Adver­tis­ers will be fac­ing a short­er time frame this year for the usu­al hol­i­day hus­tle and bus­tle.  How­ev­er, eMar­keter is still fore­cast­ing total US sales to climb 3.8% mak­ing it the first-ever tril­lion-dol­lar hol­i­day sea­son. Accord­ing to For­rester, 2019 online hol­i­day sales will reach $138 bil­lion.

As adver­tis­ers, we need to take advan­tage of these pre­dic­tions and posi­tion our­selves for an out­ra­geous­ly suc­cess­ful hol­i­day sea­son. To set your­self up for suc­cess, we’ve high­light­ed 5 tips to max­i­mize your online sales.

1. Images and Video

Because your users can­not feel, touch, test, or try out your prod­ucts, high-qual­i­ty pho­tos are cru­cial. A user needs to be con­fi­dent in their pur­chase deci­sion, espe­cial­ly when pur­chas­ing online, and being able to zoom in and see the details of the prod­uct they’re pur­chas­ing could make or break their deci­sion. Con­sid­er what hap­pens if they try to find bet­ter prod­uct images on the web just sim­ply to get a bet­ter idea of what they might be pur­chas­ing, and they stum­ble across a bet­ter deal. Don’t let this hap­pen to you!

Prod­uct images are extreme­ly impor­tant, but it’s just as impor­tant to show off your hero shots or pro­mo­tion­al images as well. Enter­ing the hol­i­day sea­son, you want to stay rel­e­vant and pur­pose­ful­ly tar­get those hol­i­day shop­pers. Avoid using stock imagery. Cre­ate your own hol­i­day imagery that will keep your cus­tomers engaged and cre­ate lik­a­bil­i­ty and cred­i­bil­i­ty. Also, keep in mind the cre­ative you’re using in your adver­tise­ments. You want to remain con­sis­tent so that users’ expe­ri­ences are unin­ter­rupt­ed, and they feel a smooth tran­si­tion from the ad through to the site.

It’s impor­tant to think about the video that you make avail­able to your cus­tomers as well. Do you have video of your prod­uct in action? Con­sid­er uti­liz­ing this on your prod­uct pages but also use this mate­r­i­al in your ads; intrigue your users by the use of the prod­ucts and leave them want­i­ng to learn more about it. I can’t count the num­ber of times I’ve seen video adver­tise­ments on Face­book of hair prod­ucts (specif­i­cal­ly L’ange) being used by brand reps and now I own three of their hair styling tools. This is because they have great hol­i­day deals (see tip #3) and because the videos tru­ly helped me learn how to do my hair and got me excit­ed to try new things. Fun fact, or slight­ly embar­rass­ing, – I’ll let you choose – I nev­er would curl my own hair because I was ter­ri­ble at it. That is, until I stum­bled across these ads and was repet­i­tive­ly shown videos of brand reps curl­ing their hair. Now, I have a scar from burn­ing myself, despite also hav­ing a heat-pro­tec­tant glove. BUT, in all seri­ous­ness, thanks to the help of these videos I’m able to curl my hair on a reg­u­lar basis.

2. User-Generated Content

Going into the hol­i­day sea­son, find the time or resources to look for and uti­lize user-gen­er­at­ed con­tent. Of course, be sure you have per­mis­sion pri­or to shar­ing or using any of this con­tent. Think about the cred­i­bil­i­ty and trust you could build when you’re speak­ing on behalf of your cus­tomers rather than try­ing to sell it your­self. There are a num­ber of things you can do with user-gen­er­at­ed con­tent.

  • Images
  • Video
  • Tes­ti­mo­ni­als
  • Web­site or land­ing page copy

See what peo­ple are post­ing on Face­book or Insta­gram and use those to your ben­e­fit. These images will look even more nat­ur­al and may actu­al­ly reduce the work your team has to put in to cre­ate your own images.

