The holiday season is quickly approaching, and undoubtedly, your holiday local marketing strategy likely looks different than it did a few years ago. While the pandemic continues to affect business operations, early predictions for the holidays show it won’t have a heavy impact on sales.
Sales are anticipated to rise 2.7% compared to 2020, with e-commerce sales predicted to rise an impressive 11.3%. Considering an increase in sales this holiday season, your brand must be armed with sound tactics to stand out from your competition and streamline the customer experience.
To help you propel your holiday local marketing strategy, we assembled a panel of digital marketing and SEO experts from three leading performance marketing agencies to discuss how consumer behavior has shifted, what brands must take into consideration to keep up with current trends, and where to allocate your budget this holiday season.
Our panelists included:
- Richard Mastriani, Vice President of SEO at Performics
- Joe Sperzel, Group Director of SEO at Horizon Media
- William Álvarez, Director, Organic Search at Catalyst Digital
- Jason Strojan, Account Director at Rio SEO
Here are the key takeaways our panelists shared during the webinar.
Anticipate Accelerated Digital Adoption
Digital adoption became imperative at the onset of the pandemic. As most customers were forced to purchase household necessities and other items solely online when COVID-19 first wreaked havoc, consumers of all demographics have now largely accepted e-commerce. In fact, e-commerce sales continue to experience strong growth, rising by about 30% year over year.
During the webinar, we polled our audience to learn what channel they anticipate will drive the most sales this holiday season. A resounding 42% of the audience said they anticipate their business’ website will drive the majority of their sales this holiday season. 21% of the audience also indicated that the majority of their sales would come from social media. As evidenced by our poll results, digital channels should continue to be prioritized this holiday season and beyond.
Digital KPIs to Track to Measure Success
As Joe mentioned in the webinar, having a firm understanding of how users interact or travel through your site, the time they spend on your site, how many pages they view per session, and where users are exiting are key KPIs to consider when refining your digital efforts. These insights can help you discover:
- Popular products to highlight or discount
- What customers are most interested in
- Where you need to optimize your on-page content
- Where to spend your advertising dollars
- Opportunities for search engine optimization
- What pages are driving the most leads
- How to make your conversion funnel more seamless
Create an Optimal Omnichannel Experience
As our panel shares, omnichannel marketing is growing and must be prioritized. 60 to 70 percent of consumers shop/research both in-store and online, and this figure continues to grow year over year. Additionally, despite the Delta variant, almost half of US consumers say they are reverting to normal behavior outside their homes, such as in-store shopping.
Every channel, whether customers are shopping online from a desktop or mobile device, your social media accounts, or in a brick-and-mortar store, must be equally optimized this holiday season.
As customers seek your business through multiple channels, you must not only be present but should also be prepared to present consistent messaging across each one. For example, if a customer sees your Google My Business (GMB) listing display special hours for the holidays, your local landing page for that location should also have these same holiday hours. Our panel reiterates that providing an exceptional customer experience is key, as modeled by Google who continues to optimize its products and services to improve its user experience.
Be Ready To Engage Where Customers Are Reaching Out
Given early predictions for increased online shopping this holiday season, providing exceptional customer service will play a pivotal role in building brand loyalty. As technology continues to accelerate and more consumers are turning to digital, businesses must be prepared to engage with customers at multiple touchpoints.
Our panel anticipates consumers will expect responses from businesses across a multitude of different channels, such as social media, apps or via your GMB listing. Prepare your teams in advance for the influx of customer service requests to come this holiday season and ensure you have the staff on hand to meet customers where they are reaching out to your business.
To reduce the level of inquiries your company receives, share answers to frequently asked questions on your landing pages. This may include information on shipping timeframes, any delays in shipping, when to order items in order to arrive by Christmas, as well as health and safety information.
Personalize the Sales Journey
66 percent of consumers expect a business to understand their needs and expectations. 79% of 35-54 year olds say they don’t mind seeing ads when they feel personalized to their interests and needs. This research proves that understanding customers’ needs, as well as going above and beyond their expectations, are becoming common practices to surpass the competition. If you aren’t personalizing your offers for your customers, you risk losing sales. In fact, 52% of customers expect offers to always be personalized, which is up nearly 50% from 2019.
Our panel suggests personalizing your sales journey through paid media, including retargeting ads on social sites. Additionally, adding offers, events, hours, and other pertinent information relevant to each location’s local listing and local landing page also adds an element of personalization.
Don’t Forget Your Digital Storefront
According to a research report conducted by Catalyst Digital, almost three-quarters (74%) of U.S. consumers visit Google at least daily, with around half (49%) doing so multiple times a day.
As William states during the webinar, your GMB business listing acts as your digital storefront. Leverage your local listings by adding as much information as you can about each of your locations.
Our panel also suggests your business should:
- Add your product feed and keep it updated on a regular basis
- Adjust your holiday hours (if applicable)
- Answer customer questions in your Google Q&A
- Respond to negative and positive reviews
- Update all attributes applicable to your business
- Create a Google Post to showcase offers, events, COVID-19 Information, and products
Our Experts’ Final Recommendations
“Get your advertising and content ready now, or even earlier next year, for the holidays. Using a vendor or an agency can help ensure your offers, products, and information is updated across all channels.” – Richard Mastriani, Vice President of SEO at Performics
“Repeat your messaging often, especially with an elongated shopping season.” – Joe Sperzel, Group Director of SEO at Horizon Media
“It’s never too late to learn about what you can improve upon next year. When the holiday ends, it’s time to start preparing for next year. You always have to be planning.” – William Álvarez, Director, Organic Search at Catalyst Digital
Want more in-depth insights? Watch the full webinar now!