It’s time to gear up for the 2015 Christmas season.
Sales are expected to grow 5.7% in 2015. In other words, consumers will spend approximately $965 billion on Christmas shopping this year.
Here’s the breakdown:
Thanksgiving Day – $1.33 billion
Black Friday – $2.40 billion
Cyber Monday – $2.68 billion
Holiday Weekend – $2.65 billion
And don’t underestimate the importance of online marketing this holiday season. Last year, online sales on Thanksgiving Day were 25% above the previous year. And it’s estimated that there will be another 14% increase in online spending this year.
Also, online research influences even in-store purchases! For 2/3 of the sales in physical stores, customers researched online first. While $79.4 billion will be spent on actual online purchases, $434 billion of in-store purchases will be influenced by online marketing.
Here are the 15 tips:

1. Timing

Here are some tips for getting your marketing timing right during the holidays:
Thanksgiving Day
61% of shoppers will start searching online for gifts before Thanksgiving (17% more than last year). Make sure you highlight your best promotions and offers. Also, set aside a budget for increasing your CPM bids.
Black Friday
The biggest shopping day of the year – especially for brands that have both online and physical stores. Make sure you use a mobile marketing to capture those on-the-go bargain hunters.
Thanksgiving Weekend
Shoppers are still looking for deals on holiday gifts – and they’re gearing up for Cyber Monday as well. Retarget online traffic with high-level branding and re-engage past consumers with special offers and new products.
Cyber Monday
This is perhaps the most competitive day of the year. Run new ads that are creative and point to time-sensitive deals and discounts. Use strong calls-to-action – like “Limited supply!” or “Get it before it’s gone!”
Retargeting Tuesday
Shoppers are still looking for deals – reel in customers from Cyber Monday who didn’t make a purchase. Use dynamic ads to personalize recommendations for these browsers.

2. Your Website

There’s no time to completely redesign your website, but there are a few quick adjustments you can make to rev up your online sales potential.
Here are 3 to try:

  1. Make sure your paid search ads, banner ads, and Facebook posts are relevant to your landing page.

If prospects click through and can’t quickly see what they were searching for, you won’t generate sales. That’s why your landing page must make it clear that they are in the right place. If you don’t have a specific landing page in place for your ads right now, try linking ads to a product-specific page instead of your generic homepage.

  1. Create urgency.

Tell your prospects exactly how much time they have left to take advantage of your special seasonal discounts. Also tell them that they must order by a certain date to receive their merchandise in time for Christmas. typically displays this in the top-right corner as the big day draws near.

  1. Double-check your offer details, guarantee, shipping procedures and return policy for clarity.

Customers want to clearly see these five things on your website: Free shipping for orders over a certain amount, plenty of product details, an easy to return policy, prepaid shipping for returns and better product images.

3. Your Shopping Cart

Be sure to review your shopping cart. As we’ve been talking about in recent issues, it is critical to keep it simple and with a minimal number of pages so you don’t lose orders or leads.
Watch this short video brief, “Shopping Cart Blunders.”

4. Mobile is Dominating Shopping

Keep the mobile shopper in mind with your marketing. Online sales grew 15% last year – and mobile shopping made up 23% of online sales and almost half of online traffic.
3 out of 4 smartphone users will use their phone to make a holiday purchase.
So, make it easy for mobile shoppers to purchase quickly. Also, don’t forget to ensure that all content and images on your site can be easily viewed on a mobile device. Highlight features that mobile shoppers use the most: the search bar, store locator, etc.
And use mobile features to encourage in store purchases. 63% of shoppers are likely to use promotional codes on their smartphones for in-store purchases and 57% plan to check for coupons or sales weekly on their phone before heading to the physical store. 54% are likely to use their phones to check product ratings and reviews.
Finally, make sure your mobile-friendly site has all the information on your regular website. 63% of shoppers are likely to use their phones to compare prices – you want them staying on your site, not going to Amazon.

5. Multi-Media

Drive your online sales with aggressive and professional direct marketing. This can include direct mail, display ads, TV, radio and more.

6. V.I.V.A.

Improve your online advertising. Now is the time to do paid search right, to have the best direct marketing microsite and to use the V.I.V.A. (Valuable Information, Value-Added) system in your emails.
Click here to learn more about V.I.V.A., read a case study here, or call me at (310) 212-5727 to find out how it can work for you.

7. Use Pictures Carefully

It’s important to have an image and possible even a video of each product. But, you need to make sure your images aren’t so large that they slow down your page load times, which also hurts SEO. You can use Google’s free PageSpeed Insights tool to test your webpage speed.

8. Optimize Your URLs

Google takes into account the words in your URLs so make sure you include key words. You can also include the product name, for example:

9. The New Testimonials

Use testimonials, but also provide social proof to boost conversion rates. Reviews are one means of social proof, which can also boost your Google rankings.

10. Sharing

Make it easy for shoppers to share individual product pages. This helps draw new prospects to your page and can also improve your Google rankings. Add Facebook, Twitter, and other social media buttons to each page. Social media sharing should be on the rest of your site as well.

11. If You’re a Retailer, Let Them Use Wi-Fi

Offer Wi-Fi to your customers to encourage browsing on your websites and streamline the customer’s shopping experience.

12. Email Saturation

With every email you send, make sure that it offers value to the reader. It could be a discount or great content, but make sure it is beneficial and relevant.

13. Personalize Your Emails

If you want your emails to be read, make sure you personalize them.

14. Don’t Go Crazy on Social Media

While social media can influence shoppers, it doesn’t convert potentials into customers.
Instead, use it to educate. You can post product recommendations, gift and holiday shopping guides, or sales announcements.
Here are some examples of influential social-media promotions:

  • Additional discount on clearance
  • Storewide sales
  • Promotional events
  • Product discounts
  • Free gift with purchase
  • New products
  • Early-bird discounts

Helping customers brainstorm gift ideas is a smart investment – 56% of shoppers use social sites to look for gift ideas and 54% use social media to get gift ideas from their friends and family.

 15. Merry Christmas!

Forget political correctness; it’s okay to say “Merry Christmas!”
If you’d like help with any of these tips, my team can help you out. Contact me at (310) 212-5727 or