Many brands have brand rep­re­sen­ta­tives cre­at­ing images, videos, their own spon­sored mate­r­i­al, etc. These videos are the exact videos I was refer­ring to in tip #1. Get per­mis­sion to uti­lize this con­tent and place some of these help­ful videos through­out your site where peo­ple are going to pur­chase. Heck, use them as tes­ti­mo­ni­als!

User-Generated Content

Speak­ing of tes­ti­mo­ni­als, browse through your brand’s Face­book page or Insta­gram posts for tes­ti­mo­ni­als with­in the com­ments. Sure, there’s a review sec­tion with­in Face­book but tak­ing the time to see what peo­ple are com­ment­ing should pro­vide you with authen­tic tes­ti­mo­ni­als. Tak­ing a brief side-step – I think it’s impor­tant to also ensure you’re respond­ing to these com­ments when nec­es­sary. Let your cus­tomers know you hear them and you’re tak­ing action. That’s how you’ll build trust, keep users com­ing back, and show new cus­tomers that you care and you’re putting them first.

Last­ly, con­sid­er the con­tent through­out your site. It’s extreme­ly easy to write a para­graph, or page, full of jar­gon. As employ­ees or adver­tis­ers of a brand, there’s a lan­guage and a way you speak about the brand. How­ev­er, your users or cus­tomers prob­a­bly don’t under­stand your prod­uct or ser­vice in the same terms or lan­guage that you do. There­fore, it’s impor­tant to keep things sim­ple. Use the com­ments from your cus­tomers, whether it’s from reviews, tes­ti­mo­ni­als, Face­book posts, or Insta­gram sto­ries, and use that lan­guage in your con­tent. Talk to your cus­tomers the way they will talk about your prod­uct. Take some work off of your team, min­i­mize the need to cre­ate copy from scratch, and take advan­tage of user-gen­er­at­ed con­tent.

3. Discounts & Promotions

As we pre­pare for the hol­i­days, cus­tomers will be expect­ing deals. Pro­mos. Dis­counts. What­ev­er we can offer them, they’ll be search­ing for it. Uti­lize the imagery we spoke about before to high­light the cur­rent or upcom­ing pro­mo­tions and be sure that these align with what’s being adver­tised. It’s cru­cial to make sure that your adver­tis­ing mes­sag­ing and pro­mo­tions match what’s being pro­mot­ed on your site at that time. It’s easy to miss this around the hol­i­days as things get busy and many ads are in motion, pro­mo­tions are chang­ing, etc. But if a user gets to the site and doesn’t see mes­sag­ing relat­ed to that 40% off pro­mo­tion that was in the ad they just clicked, they’re like­ly to bounce and now you’ve wast­ed mon­ey on that click.

From the ad, you can see that she high­lights “up to 76% off” but once you open the site, the first thing you see if “up to 80% off.” I don’t think this is a huge con­cern but a small exam­ple of mis­matched mes­sag­ing. This is also a great exam­ple of hol­i­day pro­mo­tion imagery with­in the hero images. There’s no way a user will miss this sale.

There are a few less-com­mon things to keep in mind regard­ing pro­mo­tions and dis­counts around the hol­i­days.

  • A lack of Black Fri­day deals
  • Your only sale of the year
  • Urgency

I sup­pose you could say these could all go hand-in-hand. If you’re an online retail­er that either doesn’t have a Black Fri­day sale or only has a sale once a year, I think it’s impor­tant to call that out to your cus­tomers. Set expec­ta­tions for the lack of sale so they don’t wait to pur­chase, expect­ing a sale, and poten­tial­ly miss out or decide not to pur­chase all togeth­er. If this is the only sale that hap­pens, once a year, remind them of that to cre­ate that sense of urgency.

The rea­son I felt it was impor­tant to bring this idea to light is because of a few com­pa­nies I fol­low on Insta­gram for children’s prod­ucts. I dis­cov­ered Nugget Com­fort in the last year or so through anoth­er com­pa­ny on Insta­gram and knew that was what my hus­band and I were going to get the kids for Christ­mas. Though I’ve known of the com­pa­ny for a while now, I only start­ed fol­low­ing them on Insta­gram recent­ly. I’m so thank­ful I did because they announced their release cal­en­dar in Octo­ber for all of their new prints and restocks of pre­vi­ous­ly sold-out prints. With the trans­paren­cy that they do not have Black Fri­day sales and know­ing that these would be lim­it­ed-edi­tion prints, this cre­at­ed a great sense of urgency.

