The ultimate guide to your most successful Q4 yet

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1 The ultimate guide to your most successful Q4 yet

2 CONTENTS 01 Introduction 02 Strategy/Planning Social Media 05 Digital Tactics 06 Paid Search 07 Creative Consideration/Messaging 08 Backend Monitoring 09 Summary

3 01 The early bird gets the sale

4 Introduction It s never too early to start thinking about your year-end sales push. Why? Aside from it being a perfect reason to connect with customers, the holiday season gives you an opportunity to flex your digital, social and mobile skills.

5 Because the truth is: Shopping habits are changing. Customers are buying earlier across every screen and channel. Digital is now a major player. Online shopping has steadily increased over the past five years. Competition is growing. Do you know how to rise above the noise? We do. And in a minute, so will you. Social pressure rules! It s changing everything, but we have a plan. Source: Google Trends

6 Here are some helpful tips to get ahead of your year-end competition and drive home sales and success.

7 02 Strategy/Planning

8 First things first. Before you dive in, review what worked and what didn t from your 2014 holiday season: Overall: How did your creative and messaging perform? What calls-to-action worked? Paid Search: Best keywords, landers, calls-to-actions and bidding strategies. Also consider if you saw any quality score issues Review subscribes/unsubscribes, open rates, clicks, clicks-to-conversions. Which had the highest engagement? Display: How did your creative and offers perform? Social: Top performing content, offers and targeting 8

9 Start right now. Talk to your agency partners and get the ball rolling. Plan out holiday schedules for offers/promotions, landing pages, seasonal ad copy and creative updates. Don t forget to strategize bidding budgets for SEM. 9

10 Get it together. Your customer base expects consistency in your messaging and appeals; they don t care about your internal silos. So give em what they want: Align , paid SEM, SEO, social and display initiatives and don t forget offline efforts like in-store, catalog, direct mail and broadcast. 10

11 Spring forward. Use your end-of-year campaign as a launching pad for big spring events/campaign rollouts. When you start building your brand s awareness during the holiday season, you can hit the ground running with your spring campaign at the start of the year and ramp up quickly 11

12 03

13 Think inside the mailbox. marketing has become the primary channel for Black Friday, driving 27.3% of sales. Cyber Monday yielded similar results, with marketing driving 23.9% of orders, free search 18.8% and paid search 16%. 13

14 Timing is everything. Use Send Time Optimization to send to individuals based on engagement patterns. You can even send s to recipients when you know they are reading their . 14

15 Optimize your site for mobile. It s more important than ever. In 2014 alone, 33% of ecommerce sales occurred on a mobile device. On April 21, 2015, mobile SEO became a Google ranking factor. Make sure your site is mobile-friendly so you don t get penalized. 15

16 04 Social Media

17 Help customers share the love. A whopping 92% of customers deeply value word-of-mouth recommendation above all forms of advertising, and 89% say testimonials are most effective in influencing purchase decisions. Encourage users to share your content by offering incentives, providing clear calls-to-action and sharing links within s and landing pages. 17

18 All social media content is not equal. Your social content should appeal to users at every point on the path to purchase. In fact, 87% of social interactions occur midway. Fine-tune your strategy and offer relevant content that educates and engages your fans throughout the buying cycle. Bottom line: Give your fans a reason to follow you. 18

19 Be nimble. Be quick. You may run into an unhappy customer. So be ready to respond to complaints and questions quickly on social media. Add extra staff so you can be fast and relevant, with fewer machine-driven answers. 19

20 Pick paid social and display early. Social media ad spending in the United States will approach $10 billion in In North America, paid social will make up 35% all digital display spending. Maximize paid social s granular targeting abilities with personalized, real-time content to reach and engage all of your audience segments. Tap into programmatic social advertising for creative personalization at scale. 20

