U.S. holiday retail sales are expected to rise 2.7% to $1.093 trillion this year, and it officially kicks off on Black Friday – or does it? A new consumer trends survey recently found that 31% of U.S. consumers say they’ll begin shopping for the holidays before the end of October.
How can you get your local marketing efforts in order to get ahead of the upcoming surge in demand?
As Google says, “…we are on the brink of comebacks —in-person celebrations, in-store shopping, and global economic recovery. This holiday season, consumers are embracing omnichannel shopping more than ever before. They want choice in what, how, and where to shop. A blended online and offline experience is key.”
Use this local holiday marketing checklist to create exceptional omnichannel experiences that will help you get found in search and convert more online traffic to real-world and digital sales.
Prepare Your Digital Storefront
Get ready for an influx of holiday shoppers. Make sure your brand is meeting every customer at the local level with a cohesive, fulfilling experience worthy of the brand name. In order to prepare your efforts, we recommend checking off the following:
Make sure your landing pages are clean, uncluttered, and user-friendly, with a clear offer and call to action (CTA) that stands out.
- Incorporate dynamic reviews, local videos, store-specific offers, and other compelling content on your local pages so everything the shopper needs to convert is right there.
- Use schema markup to make your pages eligible for special SERP features and help stand out from the competition in crowded search results.
- Get positioned to measure what matters so you can respond to demand and trends throughout the season. This means having both high-level insights and more granular local performance metrics, ideally within a single dashboard.
- Use Special Hours in GMB. Even if only to verify that you’re on regular store hours, updating this field tells Google the information they’re displaying to local searchers is verified and up-to-date.
- Add COVID-19 health and safety measures and service-related terms such as “contactless delivery” or “curbside pickup” to local listings and pages.
- Use an optimized dynamic store locator to help searchers find the location nearest them that meets their needs.
Optimize All Touchpoints to Engage & Direct Traffic
Even the largest brands can’t be everywhere at once, and there are more places than ever before where shoppers can find you online.
- Google My Business listings are essential for online visibility and converting searchers to phone calls, in-store visits, and online sales. Use all attributes available to your business category and use these tips to formulate a winning Google Posts strategy for the holidays.
- Make sure your listings on all directories and search engines are claimed, accurate, and optimized with all features and attributes available.
- Check the URL listed on each social profile and business listing. Are you directing shoppers to the best place to engage, ask questions, place orders, or otherwise fulfill their needs?
- If your brand is inactive on one platform – Pinterest, for example – claim the listing and use the description to recommend people join you on an active channel where you provide support instead.
- Track search rankings and be aware of keywords and specific locations where you could augment organic performance with paid search campaigns.
- Ensure that GMB Messaging (if activated), Facebook Messenger, and any other two-way communication channels are monitored.
Personalize the Local Shopping Journey
Personalization isn’t a nice-to-have but table stakes, as 66% of customers now expect businesses to understand their needs and expectations.
- Use Customer Lists for retargeting as an inexpensive way to get targeted messaging in front of shoppers who’ve already expressed some interest in your brand.
- Add Product Posts for your GMB profiles (or use Local Inventory Ads to scale) so searchers can see that you have just what they’re looking for.
- Localize content for your local pages, blogs, and other location-specific webpages. Localization goes beyond language to understanding trends in each local area, which products or services are preferred, the specific terms people use to search (or don’t), etc.
- Use segmentation and targeted messaging to send more relevant, compelling emails to customers who will surely be overwhelmed by inbox volume. You can use discounts and offers to sweeten the pot.
- Add high-quality photos of your store’s interior and exterior, team members, holiday displays, and more to your GMB and social profiles. Help shoppers “see themselves” in your location completing their holiday shopping.
Ready the Elves
Is your team prepared and equipped to provide the best possible service experience in every channel?
- Prepare for an increased volume of reviews. Use pre-approved templates and permissions-based triage to ensure all customer reviews across the brand receive a quick, consistent response.
- Review COVID-19 health and safety measures with all front-line employees and ensure the same information is displayed on the website and GMB profiles.
- Equip team members with social listening technology to uncover more opportunities to engage and convert in social media.
- Create responses to FAQs so customer-facing team members can quickly respond to most inquiries and have clear direction on how/when to escalate.
The 2021 holiday season shopping rush will be here before you know it – in fact, for some retailers, it’s already underway. Customer experience is essential for omnichannel sales, and that means delighting customers in whatever channel or platform they choose to engage.
Be proactive. Use this local holiday marketing checklist to get accurate, interesting, and optimized information out in front of people searching for products and services like yours. Have questions? Reach out and let’s see how we can help.
Download our 2021 Holiday Local Marketing today for more in-depth strategies..