Top Tips for Black Friday & Cyber Monday Success
You’ve been grinding and putting in hard work on driving the growth of your business all year and the gears just won’t stop turning! Before you know it—the holidays are right around the corner and you have yet to put anything together to bolster the online presence for your business during this time. Most notably, for the upcoming Black Friday and Cyber Monday holidays.
Don’t worry, it’s not too late!
There are a few last minute things you could do reach out to your client base and following to drive sales. But before we dive right in, what are these two holidays for anyway?
What is Black Friday & Cyber Monday?
Black Friday falls on the the day after Thanksgiving Day and is highly regarded as the unofficial start of the Christmas shopping season here in the US.
Cyber Monday is the term used for the Monday following the Thanksgiving holiday. Marketers call it “Cyber Monday” to encourage more online shopping sales.
Now that we’re all caught up on the holidays, let’s take a look at the steps you can take to effectively reach your clients during this holiday block.
Last Minute Social Media Push
It very may well go without saying—use social media to your advantage!
For the most part, social media is a free way to get the word out to your customer base to capture more sales for your business. There is also more potential to reach new leads from outside traffic leading back to your website. Use these channels to push any Black Friday or Cyber Monday deals, specials and promotions out to your followers.
Catch Attention & Be Purposeful
There are plenty of other businesses out there that are also posting all over social media with you, so aside from all of the warm Thanksgiving updates on their news feed, your potential customers may already be bombarded with plenty of social media advertisement already—talk about distracted.
You’ll need to catch their attention quickly, or they’ll more than likely skip anything you have to offer entirely.
A good way to attract attention to your ad is to create one that:
- Catches your attention and conveys the purpose instantaneously – Online users are constantly scrolling through their news feeds for information, and for the most part, it only takes but a moment for someone to pass over a post. Create an image that could capture the attention of your target audience and input copy that best reflects your promotion in a way that would click with the viewer instantaneously.
Need a quick example? Take a look at the header image for this blog post!
- Ideally, create a video – Social media channels are embracing the video medium more and more—and this could be seen in the way that video now auto-play as users scroll through their news feed. If there is more information that you need your ad to convey, creating a video could effectively send the message out over an image and extra text.
- Make it easy to redeem your promotion – Do not simply post your image or video along with the URL of your website—make sure that your link is clickable. Adding a button that will prompt your viewer to click through to your website makes it even easier for both you and them!
The Traditional E-Mail Blast
Do not underestimate the power of the traditional e-mail! Your contact list is already filled with current customers and relevant leads that subscribed to your list for you to continue to engage with. Use it!
You’ll be able to reel in the repeat business of your loyal customers by executing e-mail campaigns for Black Friday & Cyber Monday. This would be one of the more easier methods to drive business as your customers have already engaged in a transaction with your business—making it more likely that they would like to do business with you again.
Offer Exclusive Deals
Let’s give your existing customers even more incentive to take action. Create a promotion or exclusive deal that is only accessible to your current customers and subscriber list within a specific timeframe.
By offering an exclusive deal only to current customers and making sure that they are aware that it only offered to them within a set time, it prompts a sense of urgency such as, “ this is a great deal—I better buy it now!”
Optimize Your Online Presence
It is imperative that you ensure that the online presence for your business is ready and accurate for this holiday season.
Ensure that your business listing is correct
Take a look at Google, Bing, Apple and any other search engines that you have listings with to verify that the information that is listed is indeed correct. To ensure this, check on the following points:
- Business name
- Phone number
- Website link
- Hours of operation
If you have a physical location for your business, another helpful point for your customers would be to submit a picture of the specific location so that they could find you more easily.
Set up your PPC campaigns now
It’s not too late to utilize pay-per-click advertising. This method is a relatively easy way to set up advertisement within an affordable budget, and once you’ve gotten your PPC ad going, it will quickly be displayed at the top of the search results page.
There is a limited amount of space to input comprehensive ad copy—so make sure to make a couple of different ad groups (for ex., one for Black Friday and Cyber Monday), and several different ads to target different products or services that you would like to focus on.
