5227664185_5fcfcfc13c_oBlack Friday is almost here; but perhaps even more pertinent to online retailers is that its counterpart, Cyber Monday, is right around the corner–not to mention all the deals beginning on Thursday and throughout the Thanksgiving weekend. With thousands of online retailers competing for the same dollars and page views, it is imperative that your online storefront is ready to face the competition.

According to the National Retail Federation’s data, online sales are forecast to increase between 6 and 8 percent, equating to as much as $105 billion. Adobe’s holiday shopping forecast is a bit bolder, citing an 11% increase over last year. Their studies also show that for the first time, the majority of holiday shoppers will rely on mobile devices to complete their shopping lists. Mobile purchases are expected to account for one third of online sales this holiday season, and forecasters are predicting that this year’s Cyber Monday will set the record as the largest online shopping day of all time!

With billions of consumer dollars on the table, how do you make sure your business is not tossed out with the rest of the Thanksgiving leftovers? eCommerce Insiders offers some tips for maximizing your visibility, and the advertising experts at Strategic Marketing and SmartLink are here to help you convert these ideas into revenue-producing solutions.

  1. Create Dedicated Landing Pages

Landing pages are an integral part of any online marketing strategy, and having landing pages specifically geared toward Black Friday, Cyber Monday and Small Business Saturday can help lead traffic to your business. You can also use landing pages to incite the curiosity of your consumers prior to the Thanksgiving holiday by offering teasers to your top holiday deals and special offers. These pages also offer an opportunity for consumers to input their data by signing up for special offers, contests and rewards programs. This information becomes an invaluable tool for future marketing and promotional purposes.

  1. Formulate a Black Friday/Cyber Monday FAQ Page

A Frequently Asked Questions page answers consumer questions in advance of the big weekend. Many shoppers will do their research ahead of time as to not waste valuable minutes during the height of their shopping time to look for answers such as shipping times and related costs, return/exchange policies, payment options and security, etc. By offering this information in advance, customers are more likely to feel at ease and thus more likely to purchase from your site.

  1. Advertise Customer-Friendly Shopping Carts

Allow customers the option of saving their Shopping Carts on your site with details such as whom the gift is for, where it needs to be shipped, payment type and any other information they deem helpful to make the final purchase process seamless and hassle-free. You can even offer to send a reminder e-mail on a specified date to complete their order and or make any changes necessary by simply clicking a few buttons. This is a similar approach many brick and mortar retailers offer as a ‘Pre-Sale’ promotion.

  1. Make Sure your Site is Mobile-Friendly

Shopping on mobile devices is more popular than ever, and this year will count for nearly one third of all online purchases. If your site is not optimized for mobile conversion, your business will not only lose out on search engine page rankings, but also on consumer dollars. According to a study by Kissmetrics, even a one-second delay in page loading time could result in 7% drop in conversions. Consumers don’t have, or don’t want to spend the time waiting for your site to display on their mobile devices and they shouldn’t have to. There is still time for the experts at SmartLink to optimize your site and make sure it is mobile-friendly in time for the holiday shopping season.

  1. Optimize PPC Campaigns

The number of impressions and clicks nearly doubles during the Thanksgiving weekend. Review your marketing budget to make sure you have allocated enough to your pay-per-click campaigns. If not, your ads will begin to fade away mid-day and give way to those businesses who placed a greater priority on keeping their ads front and center. In order to further maximize your ad dollars, you may choose to improve your targeting by focusing on consumers from a specific geographic area or matching a certain demographic profile.  Also, don’t forget to include keywords such as “deal”, “exclusive sale,” and “for a limited time” in your ads.

The Thanksgiving holiday weekend is more than just the official kick-off to the busiest shopping season of the year. If done strategically, it can help to grow your customer base and provide you with no-cost, valuable consumer data to utilize in your advertising and marketing plan for the following year, and to ultimately create loyal customers for years to come.

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