How to Prep Your Website for Black Friday and Cyber Monday
Black Friday and Cyber Monday are just around the corner. For some businesses in the retail world, the shopping holiday began back in October in an effort to increase their chances of making close to last year’s numbers.
We understand that this year has been a challenging one. Whether you’ve had layoffs, less than stellar quarters, or close calls of shuttering your doors entirely. Like your consumers, you likely don’t have much money to spend, but that doesn’t mean you have to end your year in the red! With more companies beefing up their online shopping experiences, now is the perfect time to follow suit and make sure your website is ready for customers to come on Black Friday and Cyber Monday.
Just think of the possibilities. In previous years, more than 189 million consumers took part in Black Friday shopping events. And Cyber Monday is on the fast track to dethroning Black Friday as the most anticipated shopping event, raking in $1 billion more than its counterpart back in 2019. This means more opportunities for you to gain more customers. The trick is to show consumers that you’re ready for their business. How do you do that, you ask? Make sure your website is at its best, as first impressions and presentation are everything.
Not sure where to start? No problem. We’ve put together a last-minute guide featuring a few ways to prepare your website for Black Friday and Cyber Monday.
Check the Pipes
Trust us. You don’t want Murphy’s Law to sour your customers’ holiday shopping experience.
Your number one priority should be ensuring that your website is up to par. This means ensuring your website is scalable and can support the increased traffic and demand on your website — every second count.
The average site, according to Google, should load in under ½ a second. If a page takes longer than 2 seconds to load, it can lead to shopper frustration, abandoned carts, and skyrocketed bounce rates. An eCommerce survey by Imperva/Incapsula found that 62 percent of users will only wait 5 seconds or less for a site to load. That means every second wasted on a loading screen is money lost.
The best way to prepare your website for Black Friday and Cyber Monday is to do a check of your whole site. Evaluate how images render, how easy it is to navigate your site, test how your site formats on various browsers and devices, and clock the load times on each page your customers might tough. You can even consult your IT team or cloud service on how to bulk up your site to suit your needs.
Have Multiple Contingency Plans
Luck favors the prepared and having plans in place so that you aren’t left scrambling to troubleshoot should problems arise is a crucial preparation tactic. What will your team do if your site crashes because of web traffic? What about inventory? Say your shipping company falls behind on holiday demands, or you sell out of your products earlier than expected. How would you handle those situations?
Not only does having a plan in place keep everyone calm and reduce the chances of panic and further error, but your customers will be front row watching how you handle the situation and will gauge your professionalism. It can make a difference in their experience and whether they’ll continue to give you their business.
Check Your Stock
When you perform a stock check, it’s not just the physical stock you should consider, but also your stock from a business standpoint. First, evaluate where your company stands. You’ve likely taken a few hits throughout the rollercoaster that is 2020, and you might be a little bruised. Next, consider things like your goals, how established your brand is, and what you’re hoping for in sales for Black Friday and Cyber Monday.
Knowing where you are and where you want to go helps you set relevant and achievable goals and guide your plan to ensure you accomplish them. Also, consider what kind of sale you want to run before taking stock of your tangible items. And then, increase inventory, especially your top-selling products. Selling out of a product might seem like a good thing but think about how it can ruin some consumers’ shopping experience and result in lost business for you.
Lastly, be purposeful with the products you include in your sale. Due to the pandemic and millions of Americans losing their jobs and receiving a reduction in pay and or hours, many consumers aren’t going to be laser-focused on excessive or big-ticket items. Experts believe they’ll opt for what they need first before even considering anything else. Let this influence the products you marked for sale. It’s also wise to assist your customers in seeing your product or service’s value through your marketing campaigns.
Keep an Eye on the Competition
Customer inboxes have been flooded with Black Friday and Cyber Monday deals since the clock struck midnight on November 1st, and as a small business, you need to stand out. A way to arm yourself is to check out what competitor marketing campaigns are doing and offering. The primary way to do this is to subscribe to their email list. This way, you can study their emails, examining what they send and how often they send it.
You may find a few marketing tactics that you can implement in your strategies, or better yet, develop something more engaging. There’s also the opportunity to draw more interest to your deals and rival competitors by adding small touches like a gift with purchases over a certain amount or a personalized thank you note. You can also offer no-hassle returns, free shipping, or special packaging.
Use Keywords to Generate Traffic
In order to make sales, first, you have to get customers to visit your site. And the first step to learning what language will entice them enough to visit by conducting a keyword search. Researching these words and implementing them helps generate organic traffic. You want to research the use of Black Friday, Cyber Monday, and specific product keywords, as well as keywords related to the holidays. As consumers search for BFCM-related words, your site and content are more likely to appear as results, thus boosting your traffic. Here are a few things to check for when researching your keywords:
-Search volume: This informs the level of demand. How often are these keywords being searched for? The higher the number, the greater the interest.
