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It’s never too late to prepare for the silly season

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It’s never too late to prepare for the silly season

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For most people, this time of year is all about festive decorations, family get-togethers and frantic last minute shopping stints. But for marketers, the silly season might conjure a monster headache as we figure out our marketing strategies for Christmas and the early months of 2011. At least that’s what we should be doing, but many businesses mistakenly rest on their laurels and hope their flashy website and age-old strategies will take care of business. Alas, this isn’t a great idea – especially if you are selling online. 

I think you’d be surprised how many businesses haven’t adequately prepared for this busy time of year and so, as the New Year approaches, I’d like to offer the following questions as a way to get you thinking about how prepared you are for the coming months:

-What are your revenue targets for Christmas and New Year and how will you decide them?

– Do you want your Christmas campaigns to play a role in building better brand awareness?

– Do you need to improve the customer experience in order to stand out? 

– What are the prevailing trends that might impact your strategy for the first quarter?

– Do you need to focus elements of your campaigns on improving customer loyalty?

– Are there certain products or services you need to promote more than others?

– What are the major behavioural trends taking place on your website which you need to address in 2011?

Now let’s move on to discuss two strategies I think you can implement which will do wonderful things for your online marketing strategies, particularly at this time of year.

A mobile trend

I mentioned in the list above the word ‘trend’ and one such example is the rise in use of mobile phones for browsing and researching information. People are using their mobiles more than ever to research products and services – even while in the bricks and mortar store. Thankfully, a mobile site isn’t hard to establish, however there are some important considerations to observe if you’re to ensure your mobile strategy facilitates (and not hinders) your business goals.

The single most important thing you can do when addressing this mobile market is to make sure your mobile site is completely tailored to your mobile visitor. They’ll want to find what they’re looking for quickly (so provide a solid site search facility) and they won’t want to wade through masses of information (so prioritise what you upload on the home page). Also, make it easy for them to refine information and search results – all of which will improve your chances of them converting.

Search Engine Optimisation

Finally, I’d like to address the traditional tactic of search engine optimisation – something we’ve all been talking about for many years. I’ve always found it striking, though, just how undervalued and misunderstood it is. Marketers know that SEO plays an important role in driving traffic, but many don’t realise how useful it can be to capture data about customer behaviour and preferences. 

SEO can provide you with a wealth of new information about how your customers find you and what keywords they are using to find your products and services. When using this data you can help them find what they are searching for on your website faster, prioritise search results accordingly and create special landing pages which drives people into the heart of your website directly from the search engine. All of which can take your SEO campaigns to great heights.

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