October has officially begun, which puts us smack in the midst of holiday planning season. Savvy marketers (like yourself) have long since finalized their overall marketing plans for the season, but there’s one item you might not have included on that list: your website!
Amidst all the email campaigns, social media planning, online ads, and print ads that make up the typical holiday marketing plan, people sometimes forget to polish up the destination all that marketing is directing people to. If your marketing efforts are successful, you’ll have lots of new visitors making their way to your website. Don’t drop the ball once they get there! Here are 4 things to do this week to make sure your site is serving you best throughout the season to come
1. Look at your design with fresh eyes. Imagine someone is arriving at your site for the first time, and they’re in a bit of a rush because they’re doing a lot of online shopping this time of year. Does your site give off a polished image that will make them trust that you are a legitimate business? How well are you calling attention to the things you most want to get across? Re-examine your navigation — is it clear and easy to use? People have lots of choices during this season, and you don’t want to lose them when you’re so close to earning their business.
2. Optimize your content for search. Think about your products or services and write down the terms you think people might search for that could lead them to you. As a small business, you will probably not be able to rank for general terms like “Holiday Gifts”, but you could get significant traffic from something like “Handmade soaps in Maryland.” Once you have a good list going, check your ideas in Google’s Keyword Planner and see how many searches are being done for those times. It’s free to use, you just need to have an AdWords account. The next step is to find places on your site to pepper in those terms. If you have a blog, this won’t be hard — just write a post or two with great gift ideas, helpful lists that include your products, etc.
3. Make sure your details are correct — everywhere. Starting with your website, make sure all of your contact and location information is correct. Next, check the same information in places like Yelp, Google Local, Yahoo! Local and your social media profiles. Don’t fumble it at the finish by making it harder for people who’ve decided to shop with you to find your store.
4. Stock those shelves! If you have a web store or ecommerce element to your website, give it a little extra TLC before the holidays. If you have new product ideas, take some great photos and put them up for sale. Consider adding gift cards and gift certificates for products or services you offer. This is also a great time to update all of your product descriptions, since fresh content will get re-crawled by Google and may help you rank better in searches.
Follow these steps and you’ll be in great shape for the holiday season. Do you have any other advice to share? Let us know in the comments!