Seasonal Optimization Tips Transcend the Holidays
I was recently asked to compile a short list of site optimization tips to help marketers get a competitive edge during the holidays for a lead generation campaign. Although these tactics can boost short-term marketing performance (e.g. time sensitive discounts, targeting content to returning visitors, compelling offers, etc.), the biggest rewards come to those who’ve made a consistent investment over time to iterate and test their content, offers, messages and funnels over time.
Yeah, I know it’s not what everyone wants to hear, but optimization is really is more like exercise and financial planning as you’ll realize the most gain and improvement by making it an ongoing activity. Working out for just 2-months will improve your fitness but won’t get you in marathon ready top condition, nor will a Vegas-like approach of going “all in” on red on the roulette table approach to personal finance ensure a good and safe return on your retirement savings. Optimization rewards are reaped over time.
Now on to the Tips
Whether or not your business sees a big increase in sales from the holiday season or your site is in or approaching Holiday Lockdown, the following 5 testing and targeting tips can help you maximize the performance of your digital marketing.
- Move Beyond Site Lockdowns: Today’s social marketing world demands a more agile marketing approach where user engagement and response dictate success, not your marketing and/or creative department’s opinions. Website lockdowns made sense before testing and targeting solutions enabled marketers to easily optimize content and offers. Sites that go into lockdown mode are at risk to misfiring on their promotions and offers during the most important shopping season. Instead of locking down promotions/offers on key entry pages, use simple an A/B/n test to see what offer (e.g. free shipping vs. 10% off) or creative (e.g. minimalist/white vs. colorful/energetic) drives the most conversion.
- Re-market to Return Visitors: Capture and use the most important single insight about a visitor’s most recent visit (e.g. last product viewed) to target relevant content and/or offers. Think about the most simplistic Amazon.com-like approach in serving up content related to your last visit as it will improve your website’s relevance and conversion rates. You don’t need to jump into anything sophisticated to reap rewards of 5-15% lift improvements. A simple promotion of an item related to a visitor’s last product viewed/added to cart and/or an extra incentive (discount) to “buy now” can seriously move the needle with your sales.
- Connect Paid Search Offers with your Site Content: Show your visitors that you’re paying attention to what they’re searching by delivering content based on referring keywords. Users using Google or Bing to search for “last minute Holiday flights” should not be directed to a generic homepage that doesn’t tie to “last minute Holiday flights.” Ensure you have continuity between your paid search offers with your landing pages and site. Ensuring a consistent user experience is central to delivering a winning experience and reducing your bounce rates.
- Engage and Manage Visitors: Capture the attention of your site visitors by adding more engaging seasonal content and presenting clear/compelling calls to action. Take an objective look at your most important pages on your site to ensure they are both engaging and focused to drive action. Don’t leave it to your visitor’s to know what you want them to do, be explicit and clear in how you guide visitors into taking action.
- Use and Optimize Seasonal Landing Pages: Seasonal landing pages that focus a visitor’s experience to a desired objective and testing the content, messaging, offers and creatives is an easy way to maximize conversions. Test various holiday images and themes. For sites that market products or services that have seasonal preferences, we’ve consistently realized 30%+ lift improvements in modifying copy, images and content that better tie to the winter season from more generic approaches.
Doing any of the former will certainly help to lift your conversion rates during the holiday season and throughout the rest of year.
Now for a shameless plug… I’ll be doing a webinar entitled Optimization is a Team Sport on Thursday, December 9 at 11am PST / 2pm EST. I’ll cover concepts from roles and responsibilities to how change is good and the importance of giving your team time to succeed.