I’ve personally always liked the old saying “measure twice, cut once”, especially when it comes to online marketing (bear with me here).

The saying intends to tell us that the best way to avoid regrets and mistakes is to over-analyze before you act. With that in mind, let’s talk about your holiday marketing plan. If this is the first year you’ve put together a comprehensive plan that includes things like email marketing, social media efforts, and alterations to your website and/or online store, you can probably see the value in having insights from previous experience right about now.


Today’s article is a guest post from social marketing writer Lori Davis.

You sometimes hear opinions like “Businesses are cold” and “They don’t appreciate customers.” An unfortunate fact of life is that, by and large, this is true. When a popular brand shows appreciation to customers in some substantial way, it’s usually big news.

However, it’s only big news because it’s the exception and not the rule.

As a brand operating on social media, you have a great opportunity to change the way businesses are viewed by many customers out there. You can celebrate your customers and show your appreciation in numerous ways. After all, if not for customers, you wouldn’t have a business. So, let’s go over some ways to show your appreciation to fans and customers alike.


Perhaps in a perfect world, small business owners would be able to turn on that “Out Of Office” notification, punch out, and enjoy a week or two completely offline just like everyone else.

But until that utopia manifests, entrepreneurs know that in order to keep their small businesses running smoothly and growing continuously, they require regular attention. Does this mean that small business owners should resign themselves to years of cancelled vacations and missed holiday celebrations? Certainly not. This is where the right tools and tech can make all the difference.


As we begin wrapping up our series on holiday marketing preparations, it’s only appropriate that today’s example site focus on a Webs user site that is doing a great job with ecommerce.

Kudzu Soap Company in northern Georgia does a fantastic job of using their website to marketing and sell their handcrafted bath items. Let’s take a look at 4 ways Kudzu’s website is set up for success:

1. Dynamic homepage ads. When you first arrive at Kudzu’s page, you get a snapshot of everything that’s going on with the brand without having to navigate around. This is a great way to get your important messages across before people have a chance to get distracted or hit the back button. Within 15 seconds I already know that they have special offers on Facebook and Twitter, I’ve seen an image of their products and packaging, I know where they are located, and that they make handcrafted soaps, boy mousses, and sugar scrubs. Not too shabby for a 15 second first impression.


The holidays are almost here, which for many means visiting with family and friends, eating until you feel like a stuffed turkey, major holiday sales — and a major barrage of holiday sale emails to go with them.   From November (and earlier) until Christmas Day, every retailer big and small will be emailing their customers multiple times with a variety of products and exclusive offers.

According to holiday projections by eMarketer, 2013 e-commerce spending will increase 15.1% this holiday season, and it’s a safe bet that email will play a big role in reaching out to big spenders.   No surprise there, since email is an easy and inexpensive way to reach many people at once.


In last week’s post about getting your website ready for the holidays, we mentioned adding a page or pages of content as a strategy to improve traffic flow to your website. Today we’ll get into a little more detail about how — and why — to go about doing that.

First, come up with some keywords and key phrases you think your target audience might use to find what they’re looking for on search engines. Once you’ve got that list, think of ways you can modify those phrases to make them more specific to you. Adding things like your location (Des Moines Cupcakes) or something unique about your product (Des Moines Vegan Cupcakes) can make you more likely to rank on the first page of results because competition for those terms is not as stiff.


It’s that time of year, two weeks before Halloween, when your inbox starts serving up some real subject line gems. Nothing seems to inspire marketers to unleash their cheesy side quite like Halloween, and in honor of their efforts, we’re sharing some of the best (and worst) puns that have popped up in the Webs marketing team’s inboxes lately.

But as much fun as we like to poke at cheesy lines, the truth is they can be very effective. They can be attention grabbing, shareable (clearly), and highly memorable. So when you’re creating your own Halloween email offers this year, perhaps it may be better to embrace the cheese than fear it. If there’s any time of year when it’s appropriate to show your creativity, this may be it. But for the sake of all our inboxes, please pun responsibly.


As our month-long series on holiday marketing planning continues, we’re bring back a popular infographic from last year that takes a look at holiday sales trends, U.S. ecommerce projections, and way to optimize your holiday sales funnel.

This year, online sales in the United States are projected to exceed $61 billion in the last two months of the year, according to the latest eMarketer projections. Based on that research, the folks at PracticalCommerce.com have put together 6 trend predictions that could have a big affect on your small business this holiday season.


If one element of your small business website is a web store, now might be a good time to think about how you could inject a little joy-of-the-season into your site. If you’ve gone outside your home and into a retail store in the last couple of weeks, you may have noticed that the subtle signs of the season have already begun to crop up. Whether it’s the occasional holiday song mixed in, displays of holiday gift ideas, or even seasonal flavors creeping into restaurant menus, you can already feel the shift occurring.


As the holidays approach, charitable organizations are really starting to ramp up their outreach and marketing in order to capitalize on the ‘season of giving’ to come. If you’ve ever considered philanthropy or charitable marketing as a strategy for your business, now may be the perfect time to think of creative ways to get involved.

What are the benefits of charitable marketing for your business? There are several. One being that it builds goodwill for your business and establishes positive associations for your brand. (We posted a full article on branding through philanthropy awhile back that might be helpful.) Charitable marketing is also a great way to gain exposure for your business by leveraging the audience and trading on the recognition of another brand — the charity itself. Finally, your charitable activities give you something new to talk about on social media, in your own email marketing, in press releases, and elsewhere, in order to drum up traffic to your website and your store.



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