In the United States, the Monday after the holiday Thanksgiving represents a huge shopping day. Prior to the Internet, the single biggest sales day for American businesses was the Friday after the Thursday of the holiday. Now, online businesses enjoy the benefits of Cyber Monday. The black Friday sales that businesses offered mainly to American consumers can now be expanded to additional audiences. Consumers do not make the same distinctions when purchasing online, after all, you do not need to worry about transportation back and forth when purchasing online. The location of seller only matters with regards to shipping times. As long as the item can arrive timely for the holidays, it does not matter where the retailer is physically located. Below are some strategies you can use to improve your year end sales figures by being competitive on Cyber Monday.
Holiday Profits are all about Sales Figures
You are looking to sell more units at lower cost to you than ever, and the consumer wants to buy at the lowest cost available. Consumers are often price driven when they are shopping online. The best way to get the maximum number of sales on a unit is to offer the lowest price. You can not do this with every item in your online store, but strategic popular item discounts can help you leverage additional sales. The direct sale of a deeply discounted item may not earn you much, if any profits, but the additional accessory sales can be highly profitable. Do not be afraid to offer deep discounts on a limited number of products, it can help bring people onto your site.
Up Sells are the Key to High Holiday Profits
The fierce competition on prices and consumers makes it imperative that you offer a few items at the absolute lowest price available. Sure, you may even take a loss on some items, but the increased web traffic is worth the additional cost. After all, you will only have so many units in stock at the designated low price. After the site traffic picks up, you will need creative upsells and alternatives to keep consumers coming back to your site. Electronics are usually the big ticket discount item, but consider potential accessory gifts that can help you turn a tidy profit. With television sales, wireless noise cancelling headphones make a great gift accessory. Small electronics often do better when purchased in conjunction with a case, and portable electronics might benefit from a tag to help find the device at all times. Carefully implement creative upsells, to get the largest return on your holiday sales.
Many businesses may want to consider a Facebook promotion as part of a larger marketing strategy. There are many different types of promotion, and they can all be helpful at different times. The important thing to remember when adding in a Facebook promotion is that you must comply with the guidelines laid down by Facebook. You are not required to be a paid advertiser on the site to run a promotion, but it must be administered using an application, and the application must work with Facebook’s policies on platform. There are third party applications you can use to ensure that you are in compliance. Below are 4 do’s and don’ts when posting a promotion, and be aware that some of the distinctions are very fine.
Entries can not be conditional upon a user providing Facebook content. This includes making a wall post, adding a photo or making a status update. However, you are allowed to use a third-party application to put content conditions on an entry. For example, if you are promoting a video contest, videos would be uploaded via a third-party application, rather than directly using Facebook. Applicants would be automatically re-directed to the third party site to finish their submissions.
No automatic entries for liking a page, checking in to a place or connecting to platform integration. You can make it part of the promotion for entrants to complete one or all of these steps before finalizing their entry, but there can not be automatic entry. Instead, after the entrant has completed the action required, you then collect the rest of the information needed, like their name and email contact information.
No Facebook communications can be used to notify winners. This includes wall posts, messages, and chats. Make sure to collect alternative contact information as part of your entry process.
No instructions can tell participants to sign up for a Facebook account. Instead, instruct those interested in participating to visit your third-party application where they will then be offered an opportunity to sign up if they do not already have an account. The Facebook Platform is only available to those with a Facebook account, making those without ineligible to participate.
When using a free site like Facebook, it is important to follow the rules as closely as possible. You have probably seen many promotions that are in violation of some of these guidelines, but it is not worth losing a devoted following and being forced to re-start your social media marketing efforts simply to take a short cut on posting a promotion. Follow the rules and get the results you are looking for.
The holidays are a time when many people spend a bit more than they should. The joy of gift giving during the Christmas season makes people dig a little deeper when shopping. Physical store locations create beautiful window displays that capitalize on the season. Online sellers should do to same. Integrating Christmas imagery in your existing sales website can help you to increase your sales this holiday season. There are several different ways to add a Christmas feel to your site, and you should employ them all.
Change the overall theme – most websites are designed so that certain elements remain the same from page to page. This is referred to as the theme of the site. Change the theme to reflect a holiday spirit, to get shoppers in the right frame of mind. Christmas imagery like decorations, wrapped presents, holiday lights or a Christmas tree are all possible examples.
