Are you ready for the holidays? They're almost here! 🎄😱
Black Friday and Cyber Monday (BFCM) are just a few short months away, so if Q4 is a key driver of business for your company, it's time to start thinking about optimizing your website for a successful holiday season.
It's not too early to prepare for the holiday season! Work through our checklist to help your holiday events go off without a hitch!
Review your new launches
If you have anything launches during or around the holidays, start by reviewing those products and making sure you are ready to handle them. You will of course need inventory and any new backend processes, but you'll also, of course, need product pages and marketing collateral. Even if you don't yet have photography, it's not too early to create a placeholder product page, begin planning copy, and work through any other considerations such as bundles. If there's anything unique about your new products such as fulfillment deadlines, make note of that and any corresponding action items as well.
Create a promotions schedule
Open up a calendar and start mapping out each promotion you'll offer, and when. This gives you an immediate visual overview of your Q4 sales events. Keep in mind that your events may overlap, and not every promotion is relevant to every customer. For example, you may have a "VIP Customers" promotion where you offer a discount only to existing customers while you have an "Instagram Event" where you offer a separate discount to people who follow you on Instagram but have not made a purchase yet. Your promotion schedule should include all promotions, and now is a good time to begin thinking through these various segments, as well as how discounts interact with each other (or, do not interact and can't be combined). It's best to figure out this nitty-gritty early so you can be organized and prepared.
Plan ads and sponsorships
Continuing to flesh out your promotions, follow up by reviewing tasks for asset creation, such as landing pages, social ad visuals, etc. Prepare for purchasing media, particularly if you plan to utilize media such as TV, radio, or billboards that require more advanced notice than online ads. Plan your media campaigns now to avoid stress in November.
Email segments and automations
Re-review your master promotions schedule. In addition to other media, you'll likely have email campaigns for each promotion. It's a good idea to review your email marketing from several lenses:
- Consider the emails you'll want for each sale. While you may add emails ad hoc during the holidays, it will definitely be helpful if you can have some emails that you know you'll want to send ready to go. Each sale may have one or more emails as part of their campaign.
- Not every email will go to every address in your contact list. In the same way that not every promotion need apply to every customer, you don't need every email to go to every address in your list. Look at your data and your promos to check, revise, and/or create segments. You may wish to create additional emails and/or additional segments beyond the promotion baseline.
- Consider your automated email flows as well. Ensure that they're working and adhere to your latest brand standards. (Since automations are sometimes set-it-and-forget-it, it's easy to literally forget them and leave them un-updated years after your other emails get a facelift.) If you're not making use of email automations, consider creating automations for common activities such as viewing particular products but not making a purchase (especially products of key value to your company or a general abandonment email that applies to any product), re-targeting users from other media such as Instagram, or following up with former customers.
Subscriptions provide a reliable source of recurring revenue for your company. If you're able to take advantage of gaining new subscriptions during the holiday season, it could supercharge your revenue into the new year.
If you currently make use of subscriptions, now in advance of the holidays is an excellent time to review your platform and ensure it's still meeting your needs. Consider the user experience as well as business management on the back end.
If you don't currently offer subscriptions, think about whether they could work for your business and integrate into your business model. If subscriptions could be a winning strategy, offering them in time for the holidays could be an excellent goal.
Technical capacity and optimization
Black Friday and Cyber Monday are typically some of the busiest online shopping das of the year. There are few things worse than your server crashing under heavy load, meaning that your business forfeits sales when customers are ready to hand you their money and potentially sacrificing advertising dollars as well that are spent in vain.
If your site is hosted on Shopify or BigCommerce, you're good to go! Both services use high-quality infrastructure that automatically scales to accommodate large amounts of traffic. They'll dynamically add server resources automatically, relying on proven solutions such as Google Cloud and Amazon Web Services as well as caching solutions that ensure fast site speed through services such as Fastly and Cloudflare. All of that is free, included in your subscription to Shopify or BigCommerce (any plan) at no extra charge.
If you use a different hosting provider or if you self-host (such as if you're on WordPress) then it's a good idea to thoroughly review if you or your hosting provider are able to provide the features above or if you have other technical readiness plans for high traffic during times of your largest sales and the biggest shopping days of the year.
User experience and conversion rate optimization
If you've followed the steps in this checklist, then it's highly likely your website will have traffic this holiday season. But once traffic hits your website, then what? While getting traffic to your website is important, ensuring they have an amazing experience once there is also integral to ensuring a high conversion rate.
In a nutshell, your goal is to make sure your website gives customers an experience that's streamlined, beautiful, consistent, concise, and easy.
There's a lot to do, but by starting now you can ensure that your business is ready to benefit from the sales cycle this holiday season. If you're overwhelmed and looking for a helping hand in working through these tasks, our 1 Simple Subscription retainers are the perfect way to get help from our entire team, including project managers, strategists, and even copywriters, for a simple and affordable cost.