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Quick tips for driving engagement and revenue this holiday season

The holiday season has officially arrived – a fact that’s both exciting and frightening for marketers. It’s a season of massive traffic increases and, with that, huge sales opportunities for ecommerce businesses. Last year, online sales during the holidays added up to $102 billion in revenue, and retailers are anticipating even more growth this year.

With 92% of holiday shoppers either researching or purchasing products online, it’s imperative that you have a clear strategy for driving traffic to your site and converting those visitors into new email leads and sales. Here are some quick tips for maximizing your sales this holiday season.

Use email to drive traffic and sales

Email is still the best channel for directly reaching individuals and driving sales. Email converts at a 4X higher rate than any other source and continues to be the channel of choice for ecommerce. It’s also incredibly successful during the holiday shopping season. According to one study, email marketing alone drove 27.3% of Black Friday sales and 24% of Cyber Monday sales last year.

So be sure to get your holiday emails out soon. You’re dealing with a lot of competition, and holiday shoppers are getting started earlier every year. A study by Google found that 48% of shoppers have the majority of their holiday shopping completed before Cyber Monday. Hitting your list with emails early will allow you to close early sales.

Go mobile to cater to all visitors

Mobile has been a big trend in 2015 – and rightfully so. With mobile traffic accounting for about half of all web traffic, it’s essential for your website to be optimized for mobile.

There are a couple of key reasons why a mobile strategy is important this holiday season. First, your marketing emails will primarily be opened on a mobile device, which means a significant portion of your web traffic will also be mobile. Second, the buyer’s journey today bounces around between different devices. This means that a visitor may research products on their cell phone, continue to browse on a tablet, and ultimately purchase on their laptop.

You most likely already have a mobile-friendly website (and if you don’t, you should!) but this is a friendly reminder that more people than ever will be viewing what you have to offer on their phones this holiday season. And while mobile traffic continues to increase, mobile sales conversions are lagging behind. This puts heavy importance on getting an email address from mobile visitors.

Use promotions to close sales and increase order size

Promotions are an effective way to drive sales year-round, but when the holiday season rolls around, promotions are an absolute necessity.

1. Free Shipping

Free shipping is by far the biggest sales driver during the holidays, with 73% of online shoppers naming it their  #1 reason for making a purchase. Running a free shipping promotion will close more holiday sales because you’re providing the exact value that the majority of your shoppers want.

2. Free Shipping with Thresholds

To make free shipping accessible for your business and to drive larger orders, consider shipping thresholds like “Free Shipping on orders of $75 or more.” A study found that 39% of customers would purchase enough to get free shipping. A promotion like this allows you to both offer free shipping and incentivize shoppers to buy more! For more valuable information on free shipping, check out the study by Harris Interactive and UPS.

3. Big Discounts on Sales Holidays

With big shopping days like Black Friday and Cyber Monday coming up, your shoppers are most likely expecting  serious savings. So that’s when you  should hit your visitors with your best deals and discounts. Based on a study, 94% of consumers stated that discounts will be important to their purchasing decisions during the holiday season. Again, you need to make it very easy for shoppers to make a purchasing decision by providing them with offers  they actually want.

Target Specific Shoppers to Drive More Conversions

You’ve got your promotions lined up – now you have to present your offers to the right visitors! Rather than review every way that you can target shoppers, we’re going to focus on 3 key tactics.

1. First Time Visitors

First, you want to appeal to first time shoppers. Engage these new visitors within 15 seconds of their visit using an attractive offer for free shipping or a discount. Since 55% of website visitors leave within 15 seconds of their visit, we want to present the offer early on. This way, the promotion gets maximum exposure and increases your chances of converting each visitor.

2. Repeat Visitors and Customers

Second, we want to show our repeat visitors and customers some love with an exclusive offer. These are shoppers that are much more likely to purchase because they have either seen your products or bought from you in the past. Build up a feeling of exclusivity with promotional copy like “Welcome Back! Here’s a Discount.” Exclusive offers show that you truly value your repeat customers and this builds brand loyalty.

3. Cart Abandoners

Third, we want to turn those pesky cart abandoners into paying customers. To do this, we want to go to the source of the problem, cart and checkout pages. Engage shoppers who attempt to leave the cart or checkout pages with an exclusive exit offer. Instead of requiring an email to receive the offer, it’s best to just give the shopper the promo code. This way, we are able to eliminate barriers and the shopper is able to redeem the offer within the cart and checkout pages. Check out this short articles for more examples of targeted promotions!

There’s no doubt that the holidays are the biggest opportunity for online retailers to generate revenue. It’s also the busiest time of the year, so rather than trying to do everything in your power to get the most out of the season, focus on a few key areas that will get you results. These tips will help you increase on-site engagement while also driving sales so you can have a holiday season of epic proportions!

Grant Thomas is a Marketing Manager and runs the blog at Justuno. In his free time, he likes to get outdoors, read books and dig at the record store. Connect with Grant on LinkedIn and Twitter. You can also find more of his articles on the Justuno Blog.