haunted_house_website_writerNeed Web marketing tips for the holidays?

Let’s face it, once we start seeing images like these —>>>>
… we’re already one phase into the Holiday season. It’s a sign that, if we haven’t already, it’s time to start planning for the annual rush.

As I mention on, “In 2011, Holiday shoppers spent more than $32 billion online. Experts predict online shopping will continue to grow in 2012.”

Before you can market your products and services for Holiday sales and success, you first need to know what you’re selling. Here are a few tips to help you brainstorm.

Create programs and packages. Whether you’re a service provider or you sell products, think of ways you can bundle what you offer into an enticing package. For example, if you’re with a dentist’s office, think about a daily care and whitening package that can include an electric toothbrush and whitening treatment at a set price. Promote it as a holiday a gift or a self-improvement package to ring in the New Year.

Do something for Black Friday. If you own a store or any other type of business that invites foot traffic, plan your decorations in advance as well as your merchandising strategy. Make sure to start your print and digital marketing to promote your event on November 1, at the latest.

Do something for Cyber Monday. Taking place right after Black Friday, Cyber Monday is said to be one of the most lucrative, if not the most lucrative day of the year for online retailers. In this article, Booz & Co. reminds us of the benefits of free shipping to boost sales. Booz & Co predicts “more than 80 million shoppers plan to purchase gift cards this season, about 4% more than last year.” Be sure to feature them prominently both in-store and online.

Start your pitch now. Think about teasing your customers with a brief mention about the Holidays as early as now. You can use something similar to the intro I have above, where you tie the Halloween image and decor to what’s ahead. If it’s too soon to talk Holidays because of other programs you have in place during this time, then remember that it’s not to early to start planning.

Push last-minute shopping ideas. Plan to repackage and re-promote your Holiday packages and specials throughout December. While your message for Black Friday or Cyber Monday might focus on “Hurry While Supplies Last,” by the time mid-December rolls around, you may be promoting, “Last Minute Shopping Made Easy and Delivered on Time.” Remember to stay top of mind with your audience with e-newsletters that say, “One week left, don’t forget to buy Mom her new skillet” (for example).

Plan for day-after sales. Don’t forget those who want to save money by buying sale products the day after Christmas.

Remember your New Year’s audience. To end your Holiday promotion cycle, remember to offer special programs and packages for New Year’s Eve or New Year’s. For the eve of, you may be offering packages that promote celebration or celebrating in a responsible way. For New Year’s, you may want to offer bundles that promote healthy lifestyle.

Looking for ways to promote your website? Whether your business is new to the Web or you’ve just finished a site redesign, it’s never too early, too late or too redundant to market your website.

Search engine optimization (SEO) can be key to helping your site appear on page one of Google and Bing. But it’s important to use other ways to promote your website, which also helps with SEO. The more site visits you attract, the more optimized your site will be.

Some Tips

Think of your website as a resource. Because updating or creating a new website may not be “newsworthy,” emphasize the content you’ve added (and why). This will go a lot farther than simply listing your domain address or saying, “Check out our new website.” For instance:

  • You’ve added questions to your FAQs section to save customers time. By going to this section, they no longer have to call you for answers.
  • You now offer more detail about your products and services, giving your customers a central place where they find out why your products and services are better than your competitor’s.
  • You’ve just boosted your About Us section with more bio information about your staff. Now your customers can find out what makes your staff authorities in the industry, adding to your credibility and saleability.
  • You’ve just added more detail to your Contact Us section, such as ways customers can instant message or video chat with your customer service reps.
  • You’ve just added an option to your website that enables visitors to sign up for newsletters or promotional offers?

Go for the pull. Use your marketing materials to let your customers know how your website will make their lives easier.

Sample copy:

Do you need reminders about our shipping policy? Do you have questions about where our products come from and who distributes them?

You’re not alone!

Customers like you frequently ask us for this information. That’s why we’ve added answers to these and many more questions to our new FAQs section.

Visit this section (link to your new FAQs) now to get even more questions and answers section.

Put it everywhere. Think of your website as a party that you’ve planned. If you don’t invite anyone, they won’t come. Now that you have your new website, it’s time to invite folks. But how and where? Some cost-effective ideas:

Your business card. This is the most obvious and you’re probably already doing it. Spice up your approach by using pull questions like what we see above. For example: “What makes our staff the authorities in our industry? Find out at”

On Facebook. This option assumes you already have a Facebook page and an audience. If you do, create a schedule of when you’ll promote different sections of your new website. For instance, FAQs on Monday, About Us on Tuesday, and so on. Remember, it’s social media, so ask users to join the conversation. For instance, at the end of your post that promotes your FAQs link, end with question such as: “What frequently asked question do you have?”

Flyers and postcards. Along with your business cards, you can order inexpensive flyers and postcards through services like Vista Print. These are both excellent options if you’re doing a promotion and want to send folks to your website for more info. For example: “Wondering what to give clients for the holidays? Check out our Holiday 2012 specials at (your link here). And don’t be afraid to use a QR code. If you do use a QR code, include in your copy that customers can start shopping right away if they’re using a smartphone. For example: “Got a smartphone? Scan this code with your barcode scanner app to shop now!”

Your newsletter or magazine. If you send a monthly or quarterly magazine (print or online) to your customers or members, feature an article about your new website and how it benefits the readers. If you did a survey before revamping your site to find out what customers needed to access online the most, show a bar chart of survey results, then explain how you addressed their concerns with the new Web design and content. A catchy headline like “You asked, we listened” always helps.

Your Exercise

  1. Using a spreadsheet, write down five things that are new about your website. In the next column, write down why you added this content and why it benefits your customers.
  2. On a separate sheet of paper, jot down questions that might pull your customers in. For example, “Have you ever wondered why our shoes are so comfortable?” “Have you been looking for an archive of all of our magazines?”
  3. Jot down places your customers are most likely to receive information about your company. Are they on Facebook? Do they receive a monthly newsletter from you? Do you have a retail outlet?
  4. Plan your materials and message accordingly. For example, if your customers are always on Facebook, use your pull questions to create posts and link to your new website. On postcards, include a QR code with a pull question, as noted above. If you own a retail outlet or online store, put your postcards in bags or shipping boxes.

Does this get the creative juices flowing? In what ways have you marketed your website? What works for you?