21 05 Digital Tactics

22 Remarket wisely. Remarketing should be part of any robust media plan. But even if someone abandoned your site on a particular product page, you shouldn t stalk customers across the Internet for weeks at a time. Think about what else they d be interested in, and give them options. 22

23 Cyber high-five! Black Friday isn t just one calendar day anymore. In fact, the days around it can now outperform it. Cyber Monday online sales were a whopping 30.5% higher than Black Friday in

24 Local love. The key is to get in front of local shoppers. Work with your agency to create a hyperlocal campaign with SEO, SEM, display and social media. 24

25 Utilize the SERP landscape as much as possible. Incorporate enhanced site link, callout, call and location extensions when applicable to make your ads more attractive and drive holiday sales. Extensions are now factored into the Quality Score, so they re crucial to the overall health of your search campaigns. Pay less. Get more. 25

26 Partner up. Go beyond Amazon and consider partnerships such as ShopRunner (free for shoppers with an AmEx card). And don t be afraid to promote them to your customers! 26

27 Show your product feed some love! Optimize or create your Google Shopping campaign to promote your individual products and offers online. Don t overlook beacons, visual search and local inventory ads. 27

28 06 Paid Search

29 Sensitivity and SEM. Be aware if the season is negatively impacting your business. If your SEM campaigns are wasting dollars on non-qualified matches, adjust your negative matches accordingly. Is your unqualified traffic at an all-time high? Set display retargeting campaigns to require more than one page view. 29

30 Use Google Demographic Bidding for search. Google s Demographic Bidding allows you to bid for age and gender demos that resonate most with your brand s products and/or services. 30

31 Mix it up. Integrate and other mailing lists to make the most of targeting in paid social and display advertising. Use your current lists to reach customers on Twitter and Facebook and create lookalike audiences to attract new ones. 31

32 07 Creative Considerations/Messaging

33 Stay on the couch, potato. These days, it doesn t take much convincing to keep shoppers at home, clicking away in their jammies, instead of battling the lines in-store. So, remind them or better yet give them an incentive to shop online. Skip the lines! Shop online. Free shipping (expedited is even better) Free shipping & returns. The convenience of reviews and comparison-shopping Shop our largest selection of [BRAND] products 33

34 Use reviews and Top 10 lists. Sometimes, shoppers don t know where to start. In fact, 57% of holiday shoppers don t have a specific product or brand in mind when they begin shopping, so provide your own! Try product reviews and Top 10 shopping lists as ways to put your brand front and center. 34

35 Don t give away the milk for free. Everyone likes a little mystery. So, don t offer up the goods in a subject line. Give customers a chance to open and read, then click through. Something inside other than the offer might pique her interest. 35

36 Video is your friend. Incorporate video on your landing pages and websites to help sell products via explanation of features and benefits. 36

37 Push urgency messaging to drive sales. Think about using countdown clocks, and mention of last shipping days within copy. 37

38 Focus on the moment. Make your offers unique and timely. Send relevant content to your subscribers based on data you have about them, the time they are reading your and even their location when they are checking their . 38

39 08 Backend Monitoring

40 Establish budgets and check daily. You don t want days to pass before you discover you re hitting caps. Don t be so busy that you don t check your budgets and end up leaving sales on the table. 40

41 Audit and re-audit holiday campaigns. December 31st is too late to find out if something s broken! So, check for broken links, incorrect ad copy, proper tagging, etc. Mark your calendar for re-audits. 41

42 09 Summary

43 Well, there you have it: The keys to the success of your business. Remember to track performance across every single channel. You ll find out which tactics were a hit, which need work and which you can apply beyond Q4 to raise profits year-round (not to mention lay the foundation for a smash-hit holiday 2016). So take these tips and talk to your team or agency about how you can use them to get your audience's attention and drive sales this year. If you re ready to put a particular plan in action and get the kind of creative work, strategy and media expertise that brings the heat all year round, contact Rina Cook today at

44 Got a question or need help? Drop us a line. Rina Cook Director of Business Development

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