Place sale items in the forefront – make sure to highlight your sale items and include information about their potential as gifts. Draw a strong connection between your sale items and holiday giving.
Colour scheme is crucial – any other time of the year, a subdued colour palate can be used to create a feeling of warmth, but for Christmas, bright colours act as an attraction. You do not need to stick with traditional red and green, but bright colours that compliment each other are a must.
Create a Christmas logo – while all of your products should be sold under your regular logo, a special holiday design can capture imaginations. Many large retailers use a different holiday exclusive design each year. Stay on top of trends and find something that tickles the funny bone or warms the heart of the average consumer.
Offer services specific to the holiday – including services like gift wrapping and drop shipping are a solid choice as part of your holiday campaign. Include vivid advertisements that demonstrate the ease of shopping on your site. Let consumers know that your site is truly a one stop shopping location.
These strategies can help to boost final quarter sales by encouraging additional holiday spending. Giving consumers a visual reminder of the season and using subtle reinforcement like the overall colour scheme and logo design will help put them in the shopping mood. You can not give them the opportunity to hold a product prior to purchase, but you can give them a festive atmosphere in which to shop. Thoughtful use of animations is a great addition to any holiday website, and paying attention to the hot gifts of the season will help you to determine the best items to put up for sale.
Gaining the highest possible rank on search engines is a crucial part of online marketing. No matter how terrific your products and low your prices, if consumers do not see your website, nothing else matters where online sales are concerned. In order to maximise your online sales potential, you need to be easily searchable using a variety of potential keywords. One of the more common strategies for gaining a better page rank is to gain quality back links. For those that are unfamiliar, back links are links coming from a third party website back to your own site. The more trusted the site hosting the link, the more favourably the search engine will view the backlink.
Article writing is a fabulous way to generate quality back links. If you create articles that provide quality, informative content for Internet browsers, you will find numerous sites willing to host your articles. There are some basic things to consider before you get started.
Where would you like to post your articles? Determining the forum can often help you obtain quality links. For example, if you know that you want to publish articles on a forum like DIY Network, you need to provide articles detailing how to complete do it your self home renovation projects. You will also need to meet their minimum requirements for length and quality.
Quality, grammatically correct and informative content is key. If you provide poorly written, hastily edited items to respected websites, they are unlikely to be posted. Take the time to create content that is well thought out, organised and current.
Current events play a big role in getting published. If your content is related to things that happened six months ago, the immediacy is lost. The more current the content, the more likely it is to be published.
Unique is often better than popular. Many people make the mistake of rehashing well publicised topics. Instead of discussing the same things as everyone else, find unique topics to cover. Online publishers often appreciate have new information to share that is also current, and fits in with their demographic.
Keep the demographic in mind. If is one thing to try and publish do it yourself tips on a home improvement website, but it is another to publish tips on hiring a contractor on a do it your self website. Carefully consider where you are submitting before creating an article.
The more time you put into writing carefully crafted content with solid value for readers, the more back links you will obtain. Larger numbers of back links and back links from trusted sources will quickly improve your page rankings on search engines.
Many people lose sight of the fact that online marketing and regular day to day marketing are the same. The only difference is the medium that you are using. The goal of generating conversions is the same. However, many small business owners do not immediately understand that the basic strategies remain the same, even if the implementation changes. For example, businesses ramp up advertising during the winter holiday season, regardless whether they are marketing online or using traditional methods. Christmas sales are the most marketed item of the year for many businesses, online or in-store. All businesses are competing for sales all of the time and online businesses must apply the basics of marketing to create successful campaigns.
Broaden your Demographic
Standard Internet marketing strategies call for you to market to the niche and avoid broadly targeted marketing campaigns. However, that only works if your company is highly targeted. If you offer products and services that are designed to appeal to many people, then you need marketing campaigns that will do so as well. You may want to target specific demographics for particular products, but overall you should be designing a campaign that will maximise your visibility and appeal to the widest possible audience.
Use Multiple Methods
The more types of marketing you implement, the more success you will have. When you restrict your marketing to only SEO or social media, you miss out on many other opportunities that could drive customers your way. Make sure to use as many types of marketing as you can to gain maximum visibility. Use SEO techniques to gain visibility on search engines, but also post regularly on a variety of social media. Write on point articles that are industry specific and timely. Include your site on a variety of listing services and comparison shopping websites.