-Keyword difficulty: How difficult will it be for your company to rank for the words on search engine sites?
-Keyword intent: What are the intentions tied to these keywords? Are they commercial, informational, transactional, or navigational? The intended use of a keyword determines how you’ll optimize the corresponding page.
-Competition: What keywords are your competitors ranking for? Will it be easy to outrank them on specific keywords and phrases?
After researching your keywords and answering keyword questions, you can start to optimize your website’s pages to reflect these keywords. Revisit your current copy on your homepage, landing pages, and FAQs page and verify that it’s relevant, engaging, and targeted. If not, you may need to freshen up your content.
Have a Marketing Plan
Everyone knows how important marketing is to the sales process. It can make all the difference between an incredible shopping season and a dreary one. Because there’s a lot to cover, we always recommend drafting up your Black Friday and Cyber Monday marketing plans as early as possible. Luck favors the prepared! You’ll want to create strategies for email marketing, social media, design landing pages, and incorporate those SEO keywords you so expertly researched. However, the star of your marketing plan is undoubtedly email marketing, as you can continue to reach and engage your long time and new customers all month, maximizing your revenue possibilities. Here are a few examples of ways you can play with your email marketing campaigns. (P.S. don’t forget to get creative with your approach!):
-Experiment with abandoned cart emails: Perfect for those who get distracted or misplace their credit cards when purchasing.
-Last days/hours emails: Play on the fear of missing out (FOMO) on a sale or that must-have gift item.
-Exclusive subscriber deals: Reward your subscribers for shopping with you before (and after) the holiday season.
-Subscriber early access: Further reward your subscribers and top spenders with early access to your Black Friday and Cyber Monday deals.
-Sneak peek emails: Show your subscribers what they could be missing out on if they don’t shop with you.
Set Up Coupons and Discount Codes
There are few worse situations for customers than when a company advertises a coupon or discount, but the website refuses to honor it. Or worst still, it activates for different customers on a wrong day. It’s a shopping nightmare for both parties that can lead to revenue loss and customers leaving without their desired product. To keep that scenario as nothing more but a nightmare, be sure to cross your t’s and dot your i’s when programming your codes.
Test your coupons before the big day to ensure they work and display correctly. If you’re working with sites or software for your coupons, revisit your settings to verify the same. Possibly the best way to further vet your coupons and discounts is to let someone who isn’t familiar with your site or processes test the coupons and navigate your site. They will uncover any areas or coupons that may need revisiting.
Build Buzz Around the Upcoming Shopping Event
In addition to executing your marketing plan, it’s also important that you continue to build buzz around Black Friday and Cyber Monday, as well as any offerings that you might have on the horizon. A deal is only a great one if customers know about it. As you’re creating your marketing strategy, be sure to include a way to promote your offers on your site.
You can add hero graphics on the homepage, create banners, add pop-ups, and cart notices (“spend $5 more dollars to get free shipping offers) to spread the word about your deals. Just make sure your promoting doesn’t affect your site’s overall functionality. Making your website unstable is one of the quickest ways to turn customers off. Has your business used any of these promotion tactics before? If so, now is the time to put that data to work. Evaluating which graphics and pop-ups received the most clicks can inform you of the method you should focus most on.
Set Up Google Analytics and Heat Maps
Sure, you have a lot on your plate when preparing for your BFCM event, but one of the finishing touches you add should be tracking data through Google Analytics and heat maps. Hear us out. Monitoring data can give you valuable information, especially related to bounce rates and goal conversion rates. You can keep an eye on which marketing channels perform the best and convert and use them to target your audience heavily.
With heat maps, you can learn what the most important pages on your website are and where your customers are clicking. You can also use Google Analytics to track everything from social media to your email marketing campaigns. The data you collect not only influences your campaigns and sales this year, but you’ll also be able to use the data you collect for years to come. Data tracking is a powerful tool that enables you to reach your customers better and tweak your process. You’ll regret not investing in it!
Offer Customer Service
This is one most businesses overlook in their focus on marketing. Having a customer service team ready to field questions, defuse situations, and offer calm in the event of a sold-out situation are essential to a successful BFCM event. If your company’s website or CRM has a chat feature, be sure to automate it with a chatbot and link it with your FAQs page. Doing this can answer quick customer questions, leaving the human team available to assist with more complicated issues. And if you anticipate a higher volume of customers, make sure you bulk up the support team on standby. This also increases the customer’s chances of having a positive and memorable customer service experience and shop with you again in the future.
The Black Friday and Cyber Monday holiday shopping events bring in significant revenue and help you build your client and email subscriber base. You may be wondering how to market to your new customers and engage with them enough to keep them coming back. Joseph Studios can help. Our team of marketing experts can help you craft robust marketing plans that cover strategic planning, SEO, content, social media, and email that results in measurable growth.
Are you ready to work together? Contact us today, and let’s chat!