It’s one of the biggest days for online shopping in the calendar year – and it’s barreling down on us quickly. Cyber Monday is a chance for ecommerce businesses to generate massive sales and can single-handedly be the difference between a record-breaking year and a record-breaking flop for online businesses.
Cyber Monday sales reached over a billion dollars in 2010 and have grown by double-digit figures every year since. (Chicago Tribune). So – what does your business need to do to prepare your online marketing to capitalize on this lucrative shopping holiday?
Our advice is to treat Cyber Monday like you would a major event or conference, getting all of your marketing efforts aligned and ready before the date strikes.
1. Adjust Your Ad Campaigns
If you’re running paid ad campaigns, you do yourself a disservice not to tailor your campaigns for the shopping season.
Tweak your messaging. Cyber Monday shoppers are all about bargains, deals and best prices – and they’re also worried about missing out on a deal. You can capitalize on this need-state by switching up your messaging in the days leading up to Cyber Monday.
In addition to promoting store-wide deals, product-specific advertisements boasting the savings you’re offering are a smart idea. The calls to action you use should also reflect the time-sensitive nature of the deal. Mentioning limited quantities and short-term deals creates a sense of urgency based on scarcity and encourages your market to move quickly.
Consider bumping up your budget. Online retailers know how profitable the shopping holiday can be, so don’t be surprised to see them feeding their budgets and upping their bids. To compete, you’ll want to do likewise, or risk poor placement or lost clicks when your ads simply stop running.
2. Create Event-Specific Content
Let your customers know you’re participating in Cyber Monday by creating content specific to the day. Of course, the content you create shouldn’t be riddled with keywords – it should help to build anticipation, communicate your special offers and get buzz going around your business.
Keep an ear to the ground for trends and popular topics that emerge as Cyber Monday approaches. It doesn’t hurt to get creative with it, either! A few ideas to consider:
Reveal one (or a few) special deals every day leading up to the big event. You could even combine these big reveals with daily contests, where those who share the deal with their friends are eligible to win a free product, gift cards or other appropriate prize.
Think about turning your previous years’ sales data into an engaging infographic or visual. Metrics could include total sales, total savings to the customers, average discounts on product, traffic levels and more – all numbers that help drive home the idea that your website is well worth visiting during Cyber Monday.
Monitor brand mentions for products you carry, and tune in to forums and social media channels to watch for trends in discussions. Craft content that contributes to the conversation, and share it with those already engaged.
Video is a great way to connect with your audience. From funny advertisements to special product features, you can use video to help build suspense, grab the attention of potential buyers and share how you plan to dote on customers when the big day arrives.
3. Conduct a Site Audit
With less than a month to go, making major changes to your website may not be in the cards. Still, it’s not too late to make sure that serious problems won’t arise.
Run a broken link check with a tool like Xenu Link Sleuth or Screaming Frog to make sure everything is up and running and that your customers won’t land on a 404.
Double-check your bandwidth usage. Are you nearing your limit? Will your site be able to handle a crash of users? You may want to temporarily upgrade your plan to accommodate the heavy traffic levels.
Test your checkout process. Is it streamlined and simple? Are your forms short, and are you avoiding asking for information that simply isn’t necessary? Are the checkout steps clearly labeled, and can a user track their progress?
One big question is whether or not you’re requiring people to register before a purchase – a barrier that dissuades up to 30% of shoppers from completing a sale. (Smashing Magazine). You might think about waving this requirement, especially on busy sales days like Cyber Monday.
Also – consider adding free shipping for Cyber Monday purchases as a bonus. Studies show that 51% of users who abandoned their carts did so because their items didn’t qualify for free shipping. (eConsultancy). This one simply perk could seriously boost your sales.
Check your mobile traffic levels and the user experience on mobile devices. In 2012, mobile shoppers accounted for nearly 25% of all purchases. (eConsultancy). If your site isn’t mobile friendly, you likely won’t have the time to turn that around completely in time for Cyber Monday.
However, you might have time to create mobile-friendly landing pages for key products and deals, and tie these in to your paid ad campaigns. There’s no need to give the whole site a makeover on such a tight deadline, but you could salvage some sales this
Use eye-tracking and heat mapping tools like LookTracker to get a sense for how people are interacting with your web content and make changes to improve that experience.
Heat maps can reveal areas of both opportunity and missed chances, highlighting where you might better place callouts to special offers and revealing black holes where customers aren’t paying attention.
Even if you can’t redesign the site, you can still use the data to better map out the offers and content you do have – and then learn from your findings for next year.
4. Cue Up Social Media
If you haven’t been building a social presence, now is an excellent time to start. With consumers on the hunt for bargains, there will be no shortage of conversation surrounding the best places to buy specific products, or where to get the best deals.
But whether you’re just starting on social or already have a presence, make sure you’ve got all these points crossed off the list:
Schedule tweets and plan updates in the days leading up to Cyber Monday that share your involvement and showcase great deals.
Integrate the plans you’ve made for season-specific content with your social channels to help amplify what you’ve created
Prepare a plan for how your social media will be handled day-of, including who will man the accounts and what messaging is appropriate. Because this is a time-sensitive event, you will want to be extra-ready to announce timely specials or answer customer concerns should they arise.
And remember: though Cyber Monday is a rare occasion where chiming in with insights directly related to a sale isn’t completely unwelcome, that doesn’t mean you should turn your social channels into an annoying sales megaphone.
Time is ticking – but it’s not too late to get ready for the best Cyber Monday yet. If you need a professional hand prioritizing action items, crafting a strategy or creating seasonal content, the experts at Teknicks can help you gear up to capitalize.