Posted on Sep 27, 2017

How to Attract Customers to Your Website for the Holidays

The holidays are fast approaching, and now is the time for online retailers to ramp up marketing activities that will help to draw in those holiday shoppers. Unlike a brick and mortar where you can expect more foot traffic and add some seasonality with music and updated displays, eCommerce stores have to put in some advance planning draw in web traffic. Online, you are potentially up against competitors from around the world, so you start exploring the options now.


Pay Per Click (PPC)

PPC is a great route to consider and doesn’t have to be expensive if you play your cards right.  The way pay per click works is that a business bids on certain keywords to attract the right audience that will drive an ad to display on the search results page.  The advertiser controls the bid, and it can be as little as a nickel or it can run up to a few dollars for a click.

It’s important to know that PPC can drive more traffic to your site, but it doesn’t always translate into hard sales unless you refine and narrow the keywording to attract users that are close to making a purchase decision.

It’s best to test the waters now by running a few ad to see which keywords will drive the most sales. Once you determine the top performers, you’re going to be set for the holiday blitz.

Yahoo Search Marketing is a good place to start, as it’s already respected as an established and effective marketing tool.

But there are others you can try too.

  • Kanoodle
  • Enhance Interactive
  • LookSmart

They’re all pretty effective.


Word of Mouth

People don’t usually think of word of mouth being as an effective tool for web-based businesses, but that isn’t the case. The same rules of sales apply to a web business that do with a brick and mortar.  If the customer has a good experience they’re going to want to share that with others.

Go through the site, clean up the glitches and make certain it’s user friendly and easy to use. Encourage customer involvement by making the site interactive, and by asking for feedback.

Now, it’s time to ask your customers to share their experience with your website and your products.  This can happen on a comments page, a review site, or on social media accounts. You can incent them with a social media contest, or even offer a discount for making a sales referral. Once you get the ball rolling with a few positive comments or posts, it can soon go viral and you can find yourself with a new audience.


Cross-market with Links on Other Websites

Search engines like to see that your site is interacting with other websites through links. Getting backlinks can go a long way to build credibility and increase your search ranking. If you write a post to include on a partner or industry site, it shouldn’t be a sales or marketing piece. Focus on writing a story that ads value for the audience, and be sure to include a  click-worthy headline and multiple hyperlinks back to your own website.

You can also requests links from high profile sites related to your own business. Be professional about your request and clearly state why this link benefits you both.

If you can get your site linked on the right sites, your traffic can balloon overnight.

You can use the Alexa Toolbar, Technorati or LinkPopularity to find out where these other sites are linking to and how much traffic they’re receiving.  Then look up their contact information and make the request.


Email Campaign

Another good tool for encouraging web traffic, is an email campaign promoting your site for the holidays. If you don’t currently have an email marketing strategy, it might be easier than you think. There are several free or inexpensive options that allow you to automate customer and prospect emails. Here some tips from Constant Contact on how to get started.

Once you have a plan and a list of users who have agreed to receive emails from you, it’s easy to create and email with a festive holiday design to promote your top products, or any special deals you are offering. Be certain to take a memorable and personal approach in the subject line. The email titled; “Dear Customer” will undoubtedly be immediately sent to the spam folder.

Rather, address it to the person directly and they’re more likely to feel like they’re privy to inside information and deals that others are not. And make sure your call-to-action is clear and highly visible to increase the likelihood that they will respond with a click.

If you have lived through at least one holiday season as a retailer, you probably have some insights into what works with your audience. But for online retailers, technology is always changing, and new competitors are coming on the scene every day. It’s important to test the waters with new campaigns and promotions if you want to survive, much less grow. Get started now so you’ll have the techniques honed and ready when the real rush hit.

Let us know how you are planning to attract those holiday shoppers, and come back after the holidays to share your tips on what worked best.