As a business owner, you know that the holiday season is more like a marathon than a sprint. And if you’re like most local businesses, you might even depend on these two final months to account for up to 30% of your annual sales. So, it’s critical that you not lose focus as we enter the few remaining weeks of the season. However, once the frenzy of Thanksgiving weekend fades, it can be difficult to know which tricks to pull out of your hat next, or to even what has had the most impact for tactics you’ve already employed.
And with customer shopping behaviors changing every day, it’s hard to stay on top of evolving best practices. Luckily, your data tells no lies, and can be utilized to provide just the right amount of direction, or to deliver a unique, personalized experience for your customers in order to gain a competitive edge throughout the rest of the season, and into the new year!
Monitor Website Traffic and Referrals to Identify Opportunities and Areas for Improvement
It’s important to understand when and where your customers are coming from. You can do this by monitoring traffic to your business’s website, and checking where your top referrals are coming from, whether search engines, like Google or Bing, social pages, or third-party review sites, like Yelp and HomeAdvisor. This can help you prioritize where you should spend extra time and efforts, or help you identify issues with existing assets. If few people are discovering you via Yelp, then make sure you’ve claimed your business profile and included as much info as possible. Engage in a digital reputation management strategy to ensure you have a stellar rating, and reviews that are positive, plentiful and recent.
If you’re seeing lots of website traffic referred by search engines, but haven’t noticed an uptick in business, perhaps customers aren’t finding what they’re looking for on your website. You should make sure that all information presented on your site is updated and easy to navigate. Spend extra time making it mobile-optimized, to ensure a good user experience no matter what device prospects discover your business on. This is increasingly more important on the local level, as Google reports that 76% of customers have changed their mind about what retailer or brand to make a purchase from after searching on the popular search engine. So, if visitors aren’t finding what they’re looking for on your site, more of them are going to move onto the next search result, and take their business elsewhere.
Similarly, such insights can help you identify the best promotion channels for your business. If you’re seeing the best results from your social efforts, then spend some extra time devising a great contest to run on social, or any number of creative promotions best suited for that format. 76% of people who perform a location-based search on a smartphone (i.e. “Florists near me” or “Florists in Harlem, New York”) end up visiting a related business within a day, and 28% of those searches result in a purchase, so it’s worth refining your online presence in order to capture more of the customers who are already in need of your offerings.
Determine Peak Days and Hours and Plan Campaigns Around Them
Do you know which day of the week consistently yields more foot traffic and transactions? It might be challenging if you’re manually tracking this, to get an accurate read, which is why tools like purchase tracking, which does this automatically for every transaction, can be an invaluable addition to your business.
Once you’ve identified the best days for your business, you can coordinate your marketing strategy around them, for maximum impact. Try sending out an email or SMS blast in the morning on these days, with relevant offers that will prompt them to take action that day. Whether giving them a sneak peek at a new line of products or services, reimagined for the holidays, a seasonal event, or an incentive that must be used the same day in-store, give them a compelling reason to stop by.
It’s Never Too Soon to Set Yourself Up For Success in the New Year
With the hustle and bustle of the season demanding every bit of your attention during the season, sometimes it’s hard to think of anything beyond the end of the day, let alone the coming year. However, it’s important to remember that many new customers you’re meeting around the holidays are only just starting their relationship with your business. So, by taking extra steps now to note their preferences, can ensure that this will be a long, and fulfilling relationship for you both.
The more data you have on their buying preferences, transaction amounts, etc., the more easily you’ll be able to send them personalized messages throughout the rest of the year that have a considerable effect on spending habits. One report found that personalized emails drive 6x higher transaction rates, so by investing in the tools and tracking necessary to do so, you’ll be positioned for more success in the coming year!