Every year, as the air grows crisp, the winter holidays are upon us in the blink of an eye. Now is the time to begin cleaning your home, decking the halls, and inviting both the old and new crew to visit!
But remember, friends, the readying of space and invitations to visit apply to both your home and your business website! The winter holidays present too important of an opportunity in the digital area for your business to miss.
So let’s keep your website from being that ill-fitting, scratchy Christmas sweater at the party. And let’s also ensure your website isn’t that holiday party that few attend and all the crew bounces from shortly after arriving.
How and what do you do to prevent these dreaded situations from happening? Fear not, friends. We’ve got you covered! Drive droves of website visitors and conversions this holiday season with our holiday prep list.
Prepare for Holiday Visitors
Prepare a strong foundation for all the holiday traffic you’ll be receiving to make a splash and drive conversions.
1. Limit the risk of website downtime.
When you have consumers visiting your site in droves, the last thing you need is for your website to crash. One of the best ways to limit the risk of downtime is to invest in quality and dedicated hosting. Entrepreneur advises weighing the increased cost of quality hosting against the revenue your business would lose from website downtime during the holiday rush. In our experience and that of our clients, quality hosting is money well spent, as is a great website support team who has your back.
2. Optimize your website’s load time.
Customers are in a hurry and expect fast site speed, especially during the busy holiday season. If your website is sluggish, visitors will be annoyed and bounce to your competitors’ sites. With all the eyes that will be on your website these holidays, you can’t risk a slow site and an unhappy customer. Check out our guide to the importance of site speed and how to improve yours.
3. Increase website security to promote visitor trust.
Website security should always be high on your priority list but especially with the holiday season upon us. Nine out of 10 Americans worry about data security online, with 54% citing identity theft and 16% credit card fraud as top concerns. By implementing two practices on your site — using SSL certificates and displaying security badges — you’ll reassure your customers that their data is protected.
Since Google’s announcement that HyperText Transfer Protocol Secure (HTTPS) is a search ranking signal, many businesses have secured an SSL certificate resulting in https displaying in theirs. Benefits go beyond SEO and include providing a safe environment for your visitors’ personal information and assuring them of that safe environment. Without an SSL, “not secure” appears in your URL. What kind of assurance does that provide trust-weary site visitors?
In addition to SSL certificates, studies show that trust badges may help skeptical customers feel better about providing their credit card information. Reassurance of this nature is especially helpful to consumers who are shopping on your website for the first time.
4. Be clear with what you have to say and be ready to answer customer questions.
With more visitors to your site (and there will be if you read on and implement our tips for driving that holiday traffic), prepare for more inquiries from potential customers. Anticipate what those questions will be and provide content that will help them convert — be clear about your value proposition, write more informative product and service descriptions, include clear business policies, and create and/or refine your FAQ section.
And for those visitors who aren’t able to find answers to their questions on your website, refer to Tip Five on making it easy for them to reach out to you.
5. Ensure quick and effortless contact ability.
A larger percentage of your website visitors will be in-market for your products and services during the holidays. Make the most of positive buyer intent by ensuring visitors can effortlessly navigate your site and contact you, regardless of device or page on the website.
We recommend including a hyperlinked phone number, a contact form, and “contact” clearly in the navigation. If you have the budget and bandwidth for someone to staff it, you may also want to consider live chat for those who prefer not to speak on the phone. Remember that the goal is to ensure that visitors’ questions are answered without leaving the site. Achieving that goal translates into more conversions and revenue.
6. Provide opt-in incentives to get those email addresses.
Take advantage of the increased traffic from visitors with buyer-intent. Provide opt-in incentives (one-time discount on a product or service, a discounted price on an introductory service, or another incentive that makes sense for your business). As visitors to provide their email address in exchange for these incentives. In today’s age, email addresses are gold — and are a means to stay top of customers’ minds, email promotions, provide helpful content to foster loyalty, and much more.
7. Make strategic design adjustments for the festive season.
It’s crucial to balance keeping things fresh with consumer’s desire for consistency. Consistency makes it easier for existing customers navigate to the their desired products and services and place orders. At the same time, fresh new content catches the eye and entices visitors. And let’s face it. Holiday visitors also don’t want to see your same ole’ homepage while shopping for friends and family.
