How to Get Your Website Ready for the Holiday Season

Chauncey: Welcome back to the Being Found Show where we’re talking about getting ready for the holiday season by prepping those specials that you’re going to give out. In our last episode, we talked about some secret Santa sales, incentives for people not to drop out of your cart, drip campaigns to keep them involved with their services, and to offer a small gift to inspire a purchase. We are talking about creating a few more ways to get your website and your business ready for the holidays season.

Create a holiday specials category on your site. In this category, you want to put all the great stuff you know that people want to buy and the stuff you want to sell. You mix it all together and not only is it great because all the great deals people are looking for are in one place, but you can also fill them up with your stuff that has the biggest return on investment.

Get the link to your Christmas sale or products at the top of your site. Of course, when you are ready to be a holiday site, you put that up at the top and people can come around and holiday shop. Most people are finding you from search, and I am constantly having to remind business owners when I am building their site that their homepage doesn’t have to be extravagant. It doesn’t have to have all this extra stuff, and it doesn’t apply because that is not what customers are or should be focused on.

Getting that Christmas link at the top of your website will drive customers there. They’ll see that light up box with a red border, Santa hat, and reindeer nose and know exactly what they’re going to find and is going to entice towards the deals and specials.

Be ready for Black Friday and Cyber Monday. This is a big one even if you don’t have the traffic for it. Use social media and search to pick up those people doing searches for better or more local deals. Now there are a lot of people out there looking for a cheaper deal, and there’s a lot of local business that can’t provide a cheaper deal. But there’s also a lot of people looking for a local deal. Some of them are just trying to support their local economies. But I would say that’s not most of them; most of them just want it now. They also want to know that they are getting a receipt and the person they’re giving it to won’t have to go online and mail it back if they want to return it. They want them to be able to go to the mall and walk into a store, receipt in hand, and return their gift. To combat this, you can say something that a lot of other places can’t: free in-store pickup.

Jake: Amazon can’t even do that. It is like you are telling them they can get it instantly and still be able to shop from the comfort of their own home.

Chauncey: Yes absolutely, it is instant. It is like I agreed to do a slideshow for someone and they said they would get me all the pictures and I would just have to put it together. When they show up, they have a box of photos and say, “Whoops, these need to be digitalized. Good luck!” So I go to the local store to buy a scanner, but I can’t get the image to work because there is an installation disk and I don’t even have a disk drive. So it comes to a point where I tried to do it the right way, but now its time to do it the way that gets it done. So I just moved my scanner downstairs, set it up with my laptop in front of the TV, and sat there for a couple of hours with my wife watching TV scanning images. Now they are all done and ready. Now I know that I can at least take that piece of junk back to the store and get my money back.

Other than aiming for local buyers for Black Friday and Cyber Monday, consider a loss leader, gift card bonuses, free shipping or a giveaway to attract customers. If you don’t know what a loss leader is, a loss leader is either a product or a service that you take a hit on or that you give away for free and lose money on so that you can secure clients or money in the future. On a larger scale, loss leaders are really important and also very scary. On a larger scale, Loss leaders are frankly really really important and scary. People are hesitant about giving something away and diminishing initial profit. You need to give yourself a cut off amount of whatever you can afford to take a hit on, like deciding to give away $500 worth of stuff if that’s what you can afford.

Any time you do something like this, or any sort of marketing or advertising, you need to keep track of the data. Next year you can look back and see if losing those specific $500 was good for your business so you can see the value in what you did. So do your best track that.

Jake: Now I was looking for a specific pair of boots, so I went to the company first, and they were too pricey, then I checked Amazon, and they are still too pricey. I went to the Google Shopping results page, and I found the exact boots for 30% less than anywhere else I could find them. Just doing the quick math on my hand, I thought you know there’s no way they’re making a single dollar on this pair of boots but I bought the boots from them, and they’re now in my repertoire of places to shop. They were not even on my radar before, but I am going to check them the next time I want a pair of boots.

Chauncey: Absolutely. So they got some customer loyalty and the fact that they hook you up with the deal makes you think maybe you can find another. Then they end up being the first place that you go to, and when you see a reasonable price, you make that purchase.

Be ready for the Holiday traffic by testing your site speed. We aren’t going to go into great depth because this is one that we have covered over and over again. We’ve talked about it over and over; 47 percent of people expect a web page to load in two seconds or less. Does your website meet that standard? Google Page Speed Insight is a great place to check it out. You just pop in your URL, and it will tell you where your problems are and how fast your page is loading.  Let’s look at some more statistics from this graph I have here.

  • 40 percent of people will abandon a webpage if it takes more than 3 seconds to load. I am one of those people.
  • Fifty-two percent of online shoppers claim that quick page loads are important for their loyalty to a site. Absolutely for me.
  • Fourteen percent will start shopping at a different site if the page loads too slow, and 23 percent will stop shopping or even a walk away from their computer altogether. That’s pretty intense. That should show the level of frustration we’re dealing with here.
  • Sixty-four percent of shoppers who deal with a slow website and who are dissatisfied with their site will go somewhere else to shop next time.
  • Almost half express a less positive perception of the company overall after a single bad experience.
  • More than a third told others about their disappointing experience.
  • A one-second delay in page load can cause a 7 percent loss in customer conversions.

Jake: That is huge. If you lose 40 percent of your traffic on your website because it takes too long to load, you are missing out because of something that is so easy to fix and attain.

Chauncey: Think of all the money, and as an SEO think about that bounce rate, it’s just brutal. Let’s take a look at that 47 percent of people that expect a web page to load in two seconds or less. Of those people, every second that’s added on you loses 7 percent more. That’s a lot of people, and that’s exponentially fast to lose customers.

So here we have some conversion rate optimization. You know I’m looking at this chart here, and it’s basically showing the load time and how quick people are dropping. And an interesting thing about the chart even though you’re not looking at it is if a page loads in one second, more people are dropping.

Jake: That is weird. Why?

Chauncey: I’m assuming it’s because the page loads so fast because there’s so little on it that is not providing them with what they need to see. If they don’t see the image of a product, or the service right away and upfront, someone cleaned it up to increase loading time so much so that they stripped the site.

Get ready for the holiday season by linking your Holiday deals page to the top of your site, offer in-store pickup or free shipping to get ahead of the game for Black Friday and Cyber Monday, take a lead loss to maximize revenue and traffic, and be prepared for the traffic spike by improving your site’s loading speeds. Thank you for listening to this segment of the Being Found Show, to hear the full show listen here: Being Found Show Episode #62 or subscribe to our Podcast.