Busy Shoppers Demand Efficient Customer Service
Customers won’t want to waste time on slow or subpar customer service and won’t mind taking their business elsewhere during this season—especially with all of the other deals they could be taking advantage of!
Make it worth their while by stepping it up a notch in your customer service. The growth of your business will speak for itself afterwards!
Keep the Momentum Going throughout the Holidays
After your quick social media push and e-mail marketing campaigns for Black Friday & Cyber Monday, make sure to set up a way to capture new leads into your database for the future. Use these new leads and subscribers in your contact list and keep in touch. Keep these followers engaged with regular news and updates about your business.
If you have a customer or a potential lead that is not already in your mailing list—make sure that they are on your mailing list! Figure out a relatively easy way for online users to subscribe to more content from you.
From here, you could continue the cycle and keep on driving your business forward.
Best of luck, and Happy Holidays!
Other Related Resources
What is Social Media Marketing, and How Can it Help My Business?
Search Engine Optimization vs. Pay-Per-Click Advertising
SSL Certificates. What They Do AND Why You Need One
SSL Certificates, what are we even talking about? SSLs is the backbone of Internet security by protecting information as it travels the web. Often website owners balk at purchasing SSLs if their webpage isn’t set up for online shopping/money exchange. That is a mistake. SSL’s provide critical items like privacy, data integrity, and protection for your website and visitors to your page. SSLs digitally bind cryptographic keys to a website’s details. When Marlin installs an SSL on your server, it activates the padlock you see in your address bar and “https”. This creates secure connections between server and browser, protecting everyone.
Why do you need an SSL, especially if you are not running an e-commerce site? Data security between servers is increased. Your Google Ranking automatically increases when you provide your users with SSL protection. Trust is built and enhanced with your customer base when they know you’re doing your part to protect them. Should you have a form that visitors must fill out – whether it’s for an inquiry or something else to gathers information from the user, this type of data collection would prompt for the verification of your SSL. If you do not currently have an SSL on your website, then the user will be see the “unsecured content” message on their screen before they could proceed to the next page.
If a customer can trust that your site is safe and protected, then you will see your conversion rates increase!
Now you’re ready to jump into the SSL game, what next? SSL certificates must be issued from a trusted Certificate Authority. Marlin can help you through this entire process and can provide a list of trusted CA root certificates. Give Marlin a call and our experts will get you and your website ready to go!
Take a look at the different SSL certificates that we offer.
Social Media Don’ts
Let’s discuss some of the things you want to avoid when building your social media video presence. First, don’t just shoot for the biggest target. Just because Facebook has almost 2 billion users doesn’t mean they want to see what you’re putting out there. You have to find the right audience. Depending on your business, LinkedIn may be your best option; if you’re selling jewelry, clothing, or similar products, Pinterest or Instagram may work best. There are enough platforms for every type of business to find their niche!
When you get started it’s important you don’t use the spaghetti approach. You can’t just throw everything at a wall and see what sticks. If you try that, you’re going to have significant trouble building your audience. You need to create consistent content to build a consistent audience that looks for your videos as you post them to social media. Obviously if something unexpected or exciting happens you don’t miss that opportunity but surprise or unusual posts should not replace your regular consistent content schedule.
Come see us at Marlin if you’re ready to get your social media video campaign started!
Making Videos on Social Media
Online video is becoming the medium of choice in the digital world. Did you know there are a BILLION YouTubers? Facebook and Snapchat are racking up as many as 8 BILLION video views per day between them. We’re talking in the billions, 3 commas for you “Silicon Valley” tv show fans.
The danger here is jumping in without taking a moment to understand the medium. Fun fact, predictions are that 74% of all web traffic will be video by the end of this year. Most significantly, businesses that have focused on video for their marketing efforts have seen an increase in conversion rates. This means that video is becoming the a more effective driver of sales than traditional options.
Some key characteristics of a social video are viewers will want to share it, it will encourage audience engagement, and it is optimized so it is easy to upload or share on social media platforms. Remember social videos are not trying to be viral videos. Your goal with a social video is to create interest in your product among your target audience.