Instead of a total redesign, keep your primary layout and processes consistent but make strategic design adjustments for the festive season. “Holiday shoppers are looking online for great ideas and great deals,” writes Elementor. “Get people into the holiday spirit and encourage them to buy from you.”
- Use holiday banners on product and service pages.
- Make a visual impact with a holiday video card from your team.
- Consider adding a page that features your holiday specials (“best products and procedures for holiday-worthy skin,” “our gift guide for the guy that has everything,” etc.)
- Use a pop-up to showcase a special deal.
Let's get your site ready for the holidays.
Drive Traffic (Invite Holiday Visitors)
Just as you’d invite and encourage friends and family to visit your home for the holidays, so you should conduct efforts to drive old and new visitors to your website.
8. Publish holiday related content.
Your blog is a valuable resource for those looking to buy for their friends, family, and selves this holiday season. Don’t shy away from mixing in time-sensitive holiday content with your evergreen content. Evergreen content builds authority and builds up backlinks. But mixing in time-sensitive content helps you stay fresh and is more likely to generate interest and excitement when published. Practice Dermatology recommends a healthy mix of the two for optimal performance.
As you prepare to write, consider your ideal customers, the problems you solve, and what motivates your customers. Elementor recommends shaping your articles around a strong value proposition that will solve your target audience’s significant problems this season. People are looking for the best for their loved ones so publish high-quality content filled with advice and reasons why they need to look no further.
Publishing holiday content is just as important in the service sector as it is in the product one. For a healthcare friends, check out our guide on how your practice can use Content Marketing to win new patients, especially the holiday portion of the content calendar mentioned. And for our friends in the home services industry, consider blog topics that add value to your customers’ home experience this holiday season — heating tips for this season’s soiree, holiday energy-saving tips, your best advice for safe and efficient holiday lighting, avoiding plumbing problems, and more.
And if your business needs help generating quality content this holiday season, reach out to a qualified content marketing team.
9. Optimize your site for Search Engines.
Make sure you optimize the content you’re developing for search engines to show up for the right searches your target audience will be conducting. Think about the type of keywords you’d be entering in the search when shopping for your company’s products and/or services this upcoming season.
If you aren’t already conducting SEO, it’s always a great time to start and well worth the investment for qualified inbound organic traffic. Search engine optimization is quite technical in nature but, luckily for all of us, there are SEO specialists who focus day in and day out on nothing but it. If you need help with your search engine optimization, our team would be happy to talk with you.
10. Run Promotions.
Everyone wants a great deal when they’re shopping for the holidays. Plan in advance what promotions your business will make so you can advertise on social media and Google Ads. Consider the following:
- which products and services your business is willing to discount
- what incentives, if any, you’ll offer
- whether you’ll provide any free services
And as you consider the above, be strategic and run the numbers to ensure you won’t lose any money.
For our friends in the HVAC businesses, Contracting Business has some fantastic promotional ideas. We’ve included a few of our favorites that will also draw traffic to your website.
- “Gift of Heat. Many contractors work with local associations on “Heat the Town” promotions. Where there is no association, some contractors have taken it upon themselves to give away a heating system to a worthy person each year. They promote the giveaway in the media and to their customer base, soliciting nominations.”
- “Give Gift Certificates. Mail Christmas cards with gift certificates for your company. Again, a gift certificate is little more than a coupon, but carries intrinsic value. People keep them and use them.”
- “Twelve Days of Comfort. Instead of the 12 days of Christmas, run a “12 Days of Comfort” promotion, with a unique offer on each day. Send these out over social media. Avoid email since an email a day might lead to a loss of subscriptions.”
11. Add a retargeting pixel to your website.
Even if you’ve developed the most enticing and conversion-friendly website, visitors may not convert on their first visit. Many are comparing their options and looking for the best products and services and at the right price. So consider adding a retargeting pixel to your website. By doing so, you can advertise to those who have visited your website and encourage them to come back to your website.