss, and share. By running such a highly-engaged community (similar to being a Subreddit moderator), customers will feel more comfortable buying, using, and recommending such a trustworthy product or service. This also opens door to more insights and accurate data collection of your customers and their mindset.
And when you are choosing the best social platform to promote your website, you have to answer some questions: “What problem does my product solve?” “Does anybody care?” “What are customers most interested in?” “What is currently trending in the market?” “What is my value proposition?” “Is it unique?” “Is it pertinent to my customers?”
The answers will give you the basic idea of the products you should promote on a specific social platform.
4) 3 best ways to check your site speed
Waiting for a minute to load one web page? Those days are far gone. These days, customer satisfaction is overly tied to how long it takes your website to load (especially on mobile devices). That’s more reason to track the performance of your website with constancy. Prepare for web traffic that is heavier than the typical traffic you receive on regular days. To plan for holiday traffic, follow the checklist below.
a) Check your website speed: Check your current hosting plan. That’s the first step. Opt for Google’s PageSpeed tools to track the performance and other valuable metrics of your website.
Almost all hosting services keep limitation on bandwidth according to your plan. So, if your website reaches the bandwidth during the holidays, it will be catastrophic. The only solution is to determine the amount of bandwidth that will sustain your website this holiday season, and then upgrade your hosting plan to that bandwidth.
c) Achieving optimum page speed with CDN: It’s safe to say Content Delivery Network (CDN) hosting is a very efficient method (and arguably the best option) to accomplish the goal of speeding up your web pages.
A CDN is a large distributed system of servers deployed in multiple data centers on the Internet. The servers are geographically spread across the length and breadth of our planet so customers are using a server that is closer to them whenever they access your website. This way, downloads and loading of pages tend to be faster.
All techniques listed above are geared towards improving your website loading speed, which eventually leads to better ranking on search engine result pages (SERPs).
5) Is your checkout process streamlined?
The checkout process is the last barricade between your customer and their purchase. Customers normally choose stores or marketplaces with a streamlined transaction process. So, to make sure your customers complete the buyer’s journey, ensure every bit of the process is simple and swift.
Since they’ve selected what to purchase, your job is to avoid wasting their time and to make their purchase effortless. Below are some nuggets to help you keep the checkout process streamlined.
a) Simplicity is key: Yes, it is. Always make sure every step of your checkout process is logical and minimal, and your checkout flow is self-explanatory to buyers.
b) Swiftness is also key: In addition to simplicity, buyers want your checkout process to be fast. Remove unnecessary fields as a customer won’t want to stray from the checkout flow.
c) Use security badges throughout the process: Having security badges on your checkout pages plants confidence and trust in your customers and set their minds at ease.
d) Employ varying payment options: Who doesn’t like variety–the spice of life? Many buyers prefer to have a choice of varying payment methods. This also opens door to decreased cart abandonment rate and increased customer satisfaction since all customers are satisfied no matter their preferred mode of payment.
e) Root for easy return and refund policy: Having a reasonable return and refund policy plants confidence in customers and gives them a certain feeling of security when making a purchase.
6) Improve your website security and credibility
No one wants to buy from an unreliable seller whose website is neither secure nor credible. This rule governs e-commerce, so it’s of high importance that your customers trust your operations. Here’s how to secure a website and display credibility.
a) Get an SSL certificate: Customers are getting more and more conscious about the security of websites they transact with. Getting an SSL certificate is an important yet simple step to tightening up the security of your website by encrypting information between a web server and a browser and securing the connection and data transfer from the server to the browser. The installation is straightforward and most hosting services provide SSL solutions. More so, Google search engine ranking is evidently influenced by the use of an SSL certificate.
b) Showcase security badges: Similar to the checkout process, your entire website should be graced with security badges so customers can verify your credibility. Buyers are more comfortable carrying out transactions on a website with transparent security measures. Verisign, McAfee Secure, Norton Secure, and PayPal are some of the popular security certifications available. Simply obtain a certificate, then you’ll be able to include the badge on your website.
7) Optimizing your site for mobile is not just trendy, it’s compulsory
Based on the data collected by eMarketer, mobile e-commerce is estimated to jump from $2.3 trillion in 2017 to $3.5 trillion in 2021. In other words, mobile devices will continue to play a pivotal role in e-commerce. But despite the fact that mobile customers are increasing by the day, many websites have not perfected their mobile experience.
Page speed is more important for mobile devices because of their hardware. Hence, your images and codes must be optimized for people using their phones or tablets. If your website isn’t responsive or mobile-friendly, now is the best time for mobile optimization so you don’t lose sales or traffic this holiday season.
8) For emergencies, define plan B
Owing to the expected upsurge of traffic to your website, you stand the chance of facing downtime during this festive period. Purchasing managed hosting service can rectify this as you get 24/7 live support, so any issue will be resolved as quickly as possible. You can opt for the cloud hosting plan, which suppresses downtime completely.
Apart from high traffic, malware, viruses, and attacks can set your website back in time and require you to restore the backup of a fresh version. This is another problem you could face during this holiday season. That’s why you need to intensify your website security and check with your hosting service provider for backup solutions. If your current provider cannot provide backup solutions, then you need to make a switch as soon as possible.
9) Inventory: The blunder to avoid
While most retailers usually make successful plans to improve web traffic, they easily forget to stack up the inventory and run out of inventory into the festive season. Analyze your sales during previous holiday seasons and predict the amount of inventory you need for this forthcoming season.
10) Plugins: Easily prepare a powerful website
To treat your customers to an impeccable holiday experience, you need to redefine your website for the holiday season. Wishing your customers happy holidays is a great way to show you care.
Plugins are not only for themes. There are numerous plugins to display discounts and coupons, strengthen security, play music, etc. If you’re using a CMS like WordPress, there is an enormous library of plugins to choose from. Moreover, installing and setting up a plugin is simple and prompt, so it’s a win-win for you.
Driving impressive website traffic during this festive season has been simplified with these 10 secrets. These tips also surge your sales and customer satisfaction. The next step is to incorporate as many as you can.
If you have any question or want to share any effective nugget, kindly leave a comment in the section below. We love to receive your inputs.