Getting Set up for the Online Holiday Shopping Season

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The holiday season is officially here, which means millions of consumers will be pulling out their wallets (or purses) to buy those “hot” gifts. As a small business owner, you should capitalize on the holiday shopping trend by creating a sound online marketing strategy. Doing so will allow you to reach more customers and generate more sales.

Mobile-Friendly Website

Don’t make the mistake of focusing your marketing efforts strictly on desktop visitors. Failure to cater to the ever-growing demographic of mobile users may cost you tons of sales. According to a recent Think With Google report, 54% of consumers plan to shop for products this holiday season on their smartphone or mobile device. Mobile devices are now faster and more powerful than ever, allowing consumers to buy products with just a few basic steps.
responsive website

With the holiday season fast approaching, there’s no better time than now to optimize your online store for a higher conversion rate. Take a look at one of my previous posts, How To Optimize Your Ecommerce Store for the Holidays, for some good tips to streamline your store.

If you’re site isn’t mobile friendly yet, depending on the size of your store, you may still have time to convert your website to a responsive mobile friendly design. If you have a large store and most of your orders take place over the holiday season, you may want to wait until the new year before taking on that challenge.

Google Product Ads

Not to be confused with Google AdWords, Product Listing Ads are another self-serving ad type offered by the search engine giant. They differ from PPC ads like keyword search or display ads in several different ways: PLAs are designed specifically for products, making them particularly effective for the holiday season, and they contain more information than standard AdWords keyword ads. Furthermore, PLAs display a picture of the product alongside the listing, drawing more attention to your ads. Assuming you sell a physical product and not a service, consider using PLAs as part of your online marketing strategy this holiday season.

adwords-vs-plas

Use Video

The same Thing With Google report cited above also found that consumers are planning to spend more time watching product videos this holiday season. Whether it’s a live demonstration on how a product works, or a video review by another customers, video has become an integral component in consumers’ shopping decisions. As such, business owners should include video in their marketing strategy, posting relevant videos to YouTube.

Green Beauty has done one of the best jobs I’ve seen providing videos that are not only engaging, but extremely beneficial to their audience. If you’re looking for examples of the kind of content that drives traffic and rocks social media, look no further.

Social Media

Of course, social media should also be a part of your marketing strategy for the holidays. More people use social media during the holidays than any other time of year. This means an even larger audience, which should help to generate sales, will see your posts. Try posting a combination of both informative and promotional material on social media, keeping your content diversified enough so that it doesn’t deter people from following your accounts.

Social Media marketing for the holiday season can be a great strategy for local retailers as well as online retailers. If you want to be a social media rock star in 2015, click here to learn how to create your social media calendar.

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New Emerging Trends Across Online Businesses: The Social CRM (Infographic)

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Today’s business world is no match for the old technologies and ways of living. Solo-preneurs, entrepreneurs, freelancers, corporations – all need branding and diversified channels to connect with their audiences and customers.

It’s not just a matter of how to start a blog, a website and a community to channel any potential sales funnels; it’s also about transforming existing ones such as social media into customer relationship management (CRM) opportunities. The flood of social networking services transformed standard practices in the marketplace.

A report by Whatech.com states that the Social CRM market will grow at a compound annual rate (CAGR) of 38.1 percent through the year 2019.

If you are active in industries such as marketing, customer services, finance, tech and more, the social CRM model has the usability you need. How much of a market share will Social CRM be? As systems are updated between the social media and CRM technologies, according to a Newsfactor.com analysis we’re expecting it to become a 9 billion global market by 2018.

Tools addressing the social CRM model include:

  • Jive Software
  • Lithium Technologies
  • Oracle
  • Salesforce

Today´s Social CRM is just the next big thing in the evolution of customer relationship management programs. The way this process works is social media services, technologies and techniques are all combined in an attempt to effectively target specific customers.

Evolution of Social CRM, Characteristics and Insights

Targeted customers in the old days of CRM processes had to visit showrooms, make or receive calls or get information by snail mail. Things have changed. This visual graphic below illustrates the evolution of CRM to SCRM.

The Evolution of CRM to sCRM

Customers today operate through the use of social media channels. As mentioned, in the graphic above, the customer lives, on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, or other social platforms. When a targeted customer interacts with their favorite brands on a social network, their behavior becomes an indicator of interest, which can be translated into metrics. Metrics can help in forecasting business growth.

If you take a look at the last decade, US is dominating the charts of business growth through social networking alone. According to the Pew Research Center exactly two thirds of American adults (65 percent) use a social media channel. There is definitely some additional business to gain using these platforms and dedicating a team to tracking your targeted customer.

In a separate infographic titled “Social vs. Traditional CRM”, you can find at least 6 reasons why SCRM is better than traditional solutions:

  • The customer controls the conversation
  • The basis of the communication is interaction
  • You gain market insights by doing an outside looking in approach
  • The CRM gatekeeper is the public relations (PR) team that manages social media accounts
  • The budget is made by the chief marketing officer (CMO)
  • The hours of operation are 24/7

Takeaways and Conclusions

It seems the customer is now in complete control over their purchase. Communication is a two-way street, so social listening is a must if you don’t want any accidents. In addition to paying attention to your audience, your business can gain valuable insights, knowledge. These can later on be coded into data and analytics of reputation management.

Note that not every dialogue with customers on social media is a sales transaction.  Be aware that negative feedback is constructive and it’s still feedback in the end. Don’t take it lightly and don’t take it for granted. Communication is limitless – which makes it a powerful weapon. Make sure you know how to use it so that it will simplify your world, instead of complicating it.

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