Holiday Website Promotions: Are you ready?

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You may not be as ready as some others, but many SEO's and SEM's are preparing (or have established strategies already) for the holidays ahead - Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanza, Boxing Day). If you're an online retailer and rely on holiday traffic, here's a quick checklist to help you prepare for what some are expecting as the largest online holiday shopping season ever:

- Create Holiday-Specific Landing Pages: If you're using pay per click advertising to drive traffic to your website, then creating holiday specific landing pages is a smart move. Don't just bundle all the holiday keywords together, direct that holiday specific keyword and keyphrase traffic directly to these landing pages and watch the conversion rate improve dramatically.

- Offer a Holiday Promotion: It may seem basic to some, but incentives such as free shipping are "value-added" and can differentiate your site from the competition. The result? An increase in holiday business. Establishing promotions now will ensure that your promotion has time to circulate before the holidays begin.

- Help Your Customers: Adding helpful suggestion functionality encourages your visitors to buy more. While we all have someone that is difficult to buy for, features which prompt website visitors in a specific direction have been shown to increase the dollar amount per order. Designating a specific area to help visitors find popular, "hot", inexpensive or supplementary gifts during the browsing experience and within the checkout process will provide a substantial boost to your bottom line.

- Don't Let Them Get Away: The holiday keyword traffic now falls into two categories - early buyers and researchers. Those early buyers are looking for discounts and those researchers are looking for information on gift ideas. Savvy Web retailers make a point to collect marketing data from these consumers (email addresses, preferences, etc.) so that when crunch time rolls around a targeted email campaign could mean the difference between a successful holiday season and one that fails.

- Know When to Expect Traffic: Something I have not thought of regarding Holiday promotions until I started writing this blog post were the dates of these specific holidays. While Christmas always falls on the 25th of December, Kwanzaa falls on Dec. 26th through January 1st and Hanukkah starts on December 16th. Thanksgiving is celebrated on different dates in the US and Canada (Novemeber 23rd in the US and October 9th in Canada). The point is that you should take these dates into account when preparing your online promotional campaigns and know what to put on your landing pages when it comes to expected delivery dates.

In the end, the best advice for preparing for online holiday promotions is to start early - you'll be glad you did and will be laughing (ho, ho, ho) all the way to the bank.


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