We are just beginning our exploration of social videos. Check back next week for more about social video and how to apply it to your website plan!
This the concept that deals with the idea of avoiding superficial posting. Content these days has become quite superficial and that does prospective customers no good. The goal with content should be to highlight your uniqueness, your differences, from your competition. The challenge comes with keeping it interesting. Getting truly lengthy and in-depth on your website can take you straight down the rabbit hole and you’ll lose your audience.
Creating your dense content is only half the battle.
The other part is identifying what works best with your audience. Is shorter content better? Or something more creative and in-depth? Based on that kind of feedback you can focus on keywords and be specific to your product or service and price. If you can get more creative you may prefer more shorter write ups to draw in your audience without overwhelming them. Finally, be sure to include local terms or locations of significance that will mean something to your clients. Phew! Lots to remember but the most important part is to stay connected to your clientele. Try to put yourself in their shoes as you work your write ups. Lucky for you, Marlin specializes in dense content and local clientele!
Rich Answers and Local Links
Rich answers had a great year in 2016. Because most people search online using questions instead of keywords, Google has begun returning information that doesn’t require you to click on search results to get details. If you Google a famous person’s name, that person’s details appear as a Knowledge Panel on your results page. If you search using “how to” or “where is” you’ll get a Featured Snippet at the top of your results or map locations and Google business listings. Why does this matter? If you keep your Google My Business listings updated your business will keep you at the forefront of Google search land.
An extension of rich answers and their impact on your business visibility, local links are a critical component of your success. You’ve probably noticed there are local listing sites in your area where you can publish your business listing. Be sure to take advantage of all these types of sites, every little bit of exposure will impact your business. When you publish on local listings like this, you build valuable local links that will help build your regular SEO. Additionally, you can have other business sites link to yours and vice versa. While you’re at it, gain visibility through local news sites and blogs and work with them to write about your businesses and your products and services.
The great thing about rich answers and local links is how quickly and easily you can significantly impact your local footprint with a little work keeping your Google My Business listings updated and staying current on your local directories. Good luck! Let’s do this!
NAP – Name, Address, and Phone Number. Local Strategies to Boost Your Business
As obvious as this seems, you’d be amazed how difficult it can be to find this information on a business homepage. Aside from the basic importance of letting potential customers know how to contact you, NAP data is actually used by search engines when local searches are performed. If your NAP is prominently part of your website, each time it is cited in directories or web searches counts toward your local SEO. To ensure absolute maximization, you’ll want to add all of your business’ details to your Google My Business listing.
Part of the NAP puzzle is accessibility. You need to keep your NAP data consistent, easy, and straightforward to make it easy for Google and other search engines to snap it up. Another little tip, Don’t put your address and contact info in an image. Business owners tend toward flashy, eye catching images and graphics but typing actual text is better for SEO purposes.
Interestingly enough, in the last two years people have been using questions more and more instead of keyword searches. Google has begun returning search results that don’t require users to click on search results to get details. You can even test this thesis. Search a famous person on Google, their details will show as a “knowledge panel.” If you type in a question like “how to” or “where is” and you’ll get a Featured Snippet at the top of your results page or a map with locations and Google My Business listings.
Who cares, right? But imagine what that sort of return will do for your business when a potential new customer is on the hunt for a convenient nearby option and you pop up with all your data AND a mapped location. You’ve taken the variables out of the game and guided someone directly to you. Everybody wins!
P.O.E.M. Paid, Owned, Earned, Media
When I talk about POEM, I’m not trying to start a conversation about iambic pentameter, I’m actually addressing three of the main channels you should utilize for a strong content marketing plan. Paid, Owned, Earned Media. Let’s take a closer look.
Paid media is really just advertising. That said, there are so many paid avenues in this giant digital world than most of us usually utilize. We all know the traditional routes you can take: newspapers, magazines, online publications. But today paid advertising also covers Facebook and Twitter. It is now possible, even popular, to pay a small fee for sponsored posts or tweets on everyone’s favorite social media sites.
