Getting Your Online Business Holiday Ready

The holidays are fast-approaching - Christmas is only 57 days away! I know right! If you’re the owner of an online business, then this is probably going to be your busiest - and most profitable - time of the year, as Aussies start to spend big on gifts, food, holiday, decor… you name it, we’re buying it at this time of the year.

Female friends out shopping together

Last year, Australians spent over $50 billion during the pre-Christmas retail period, and we spent a whopping $2.4 billion on Boxing Day alone*! And it’s important to plan how you’re going to get a slice of this pie this year, but with the day-to-day running of your business, it can be easy to forget the approaching holidays and plan for them. So we’ve put together a few top tips to get you going if you haven’t already.

#1. Plan, Plan, Plan

According to Google Trends, mid-October is about the time people start searching for Christmas gift ideas, with the search trend peaking mid-December.

Google Trends data from the last 5 years

Google Trends data from the last 5 years

So if you haven’t yet started planning, you’re already a bit late to the game. But that doesn’t mean you can’t do anything to take advantage of the Christmas cheer this year, it just means you gotta get moving! Quickly!

So - start by having a look at what holidays are coming up and what will appeal to your customers. Of course there is Christmas and Boxing Day, but lately Black Friday and Cyber Monday have become bigger in Australia, and if you have clients in the US, maybe you should consider Thanksgiving holiday too?

There’s also Free Shipping Day on 14 December, Green Monday (the last Monday before Christmas and usually the shipping cut-off date), and Super Saturday (the last Saturday before Christmas). There are plenty of “holidays” you can take advantage of - but perhaps just pick two or three to focus on, and start to plan around those.

Once you know what holidays you want to run promotions around, map out exactly what your offers will be - what goods will be on sale, how much will they be on sale for, what dates will they be on sale and so on. Then get out that trusty calendar and plan it all out - add start and end dates, when you need to change banners and social graphics, when you need to have prep tasks done by etc.

#2. Get Prepping

Once you have a plan in place, you can then start working out what marketing channels you’re going to use to get your sales message out there. Try not to be too scattered - focus on a few core channels that will give you the most return and prepare the materials you need just for those. Here are a few ideas for you:

  • Blog posts - for each major promotion, including some juicy SEO keywords around the holidays

  • Email marketing - leverage your existing database to increase your traffic and sales

  • Paid advertising - like Adwords or Facebook. This could be more costly at this time of year with increased competition, but if budget allows, it’s a great way to get your message seen

  • Social media - get out there and engage with your followers and let them know what you have coming up

  • Retargeting - show ads to people who have previously visited your site or engaged with your brand

Make a list of all of the banners, graphics and copy you need, and when you need them done by, and get cracking. We love Canva as a tool for creating quick and easy marketing graphics, so if you haven’t already, check it out!

Creativity at work

#3. Get Your Business Ready

This may go without saying, but you need to make sure you have your house in order before launching your promotion. Make sure you have enough stock for your sale, or make sure you use real-time stock updates to ensure you don’t sell items you don’t have.

Also ensure your website is ready and able to handle the increased traffic. An outage could be pretty costly to your business, so make sure it is quick to load, is mobile optimised, and has a streamlined checkout process.

Finally, make sure your customer service will be top notch. If you have any employees, brief them on the promotion(s) so they are aware of the details. Consider your packaging for the promotional period - maybe you want to throw in a little discount card to use in January to get customers to come back? Update your FAQs page and your policies to cover your offers, and optimise your promotion landing pages so they have all the relevant content around any sale conditions.

#4. Execute Your Plan

Once you’re ready, all you need to do is execute your plan according to the steps you laid out in your calendar. But, make sure you’re checking things along the way, monitoring your results and tweaking things as you need to. You can use Google Analytics to monitor your traffic and sales, and you can use campaign-specific tracking to manage the results of individual campaigns.

Getting organised

At the end of the holiday season, it’s also really important to do a full audit of all of your activity and its results, so that you have data to work with next year.

Last Words

These steps outline the basic plan to get your holiday promotions off the ground, but here are a few other tips for you to consider incorporating into your plan:

  • Create a competition or giveaway on social media to create hype around your sale or brand - this is a great way to give extra value to your customers, and build up some hype around your promotions

  • Map out an email strategy - you’ll want to create an email campaign around your promotion(s) to alert your current customers to your upcoming sales. People shop through their emails, so make sure these are optimised for mobile and desktop!

  • Consider delivery cut-off dates - nothing will turn customers against you quicker than their purchases not arriving before Christmas, so make sure you clearly state your cut-off date for orders to arrive before the big day. Perhaps put it in the header of your site, as well as include it on product pages and conditions

  • Add some holiday cheer to your website - while you want to stay on-brand with your design, there’s nothing stopping you from adding a little holiday spirit into your website banners and landing pages, or your social channels

  • Gift your merchandise - make it easy for customers to shop from you by adding “Gifts” to your main menu, including links to gift ideas, or gift categories (like “Gifts Under $50”, “Gifts Under $100” etc.)

  • Consider including Gift Cards as a purchase option - but make sure you think out and document all terms and conditions

  • Get ready for the new year - with so much focus on the holiday period, it can be easy to forget that after Christmas comes the new year, so make sure you’re ready for it with enough stock (especially if your suppliers close over the holidays), and a plan as to how you’ll capitalise on all your new customers post-holidays

If you haven’t started planning your holiday period yet for your business, and are feeling the overwhelm - we’re here to help. We can help you come up with a plan, map it out and execute it so that you’re holiday ready! Just get in touch today for a free consultation!

*Roy Morgan research.