Quality Always Sells
At the end of the day the most important thing is to offer value to your customers. If you offer quality products at reasonable prices, you will reap the rewards. Word of mouth marketing is still some of the most effective. Give your customers a reason to talk about your company. Provide excellent service and top of the line products at very competitive prices and you will enjoy a response to your holiday advertising that is out of this world.
Communication is Key
The more you communicate with your marketing campaigns, the more responsive consumers will be. Consumers tend to make purchases based on emotional responses. Make sure that your company is not a faceless member of the crowd. Stand out with unique offerings and hip slogans that push your company as an industry leader.
If you have not yet begun your holiday sales promotions, you are already running late. Many businesses start putting together their holiday promotional material no later than September. The reason for this is that the earlier you start with certain advertising methods, the best options are available. For example, many websites often offers the best display slots on a first come first served basis. The price is often similar, but the best slots go first. However, even if you have not yet begun your holiday push there are some great strategies you can still pursue.
Banner Ad Campaigns
Determine your big sale items now, so you can send the information out to as many people as possible. You may or may not have the lowest possible prices on some items, but that will not matter. The lowest prices will sell out quickly, leaving people looking for reasonable. As long as your sales price is moderately competitive, early web banner advertising on well trafficked sites can have some real benefits. Try to either generate one huge advertisement that covers all of your sales items, or do a weekly sales ad that shows off different items. Weekly banner ads leading up to Christmas can be a great way to maximise potential sales. The slow release for sales information keeps customers coming back, time after time.
Slow Build to Maximum Coverage
Another basic technique is to start small, and slowly build your advertising coverage. Few businesses can afford to advertise at full strength for long. The alternative is to start with a sprinkle of advertising. An online video ad promotion here or there combined with a gradual increase in the number of ads, peaking in the last two weeks before Christmas. This method can be highly effective. It also helps keep advertising costs as low as possible. The truly expensive part of the campaign only lasts for two weeks, with the more moderate pricing before that. If you can not afford online video advertising, consider using local sites or social media as an option. In either case, gradual escalation is a great way to get extensive market penetration on a limited budget.
Cross Promote with other Shops
Do not limit your business to direct promotions. There are great opportunities to combine your marketing budget with another store. For example, a shoe shop might partner up with an outwear seller to maximise both locations advertising budgets. Since neither store has a large budget individually, combining the two budgets to purchase the most popular advertising is a great way to effectively reach out to consumers during the winter holiday season. Cross promotions can be effective in all types of media from email to SEO, and even for direct referrals.
Successfully marketing on social media requires just as much planning as any other marketing tool. If you simply jumped in and started trying to build a large Facebook fan base with no foundation, it is no wonder that you have simply been spinning your wheels. There are several things to remember about marketing your company on Facebook, and the first is that Facebook is all about making genuine connections with other people. Below are the top five ways to connect to the right people on a social media forum.
1. Determine Your Demographic. To create a successful social media marketing strategy, you must know who your target clients are. Successful campaigns are highly targeted and very specific. Online marketing is all about marketing to the niche. Facebook allows your company to target a very specific niche of people to get the best possible results for your company. Know who your target market is, before you begin your Facebook marketing campaign to achieve maximum success. There are over 500 million Facebook users, and if you do not target your marketing efforts you wind up wasting a considerable amount of time.
2. Find and Connect with Your Demographic on Facebook. Once you have decided upon your target demographic, every succeeding action needs to be focused on connecting you with your target demographic. No matter what the action is, it should be highly targeted, regardless whether you are creating business page, posting a status update, sharing industry tips, or sending friend requests, keep in mind how to use each of these actions to best reach your target demographic.
3. Maintain Facebook Activity Levels. Facebook will only work as a marketing tool, if your page remains current and regularly updated. It takes considerable dedication to ensure that you are keeping your Facebook activity levels high. If you cease posting, or interacting with others on Facebook, you wind up losing their interest and failing to grow your connections. Unlike general marketing efforts, Facebook allows you to focus on only those who are most likely to be interested in your company. Thus, your response rates will be significantly increased using this marketing effort.
