It’s crunch time! The Q4, the holiday season, the most anxious time of the year—or whatever you like to call it—is the most crucial period of time for most retailers in terms of revenue and brand building. While most of us are unwrapping gifts and sipping cider and egg nog, businesses are in full tilt.

 

Quarterly report of U.S. Ecommerce Retail Sales

Source: U.S. Department of Commerce

 

With retail sales totalling nearly $1.46 trillion, it’s no wonder that every brand is vying for their slice of the pie, starting as early as Amazon Prime Day this year. To help you secure your slice, here are five last-minute tweaks, tips and strategies you can make to your campaigns on five different marketing channels right now.

 

What is “Organic Marketing”?

Organic channels are owned and earned properties comprised of things like search engine optimization (SEO), social media and PR. There are a number of success factors for organic growth, but none more important than utility, popularity and authenticity.

 

What can I do right now?

Focus on what you can control. In this case it’s your website. Speed is the name of the game when it comes to user experience on your website and that has a massive impact on SEO, social media and PR because they all point back to your website.

A quick way to speed up your site is by speeding up your hosting, which doesn’t require much technical know-how. Managed and dedicated hosting options will be a bit more costly, but faster page speed usually equals larger carts and more revenue. 

 

Graph showing how page speed affects user behavior

Source: Section.io

 

The longer your site takes load:

1) users become more likely to bounce and potentially not return.

2) The fewer pages they visit, with faster sites seeing more engagement past the initial click through. 

 

What is "paid social"?

Not much mystery here. Paid social is exactly what it sounds like: advertising on social media platforms like Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest and Snapchat. Paid social can serve a number of functions from the top to the bottom of the funnel, depending on your goals.

 

What can I do right now?

Imagine you’re at a blind auction and there’s an item you’ve had your eye set on. You’d want to come in with a strong offer because you don’t know who else might be interested. In this scenario, you’re bidding for the attention and business of a potential customer against your competitors and the offer is...well, your offer.

Poor analogies aside, you’ll need to add some significant value and look for opportunities to differentiate your brand in your holiday campaigns. The difference here is that you can see what your competitors are doing in real-time and you can make adjustments.

For example, you can reinforce shipping deadlines to create a sense of urgency. The holidays are a finite period of time with significant dates that often need to be met to satisfy customers, but this can also play to your advantage. Add value by promoting free or faster shipping options with guaranteed delivery timelines.

 

What is “Paid Search”?

Search engine advertising is simply advertising on a search engine, including Google, Bing and DuckDuckGo. Search engine advertising is most closely associated with search engine optimization, but they are distinctly different.

Paid search comes in handy when you want to:

1) own branded search results so competitors can’t insert themselves into the picture when users are searching for your brand.

2) target high-value keywords that signal users are likely to complete an intended goal or transaction.

 

What can I do right now?

Do some research and find out which keywords in your space provide little to no benefit and keep your ads from showing up in those searches. This could vary from campaign to campaign, but excluding keywords or optimizing for negative keywords is a great way to dial in your ad spend and improve targeting.

You can easily make this determination by looking into your Google Ads Manager dashboard to see which keywords aren’t producing the desired goal completion. Any keywords eating up your ad spend with high impressions and low clicks should be nixed. 

In simpler news, when you’re researching keywords in Google’s Keyword Planner tool, visit those SERPs to help you determine the intent of the search and its viability for your business goals.

Hint: Use match types to further refine your keyword target specificity:

 

Example graph of Google's keyword planner

Source: Google

 

What is “Influencer Marketing”?

An influencer is someone that has built a reputation in a social media community, guiding trends and opinion. Pairing a brand with an influencer that promotes its products to their large following is influencer marketing, which often takes the form of product placement.

 

What can I do right now?

You don’t need the Kardashians and the Jenners to make a splash in influencer marketing. Real engagement declines rapidly when influencers cross a certain threshold as reported by Markerly:

 

Markerly Instagram like rate graph

Instagram comment rate graph

Source: Markerly

Essentially, being a drop-in-a-bucket is more impactful than being a drop-in-the-ocean. If your aim is general brand awareness, then a larger influencer might suit you, but there’s a chance that you overlook the audience that is interested in your product. 

  • Micro-influencers (1,000-10,000 followers) have 22X conversations with their followers because they are passionate and knowledgable about their niche. That’s generally why their audience follows them.
  • Micro-influencers are typically more affordable, more reachable and present as more authentic. 97% of micro-influencers on instagram charge less than $500 per post in contrast to their celebrity counterparts that can charge upwards of $75,000 for a single post.
  • With micro-influencers, you can tap directly into your target audience using an established and trusted voice in the community your brand fits into.

Hint: Don’t force it.

 

What is “Email Marketing”?

For the sake of everyone reading this who’s been living under a rock in a very remote region out of touch with society for the past four decades, email marketing is using email (short for “electronic mail”) to promote your products and/or services.

 

What can I do right now?

Set up behavior triggers for your email marketing campaigns. Use automation to trigger an email response based on certain activities completed by users, like visiting a certain page on your website or a user that abandons their cart. According to Moosend, 50% of users that click-through an abandon cart email complete a purchase.

Start small: identify high-value pages and actions on your website like checkout, abandon cart and mid- to bottom-funnel content views. 

Personalize an email sequence for each activity, and know that consistency is key. Make sure your messaging and creative are consistent throughout your campaign from the ad creative, to the copy, to the landing page and the followup. 

Hint: This advice can be applied to every channel. Creating a consistent and personalized experience is crucial to goal completion.

 

Optimize these quick changes to drive more revenue during the holiday season

It’s never too late to get a leg-up on your competition. However, the thing to never lose sight of is connecting with your customers, especially during the holiday season.

For more services and solutions, reach out to Hawke Media for a free consultation.

 

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