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December 19, 2011 // 8:00 PM

5 Ways to Capitalize on Last-Minute Ecommerce Holiday Shoppers

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clockThe holidays are here, and if you've been following ecommerce holiday best practices, then chances are you’ve been planning your strategy for months. Hopefully you saw some strong traffic over Cyber Monday, and now you’re expecting things to peter out as shipping deadlines shorten and the season winds down. Well, think again.

According to the National Retail Federation, the average consumer had only completed less than half of his/her holiday shopping by the second week of December. That means people still have plenty of shopping left to do! Don’t get left in the cold. Make sure you pull out all the stops with the following five quick fixes you can do right now to boost your ecommerce holiday marketing mojo and generate more ecommerce sales this holiday season.

1. Spruce Up Your Website's Meta Description

Don’t miss this opportunity for free promotion. While the meta description no longer carries any significant SEO value, it is prime real estate for promotion. Use these 150 characters to highlight any special promotions you are running. When a person searches on a product or brand, your offer of free shipping or 20% off might just tip them in your direction. For example:

describe the imageThink of it as a 150-character call-to-action!

2. Get in the Spirit of Social Media 

Leverage the power of social media to help spread the word! First, add social media share buttons to your thank-you and order confirmation pages. You can either pre-populate the message to help shorten the process for social media users or allow people to create their own custom posts.

describe the imageSecond, consider sending out a branded holiday card or video to fans and followers. Use this opportunity not only to build or promote your brand but to drive valuable eyeballs back to your site. Get in the holiday spirit, and have fun with it! 

Need some inspiration? Tap into your office comedian and ask him/her to help with a quick one-liner for a holiday card. Or ask the resident karaoke enthusiast to help you make a short, one-minute holiday video. Then promote your holiday message to your fans and followers in a way that’s easy for them to share with a link back to a version hosted on your site. Optimize that page around those searching for your holiday message and make sure to include an offer showcasing your holiday specials.

3. Optimize Your Email Messages

December is abuzz with emails from retailers. Make sure your emails stand out from the clutter by using a funny or clever subject line. For example, an email subject line from clothing retailer American Eagle reads, “Today Only! $10 Tech-cessories.”

Not sure where to start? Think of two of your best-selling products -- or a product you are offering a special on -- and come up with a fun play on words. Create two different versions of the subject line, and then test them using an A/B test: send one version to 10% of your list and the other version to another 10%. At the end of the day, see which email generated the most click-throughs, and send the winning subject line to the remaining 80% of your email list.

4. Leverage E-Gift Card Greetings

Create a few silly or sentimental holiday e-gift cards to accompany your e-gift certificates to turn generic gift cards into holiday-friendly gifts. Think of your personalized e-gift cards as unwrapped presents. No one wants to give an unwrapped gift! Once you’ve got your new cards set up, use this as an opportunity to capture last-minute stragglers. Send them an email after normal shipping deadlines have passed to let them know it’s not too late to send a “wrapped” holiday gift. Finally, on Christmas morning, feature your e-gift cards front and center on the homepage for those truly last-minute shoppers!

5. Serve Some EggBlog

Take the guesswork out of online shopping and help speed up searches by writing a blog post with suggested gift ideas. No one knows your site better than you, so help direct traffic to the hard to reach places.

Before you start, think about what specific keywords you are trying to target, and make sure to optimize your links and images to include these words. Have some extra time? Consider creating a themed blog series. Some suggested topics to include: “Great tech gifts for under $25” or “10 Unusual Gifts for Dad.”

Don't forget: the holiday traffic doesn't have to stop in December! According to OnlineMarketing-Trends.com, roughly 60% of holiday shoppers plan to take advantage of sales and discounts to make additional non-gift purchases for themselves. By continuing your email, blogging, and other inbound marketing strategies into January, you can capitalize on traffic from those looking to benefit from holiday promotions. 

So what are you waiting for?! Get cracking, and then report back with what worked and what didn't.

Have other holiday-worthy ecommerce content ideas? Share the holiday love!

Image Credit: Irwin-Scott

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Topics: Inbound Marketing

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