4. Establish your Expertise. Facebook marketing is more about direct interaction with consumers than any other type of marketing. To be successful, you need to convince consumers of your company’s expertise within its industry. Offer helpful tips and how-to information to teach customers about the industry and establish your expertise.
5. Create a Business Page. Profile pages are the foundation of Facebook marketing. Originally, all pages were personal, so if your company has a long standing personal page, it is time to switch to a business page. If you have not yet created your business page, do so immediately. You can not effectively drive sales without a link to your company site, and your business page will help drive traffic back and forth.
Social media really is the wave of the future for marketing. No other medium lets you reach as many people, while simultaneously marketing directly in your niche. There are several social media sites, and each of them focus on a different area. YouTube is great for video marketing, and more businesses are taking advantage of the opportunity to advertise for free using video. Facebook is the single largest social media site, but it is easy to get lost in the crowd. If you are looking for a social media site that allows you to network and build a potential client base, LinkedIn is one of the best. The target market for LinkedIn is professionals seeking to network or find employment. The opportunities through the site are endless. Many people do not realise the potential of a site like LinkedIn, but below are three simple strategies that you can follow to expand your markets.
1. Host an Online Networking Function
Everything is going virtual these days, and networking functions are just one more example. When you host a virtual get together, you bring together people in complementary fields to discuss topics related to your business. Not only can you gain valuable insight into the current market place and other’s strategies, but you can also begin building business connections. A highly effective sales tool is a referral program from business to business.
2. Demonstrate Expertise
Your LinkedIn page is a great place to show consumers the expertise of your staff. Encourage each staff member to create a LinkedIn profile that highlights their industry experience. This way, consumers will know that your employees are truly qualified to help them with their purchase. Expertise is one of the best ways to brand a company and let consumers know that it stands as an industry leader. Show them your commitment to excellence via your staff members.
3. Make Connections
While sites like Facebook allow you to indiscriminately add numerous friends, the LinkedIn process is a little bit different. Because you will not be indiscriminately adding hundreds of people, the resulting network that you build will be much more direct, personally driven and highly effective. Each individual is an opportunity to grow your network, and you can see exactly how many people you will gain access to via a single introduction.
The thing to remember about LinkedIn is that it is a professional site. Instead of simply throwing people together, it is all about building genuine connections with other business professionals. While Facebook is often like making a cold call, LinkedIn is more like shaking a hand.
The importance of social media as an advertising method and marketing opportunity is undeniable. The recent addition of the Google search function prioritising sites that are well received on Facebook has simply made it more necessary. The issue with Facebook is that you need a very high number of fans to effectively use this social media outlet as a serious marketing tool. Imagine your fandom as beginning in an empty stadium, and imagine filling it full to capacity with your Facebook fans. There are several ways that you can grow your fandom, while using Facebook to improve your page rankings and as a cross selling tool.
Start with posting. When you first start your business Facebook page, the first step is to start posting immediately. Keep your posts short but informative, and include humour whenever possible. Make it a habit to post to Facebook several times a week. Even before your page has any fans, it is important to start with a history of posts.
Utilise groups. Facebook offers several groups, so you will need to find groups that would be interested in your industry. Take the time to interact with them and offer help whenever possible. As you interact with them they are more likely to become a fan of your page. Use the opportunity to establish your company as an industry leader.
Offer a motivation. It is not enough to simply talk with people via Facebook, you need to offer them a reason to become a fan and follow your newsfeed. Some companies use weekly give-a-ways, others use contests, sweepstakes, coupons or other strategies to encourage people to visit regularly. The automatic reminder function as people see the information on their wall will encourage them to participate.
Ask for referrals. Facebook referrals are easy for people to offer, so consider tying your motivators in with your referral ask. For example, offer a discount to those that share your company link on their Facebook.
Keep at it. It may take weeks to get your first fan, but the numbers have a tendency to skyrocket after a certain point. One hundred people can quickly turn into one thousand, but the trick is to have patience when first starting out. Give your strategy the time it needs to be successful.
If you try these tips, you will see an increase in the number of fans you have on Facebook. This will lead to increased sales and more link backs to your website. Facebook is also well regarded by search engines, so your site will naturally improve its rankings as well. Enjoy the increased opportunities offered by Facebook.