2018 Holiday Ecommerce Marketing Checklist

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For many online stores, the Christmas shopping season can represent a significant percentage of total annual sales. It is therefore important to do the right e-commerce marketing during the holidays.

What follows is a checklist of 12 reminders for your e-commerce business to succeed this holiday season.

Holiday e-commerce marketing plans should start in September or earlier. Photo: Tyler Delgado.

Develop a marketing plan

The buyer of a chain of bricks and clicks stores submitted a sales target to his manager, the purchasing manager. She wanted to bring in $500,000 of new hunting canteens for Christmas. The canteens had about 40 points of margin, so she estimated about $700,000 in Christmas sales from October through December.

“How do these canteens compare to the Hydro Flasks we sell now?” asked the purchasing manager.

“They are similar in terms of quality, price and margin,” the buyer said.

“Do you think the market for Hydro Flasks is bigger or smaller than the market for these new hunting canteens?”

“The market for Hydro Flasks is much larger. These hunting canteens are a specialty.

“Last Christmas, we sold $120,000 worth of Hydro Flasks. Do you really believe that we will be able to sell $700,000 worth of hunting canteens this year? »

“Well, I thought we could get the marketing to promote it.”

This story is a fable (although it contains more than a grain of truth). It is meant to make a point.

Your e-commerce holiday marketing will be a big factor in boosting Christmas sales. But it cannot magically create demand where there is none. And promoting a product may not be enough to achieve success.

Before your business decides how much to spend on marketing—and where to invest—look at your business, the market, and your inventory.

Here are the first three items on our holiday e-commerce marketing checklist.

Understand the opportunity. How much revenue will your e-commerce business be able to generate during the holiday season? How much would the company earn if you sold popular products? How much did the business sell last Christmas? Set a realistic sales goal, so you know how much you can afford to invest in holiday marketing.

Select target products. Identify the products that will be featured on your site and in your advertising. Will you be promoting individual items or product categories?

Set marketing goals for the holidays. Given the total desirability of your business and the specific products you will be promoting, set achievable and measurable goals for your holiday marketing.

Prepare your website

The next set of items on our checklist are all about getting your online store ready for visitors and ensuring those visitors can find your site.

Perform a website audit. Use a site audit tool like PowerMapper to locate broken links, 404 errors, and web accessibility issues. Audit your store for search engine optimization and content. Check site performance with Lighthouse or a similar tool and try to reduce load times.

Look for content marketing opportunities. September and October can be a good time to develop useful, informative or entertaining content. Think gift guides or holiday recipes, for example. Any content you create can also be used to attract buyers. You can also try creating a small broken link.

Optimize your landing page. Your online store is likely going to use SEO and pay-per-click marketing to attract shoppers during the Christmas season. Before all that traffic, make sure you have the landing pages ready.

Execute a marketing plan

Goals are set. Your online store is ready. So, the next items on your 2018 holiday ecommerce marketing checklist focus on the specifics of planning and executing your campaigns.

Choose marketing tactics. Your goals should inform your choice of marketing tactics. Are you going to use email to encourage repeat buyers? Will you buy ads on a search network to attract new customers? Are you going to try direct mail? Consider using the results from last Christmas to help you make those choices.

Plan your promotional calendar. Once your business has identified its marketing tactics, put those tactics on a promotional calendar. When will your direct mail postcard land in mailboxes? What days will you send email marketing messages? Last year, more than a third of Christmas gifts were purchased during Cyber ​​Monday week. How will this impact your promotional calendar?

Expand your creation. The day your digital display ad starts running is not the time to design it. Likewise, if your business uses YouTube ads, advertise video well in advance. Pre-write all your email copy, text ads and more.

Create emails. Many email marketing solutions require you to upload images, paste in text, and layout each email and campaign. So try to prepare and schedule all your email marketing campaigns no later than Halloween.

Load PPC campaigns. You can start loading and scheduling PPC campaigns weeks in advance.

Monitor execution. Make sure everything works as expected. Monitor your every holiday marketing tactic. Were your Cyber ​​Monday sales so good that you no longer sold a target product? Will you need to change your free shipping offers accordingly? Inspect what you expect.

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