Here’s anoth­er great exam­ple I came across this week. This com­pa­ny has decid­ed to do Black Fri­day deals all month long with dif­fer­ent sales each week. Many of their prod­ucts are also lim­it­ed-edi­tion col­ors and styles, so once they’re gone, they’re gone. As you can see below, each week they will be putting some of their lim­it­ed-edi­tion col­ors on sale. They’ve made it clear that these sales will be Mon­day and Tues­day of each week, with dif­fer­ent col­ors, and once the sale is over, those col­ors will be tak­en off the site.

Not only do they do a great job of cre­at­ing urgency, but this is also a great way to get even more rev­enue as a com­pa­ny. Because col­ors will be tak­en off the site each week, cus­tomers will like­ly make mul­ti­ple pur­chas­es through­out the month of Novem­ber rather than hav­ing the abil­i­ty to wait and pur­chase all at once.

4. Mobile

Mobile, mobile, mobile. At this point, I sense this is a buzz­word. But I think it’s still a work in progress and some­thing that needs atten­tion. As we’ll dis­cuss in tip #5, the pur­chase process needs to be easy. Specif­i­cal­ly, for mobile, the process shouldn’t cause frus­tra­tion or uncer­tain­ty. It needs to be mobile-friend­ly. A user should feel just as con­fi­dent mak­ing the pur­chase from their phone as they would from their com­put­er. A num­ber of my com­plet­ed pur­chas­es today come from adver­tise­ments I’ve clicked on through Face­book and the process is made so easy, they get me every time. In instances where I don’t pur­chase, unfor­tu­nate­ly rare, I either don’t have my deb­it card near me, or the process has cre­at­ed a sense of hes­i­ta­tion or fric­tion that I’ve paused and not com­plet­ed the pur­chase. This type of inter­ac­tion is what you want to avoid. Quick things that come to mind:

  • Sub­scrip­tions: make it easy to can­cel or crys­tal-clear how to can­cel
  • Guest check­outs: have them – don’t force account cre­ation or login (@Target, you’re killin’ me)
  • Expen­sive prod­ucts: cre­ate a way to “email to cart” or “save cart” so users can eas­i­ly con­tin­ue their pur­chase from their com­put­er
  • Key­pad: be mind­ful of the type of field a user is in and give them a numer­ic key­pad when applic­a­ble
  • Phone num­ber: if it’s eas­i­er to place an order over the phone for a larg­er tick­et or com­plex items, make it easy to call for users at any stage

5. Checkout Experience

Keep it sim­ple. Elim­i­nate dis­trac­tions. Improve usabil­i­ty. Check­out is the last place you want to lose a cus­tomer when they’re THIS close to com­plet­ing their pur­chase. Don’t make it easy for them to leave the check­out. Elim­i­nate the nav­i­ga­tion and cre­ate a sense of urgency to moti­vate them to com­plete the trans­ac­tion. Do not encour­age them to go search­ing for coupon codes. Let them put in the effort to locate this field if they already have a coupon code but don’t flash it in front of their faces so that they go on the hunt for one. I’ll say it again – allow for guest check­outs. Peo­ple don’t want to be forced to cre­ate an account or login. They want sim­plic­i­ty. Last­ly, pay atten­tion to your cart expi­ra­tion. Don’t make a cus­tomer work hard­er to re-add things to their cart just because their cart expired. Keep their items in their cart so they’re ready to check out when they come back.

Final Thoughts

I hope this gets you just as excit­ed as I am to start think­ing about new ways to max­i­mize your hol­i­day sales. Though this is a great way to get ahead for the hol­i­days, don’t let this stop you from tak­ing these tips and apply­ing them through­out the year!

SOURCE: Ppc Hero