Owned. This covers your website, a members’ magazine, email lists, even photographs or Facebook pages. You certainly aren’t paying yourself to use owned media, keep in mind that it isn’t free. You are still paying money to maintain or create all of these outlets.
Earned. An interesting term, it applies to the publicity or coverage anything or anyone affiliated with your business receives from media. Media now applies to anything from traditional news to digital publications, to facebook, you name it. Historically this was referred to as free rather than earned but it isn’t really free. Odds are you paid to create the event being covered!
Now that we’ve defined the terms, why is this idea so magical? Traditionally when these three ideas are combined properly, content has a better chance of reaching the most people in the proper target audience. This is not just a small business idea. Large corporations are now utilizing POEM in their advertising strategy by adjusting their budget allocations toward earned and owned mediums. U.S. automakers are a great example. When the 2015-16 models came out, their own websites were covered in photos, details, pricing, options, the whole nine yards. Media outlets like Consumer Reports did major articles on all the new models, breaking down each in detail. And finally, the “new” media jumped in. Blogs, television shows all chimed in with their narrative and opinions on these vehicles.
Most of us are working on a much smaller level than the gigantic car companies, but we can boost Facebook posts or step up our personal website game utilizing someone like us at Marlin. The key is strategy. Boost content that has historically done well. Be wary of taking a wild shot in the dark on some new idea. Make your money count. Let Marlin help you do that. Give us a call, we’re waiting for you!
Google’s Fighting Those Pesky Pop-Up Ads
How many times have we clicked on a link and wound up in Timbuktu because we accidentally clicked on a surprise pop-up ad as we were scrolling through the page? It’s the WORST. Well I have good news, Google is taking steps to punish pages that allow/encourage pop-up ads. (Cue applause, cheering, and general celebration).
Unfortunately this doesn’t mean that Google will blow up any page that continues with pop-up ads but websites that use pop-ups and interstitials will be classified as worse search results and will likely rank lower because of it. As small business owners we know how important it is to achieve strong rankings with Google so this will be a positive step in the right direction. The way this will work is not going to shut down every site that uses but if two sites are “competing” for top billing the site without pop-up ads will get the number one rating.
The goal is to keep results most informative but also results that work better for users. This isn’t the first time Google has taken steps to make our lives easier. In 2015 they started increasing the rank of mobile friendly sites and in 2014 encrypted sites saw a boost in rank. Obviously not all sites are mobile friendly or encrypted so Google doesn’t necessarily say “jump” and have websites reply “how high?” but search engine ranks matter. And Google has a loud voice in the SEO/PPC world.
Starting January 10, sites “where content is not easily accessible” will start seeing their ranks drop and we can all surf new sites just a little easier! Happy searching!
Search Engine Optimization vs Pay-Per-Click Advertising
Search Engine Optimization and Pay-Per-Click advertising are some of my favorite topics because of their great use use for small businesses. I think it’s important we regularly get into the nitty gritty of what these two marketing strategies bring to the table so everyone understands our focus for your success.
We’ll define each first. SEO, or Search Engine Optimization, is a plan to get your website noticed by search engines. You want your business showing at the top of a results page when someone searches anything that has to do with your business. If you are a real estate agent, you want your name and website first when someone searches “realtor” in your area. PPC, or Pay-Per-Click advertising, is a plan that actively places your website at the top of a search results page with an ad that looks like an organic result. Both require an investment on your part. For SEO you pay a company like Marlin; PPC you may pay Google directly.
There are pluses and minuses to both options AND let’s be clear, both are good options. SEO doesn’t show you results as quickly but costs less. That being said, paying for PPC directly to Google or Bing or your personal favorite search engine has the benefit of demystifying the secret to getting to the top of the search results page. You’ve already paid them to be there!
In a perfect world, you have the means to utilize BOTH strategies. You’re able to ensure traffic and revenue from every angle and avoiding putting all your eggs in one basket. Your PPC efforts can get you noticed/increase traffic immediately while your SEO work gets you rolling with keyword results and moves you up the results page. If you’re not able to dive into both strategies at once, that’s okay! We can mold and flex your campaign to maximize results and get your website noticed! Call Marlin today and let us build your online advertising plan!